My husband faithfully listens to your show. I listen because he listens, and have come to respect you as someone who can think and talk intelligently about sports. But today you ventured into a discussion about something you know less about...Christianity.
I'm a professing Christian. It's what I call myself and it's how I live. I realize that my proclamation is asking you to trust me blindly, because you have no "on the daily" relationship with me. But it is how I define myself.
This is my open letter to you, Mr. Cowherd.
You mentioned a scenario today that any parent would wish to avoid, and used it as a criticism of Christian thinking. If faced with a life-altering surgery, would you choose a Christian MD with several malpractice suits, or an atheist with an excellent record?
In the scenario above, you implied that many Christians would choose the Christian MD just because he's a Christian, not caring about his record or obvious lack of skill.
I found this offensive. Why? Because given that choice, I would choose the atheist MD.
1. I believe in a God who uses all things for His glory, even the hands of someone who doesn't acknowledge Him. God doesn't only work through those who love and serve Him. He works in all circumstances for His own glory, using both those who identify with Him, and those who don't. Ultimately, I don't place my trust in man. I place my trust in God's ability to work through man.
2. I didn't leave my brain on the altar when I gave my heart and life to Jesus. God gave me the ability to think through my options and make intelligent decisions. As a Christian, I do try to filter all of my decisions through the lens of His Word, the Bible. And as a student of the Word, one who tries to live out what she reads, I'm encouraged over and over again to use and seek out wisdom (see the entire book of Proverbs). Wisdom tells me to choose the better doctor when my child's life is at stake, and have faith in my God to work through him.
But let's assume that the choice was a bit different.
What if I had to choose between two doctors whose track records were virtually the same? Both were equally experienced, both were equally qualified, one was a Christian, and the other an atheist. What would I choose then?
Answer: The Christian
But my decision, surprisingly, has less to do with the fact that the doctor is a Christian, and more to do with the fact that we share similar values and beliefs. Why?
1. Because if he was truly a Christian, he would be more likely to understand me and my family. For example, I choose to go to an OB who shares my belief that all life is sacred. He's an excellent doctor, and my husband and I have chosen him for all three of our pregnancies. But truth be told, I would rather see a woman for my OB-GYN needs, and there are plenty of other excellent doctors in my area.
Then why do I keep going to him? Because he gets me.
Last September, my husband and I suffered the miscarriage of our third child. When I looked my doctor in the eyes and begged him to give me as much time as possible to miscarry naturally, he got it. He knew my heart, and understood why it was so important to me.
When I needed him to, he understood. And another, excellent doctor who didn't share my beliefs and morals, might not. In that crucial, devastating time, I needed to be understood.
2. If my Buddhist friend had a choice between a Christian and Buddhist MD of equal excellence, I would expect and fully support their decision to get care from a Buddhist doctor. Why? Because the Buddhist doctor will understand them in a way a Christian doctor might not.
Many of us make choices every day to align ourselves with, or do business with, people who are more like us...who get us, and understand us. It's the way things work. When we're at our most fragile, as with your scenario above, it only makes sense that we would want to work with someone who truly understands who we are and where we're coming from.
In your discussion today, you also said that people spend too much energy trying to do the "moral" or "right" thing.
I have some thoughts on that too.
You see, Mr. Cowherd, "faith" is a much bigger, meatier word than we give it credit for, and being men and women of integrity, who stand for what is right regardless of what the rules of baseball or football or any other sport allow, simply makes the world a better place.
Just because it's acceptable to try to get by with something because it doesn't break the rules, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.
As Christians, we live by a creed that supercedes the rules of any game, business deal, or television show. We're called to be truth-tellers, love-showers, and grace-givers. Unfortunately, this sets us up for failure and temptation just as much as any other guy. We don't always get it right, but we shouldn't be faulted for trying.
And finally, it's important to note that just because someone says he's a Christian, doesn't make him a Christian.
You made reference to Jerry Sandusky's Christian profession today and used him as an example. And while I don't know Mr. Sandusky personally, I can say this:
The only way I can truly know if someone is a Christian or not is to be in relationship with them, because the Bible says that I'll know them by their fruit (Matthew 7:16).
In other words, the way a person lives their life, what comes out of their heart, what's important to them, and how they treat others is the only thing I have to make a judgement. Because I cannot see inside their heart.
Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying Christians are perfect...we're not. We make mistakes, sin, and generally make poor decisions every single day. Just like everyone else.
The difference is that we've been granted grace. Forgiveness from the Savior who took our sins upon Himself, and paid the penalty we deserved to pay.
We know we're a mess. We know we're hypocrites. We know we need help.
That's why we're so grateful for Jesus.
And it's why we choose to honor Him with the decisions of our life...as best we can.
Thanks for understanding, Mr. Cowherd.