Bringing the Text to Life

The Ultimate Athlete Ephesians 6:10-20

Vince Lombardi is often remembered for saying, "Winning isn''t everything, it''s the only thing!" Today, however, it might be more appropriate to declare with Madison Avenue that "Image isn''t everything, it''s the only thing." This week we try both to rehabilitate an old image and simultaneously deepen that image by excavating it for new depths.

The tragedy of the outbreak of organized violence (read:"war") in the Persian Gulf has exposed a new sensibility among many Americans. Many who recall Vietnam shudder at the thought of U.S. involvement in another far away battlefield and raise their voices against the atrociousness of war itself with or without any particular atrocities. Yet also mindful of the harsh lesson of Vietnam, the entire country has apparently learned to distinguish between war and the warrior. Nowhere has there been a word of ill-will directed at the military men and women who are the players in this deadly contest.

Despite this renewed respect for the soldier and the need to "Support Our Troops," it is still difficult to feel entirely comfortable with militaristic images of the Christian. As St. Augustine once wrote: "You run well but off the track." Our heightened sensitivity to the violent tendencies implicit in military images revealed themselves when the United Methodist Church was preparing its new...

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