October 22, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 5.4.13

RamblerGreetings, fellow ramblers. Your Chief Rambler, the abbot of this abbey, has returned from his venture to the Buckeye state to serenade his father on the occasion of said dad’s 80th birthday. Cake was consumed with joy unspeakable and full of glory. You know, it is still only 762 miles from my driveway to my parents’ driveway, and it still only takes 12 hours to traverse those 762 miles, but it sure does feel longer these days. Am I getting old or what? One thing is for sure, this Saturday isn’t getting any younger. What say we redeem the time and ramble …

I received a package this week, and on the outside of the box it read Louisville Slugger. On the inside I found a custom-made red, white and blue baseball glove with my name stitched in script on the thumb. It is an amazing glove, one of the best I have ever put on my catching (left) hand. The thing is, it came with no card, no note, no nothing. I have no idea who sent it to me, but if it was you, you have my sincerest thanks. I cannot tell you how great it makes me feel to think someone would care enough to have this made for me and send it to me. Now to break it in.

The news of the week seemed to center on NBA player Jason Collins’s “coming out” announcement. Collins, who is a Christian, met with cheers and tears of joy from those in the sports world. But when ESPN commentator Chris Broussard shared his thoughts on the matter, he was met with jeers and scorn. Double standard? Seems that way. And when former Green Bay Packers player Leroy Butler tweeted his thoughts about Collins, he was invited not to speak at a Christian church. Double standard? How about no standard. And Religion Dispatches wants to know why Collins’s faith is ignored, while Tim Tebow’s is overplayed. Your thoughts?

In the above paragraph I wrote “Collins, who is a Christian … ” Should that be “a Christian” or simply “Christian”? What difference to the meaning does the single-letter word “a” make? Grammarians, this is for you.

So you think Washington DC is a godless city? A city where matters of faith are not only ignored, they are met with ridicule and derision?  Not so fast, Potomac-breath. Joshua Dubois, the former coordinator of all things political and faith-based, says God truly is at work in our nation’s capital. Of course, he’s a democrat and a liberal, so we don’t have to listen to him, right?

Meanwhile, our Comedian-In-Chief got off another good one this week. You know, he has less than four years remaining on his contract. And Letterman is going to look to retire in a few years. Do you think … ???

Someone needs to straighten out our military. They have it in for soldiers who share their faith with others. Or so it would seem from this story. Those in the know, please tell us: Will those who try to convert others be court martialed?

Perhaps our First Lady, Denise Spencer, can shed some light on this one. A woman in Kentucky has been ordained a Catholic priest. Really. I know there is a joke in there somewhere, but this time I’m being serious with you.

And Martha of Ireland, what is a Magdalene laundry? Don’t you have Sears in Ireland, where people can buy their own washer and dryer? Tell us, Martha, what is up with nuns sending girls to do endless loads of dirty clothes?

Here is a headline that will boost our numbers today: The Sex Lives Of Unmarried Evangelicals. Need I say more?

T.R. Lurhmann found out something interesting while doing research for her book, When God Talks Back. (Chaplain Mike is currently preparing a review of this book.) Many people claim God speaks to them. Wow. Who knew???

Pregnant and still trying to choose a name for your forthcoming bundle of joy? Don’t move to New Zealand if you have some crazy name in mind. What do the Kiwis consider crazy? Read this and see …

Finally, the Synonymous Rambler suggests we all wash our minds out with this story. I agree. Let this one soak in for awhile.

Happy birthday greetings were given this last week to Richard Dunn, the father of yours truly; Willie Nelson; Al Lewis; Walter Lantz; Enos Slaughter; Coretta Scott King; Casey Kasem; Pete Ham; Dale Earnhardt; Cloris Leachman; and Isiah Thomas.

Pete Ham was the lead singer and guitarist in a band “discovered” by the Beatles called Badfinger. Unfortunately, poor management of the band led to Ham becoming despondent and, in 1975, he hanged himself in his garage in Surrey, England. But his voice and music will always be alive. Enjoy.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xoke1wUwEXY']

 

Comments

  1. Badfinger was awesome.

    Those poor guys had a really rough go of it, though.

    I pray that they are at peace. Wherever they are.

  2. dumb ox says:

    I would like the whole story on the anti-proselytizing ban in the military. The stories I read indicated it had to do with officers using their position to coerce subordinates to convert to their religion – Christian or other. If that’s the case, then once again the conservative spin doctors turned this into propaganda. (Who was it that said tell a lie enough times and people will accept it as truth? Hmmm.) Would Christians want their sons and daughters in the military to be forced to read the Quran by a superior officer? There have been local cases of military officers and instructors using their position to pressure subordinates (including those of mainline church backgrounds) to follow an aggressive evangelical doctrine.

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      Yeah, I strongly suspect this is the kernel of truth in a cloud of lies. (Breibart.com: really? How many times do you have to be burned before you assume any claim associated with that name is an outright lie?) Back in the day,when my Dad was a Naval chaplain, there was a strong ethos of interfaith respect within the military, or at least discreet toleration. I have been seeing stories since the 1980s about this breaking down, and superior officers using their position to impose their religion on their subordinates. If the Pentagon is finally cracking down on this, it is about time!

    • dumb ox says:

      The Breitbart article has since been picked up my several conservative news sites, blogs, and Facebook accounts and is now the defacto truth – regardless of the facts.

  3. JoanieD says:

    “Number 16 Bus Shelter”…well, that is a very ODD name that New Zealand DID allow!

    Interesting article on people saying they have heard God speak to them. Lots of people!

    • Jeff – Another delightful installment of the Ramblings:

      Perhaps that bus shelter was an important venue in the child’s life! But I’m still waiting for a girl named Google to show up at the baptismal font.

  4. Robert F says:

    Regarding the sex lives of unmarried evangelicals: it all has to do with the assumptions regarding what constitutes an evangelical that are implicit in the surveys. Since this is a matter of disagreement even among evangelicals, you would not expect those designing a survey model to have a definition of evangelical that would be widely agreed upon, even if they consider themselves evangelical.

    Regarding the military adopting a hostile attitude to soldiers sharing their faith: such a development would be nothing more than the continuation in a different form of the spirit of the pre-Constantinian Roman Empire that made it impossible for individuals to be conscientious Christians and soldiers at the same time. Such a development is inevitable. We have what is a largely unsubstantiated belief that the non-participation of Christians in the Roman Empire’s military was always the result of a theological commitment to non-violence on the part of the early church; the truth, borne out by the historical evidence, is that although some authorities in the ancient church were committed to pacifism as a Christian practice, this was by no means a universal attitude taken by every local church authority. What precluded Christian participation in the Roman military was that Christians could not agree to participate in various cultic activities required by Roman civic religion of all soldiers. It seems to me that what is happening now is that the state freed from its Constantinian marriage to Christianity is exhibiting its innate hostility to soldiers doing anything that might be perceived as putting their religion before the absolute demands of state authority. In the Roman Empire, soldiers were required to publicly recognize Caesar as Lord, something Christians could not do; in the new secularized state, Christian soldiers may be told that they are not to publicly express that Jesus Christ is Lord. Inherent in that prohibition is the state’s unspoken claim that only it has absolute power to bind or loose the soldiers conscience and behavior.

  5. The actual military HR policy in question is here, and actually exhorts individuals to practice their religion confidently. It just warns against the abuse of authority to give preferential treatment to members of one particular faith.

    I found it a well-written, surprisingly readable policy document.

    • Robert F says:

      That Jesus is Lord is not a confidential truth, and the exhortation includes a threat of court martial, which means using the full and coercive power of the state in the matter.

      • Robert F says:

        The HR policy you refer to is from the middle of 2012. The article referred to in the above post is about the re-writing of that policy, or the inclusion of new requirements, so the policy you refer to is not the one in question.

      • Marcus Johnson says:

        You should probably read the actual policy which Trevor linked to (the relevant section appears on page 19). There is a distinction (one which was affirmed later by military press releases) made between sharing one’s faith, and proselytizing or promoting one’s faith in the line of duty. The former allows for the natural, consensual discourse between interested parties in the appropriate context; the latter involves people of one faith tradition abusing their rank/authority in the military to force adherence to their personal faith, at the expense of the faith of subordinates. The same policy applies to political ideologies as well, and protects people from abusive, discriminatory action.

        True, Jesus is Lord, and that is not a confidential truth, but Christ-followers cannot be given full license to push that idea on nonbelievers by any means necessary. Policies like these are meant to guide how service members share their faith, so that those on the receiving end do not feel threatened or intimidated. I can tell you stories from my military experience of folks who have been forced to do push-ups in front of the company because they wouldn’t agree that Bush was right about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or found themselves constantly assigned to additional details (i.e., scrubbing toilets) because they refused to participate in corporate prayer. Behavior like that should be threatened with court martial, and the full and coercive power of the state.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          I can tell you stories from my military experience of folks who have been forced to do push-ups in front of the company because they wouldn’t agree that Bush was right about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq…

          WMDs in Iraq became an Article of Faith? Where are Iraqi WMDs mentioned in the Bible? Ezekiel?

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            I’m not sure, but judging from the fury with which this particular NCO lashed out at this particular subordinate, you would think that the WMDs in Iraq idea was Biblical doctrine.

          • You guys are giving me flashbacks to the ’91 Gulf War. It wasn’t WMDs, but we were told that Saddam was gassing the Kurds (his own PEOPLE!). Well, they weren’t exactly his people, and we had known about that for years; but when it became opportune to use that as propaganda we did so. And it was probably true, unlike WMDs.

            But the weird twist on that war was that ANY comment that “gee, maybe we shouldn’t be dumping bridges into the Euphrates, or bombing power plants, and killing innocent people as collateral damage” would raise up a gang of two or more of the faithful (sometimes total strangers whom you weren’t even talking to) who would straighten you out pronto and try to make a proper American out of you. Or me, in that case.

            Dark days for America, and it didn’t do so hot for the rest of the world either.

  6. Robert F says:

    Okay, I mistook confidently for confidentially. Sorry The existing policy does not seem unreasonable. But the article the post refers to includes the prospect of new regulations being written and enforced that would prohibit any soldier from sharing their faith with other soldiers during time of active duty. That would be a very ominous development, if true.

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      I see a concession here, so I can back off a little bit, because you do see the reason behind the policy. However, the article in question was authored by Breitbart.com, a online publication created by ultra-conservative Andrew Breitbart (now deceased). Breitbart.com is basically a conservative political rag, and should not be considered as either credible or valid. Case in point: The issue which the Breitbart.com article referred to had already been addressed in the previous week by military press releases, which clarified the distinction between a) sharing and practicing one’s faith, and b) proselytizing one’s faith among unwilling and non-consenting parties. If these were real journalists, they might have figured that out and inserted a little less vitriol into this article. Alas, asking these folks to fact-check is like asking an ostrich to fly.

      • Robert F says:

        I’m totally unaware of this online publication, and would never cross its path aside from the link provided by iMonk. I find myself embroiled in controversy created by irresponsible on-line journalism. I’ll do my best to avoid that in the future. Embarrassing. Thanks for the correction, Marcus.

        Although I still stick by my suspicion of state power on other grounds.

      • Josh in FW says:

        Thanks for the “rest of the story” guys. I really dislike the left bias of most media sources, but it bothers me more when right leaning sources such as Breitbart distort the details to make something sound worse than it is. Does anyone have a recommendation of where to get somewhat balanced and accurate reporting?

        • I have generally found that NPR is fairly well balanced. Unlike Fox and MSNBC, they don’t have commentators who yell and scream. Generally, they get criticism from both sides , which means that they are somewhere in the middle. Also, they stay away from pseudo celebrities (Lohan, Kardashians). They would be my suggestion.

          No news source is totally neutral. I tend to look for ones that at least make an attempt..

          • Martin says:

            I wish someone would have been paying more attention to religious beliefs at Ft Hood. Of course, we all know Islamic beliefs had nothing to do with him killing all those innocent people. But political correctness is only going to get more folks killed by those they should be able to trust with their lives.

  7. cermak_rd says:

    Mikey Weinstein is not an anti-Christian. Though I’m surprised he isn’t given the harassment he suffered from them during his time in the military.

    Chaplains, particularly, are not supposed to proselytize or even try to convert those of other specific faiths, such as Buddhists or Jews, they’re supposed to facilitate it so these military members can practice their faith. But until recently, atheists and agnostics weren’t considered another faith, so many chaplains did not assist them in living out their religious/philosophical tenets. Now, many of the military members (cumbersome, but so is sailors/soldiers/airmen/marines/whatever one calls Coast Guard members) are Nones, but they also do not want to be proselytized when seeking some kind of religious comfort from the chaplains.

    This is one reason there’s a push on to get Humanist chaplains, if they can create chaplains who will just facilitate whatever religion/lack of religion the individual professes without any proselytization, that would probably be ideal. One of the best kept secrets tends to be the Rabbis, since Judaism isn’t a proselytizing faith, they tend to do an ideal job of assisting without the negative side of trying to convert folk.

    As for individual soldiers trying to convert others, you’ve got the problem of people abusing rank, that should be court martial-able in general. As for peers, when the proselytizee tells the proselytizer to stop, that’s generally where it should end regardless of whether that’s in the military or civilian life.

  8. The lady in Kentucky is not a Roman Catholic priest or an ordained Roman Catholic anything. She’s a minister of her own “Christ Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community” and is linked with the Roman Catholic WomanPriests movement. Now, if they want to call themselves Inclusive Catholics, Old Catholics, American Catholics or the Grand Panjandrum with the Button on Top, they can do so.

    But they’re not Roman Catholics outside of the virtue of their baptism within the Roman Catholic church, they have incurred automatic excommunication by attempting to simulate a sacrament, and I really wish the likes of the United Church of Christ or other denominations would not seem to give colour to their claims by hosting these rites in their churches. I could grab a group of people, hire a church hall, and ‘ordain’ (or whatever the equivalent is) myself as a Rabbi, but I very much doubt any Jewish organisation would recognise me as such and I’m very sure no newspaper would report me as genuinely being a rabbi.

    Anyway, Jeff, to answer your questions about the Magdalene Laundries, the best thing I can do is direct you all to the report issued by the Irish Government. Very quick summary: the Laundries were set up in the late 19th/early 20th century as commercial laundries to raise the funds to run the hostels and asylums which took in girls and women who were in care, remanded there by the courts, or voluntarily committed themselves. As the name implies, their origins lay in foundations for “fallen women”, ex-prostitutes and the like, to quote from the report:

    “Institutions known as Magdalen Laundries were not confined to Ireland, nor were they exclusively Catholic-established or operated. Their furthest history in Europe may date back to medieval times, but the first of what could be termed a ‘Magdalen Home’ was established in England in 1758. The first in Ireland was a Protestant asylum established in 1765.

    The focus and purpose of these early institutions was closely tied to women in prostitution or women regarded as in danger of falling into prostitution, including unmarried mothers. This purpose, however, appears to have changed over time and based on the records it identified, the Committee found that the Magdalen Laundries in Ireland, after 1922, was not associated in the same strong way with prostitution or unmarried mothers.

    Analysis by historians of the records of Magdalen Laundries until 1900 has also suggested that, until that point, it was common for women to enter or exit those institutions at their own request. Part II of this Report addresses the entries and exits of women to the Magdalen Laundries after 1922.”

    The State involvement comes in where these religiously-run homes were the substitutes or inheritors of what should have been state care homes (girls who left the state system when they became too old to continue under that wardship were often channelled into these places for a short period to learn domestic skills to enable them to get employment afterwards) and these laundries were given contracts by the State, for example for Army laundry services, in order to fund them: the thing about “forced unpaid labour” mentioned in the article is that this was how the homes were funded; they did not get state money and being run by religious orders, as each order is independent of the secular diocesan or parish church, they were responsible for their own support and upkeep – the women worked there because this was how the laundries raised money, it was considered to be training in employment skills, and yes, there was the notion of doing penance and instilling discipline and hard work as virtues. It wasn’t the case that this was intended to be punitive or that the orders were making money off ‘slave labour’ that wasn’t needed.

    The film mentioned in the article was very highly coloured and selective and incidents were invented to make the story more dramatic, but the problem is that being based on true stories, every incident is taken – even by film critics and journalists – as being true (that is, really happened and wasn’t done for dramatic reconstruction purposes), so the notion is afloat that women were locked up for years (no) for having babies out of wedlock (no) and were sexually abused (no) and physically abused (rarely; the complaints are mostly about emotional and psychological neglect, not about being beaten, etc.) and made do slave labour to enrich greedy nuns (see above about how finances were raised).

    When Ireland got modernised and homes got their own washing machines and dryers and it wasn’t economically feasible to keep the laundries going as laundries, they fell into disuse and were closed down; the women still living in them were elderly by that time and institutionalised, so they more or less functioned at their end as care homes. The story is bad enough without needing to be jazzed up by a film maker with a definite agenda, but emotion are high about everything to do with the Church in Ireland.

    • Damaris, thanks for the great job regarding the “Womyn~Priest”. She is no more a priest from this mocking and sacrilegious theatre of the absurd than I am Miss American if I rent a hall and a crown and tell my husband we are divorced because I SAID so!

      At the risk of airing dirty laundry, it is no secret that the Catholic Church has issues with so-called Catholics who simply do not believe in or follow the tenants of the Faith. No adult in North America has a loaded weapon being held on them to FORCE them into being Catholic…..people are free to choose any religion or none at all. BUT….if you choose to BE Roman Catholic, then you must follow the Church’s teachings and agree with Her beliefs.

      This is a prix~fix dinner, not a buffet!

      • Damaris says:

        Pattie, I’d love to take credit for Martha’s scholarship and expressiveness, but the above was her comment, not mine.

        • @Martha and Damaris….thank you BOTH for explaining the Church and its stands. I apologize for morphing you together in my addled brain. Between the end of this crazy first academic year in my new position AND the last two months of my thesis, I have no brain cells left for much of anything else!!!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Regarding “Womanpriest” or “Womyn~Priest”:

        English already has a feminine form of the word “Priest” — PRIESTESS!

      • cermak_rd says:

        Here’s the thing Pattie, until the Church chooses to ex-communicate people who graze at the buffet, it will remain a buffet-style church. But the Church isn’t likely to start doing that because it would cause more people to leave.

        I was married by an ORC (Old Roman Catholic) Bishop. The sacraments (at the time don’t know if they still are) are valid, and at the time that mattered to me. Of course, it no longer does, and our renewed vows (2017 will be 20!) will not be said with clergy present (I don’t think they’re necessary for renewals anyway).

    • Pertinent music: “Magdalene Laundry” by Joni Mitchell and The Chieftains. Dark song.

    • JoanieD says:

      Martha, I agree that the woman who was “ordained” is not a Roman Catholic priest. There is a process for becoming one of those and she is not within that process. I think it’s possible that someday the Roman Catholic Church will allow for female priests, but that day is not today.

      • I firmly believe we see married male priests, but NOT females…….IMHO and centuries of Church tradition.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Anyone want to speculate on allowing for (or reviving the office of) Permanent Deaconesses?

    • cermak_rd says:

      I think the thing about the Magdalene laundries in Ireland that freaked me out is that the women weren’t necessarily free to leave without permission from their own families. This was not how it was in the same facilities in the US and UK. In those cases, the women checked themselves in and checked themselves out. Certainly no one was required to stay in them.

      Martha, do you think people in Ireland will come at least not to hate the Catholic church with as much vigour as many do right now? I have family there, and they are quite bitter toward the Church, in a way that I have not even seen in Boston or Chicago, which had abuse cases. It’s now been a decade and a half since the stories broke and the bitterness seems to have faded and been replaced by a casual indifference. Do you think Ireland will get to that point? Or will it return to the love it once had for its Church?

      • @ cermak_rd: Yes; it’s like endless indentured servitude, which is – imo – what really upsets people (myself included).

        The whole “fallen woman” aspect of it is sickening to me as well – did these girls have any choice re.whether they wanted to be sent there or not? Somehow, from all I’ve read, it seems not – it’s more like involuntary commital to an “asylum.” (Think Victorian-Edwardian era “insane asylums” here.)

        Which kind of makes it slave labor, or so close to true chattel slavery that it’s truly frightening. If I’d been put through that – or if anyone I loved had been put through that – I’d be very, very angry on their behalf as well as on behalf of all the rest of the girls and women who were forced to live that way.

    • H. Lee says:

      Martha,

      A report from the BBC, introduced here, suggests that your relatively rosy picture of the “Laundries” is not accurate. You said, “so the notion is afloat that women were locked up for years (no) for having babies out of wedlock (no) and were sexually abused (no) and physically abused (rarely; the complaints are mostly about emotional and psychological neglect, not about being beaten, etc.) and made do slave labour to enrich greedy nuns…”

      Survivors of these places said otherwise.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqBPNc9UHPc

      I tend to believe the BBC. I also don’t think it’s your “fault” in any way for supporting the Catholic Church. It’s what a devout Catholic like you would want to do. But I think it is *very much* the fault of the Catholic Church hierarchy, that they hide behind their wealth and their armies of lawyers, and leave all defense of the ugly and indefensible about the Church to good, honorable people like you. IMO, your Church is unworthy of you and those like you.

      Heather

      • Heather –

        I very much agree (on all of your points, though I am not Catholic).

        The scenario is like something out of Dickens’ depiction of workhouses which is what the “laundries” really were.

        It saddens me that people who likely know better are trying so hard to minimize the suffering and discount the testimony of so many.

        • See this story, from the new York Times – Seeking Redress for a Mother’s Life in aWorkhouse, re. what actually happened…

          A quick peek at the opening ‘graphs –

          Samantha Long and her twin sister, Etta Thornton-Verma, were born in 1972 and adopted at 9 months. They never knew their birth mother and decided to try to track her down in the mid-1990s. “Nothing prepared us for what we found,” Ms. Thornton-Verma, who lives in New York, recalled in a telephone interview last week.

          “We were prepared for the ordinary possibilities, like a teenage girl who got pregnant and wasn’t in a circumstance to keep us,” she said. “But we were not thinking that she might be incarcerated by nuns.”

          In 1995 they found their mother, Margaret Bullen, here in the Sean MacDermott Street Laundry — one of Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries, or workhouses for girls — where she had toiled since 1967, six days a week, without pay. They were shocked by her appearance. “She was very disheveled and looked more than 20 years older than she was,” Ms. Long said. “She was 42, but we were looking at a pensioner’s face. It was hard work, poor nutrition and forced labor.”…

  9. Richard Hershberger says:

    Regarding the various reactions to Jason Collins, I’m not sure what double standard is being suggested here. Someone says something that many people agree with, and they applaud it. Someone else says something that many people disagree with, and they criticize it. This is what free and open discourse looks like. Sarah Palin’s constitutional opinions notwithstanding, freedom of speech is not freedom from criticism for one’s speech.

    And why is Jason Collins’s faith not part of the story? My guess is that it is partly because it is incidental to the story line of “gay professional athlete comes out of the closet” and partly because many people think that gayness and Christianity are incompatible, making the “gay Christian” part of the story hard for them to wrap their brains around.

    The Tebow story is entirely different. In his case, his faith is pretty much the entirety of the story. Without it, he would be some guy not good enough to be a starting NFL quarterback, but who could probably find a job as a backup, and possibly make a good career holding a clipboard for ten years before retiring while still able to walk, unlike so many former NFL players. Instead, he has been made (with his active cooperation) into the Evangelical poster child. The irony is that all his supporters have probably made him unemployable in the NFL. Backup quarterback is not a position so in demand that a team will tolerate a media circus. But I don’t feel too bad for him. I’m pretty sure he has a bright future in the speaking circuit.

    Oh, and the difference between someone being “Christian” and being “a Christian” is the first is an adjective, while the second is a noun phrase. I expect that the adjective form came first. English is pretty free about converting adjectives into nouns, often without changing the form of the word.

    • cermak_rd says:

      Interesting that it’s the same form though. I can describe myself as a Jew or I can describe myself as being Jewish, 2 different word forms. But you’re right, Christian doesn’t have that. And now that I think of it, I don’t believe Buddhism does either, or Mormonism (I know they’re also Christian bu they usually identify in the more specific manner) for that matter.

      • it seems – to me, anyway – that “a” is mainly used by evangelicals/charismatics, as a kind of badge of distinction.

        I’ve reverted to saying “I’m Christian” because it seems less in-your-face, culture war-ish. (And since I’m not evangelical anymore, well…)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The Tebow story is entirely different. In his case, his faith is pretty much the entirety of the story. Without it, he would be some guy not good enough to be a starting NFL quarterback, but who could probably find a job as a backup, and possibly make a good career holding a clipboard for ten years before retiring while still able to walk, unlike so many former NFL players. Instead, he has been made (with his active cooperation) into the Evangelical poster child.

      Tebow seems to be a pretty decent man; now that he’s the Evangelical poster child, he’s not only in danger of fanboy frenzy jeopardizing his career, but Christian Celebrity burnout. Why is it Evangelicals HAVE to have “One Of Us!” to point to in every high-profile Celebrity position? Is it some sort of inferiority complex that always has to Prove They’re Right?

      And including Pro Football? Which in many ways is a more genteel and much less lethal version of gladiators and chariot races? Our “Games” in the Roman sense? (Over at Wartburg Watch, you hear in the comments about several of the abusive Big Name Christians they monitor being into Fantasy Football Leagues. Is this High School where you’re either a Football Jock or a Wanna-be?)

      Yes, even in a worst-case scenario Tebow has a second career on the Christian speaking circuit, but is becoming to Pro Football what Kirk Cameron is to theater really something to brag about? Like I said, he’ll be in danger of Christian Celebrity Burnout.

      Oh, and the difference between someone being “Christian” and being “a Christian” is the first is an adjective, while the second is a noun phrase. I expect that the adjective form came first. English is pretty free about converting adjectives into nouns, often without changing the form of the word.

      English is also pretty free about converting nouns into verbs without changing the form of the word.

      • English is also pretty free about converting nouns into verbs without changing the form of the word.

        As in “to Tebow”?

      • Tebow may be a decent guy, but his sense of showmanship really seems like something out of P.T. Barnum’s fold.

        (And akin to that guy who always used to show up at pro games with a sign that read “John 3:16.”)

  10. I’m going to go with “a” Christian. Like “Gospel,” Christian makes a horrible adjective. Great way to reduce an important identifier to a junk drawer word.

    • Al of Indy says:

      “Christian” is an adjective, as Miguel correctly points out. And “a Christian” is a noun.

      Now when I think about the faith once received from the saints and apply it to my personal condition, I discover that I am not all that solid and noun-like at my Christianity: instead I’m often wavering and doubting and wondering… And neither do I deserve to be identified with “Christian” as an adjective, as if I were some sort of exemplar of what Christ-centeredness ought to look like. Some of the stuff I do and think doesn’t quite fill that bill.

      I wonder… Is there any way to “Christian” and make it a verb…??

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I’m leaning towards “Christianese” as the adjective form myself.

      Just like (h/t Wartburg Watch) “Gospelly” as the adjective/adverb form.

      And when you step back an look at it, it all sounds so dumb.

  11. Jeff, it was Pete Seeger’s birthday yesterday. 94 years young and getting younger.