Doing It the Right Way

So, am I the last guy in the United States to learn that Drew Brees is a real Christian?  I add the term “real” because stardom and celebrity seem to breed a shallow, made-for-TV faith that often ultimately disappoints.  Remember Jessica Simpson?

Although I love sports and enjoy pro football, I’ve grown weary of the hype surrounding the Super Bowl.  My goodness, the build-up on Sunday alone is literally longer than the game.  But this year, I sat down about an hour or so before the kick-off, turned on the tube and was treated to the feature on Drew Brees.

In the interest of full disclosure, I still hold it against Brees for picking apart my K-State Wildcats in the 1998 Alamo Bowl.  But after watching that Super Bowl pre-game story, I’ve become a new fan.  I knew he was a great quarterback, but I absolutely love what he has done in New Orleans – not on the football field.

Generally, I don’t believe the over-hyped baloney about what pro sports do for a city.  The gaudiness of pro sports generally sickens me, though I keep watching the games.  For goodness’ sake, the NFL tried to control the use of “Who ‘Dat!”  How silly.  I live in Dallas now, and I’m still waiting for a new generation of Tom Landrys and Roger Staubachs.

But Drews Brees’ story, it’s a classic.  At least what I have seen I would say that he is being a Christian in the right way. And I’m ready to acknowledge that the Saints have helped New Orleans rebound from the awful hurricane, that the team has given this city new life and some hope.  And Drew Brees is in the big middle of it.

In case you don’t know his story, Brees had a serious shoulder injury a few years ago that could have ended his pro career.  He left the San Diego Chargers and wound up with the Saints, who decided to take a chance on a guy with lots of talent and a winner’s heart, but with a damaged passing arm.  Brees and his wife made a choice to live in the city rather than the suburbs.  If the Super Bowl pre-game segment told the truth (please, Lord, let it be so), they live in a neighborhood and are known as real neighbors.  He likewise has a foundation that pours money and resources into the community.  From appearances, then, it really looks like Drew Brees gets his responsibility as a highly-paid and high-profile athlete in a high-stakes game.  If God put him on this platform, then he’d better take this responsibility seriously.  To whom much is given, much is required.

As much as I love athletes who share their faith openly, I’m kind of tired of people sticking their fingers in the air when they score a touchdown.  I kinda’ like it that Brees does not wear his faith superficially on his sleeve (even though I do like it that Tim Tebow wears his on his cheekbones, because I think Mr. Tebow is the real deal, too).  I watched a video clip on STV (“Sharing the Victory”) and Brees talked about letting his actions speak louder than his words.  I love it.  May his tribe increase.

Which goads me.  I am a man who makes his living with words.  I’d better watch myself.

About Stephen Rankin

Professionally I am an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. I currently serve as University Chaplain at Southern Methodist University. Personally I am married to Joni and we have four grown children and four grandchildren. You can find my personal thoughts on this site, as well as on twitter at @stephenwrankin.

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