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On Earth As It Is In College Station? (Or: Jesus Doesn’t Care About Your Field Goal Kicker)

October 15, 2013

Since becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy last year, Johnny Manziel has been a lightning rod in the popular media. From his appearances on late night television, to his highly publicized early departure from the Manning Passing Academy, to his “alleged” signing of memorabilia for reportedly tens of thousands of dollars, “Johnny Football” has become the whipping boy for college football fans who don’t live in College Station. This past Saturday night I was watching a real barn burner between Texas A&M and Ole Miss in which Manziel led his team back from the brink of defeat. He played in his characteristic, dynamic fashion and put his team in a position to take the lead with a few seconds left on the clock. I don’t know if you were watching, but I was surprised to see that, just before A&M’s kicker took the field to win the game, Manziel took a knee to lead a portion of the team in a brief prayer. Take a moment to watch the clip:

A few seconds after this, the winning kick split the uprights and Manziel went running onto the field to shake hands. Prayer answered, right? To be fair, I have no idea what Manziel is saying here, though I can only imagine it’s the type of youthful and self-centered prayer that characterizes many younger, nominal followers of received religious traditions. (By the way, I don’t mean that to disparage Manziel. I, too, prayed such prayers in my youthful naiveté). When I played high school sports, we would always take a knee after practice or after the game and  say the Lord’s Prayer. In hindsight, our coaches were probably hoping that this prayer might serve as something of a prayer for safety, while we most likely hoped (or thought?) that the prayer would somehow impact the outcome of the game. Having had a little more time to reflect on the Manziel prayer in light of my own past experiences, I will reiterate something I wrote after the Ravens won the Super Bowl earlier this year. A God who cares about the outcome of a football game played in the wealthiest corner of the globe while thousands of people are going to bed hungry worldwide, slavery & human trafficking are ever-present realities, and countries like Syria are being devastated by genocide, is a deity we need to reconsider praying to or worshipping. In other words, Jesus doesn’t give a rip about your field goal kicker. So let’s do our best to enjoy the game and try to keep Jesus out of it.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2013 1:29 am

    Exactly! God doesn’t care about A&M’s kicker because, as we all know, God is a Tarheel!
    I’m Just kidding. Good Post.

  2. October 16, 2013 6:53 pm

    I just emailed my field goal kicker and told him Jesus doesn’t care about him.

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