Reverend Dr. King, Joan of Arc, TEBOW?

Launching the new blog, today has kept me pretty busy, but I wanted to point your attention to two particularly good pieces on the portal, today — both of them looking at heroes and faith and their effects on society.

Citing The Holy Courage of Martin Luther King, Jr. Lisa Mladinich writes:

He was radical in the best sense. He didn’t just want to elbow the unworthy racist aside to take what was rightfully owed him or to declaim, deplore, and destroy.

He didn’t seek revenge. He sought something far more dangerous, and he knew it. He wanted to live with his “white brother,” now enlightened and redeemed; to know him, help him, and love him. In spite of his human foibles, the young minister’s heart bore the greatness of a truly Christian spirit. So it’s no surprise that the serpents’ nest his movement stirred attacked him without mercy.

Yet, in the best sense, even death did not stop him.

I say this all the time: everybody suffers. But if we try to do something holy, we will at least suffer meaningfully. . . [in] radical trust, we open to a flood of graces that bind our spiritual wounds, reconcile us to each other, and give us a precious glimpse of heaven’s light, right here in the darkness of our earthly lives.

You’ll want to read it all and watch the videos.

On the heels of that, Max Lindenman takes a page from Joan of Arc in looking, very thoughtfully, at the socio-political impact of the Tim Tebow phenomenon:

Yesterday in the Atlantic . . Robert Wright [warned] non-religious people, especially those he calls “liberals,” that “dissing” Tebow is a bad idea…because it might make them really mad. Extreme “religious conservatives,” who “consider themselves to be at war with the prevailing culture,” will take cracks against Tebow as cues to “reject the entire liberal agenda, ranging from gay rights to uncensored science education in the public schools.” Liberals, he advises, should be as discreet regarding the Broncos QB as the Jyllands-Posten wasn’t regarding Muhammad, prophet of Islam.

If it needs saying, there’s plenty wrong with what Wright writes, both in his premise and in his conclusions. Religious conservatives don’t simply consider themselves at war with the prevailing culture; they’re quite convinced the prevailing culture is at war with them. . .Nothing anyone says against Tim Tebow will do anything but confirm them in that sense of being under siege. No bone tossed him in the form of tactful silence will do anything to disabuse them of it. At Verdun, the Germans couldn’t have gotten the French to fight any less fiercely by agreeing not to draw mustaches on posters of Joan of Arc.

That’s not meant to sound cute. For a France that had been invaded and partly occupied, Joan symbolized divinely ordained resistance. The religious right craves symbols of its own. [. . .] The fact that I’m thinking about it now is a good example of what Robert Wright should really be afraid of. As outrageous criticism provokes outraged defense, pundits start discovering signs and omens. If they do it well enough, even behind-the-curve people like me start thinking, “Wow, I guess Tim Tebow and the Benedictines have a lot in common after all. Must have been the grease paint that threw me.” The danger isn’t that attacks on our boy will make Christians vindictive, but that — as his name and image go increasingly viral — he might inspire us, even without meaning to.

Yes, go read it all, and pass it around. Pass ‘em both around.

Everyday, things seem to become both clearer and more murky. That’s when symbols become necessary and the demand for heroes brings people into prominence.

We live in interesting times.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • William Cook

    Indeed, Mr Lindenman. After 600 years of lengthening perspective, examination and scholarship, it seems that the Maid WAS a divinely ordained and living symbol of resistance. (We can confidently attend to The One for Whom nothing is lost or wasted.)

  • Greta

    I believe that anyone who examines Tebow outside football where values can get squished together with the desire to win the game, will see that this kid so far has his head on straight and his faith solidly in place. While we hear the wonders of the now two time masher/rapist Big Ben and how he is the savior playing through seemingly endless pain, the same folks cannot have a good word to say about Tebow. If one professes his faith which is what Jesus said we are supposed to be doing as Christians last time I read the Gospels, everyone in America becomes alarmed. It is that separation thing you know. God was supposed to be locked into dark churches never to see the light of day according to the left. What mom in her right mind would not be proud to see her young adult son with their feet as firmly planted on solid ground and heart, soul, and mind with Jesus as Tebow. Forget football, lets just stand back and say to whover raised Tebow, good job. Now lets see if Tebow and Christ beside him can keep away Satan. Tebow has to be in his sites right now.

  • Greta

    On MLK, I always thought his goal of all our children being judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin made the most sense. Too bad he was taken from us because many of the African American leaders, even some who surrounded MLK, do not seem to have the courage to push for equality based on the content of character and that is sad. They seem to see race issues where none exist and have in many ways made African Americans “victims” that need to have special rights and benefits to gain equality or to bring down the other person as if that ever makes the other better. I loved MLK and have zero respect for the “reverends” Jackson and Sharpton. We will never know where MLK would have taken the program, but as this article indicated, his goal was never to try to gain special rights or to deny rights of others to gain equality. He would certainly have had an issue with the Churches being silenced by the government or from their involvement in how the government was run. I note that those who work for the government, Valerie Jarret and our attorney general Holder were speaking at African American Churchs and from the pulpit blasting the Republican candidates and openly advoting Obama. Whatever happened to separation of church folks and why aren’t they screaming today. Imagine if someone spoke at St Patricks Cathedral bashing Obama and his policies.