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Kevin Leman

“And above all things, never think that you’re not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning.”

Isaac Asimov

I haven’t read Kevin Leman’s book, but it sounds like it’s something I would like to check out.  And maybe you too.

Now when it comes to sports, strictly speaking, sometimes your best just isn’t good enough.  Sometimes your forth and one play comes up a tad short; sometimes your field goal attempt sails wide right; sometimes your shot rims out; and sometimes you get beat out after you gave it all you’ve got.  Sometimes you go in with everything only to come out with nothing.  And sometimes we go, to mix in a movie metaphor, a bridge too far.

Grumpy grouches and miserable menaces will always criticize and be critical; this type will always judge and be judgmental, be cruel and crass, brunt and brash, and you will never live up to their standard.  There are those that will always disapprove and disparage, complain and condemn, nit-pick and pick holes in your game and your life. These are the ones that will never be satisfied, and these are the ones you should never even try to satisfy. 

Good Enough

On the other hand, you are good enough for God!  That’s why God wants you to know that He is good enough for you. 

I grew up playing sports and was taught that your best is good enough.  This saying is true to a fault.  In sports it applies until you don’t win the big one. Don Shula, the legendary coach of the Miami Dolphins said this:

What I learned from that loss, and also another loss that I’m going to talk about later, was that when you’re there, it’s not good enough to be there, when you’re there, you better walk away with that ring.

And he’s right. We don’t play just to play. As the former Philadelphia Eagle great Hernan Edwards once said, “You play to win the game! Hello?!”

Spiritually speaking, our best is measured against our worst. And more often than not, we are at our worst. The prophet said all of our righteousness is as filthy rags. So, since we will never measure up to God’s standard of holiness and righteousness, we must trust Him to do what we can’t. Our best will never be good enough for Heaven. That’s why God sent His Son and that’s why His Son gave His life.  God’s best is good enough, and we should accept and accede to what Heaven has to offer instead of trying to be good and clean and pure and perfect all on our own.

That being said, it doesn’t mean that we don’t TRY our best, or GIVE our best, or even DO our best. To not try, and give and do our best is heresy. It’s a cop out; it’s a duck and a dodge, and a shun and a shirk from being and doing the right thing.  It’s taking advantage of God’s grace, and to take advantage of God’s grace is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “Cheap Grace.” 


So do your best, and let God do the rest. That’s what the Gospel is all about.


Any fight fans out there?  I’m not, but as the saying goes, “don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Playa Hater is live in Las Vegas for the Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez fight on Saturday night, October 13, 2014 at the MGM Grand. The rapper Ice T wrote these lyrics: “I don’t know why a player wanna hate T.  I didn’t choose the game, the game chose me.”

Don’t hate the player, hate the game is another way of saying “don’t blame me; this is how the system works.” In other words, “society made me do it,” or “the system is flawed and I’ve figured out how to work it,”or “everyone else is cheating too.”

This, of course is a cop out.  To say, don’t dislike someone for their actions, consider instead the situation that causes it, is only half of the story. It’s a twist of Gandhi’s Quote: “Hate the sin and love the sinner.”  

In order to “hate the game,” individual culpability is thrown out the window, and we are somehow to believe it when athletes gone astray say “it’s not my fault that I’m the way that I am.”  Hogwash.

The most popular usage of “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game” (DHTPHTG) is when one employs extra-scrupulous tactics to vanquish an enemy in the fields of:



Politics, and especially Sports.

Hate is the opposite of love, and the best use of hate is for sin and shame, and for the emblems of evil that pervade our society.  Our hate should not be for the institutions of football and baseball and basketball and professional sports in general. Rather, our hate should be, as the Bible implies and as Gandhi implores, for the sin and not for the sinner.

It seems that we have lost our way when we don’t play clean and hard and fair; when we don’t reward the right ones and we reward everyone; and when we excuse those who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.  We need to return to good old fashioned morals and manners, principles and practices, and these need to be employed on and off of the court and the field, and in tonight’s case, the boxing ring.

ray and janay rice

In the long litany of sports disasters, this one is right up there at the top.  Ray Rice is now notorious and nefarious and the video of him brutally punching his then fiancée, now wife, in the face at an Atlantic City Casino elevator will live in infamy.  Talk about a horrible, deplorable disgrace.  The scourge of domestic violence has reared its ugly head in yet another sector of our society, and it appears that there were some that attempted to cover up and pretty up and even dummy up a very gruesome face.

From the top to the bottom, those involved in the Rice “incident” are embroiled and entangled in the middle of a monster of a mess.  The NFL, the prosecutors, and the Baltimore Ravens Organization all are equally culpable. And while no one can pass judgment or throw stones because we all live in glass houses, in this case, broken shards of glass are falling down on a lot of heads even without a single stone being thrown.

Ray Rice and his wife Janay are now the poster children for what domestic violence looks like.  The sad part is that they don’t even know it.  And as we all know, DENIAL is not a river in Egypt.  It’s a terrible thing to have a problem and not know you have it.  Just like the emperor and his new clothes, everyone knew the truth except the one the truth was about.

Our prayer is that Ray and Janay get help.  This is not a condemnation or denunciation of this young couple.  It’s a cold, hard fact that many athletes, both men and women, have “issues” that need to be addressed but are instead swept under the rug in light of their talent. And addressing our issues is not an option; it’s a requirement.  Ray clearly has an issue with reckless and uncontrolled anger.  As for Janay, she is one of 47 million women in America who are victims of “domestic” violence.

Ray and Janay Rice are just like and no different than Esau and Elijah and Moses and Miriam.  These Bible notables had run-ins with rage and fall outs with fury.  Anger is a necessary emotion, but when left unchecked and unbridled, it can lead to this tragedy that is now on trial in the court of public opinion.

So let’s not pass judgment or make fun or even forget about Ray and Janay Rice. Their problems and their plight and their trials and their tribulations are not far from the rest of us.  Because we’re not perfect, everyone struggles with something.  And we all need help with our struggles if we are to conquer the demons that lurk within.  The sad truth is that their faults and their flaws and their failures have been laid bare in a way none of us hope ours will ever be.

We conclude with this note: can good come of this?  While it does not look like it now, we can only hope that some good will come out of this evil event.  And that’s something only God can do.



I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.   Ecclesiastes 9:11

OK, Ok, Ok! I get it! It’s only Week One; it’s only the first game, and it’s only 1/16 of the pie, for crying out loud, so it’s not time to panic. So for all you Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots fans, don’t get flustered or freak out; don’t get unnerved and unsettled, and certainly don’t get overly disturbed or perturbed. It’s only one game. Whatever’s broken can be fixed; whatever’s busted can’t be trusted, and whatever’s wrong with your team can be made right; right?

So my Eagles were down 17-0 in the first half and it looked as if the season was over before it even really began; yet lo and behold, my Birds scored 34-unanswered points and we won going away: 34-17. Whew! What a comeback. We dodged a bullet there. But the caution is that we didn’t win the Super Bowl; we just won a regular season game and it’s only one win.

On the other hand, the Cowboys got the snot beat out of ‘em; the Redskins looked as bad as we thought they would; the New Orleans Saints lost a thriller to Atlanta in OT; and the mighty New England Patriots lost, or got beat, by the Miami Dolphins! Really?

So the moral of the story is found in the fable of the tortoise and the hare. Remember that one? The rabid rabbit or hare didn’t even want to run the race, because he laughed at the proposition that the slow tortoise could beat him. But beat him he did. So we learn from Aesop that the race is not given to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. And the same is true in life.

So pace yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And championships aren’t won in a game. So while I’m glad my Eagles didn’t lose, one loss, and especially an opening day loss, does not a season make. And as we all know, while a good start is a good thing, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

Pace yourself means to slow down, and to take things in steps. So instead of rushing into things, you “pace yourself,” slowing down, and taking things into consideration, acting wisely. Sage advice for us all. Both the verse from Ecclesiasties 9:11 and Aesop’s famed fable of the tortoise and the hare have important implications for our lives, but each has a very different meaning.  Check this out:

Over time, the saying “The Race is not given to the swift, but to those who endure to the end” has been erroneously attributed to the Bible. In reality, the first part of the quote is in the Bible, but the saying in its entirety comes from the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. “The race is not to the swift does appear in Ecclesiastes 9, but the scripture and the saying have very different meanings, although they both provide value to our lives and our marriages

Aesop’s Tortoise and the Hare

“The Race is NOT given to the Swift, but to those who Endure to the End”

The Tortoise and the Hare version expresses what most people are expressing when they quote this saying: It isn’t about starting off at a fast pace, but sticking with your goal until the end that matters. Think about this in how it relates to marriage. Sometimes we feel like the “chemistry” –being hot and heavy and all over each other– is what’s most important. While chemistry and romance are always great, the real test of a marriage is being able to hold on and stick together through it all; holding on with the same tenacity through the hot and heavy as we do through the mundane.

 The Bible

The Ecclesiastes version, however, expresses something quite different. To me, it is saying that neither speed, nor strength, nor wisdom or any other attribute exempt you from time or chance. Life, with all of its ups and downs, happens to all of us. In relation to our marriage this means that no matter how strong your marriage, or passionate, or how often you make wise decisions, your marriage will enjoy happy times and face trials and tribulations. That no matter what, we aren’t promised to be spared trouble. Yet if you want to be able to stay together through all of it, just take a lesson from our friend the tortoise.

So pace yourself. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. When you want to overreact, make a big deal, make a huge fuss and get all wound up over an opening day game or a “one day in your life” event, just remember: it’s only one game, and it’s only one fraction of the whole. If you believe, things will get better.  In this early season, we have 15 more games and three and ½ more months of NFL football to go.

And in life we must learn to do the same. When things look bad or don’t work out or fall all apart, remember that it’s only one day in your life. There’s more to come. And as believers we bet the farm and mortgage our futures on the promises of God. We believe that our best is yet to come, and that God’s tomorrow is better than today. So remember – pace yourself.

Let your moderation be known unto all men.
Philippians 4:5, KJV

Ok – raise your hand if you’re going to watch every Thursday Night Game this season.  Remember when Monday Night Football was a REALLY Big thing? I mean, if your team was playing on Monday night, you thought you had almost won the Super Bowl. Only the really good teams played on Monday Night.  Then came along Sunday Night Football, and then Thursday Night football games, but ONLY towards the end of the season.

Now, it’s almost like we have football on demand. Maybe some may like a preponderance “red meat sports,” but I recall learning that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.  Now, the Monday Night game is still big, but when you’ve got big games on Sunday at 4:05 and Sunday Night games and NOW Thursday Night games  . . . I mean, when is enough football enough?  Throw in college football games on what seems like every night of the week and you’ve got a football junkies nirvana and your wife or girlfriend’s nightmare.

I can’t get excited or incited about Thursday night Football.  Yes tonight is the first game of the season and the defending champion Seattle Seahawks are playing the Green Bay Packers so it should be a good game, but there’s a certain falseness and fakeness about the NFL playing games on a Thursday. I just can’t get all keyed up or all “Kirked Out” over the over-availability of football. Am I making my point?

Even the press is jumping in on the sanity of it all.  The question being asked is “How much football is too much for TV?”  CBS’s Thursday Night Football is being called “An Ambitious Alliance With A Lot At Stake.”  For the TV industry, it’s a no-brainer. The most-watched show on television last season was NBC’s Sunday Night Football, drawing an average 21 million viewers each night.  But will another night of America’s favorite sport drown the football drunks?  We’ll see.

Spiritually speaking, you don’t go to your place of worship every night of the week for meetings and Bible Study and meetings and choir rehearsal and meetings and revivals and meetings and God knows what else just because the doors of the church are open.  At least you shouldn’t. Take it from me: going to church all of the time, night after night during the week (in addition to Sunday worship, mind you) just for the sake of going is not healthy or even Biblical.  There is such a thing as overdoing it.

In this life, God desires us to be moderate and temperate; balanced and unbiased; even keeled, steady and stable.  Without a balanced diet, we would be unhealthy; without a balanced education, we would be unlearned; and without a balanced sports life, we will become like prescription drug junkies – hooked on something that was meant to be good for us, but has now just become something keep us awake or put us to sleep.

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Acts 2:1, KJV

Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal has a doctorate in education.  Go figure.  But he is best known as a huge former basketball all-star, and is mostly known for his size and stamina, standing 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) tall and weighing 325 pounds (147 kg).  Better known by his nickname “Shaq,” he was one of the heaviest and heftiest players ever to play in the NBA.

Throughout his 19-year career, O’Neal used his size and strength to overpower opponents for points and rebounds.  He won four NBA Championships; three consecutive with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and one with Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in 2006. But for all of his hulk and bulk, Shaq could not win on his own. He knew the power of the team.

Shaq played on great teams, but great teams don’t just happen.  And scrumptious meals don’t cook themselves.  Just like custom cakes, winsome wins and triumphant triumphs are cooked and baked and good food is simmered and sautéed with only the best and finest of ingredients.

As big as he is, Shaq must know a little bit about good home cookin’, right? But how many know that good cooking doesn’t just happen?  And neither does winning.  All the right amounts and just the right components are required for success.

Shaq eloquently speaks about the ingredient of “team.”  Much has been made of his falling out with Kobe, and rightly so.  The team could not hold together when Shaq and Kobe were falling apart. And so Shaq went looking for another team, and he found another great team and another great teammate in Miami, where the blending of elements once again produced a championship team.

The ingredient of team is often overlooked and mostly undervalued.  Yes team is the sum of all the parts, but it is also the particular part that makes up the total sum.  You often hear commentators and coaches speak of teams as family or fraternity, and as a fierce fellowship of friends.  On the other hand, teams are not a fractured, frenzied fraction of foreigners who just so happen to be on the court or the field at the same time.  Unless a team is a bond of brothers, winning probably won’t happen, and winning really doesn’t matter.

Rarely is the component of a tried and true, great and genuine team stressed or even pressed.  It’s as if “teamwork” can just come along for the ride. Au contraire: teamwork must be driving the bus.  It seems that since teamwork is so vitally important, the necessity of a team working together must be mandated and made mandatory at the beginning of every season.

My loving wife is a great cook, along the lines of my mom and mother-in-law.  I, on the other hand, can barely boil water or toast bread. Well, maybe I’m not that bad, but you know what I mean. Likewise, some athletes don’t have a clue or give a hoot when it comes to playing on a championship team, and participating in a championship season. I, on the other hand, might not be a great cook, but I know what a good team looks like and I sure as heck know what a bad team looks like. And I think I know what it takes to build a team, and a winning team at that.

The spiritual tie is easy to make but hard to maintain. Together we stand; divided we fall. This truth applies across the board. Winning teams take chemistry and alchemy, symmetry and synergy and a whole lot of “the right place at the right time” kind of stuff.  So be a great teammate Be a team player. Put the team first, put others second, and put yourself last. And you will most certainly reap a ripe reward.


The Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral.  It’s all over Facebook and YouTube and everybody’s doin’ it.  And for good reason.  The Ice Bucket challenge, started by who knows who, is when you challenge or are challenged by someone to dump a bucket of ice water over your head.  For all sports aficionados, the competitive corollary is clear.  At the end of a big game, just before the clock strikes triple-zero and a team has notched a big win, players will take the Gatorade cooler and dump it over the coach’s head to celebrate the victory.

One of the cutest videos of someone taking the challenge is Duke’s Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski), also the USA Basketball coach, being doused by his grandchildren. 

In a pre-emptive strike, the foundation that is researching the cause of a dreaded disease is raising money by challenging sports lovers everywhere to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads as a sign that this enemy will one day be conquered and cured.  The ALS Association’s goal is to strike out ALS, which is Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  This disease, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

The challenge is needful and necessary because of what this dastardly disorder does to the human function and frame.  The word “A-myo-trophic” comes from the Greek language. “A” means no or negative. “Myo” refers to muscle, and “Trophic” means nourishment–”No muscle nourishment.” When a muscle has no nourishment, it “atrophies” or wastes away. “Lateral” identifies the areas in a person’s spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has raised over $100 million and seems to be picking up steam with no let up or let down  in sight. I say that’s great.  It’s a worthy cause, and it’s wonderful that so many are concerned enough to join in the campaign.   So take the challenge, not just to eradicate ALS, but to eliminate all forms sickness and to extricate all those who are bound by illness and disease.

Spiritually speaking, the worst disease we face is the sickness of the soul. And the sickness is sin, and the disease is disobedience.  The heart and the head of man is not at ease; we are not at peace with God. Consequently, we suffer from a malady of the mind, and the health of our hearts is at stake.  So we should be challenging each other to fight the progressive degeneration of love and laughter, of kindness and compassion, and of mercy and majesty, and general common decency and decorum.

So take the challenge; challenge others and yourself to be meek and mild, pure in heart and poor in spirit, rich in mercy and plenteous in leniency, quick to forgive and slow to anger and always bearing the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith meekness and temperance to everyone every day.

Wreck It Ralph

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.  Matthew 6:34, New Living Translation.

There’s a big difference and a fine line between arrogance and confidence, between insolence and deference, and between brazen boldness and courageous chivalry.  True champions may be audacious, but they are also intrepid.  By faith they know that they are going to win, but they also fear that they are just as likely to lose.  Such is the spin and the spiral of sports. And such may be the case of the 2014 Washington Nationals Baseball team.

The Washington Nationals are 75 and 55, are first place in the National League East, have the 2nd best record in all of baseball, just came off of a 10 game win streak, and yet probably have the longest odds to win the World Series. So lest we get too overjoyed, let’s not get too overworked. Yes we’re excited, but if these same Nationals don’t win like we’d like them to, we won’t get too overwrought.  Yes they are playing their best baseball, are peaking at the right time, and don’t seem to be showing any signs of failing or faltering, but, guess what? You guessed it: there’s a big “BUT” coming.  And the “but” is that we’ve learned not to count our chickens before they hatch.

A Greek fabulist (someone who writes fables) named Aesop, said to have lived from 620 to 560 BCE, is credited with using this expression. He has several written fables attributed to his name; today, these are collectively known as Aesop’s Fables. One of them is titled The Milkmaid and Her Pail, and there’s a line from the tale that reads:

 “Ah, my child,” said the mother, “Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.”

The life “boat” of a Christian sails through irony and incongruity, through paradox and parallels, and through tension and friction.  This stress and strain is the incongruity of confidence and calm; it’s the clash between coolness and conviction.  And somewhere in between these sentiments and sensations lies the path of a mature, maximized man and woman who believes and trusts in God.

The spiritual tie-in is that God gives us strength for today and He is also our bright hope for tomorrow.  In sports-speak, this means that we are to play to win because it’s better than playing not to lose, and that’s the life all athletes live.  We are to live with poise and with power, with dignity and with gravity, knowing full well that our God has promised us victory and valor, vindication and validation.

Victory always comes and only comes after every villain is vanquished, and every foe is defeated. Victory comes, and we can count on it, yet ours is to wait patiently for it.

So let’s route for the Nationals and the Nats fans.  There’s a lot of baseball left to play, so hopefully the Nat’s take it one game at a time, and don’t count their chickens before they hatch.  They have a shot at going deep into the playoffs, and bringing a championship to this trophy starved town.

Bob McDonnell, Maureen McDonnell

 Bob McDonnell, Maureen McDonnell

I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27, KJV

Politics is a blood sport.  That politics is a “blood sport” is nothing new and is no new news.  But the news of a former right wing, conservative, “family values” politician throwing his own wife of 38 years under the bus to save his own neck is.  His legal defense in his corruption trial is that his wife is to blame for receiving the gifts and garb and the goodies given to them. The sad part is that in this “sport” we seem to have reached a new record low and set a new all-time high for sinister and satanic ways to win.

Sports is a give-it-all-you’ve got, last man standing, winner take all endeavor that we love and enjoy.  But when it becomes gory and gruesome, brutal and bloody, we shake our heads, turn our heads, and scratch our heads in wonder of how far and how low one will go just to get a “W.” Such is the case in the 2014 corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell.

Politics to some is “sport.” It’s the hunt they enjoy.  It’s the kill that is the thrill. The modern idiom we use to describe this blood sport is to “play politics.”  To play politics means “to engage in political intrigue, take advantage of a political situation or issue, resort to partisan politics, and to exploit a political system or political relationships.”  To play politics means “to deal with people in an opportunistic, manipulative, or devious way, as for job advancement.”  After Watergate and Iran Contra-Gate and all of the other political scandals we’ve seen over the years, this sounds all too familiar.  Surely, Machiavelli was right: “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Playing politics is not like playing patty-cake or shooting marbles.  When you are dealing with people’s lives, and the life of those closest to you, namely the life of your wife whom you know and presumably love, that’s something else altogether.

Lest we become overly disparaging, we must remember that what has happened to Governor McDonnell could happen to any one of us.  Just ask the apple of God’s eye.

David was, among many things, a politician.  He got in over his head, went too far with Bathsheba and stopped to short by not acknowledging his sin, and the rest is, well, history.  The political scandal that McDonnell is embroiled in is nothing new. He is simply repeating the repertoire of unrighteous rigors that we all can and seem to find ourselves in.

Sports are supposed to be clean and fun and pure and natural. But there’s nothing pure or clean or fun about the McDonnell mess. And it’s only “natural” because we are all born in sin and shaped in iniquity. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. And His name is Jesus.

So let’s learn some lessons here. What McDonnell did was not for the public good, nor for the greater good; it was all for his own good and now it’s all about saving his own neck.  Instead of coming clean and repenting, he’s blaming his wife for his transgressions, and painting her and putting her in a terrible light.

And one more lesson needs to be learned: let’s not judge; let’s forgive, but let’s not forget the high price and the soaring cost of playing dirty and living loosely and the ill effect it has on us and on the “game.”


Divergent Life


But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you —   from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

1 Peter 2:9-10, THE MESSAGE

Divergent is a Sci-Fi thriller with a boy-meets-girl twist, all rolled up in a good versus evil pita wrap.  It’s “Hunger Games” meets “The Matrix” with a pinch of “Inception” thrown in for fun (you gotta know your movies!).  IMDB describes Divergent this way: “In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late.”  You gotta watch it at least twice to get it, a.k.a. Matrix and Inception.

I like Divergent because of the spiritual undertones and overtones, the mystical messages and even the reversed religious rhetoric. The film is filled with sanctimony and sacrifice, ritual and redemption, self-righteousness and sordid sacrilege, all rolled up into one solid “right will eventually overcome wrong” saga.


Divergent’s message is for those of us who know that we don’t fit into the mainstream and yet struggle to fit in anyway.  We know that our place and our position and our purpose is not to assimilate but to advocate; to right wrongs, to fix problems, to correct mistakes, and to run the bad guys out of town.  The film is so blatantly and deliberately and unashamedly supernatural it runs the risk of being overly preaching and pretentious.  But it works for me.

Divergent’s heroine acts and sounds and looks a lot like the men and women of old who are or belong in the hallowed Hall of Faith: Abigail and Asenath; Elijah and Elisha; Hannah and Hadassah (Esther); Ruth and Rebecca; Moses and Mordecai.  None of these Biblical greats “fit in” with the crowd; on the contrary, they were ordained by God to stand out in order to stand up and fulfill Heaven’s marvelous and majestic mission for their lives. And the mission was and is always external and exterior to our individual, idiosyncratic way of thinking, for God’s plans are always much bigger and much grander and much greater than we can ask or think.

Likewise, ours is to speak up, to reach out and to look within; ours is to blow whistles, to tear down evil, to build up good, and to do what others want to do but are afraid to do. The heroine in Divergent is a standout who wants to stand-down but eventually learns that she must stand up or she and others like her will be stamped out.  We’ve heard this story line before, but reminders are always a very good thing.

So let’s learn the lessons that Divergent teaches. They’re right out of the Bible: unlimited love, vicarious victories, determined dispositions, and providential pathways.  Let’s not let evil endure. Let’s not let the pernicious prevail.  Let’s stand up and fight with all of His might. Just like the great composer George Duffield wrote, let’s “Stand up, stand up for Jesus:”

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;

Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.

From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,

Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed


Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;

The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.

Put on the Gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer;

Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.


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