Sports commentator Mike Celizic has stirred up some trouble by taking pro football player Terrell Owens to task for suggesting that God healed his injured ankle so that he could play in the upcoming Super Bowl:
“God has already cleared me,” Owens told the assembled hordes that had come to find out if he would be able to play on his surgically repaired ankle. “It doesn’t matter what the doctor said. I have the best doctor in God.”
I’ve heard of God is my co-pilot, but God is my orthopedist?
This is, mind you, the same God who just a few weeks ago watched silently as a quarter million people – some of them far better Christians and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus than Owens – were washed off the face of the earth by a tsunami. It is the same God that countless people are imploring to save terminally ill mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives. The same God that destitute others are begging to somehow allow them to find enough money to pay the mortgage and feed the children.
He doesn’t get around to helping all of them, which is, as the keepers of the faiths like to say, a mystery. Instead, He heals the ankle of a millionaire with an ego that Donald Trump probably envies, not so Owens can go forth and perform works of charity, not so he can help those not able to help themselves, but so he can play a game of football.
In trying to explain the “miraculous healing” of his injury—while giving no credit at all to the surgeons who did the actual work in God’s stead—Owens went on to recommend the assembled reporters look up chapter 11 of the Gospel of John. Apparently, as Celizic explains, Owen’s believes his ankle was something of a Lazarus brought back from the dead just in time for the Big Game.
Celizic’s complaint is a familiar one: He feels that Owens is trivializing religion and God by suggesting that he (God) gives a shit about whether or not he (Owens) gets to play in the Super Bowl when there are bigger and more important events taking place that God doesn’t appear to take much interest in. Celizic aks if this means that God didn’t want Ty Law of the Patriots to play seeing as his broken foot didn’t also miraculously heal in time. Celizic points out that with the considerable wealth Owens has amassed as a pro football player one might rightfully question whether he needs much help from God for anything other than getting his ego in check.
Needless to say, the column has generated no small amount of feedback from believers of all stripes who both agree and disagree with Celizic’s rant. It also illustrates nicely how so many people believing in supposedly the same God and Bible can have widely contradicting opinions on how much personal involvement God takes in the affairs of man let alone what issues God finds worthy of his attention. I’ve said before that, in my personal opinion, I would hope that if it turns out there is a God of some reasonably benevolent type out there running the show that he’d have more important issues on his plate than whether a pro football player heals in time for an important game.
But then, I’ve never been a big sports fan myself.