I'm most definitely going to get torched for this entry, but I'm okay with that. This issue has been on my mind for quite a while, and with today's happenings, I felt it was an appropriate time.
Before I rant I need to clarify a few things. First off, I'm a Christian, I'm proud of that. My faith embodies me, defines me, and drives me to treat other people equally. (yes even homosexuals, with the happenings of late). I'm not a judge, and certainly not perfect, so my intent in this isn't to judge, jump on, or stake my claim as a perfect, or even model human being. I jack life up often...by the minute sometimes, this is just my opinion on a few things.
We live in a day and age where athletes get both raised up, and ridiculed for their faith. The more vocal an athlete is about his/her relationship with God, the more scrutiny follows. I understand that Tim Tebow has received some positive affirmation regarding his faith, but even in that there is always a hint of "bless his heart". It kind of hangs around like an odor that won't go away.
If you're an MMA fan then you can't watch this sport without noticing the consistent shout out that fighters give to their God. I use God loosely here as not to offend, and also because I'm not sure if their are fighters out there who acknowledge a higher power not named Jesus. Either way, as a fight ends and the fighters hand is raised, very often you'll hear them thank God. Often times this thanks is short and simple, but just as often the "Thank-You's" of an after-fight turn into the beginnings of a Billy Graham crusade, and as of late it seems like the frequency is growing. Which leads me to the "why" of this entry.
Again, I have zero issue with a fighter or any athlete thanking their god, higher power, or broomstick for that matter, I just think it comes with the territory. If you've trained in any martial art you understand the discipline that comes with that territory, and surviving an 8-12 week camp, and a 3-5 round fight healthy and victorious is certainly something to be thankful for, so I get it. Here's my issue.
If you're a Christian, and an athlete, then doesn't it make sense to represent your faith at the very least according to your Scripture? I mean maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so. I mean, if I call a plumber and he shows up, at the very least I expect him to bring with him the proper tools, right? So, I guess I don't get how or moreso why athletes would just claim this life dedicated to cause of their God, and then exhibit a life outside of that, that is opposite. I'm talking about making mistakes. I'm not talking about DWI's, or legal issues. I mean, I get it, we're human, we make mistakes. Hell, a lot of these athletes are young kids, so I get immature decisions, and thankfully so do the owners at Zuffa. I understand that nobody can "always" live a life explempary of their faith, it's impossible to follow it verbatim all the time, I get all of those things. The thing is, there is a difference between "life choice" and "lifestyle" there just is. We all make bonehead decisions at times, it happens, but the goal of those flubs is to learn, to grow, and to get better. Bad choices shape us, mold us, and make us better, as a matter of fact, if you're a Christian then your Scripture says this in Romans.
As I opened up MMA fighting today like normal I see a disheveled Jon Jones staring at a camera as he takes a seat for a press conference. The headline reads "Jon Jones arrested on suspicion of DUI". At first I was instantly taken to a comment he made regarding his recent UFC sponsorship, and it made me think of the thousands of times I've put my foot in my mouth. It reminded me of being a kid, and saying "never" and then that shortly becoming "once". Here's my issue though, Jon Jones might be the MOST outspoken about his faith. He of all fighters talks of his faith, tweets of his time in church, retweets Scripture, he's extremely outspoken regarding the faith that he adheres to. The thing is, he lives with his fiance, and has two children by her. That bothers me. I mean, it's not my business what anybody does in his/her personal life, but it becomes my business when it completely discredits the words of the God I work hard to serve. It completely negates the commandments against fornication, and sexual sin. I have a problem with that. Is this guy really the "Christian" he speaks of, or is he the guy that Rashad Evans so candidly told us "We've never seen".
Look, I really don't care what people do, or how they live their life. I don't care if a person eats poop three meals a day, and is planning on getting bone implants in their nose, I don't care. The thing is, we're not talking about private matters, we're talking about public displays of faith, and devotion, and love to God. When you stake claim as a Christian then emulate Christianity. Even moreso, when you stake claim as anything, then emulate that which claiming to be a part of. If your God is money, then strive to be the wealthiest person on earth, if it's wood then learn all the in's and out's of that trade. If your God is sports then strive to be the best, and if your God is Jesus Christ, then at the very least portray a life that is void of the sin He destroyed cities over.