The biblical character named Job, in my opinion, tends to be yanked into all kinds of public discussions that do not deserve being connected with his awesome story of pain, suffering and loss.
Nevertheless, as Baylor University graduate and as a member of an extended family that bleeds green and gold, let me suggest that the recent travails of the school’s basketball program may be the exception to that rule. The bloody mess the enveloped the university seven years ago has been called the worst scandal in the history of college basketball, and that’s saying something.
Now, the Baylor men’s basketball team is poised to take on mighty Duke tonight with a trip to the NCAA Final Four at stake. This means that it’s likely that all kinds of people in sports television are going to be retelling the story today of the near-miraculous rise and fall of Baylor hoops. (Meanwhile, the Lady Bears — after upsetting mighty Tennessee — are set to take on the Duke women Monday night, competing to punch a ticket to their Final Four. Imagine the odds of that.)
If you don’t remember the details of the scandal, watch the video at the top of this post for a flashback into the recent past. Then read the following report from the Dallas Morning News about this team’s journey deep into March madness:
Seven years ago, that kind of success looked unattainable. Tragedy and turmoil surrounding the murder of player Patrick Dennehy by a teammate and severe NCAA infractions nearly destroyed the men’s program.
While covering the tragedy, a publication for Baylor — the world’s largest Baptist University — referred to the Book of Job and its effort to reconcile evil that exists in the same world with God.
Asked this week for a biblical verse to describe the revival from that brutal low to this divine basketball madness, athletic director Ian McCaw, a deacon, cited Galatians 6:9.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Now that’s two scripture references in the space of a few punchy lines in a news story about sports. That’s kind of unusual, in and of itself.
But here is my question for GetReligion readers: In an age of staggering biblical illiteracy, do you think if was the right call for editors at a mainstream newspaper (even in a city as culturally conservative as Dallas) to make a simple reference to “the Book of Job and its effort to reconcile evil” without adding a single word of explanation? Can the copy desk assume that readers know anything about the rise, fall and rise of that Old Testament patriarch?
Just asking. I kept waiting for the story to return to the reference and offer a smidgen of content of context, but it never came. Strange?