- Created on Friday, 25 January 2013 12:25
The question is: Are we ready for what he has to say?
Because if the Gospel according to Tebow led to unnecessary controversy, which it did, wait until they get a load of The Gospel according to Ray. He has been preaching God as a Ravens fan for a while now, most recently to Sal Palantonio in the aftermath of the Ravens victory in the AFC Championship game, and many view this as hypocrisy. Or heresy. Or worse.
We shushed religion talk from Tim Tebow because he was not a good enough player. Now with Lewis, a Hall of Famer, it is because he is not a good enough man.
Our problem is not with the messengers at all but the message. We want a separation of church and football. But why? What about Lewis crediting God for Baltimore’s amazing run gets us so crossways?
“When you sacrifice something for God, he will give you anything your heart desires if it aligns with his will,” Lewis said in Sunday’s crazy aftermath. “… God just kept telling me ‘No weapon formed against me shall prosper. No weapon formed against my team shall prosper.’ ”
I feel compelled to point out this is from Isaiah 54:17, with the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation particularly helpful in the case of Lewis. “No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raised against you in court.”
It is impossible to write about Lewis — what he says, how he plays, his legacy, his faith — without bringing up what he may or may not have done in the wee hours of January 31, 2000. He had some level of involvement in a double murder following a Super Bowl party in Atlanta, as evidenced by blood in his car and a murder indictment against him that was dropped in exchange for testimony and undisclosed settlements with the victims’ families.
Many remain unconvinced of his innocence. Most recent among them is Anna Burns Welker, wife of Patriots receiver Wes Welker, who wrote this on Facebook after Sunday’s game: “Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis’ Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!”
So the people who do not like athletes talking about religion are annoyed with the Gospel according to Ray and the people who loved this type of preaching from Tebow are not exactly in Lewis’ demographic. My question is why? Why do we love religion from Tebow and not Lewis?
Because the reality is Lewis’ story is more symbolic of Christianity than Tebow’s. He epitomizes screwing up and being redeemed, of traveling far down a wrong road before turning around, of turning his life over to a higher power. It is not a stretch to say that whatever happened that night in Atlanta was Lewis’ come-to-Jesus moment. He has changed in the aftermath, which is why he always talks about God and salvation so fervently.
I get that not everybody wants to hear him. These are cynical sports times we live in, replete with fake dead girlfriends and Hall of Famers charging a coach with intentionally losing a Super Bowl. It is a hard time to be selling faith, even harder to sell redemption.
And Lewis can be a little theatrical, if not outright preachy, when he talks.
“Any time you trust in God, man can’t tell you what you can’t do,” Lewis said. “I respect the game too much and I was hurt when I saw a sign that actually said my retirement would end tonight. Man can’t dictate that. God dictates that.”
The criticism is tethered to Lewis’ belief, or at least implication, that God wanted the Ravens to win. This is shaky theological ground, although in no way uncharted. God is rooting for my team was the general idea behind the crusades and just about every idiotic religious war since.
I tend to believe God roots for everybody. But beliefs are beliefs and who are we to tell Lewis he is wrong? He actually seems to be sending a pretty good message, about how all things are possible through God and about believing in spite of the odds.
He will say all of this loudly and fervently at the Super Bowl, using the bully pulpit provided to preach the Gospel of Ray. He has every right, just like Tebow before him. And if we stop complaining long enough to listen, we may just be inspired.
- Earthquake hits Central Maine today
- Ellsworth city manager announced today the city has hired a new police chief
- Zachary Grant pleas guilty to manslaughter
- Maine shelters get dogs from Puerto Rico
- DHHS supports funding for reopening 12 treatment beds
- Senator King honors former Senator Snowe
- UMaine students help others with tax prep
- NTSB announces second El Faro search to find missing data recorder
- Senator King to host opiate discussion in Bangor
- American seniors targeted by international drug dealers
- Two arrested on drug charges in Southern Maine
- Waterville crash sent three to hospital
- Fire breaks out at an apartment in Bangor yesterday afternoon
- James Pak sentenced to life for killing two teenaged tenants
- Leanna Norris is appealing murder conviction
- US urges Turkey to stop attacks on Kurdish allies
- GOP Debate: Trump verges on tantrums; Rubio, Bush and Cruz all have solid night
- Good Samaritan saves trapped, screaming motorist from burning car, continues on to work
- Fireworks erupt between Trump and Bush, Rubio and Cruz at GOP debate
- Supreme Court Justice Scalia dead at 79
- Authorities arrest suspect who killed mom, 2 children in New York hotel room
- Obama has rare parliamentary window to make recess appointment to succeed Scalia
- GOP Debate: Trump, Bush clash on ISIS, Iraq, 9/11
- After Scalia's death, Obama has opening to shift Supreme Court balance
- Reaction to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death
- Scalia’s death looms over Republican presidential debate
- 3 killed, scores hospitalized after huge I-78 pileup, police say
- Multiple fatalities reported in big I-78 pileup
- 5.1 and 3.9 magnitude earthquakes recorded in Oklahoma
- California man vanishes owing FTC $113 million over get-rich-quick scam
- New batch of Clinton emails released, 84 now marked 'classified'
- New batch of Clinton emails released, 81 now marked 'classified'
- Louisiana Dem Gov. Edwards warns: Agree to proposed tax hikes or LSU football could be sacked
- Armed-robbery suspect loses arm in botched robbery attempt in Brooklyn
- Taylor Swift's family and friends voice their support
- 5 killed when car going wrong way slams into SUV in Ohio
- Gillian Anderson refutes reports that she has had work done
- World is fighting a new Cold War, Russia's Medvedev says
- 5 reasons to skip a workout
- Rihanna Debuts New Collection For Puma
- Actress Jennifer Lawrence is donating $2 million to a Kentucky hospital after visiting
- O.J. Simpson's Former Doctor Talks Possible CTE Symptoms
- President Obama Recites Love Poem To Wife Michelle -- Watch!
- Kanye West Ignites Controversy With Taylor Swift Over New Song Lyrics
- 'The Originals': Leah Pipes On The 'Insane' Danger Cami Is In, Getting Lectured By Klaus & Elijah
- Lamar Odom Makes Public Return At Kanye West's Fashion Show
- Teresa Giudice Talks Prison Life, Reuniting With Family & Supporting Donald Trump
- Peyton Manning & Jimmy Fallon Have Fun With Eli Manning's Super Bowl Face
- [EXCLUSIVE] Bethenny Frankel Confirms She is Returning to 'RHONY'
- 'Legends Of Tomorrow': Marc Guggenheim On Ray & Snart’s Latest Mission, Training Kendra & The Omega Protocol
- Adam Levine Reacts To Taraji P. Henson’s Coldplay/Maroon 5 Mix-Up
- 'The 100 Q&A: Brenda Strong On Playing Ice Nation Queen Nia
- 'Outlander' Season 2 Premiere Date Announced
- 'Outlander' Season 2 Premiere Date Announced, New Trailer Drops
- Stars Step Out For Saint Laurent Hollywood Show
- 'Gilmore Girls' Revival Welcomes More Familiar Faces
- Gwen Stefani Teaming With Target For Live Grammy Video
- Adele Announces Surprise Pre-Grammy Concert
- 'Arrow': Katrina Law Previews 'Epic' Fight, 'Beautiful' Nyssa/Laurel Scene
- Eagles Band Members To Honor Glenn Frey At Grammys
- Johnny Depp Stars As Donald Trump In Funny Or Die Spoof
- Medical Examiner Rules Michael Cavallari's Death Accidental
- 'Frozen' Musical To Make Broadway Debut In 2018
- Tom Brady boasts that he is not one of the best QBs ever
- Peyton Manning's mom explains why it's time for her son to retire
- Report: Off-duty cops hospitalized after alleged altercation involving LeSean McCoy
- Advanced stats will probably love Michigan in 2016
- Audi tearjerker, 'Puppymonkeybaby' among Super Bowl winners
- Offbeat humor and upbeat messages dominate Super Bowl ads
- Breaking news: NASCAR to announce new 'charter' system for teams
- 2nd-seeded Cilic and Dodig advance to 2nd round in Rotterdam
- Jordan Spieth honors Peyton Manning with classic forehead joke after Super Bowl win
- Mets give cap-tip to fellow runner-up Panthers after Super Bowl loss
- Cam Newton's authenticity is highly questionable
- 2016 New York Mets Preview & Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep
- All-Star Bobblehead Series among Marlins promotions in 2016
- Broncos offseason to-do list, starting with moving on from Manning
- Cam Newton's image took the biggest hit of all during the Super Bowl
- Dodgers' Pederson had a great view of Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show
- Paul George says he'll try to score 82 points in final game vs. Kobe
- From behind the lens at Super Bowl 50, Durant captures the other side
- DeMarcus Ware's son stole Deion Sanders' microphone after the Super Bowl
- Comfort wins: Stroman, Blue Jays watch Super Bowl 50 in onesies
- Parker to play with France despite wife's pregnancy
- Ronaldo open to leaving Real Madrid when contract expires
- Tyronn Lue on recent criticism: 'Look, they ridiculed Jesus Christ'
- Bryce Harper shared a laugh with Stephen Curry at Super Bowl 50