SIMPLE, GODLY, MOVING
Thumbing through my local Houston Chronicle this weekend, I came upon the “Beliefs” section of the newspaper, which happened to feature a sermon by Dodie Osteen, mother of PastorJoel Osteen of Lakewood Church. As I read the sermon, I was both touched and again impressed with the sweetness and simplicity of our Christian message. I also gained some insight into a major formative influence on the spirituality of Brother Joel, who addresses 40,000 living souls each week at the largest Christian church in America. I believe you will be blessed if you take the time to read Sister Dodie’s remarks at: www.houstonchronicle.com/life
WHAT MATTERS MOST
“What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies itthe fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands [Isa. 49:16]. I am never out of his mind. All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters.
This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort – the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervatesin knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me.”
— Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 41-42.
FEEDBACK ON FOOTBALL
I read thoroughly your commentary on Baylor and Ken Starr . . . Its a tragedy all the way around – the women first, the players second, then the coach, administration, Baylor, and finally Christianity. That is exactly what the watching secular world is looking for – a crack in the dam which they think helps justify their doubt and disbelief. To me, its time to pause and take football off the throne and put where it belongs, a sport. It seems Baylor coaches/administration learned little to nothing from Penn State. There will always be avid, even rabid, fans at all colleges that drive the passion for more glory for their school and themselves.
Coupling football and Christianity as both [being] religions goes counter to my thinking. Religions, by definition, have gods they are trying to appease to get benefits; especially favors and glory for themselves. Christianity, on the other hand, is a story of God coming down, incarnate, to rescue helpless and sinful man who then gives all the glory back to God because of the love and grace they have received from Him. And for that, doxology! — Glenn D.
Great article, brother. This story is very close to homefirst, being a believer in and follower of our Messiah Christ Jesus; second, being a person of color; third, Im a Boise State grad and former all-conference football player graduate–the story involving a kid of color and former Bronco player; more importantly, involving precious women in light of todays issues with racism and gender notwithstanding, at a school with a Christian foundation. The emotions are all over the place, but at the end of the day [what matters most] is who has been affected by and through the Lord and hopefully delivered unto salvation. May we learn to grow and forgive from this horrid misfortune. Bless you, my dear elder brother, for your heart concern and spirit on this most important matter. — Nash
Applying some hermeneutics to current events and topics of wide interest is always a worthy contribution – and is appreciated. MY full disclosure: Though not an acquaintance of Mr. Starr, I’ve followed his actions and advocacies . . . for many years . . . [and] have found most of them at some odds with my own world view as an application of my faith . . . Martin Marty puts his finger on the underlying issues. Sports often generate unhealthy imbalance . . . Add that to a 180-degree missing of Jesus’ teaching and example . . . [and] an alpha male value system . . . then surely winning at all costs . . . must flex its power.
Colleges charge students even more long-term student debt to pay for sports programs; billionaire professional sports team owners force cities’ taxpayers to buy them elegant stadiums; parents go crazy fighting those who call against their kids in youth sports; coaches and administrators rationalize looking the other way in order to place the winningest set of players onto the field . . . and life-destroying concussions are not allowed to stop or seriously change a sport like football. It really seems a wonder why “Christian” schools serious about making Christian faith the center of their identity, play in this game. But not really–it’s where the money and success are greatly multiplied.
. . . Though howls would ensue, penalties . . . larger than [those] imposed on Penn State might be the beginning. How about requiring Baylor to end their football program for five years? How about ten years? . . . Maybe a severe penalty to the SYSTEM is the way to get their attention. Maybe then they would be more free to focus on what they state their calling to be . . . We pray for your comfort and strength. God bless! — Dale E.