We All in the Same Boat?"
Pastor Jerry Selleck,
Holton United Methodist Church
think theyre going to bring back the stocks. You may remember those
torturous devices of the past, where an offender is clapped into a wooden device, and is
left standing for an extended period of time in the town square. In addition to the pain
of that device, such offenders were also subject to ridicule, beatings, or whatever
someone wanted to hurl at them. Sometimes their heads would be covered, so that they
couldnt identify their silent assailants. It was punishment, shame, and unbridled
retribution all rolled into one.
been surprised by the behavior of some of our athletes recently. Accusations and pending
Rice (Ravens) for spouse abuse,
Peterson (Vikings) for child abuse, and
Winston (Florida State) for sexual assault.
on the home front, Thomas Rawls at Central Michigan is accused of stealing a purse at a
casino, and using the stolen credit cards.
dont expect these kinds of issues to end, and here is why:
Cameras are everywhere.
Everybody is on Social Media, where people are exposed, tried, and viciously accused on
the slimmest of evidence, or none at all. A 140-character twitter is enough to set the
mobs in a frenzy, along with blogs-a-plenty. The internet is replacing newspapers, and
unfortunately, replacing a lot of professional journalists along with them. Innocent
until proven guilty is now a dead concept. I think if you put Ray Rice in the
stocks, there wouldnt be much of him left at the end of the day.
We are craving role models. Once again, we are realizing that those in the public eye have
tremendous power to teach, whether it be bad or good, or whether they want that power or
I know that some of these accusations are serious, legal charges. And they are being
handled in the courts, as they should be. But there is something more going on:
Accountability. We expect our athletic heroes to be moral, disciplined, and good role
models as well. Our SIN is showing, and folks arent happy about it.
grew up in the age of Dont Judge Me, or As long as I do my job, my
free time is none of your business! So, Im a little surprised at the current
culture, that not only demands punishment for crime, but removal and banishment from the
public eye. Im sure these athletes are just as surprised, and the remaining athletes
are wondering who will be tomorrows headline.
what is wrong with an athlete who is a wife beater? Or one who abuses his children? What
does that have to do with rushing yards and catching passes? Because we realize that
children model their idols, and so do grownups. Professional football players, musicians,
leaders, politicians, and more, affect how we live. We dont just watch their
performances, but their entire lives. And so,
they are held to a higher standard.
Survivor, Elie Wiesel tells a parable:
man is on a boat. He is not alone, but acts as if he were. One night, without warning, he
suddenly begins to cut a hole under his seat.
other people on the boat shout and shriek at him: "What on earth are you doing? Have
you gone mad? Do you want to sink us all? Are you trying to destroy us?"
the man answers: "I don't understand what you want. What I'm doing is none of your
business. I paid my way. I'm not cutting under your seat. Leave me alone!" What the
fanatic (and the egotist) will not accept, but what you and I cannot forget, is that all
of us are in the same boat.
an old concept: leaders are called to a higher standard, because we are all connected.
Even in Scripture, this concept is recognized:
3:1 (NIV): "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you
know that we who teach will be judged more strictly."
probably wouldnt hurt to put this scripture up in every locker room in the NFL, NHL,
NBA, NCAA, and every other alphabet league in the world. For when those at the top shed
their morality, we all go down with the ship.