Good, We Needed A New Job

I still don't understand Twitter. I mean, I understand it in the sense that it makes sense for large corporations or movie stars to extend their brand via the medium, but I don't see the point of it for "normal people" — you're basically ceding control of your own content and providing that content to someone else for free.

That said, without Twitter, we wouldn't have an updated lesson in theodicy, or the religious concept that seeks to explain why bad things happen to good, God-fearing people. In other words, what the Book of Job is about. Or you could just let Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson explain it:

Johnson had a perfect pass in his hands that would have given his team an overtime victory over the heavily favored Steelers.

Instead of walking off the field the hero, however, he dropped it.

Devastated, the 24-year-old watched in horror as the Steelers drove back down the field for the game-winning field goal.

While he seemed to hold it together on the sidelines, after the game, he later addressed the one person he found to blame on Twitter: God.

To be fair, it wasn't so much that he "blamed God" but rather he Tweeted in anguish the centuries-old theodicial paradox. Or maybe we should say he "retweeted" this centuries-old theodicial paradox. This is what he wrote (insane ALL CAPS in original):


Time was, Job 7:20 said: "If I have sinned, what do I unto Thee, O Thou watcher of men?" Now it's Stevie Johnson status:9006757670031360 — "I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!!"

The more awesome thing about Steve Johnson is that instead of deleting the Tweet — or lamely blaming it on his brother — he actually manned up and said this:

And No I Did Not Blame God People! Seriously??!? CMon! I Simply Cried Out And Asked Why? Jus Like yal did wen sumthin went wrong n ur life!

In other words, just like Job . . .

The Steve Johnson Tweet resonated for me because I'm frankly kind of sick of sports figures praising Jesus or God when things go right. Let's be clear here — far be it from me to suggest that it's silly for God or Jesus to concern himself with professional sports (though I do think that) but rather it's that I feel like it's kind of removed from the actual catch or touchdown or home run or slam dunk or a brilliant 6-4-3 put out to end the game. Take Kurt Warner for example:

The clip is from the 2008 NFC Championship game and Terry Bradshaw asks Warner how it feels to be really old and playing in the Super Bowl. And instead of answering how it feels to be really old and playing in the Super Bowl, Warner launches into an explanation that there's only one reason that he's standing there and that's the Lord Above.

Now I love Kurt Warner and I think Kurt Warner is a great inspirational football player. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. And taking the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl — and nearly winning the Super Bowl — is miraculous in itself, but do we have to hear Jesus being praised all the time?

I get that Kurt Warner is a faithful guy. I knew that already. Most Cardinals fans knew that already. Most football fans knew it already. It didn't need to be repeated over and over and over again. And far, far be it from me to argue that Jesus had little to do with Larry Fitzgerald's three touchdown receptions, but is Warner really saying that Jesus was responsible for a seven-point win over the Eagles?

What I always assumed Kurt Warner meant was that it wasn't that Jesus was talking to head coach Ken Whisenhunt and calling plays from the booth above but rather that Jesus blessed Warner with skills and talent and that Warner took that blessing all the way to the Super Bowl. In that sense it's probably not much different than what most of us believe — we all feel fortunate and lucky and blessed for all the great things in our lives. My only point is that it's kind of unrelentingly large-picture to keep referring to Jesus.

Which is to say, you don't hear a president talk about how great it was that the Founding Fathers created this country just as he is about to sign a piece of legislation — we get that in order to have our democracy we needed the Founding Fathers and that all eventually brought the president to the point where he signs a piece of legislation. You don't hear a doctor give props to Hippocrates after performing a successful transplant. You don't hear an Academy Award winner praise Thespis of Icaria before accepting an Oscar. You don't need to hear this stuff because we all understand it — what we want to hear is all the stuff that comes after. That's not to say that Terry Bradshaw's on-field interview with Warner would have been any less lame had Warner not gone all wayback machine on the history of Kurt Warner's football career because on-field interviews are invariably always lame, and besides, that was a dopey "question" — How do you feel to be so old? Really?

It's not just Kurt Warner, though he is one of the best examples of the Sports-Jesus nexus. You hear it a lot. What you don't hear is the logical end of the argument. The Sports Theodicy. Which is where Stevie Johnson comes in. If stuff goes right, it's "Praise Jesus." When stuff goes wrong, it should logically be, "This is how you do me!"

As it happens, Kurt Warner Tweeted at Steve Johnson later on:

@StevieJohnson13 — I asked same thing when released in STL & benched 3 times, But then God did his thing… Be ready! Enjoy watching you play!

Pretty cool actually . . .

While I can't emphasize enough how refreshing it was to hear a sports figure finally give God his comeuppance, I should add that it's probably not a great path to continue down. Kids won't know how to process it if megachurches start praying for defeat or injuries. I don't even want to start thinking about World Cup matches. It could get ugly. But for today at least, we should thank Stevie Johnson for Tweeting the Sports Theodicy. I fully expect at least one sermon this Sunday about it. And I kind of want more anguish — can't wait to see Giants closer Brian Wilson raise his fist at God or Roberto Luongo give the Bras d'honneur/gesto dell'ombrello to his deity. This is how you do me?! Totally.

Posted: November 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: FW: Link | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,