How Jadeveon Clowney taught me more about theology than a few seminary courses



Dear Friends,


Happy New Year to all!


Well, my fellow Eagles fans, another season has  come and gone.   Sadly, it ended with a whimper rather than a bang.  The turning point in the game was a controversial hit by Seahawks Jadeveon Clowney on Eagles QB Carson Wentz, knocking him out of the game and, possibly, costing the Eagles the game.  


What was fascinating was listening to the post game  chatter on sports talk radio  and reading various posts on social   media.  Seahawks fans asserted that ‘it was clear’ that  said hit by Jadeveon was legit, the result of exceptional effort.   By contrast, we Eagles fans were convinced that said hit was ‘indisputably’ dirty, worthy of a penalty and fine.   


How does one explain such different takes on  an identical event?   Perhaps St Paul can help us here.   In his letter to the Church of Rome, Paul says that (since Genesis 3) our perspectives and corresponding convictions are formed not by our eyes, but by our wills.   It’s not that our eyes don’t work.  They do.  It’s that our eyes are overruled by our wills.  We’re in the habit of seeing, (and believing) what we ‘want’ to see...or believe.  What’s more, Paul says, when it’s convenient to do so, we ‘repress’ what we ‘know’ to be true so that we can enjoy, without impediment, a reality of our own construction. 


Because Seahawks fans had a vested interest in exonerating Jadeveon, (they ‘want’ [will] their playoff party to continue) that they defend him.  We eagles fans had a vested interest in condemning Jadeveon (we ‘want’ [will] our playoff party to continue) so we condemn him. Wills: 1, Eyes:  0.


I remember, years ago, while working at Ursinus College, listening to a debate on human origins between a LeHigh U prof who believed in ‘intelligent design’ and an Ursinus prof who rejected that, in favor of an unqualified naturalism.  At one point in the debate, the moderator projected a number of fossils onto a screen, asking each prof to comment. What was fascinating to me is that both Dr LeHigh and Dr Ursinus claimed that each fossil being paraded across the screen only served to validate their respective position on human origins.   Identical images, polar opposite conclusions. 


That is why, (as many of you know) when I hear things like, ‘Science tells us....’ I roll my eyes a bit.  Why?  Because science is comprised of scientists... and scientists are human beings... which is what Seahawks fans and Eagle fans are.  My hunch is that were one to ask a group of scientists from Seattle to comment on 'that hit on Wentz' they'd reply that, 'in their scientific opinion' it was legit,  Were one to ask the same question of a group of scientists from Philly, they'd likely reply that 'in their scientific opinion' it was dirty.  


Both would, of course, supply 'indisputable evidence.'  


Pax Christi,

Greg Porter 








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