“…AND THIS IS HOW YOU DO ME??” – A Flawed Theology – Part 1

Primary Audience – Those who believe that there is a “reason for everything”.
Secondary Audience – Buffalo Bills fans. This post may be the best part of your season.

Last Sunday, Buffalo Bills wide receiver, Steven Johnson dropped the game winning pass in a near overtime upset against the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only is Steven Johnson a highly talented rookie with a bright career in front of him, he is also a player on one of my fantasy teams. If you thought QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was upset, imagine how I felt as a fantasy owner. Sometimes you break loose and score 3TD’s and sometimes you drop “the most important pass of your life”, that’s life in the NFL and the reality of fantasy sports.  Later, he tweeted his hurt.

I am obviously very humored by this and honestly,  I truly felt bad for Steve Johnson and I know how he feels. I worry about officiating a funeral and saying the wrong name or performing a wedding and accidentally use the same message that I used at the funeral and therefore getting all the names wrong. Along with our one year old, this is something that keeps me up at night. But THIRD and most surprising and the reason for this post, I cannot believe the number of people who have told me they could really  relate to Johnson!! I heard one person say, “Yeah, sometimes God does stuff like that.” and another hoped that he would change his mind regarding the tweet “You expect me to learn from this???”

First, God doesn’t care about the NFL. The entire season is anchored by mocking the Sabbath – trust me, He doesn’t care.

But second, Johnson’s tweets and post-game interviews reflect a flawed theology called, “There’s a reason for everything.” I have withheld for years blogging about this motto because it tends to do more damage than good but when people connect with the terrible theology behind dropped football passes, then we should reconsider some long-held assumptions.

I am not sure what Steve Johnson was to learn from his dropped pass. Virtues from failures? He’s an NFL player, he’s been playing football his whole life, I’m sure he’s encountered failure before. Some point to humility. Football fans know he’s a bit cocky and recently received an excessive celebration penalty. I just have a hard time believing that God was up in heaven last week and suddenly decided to shine a cosmic flash light in poor Steve’s eyes or have an angel spray a bit of baby oil on his hands and arms just enough for a pigskin to slip through. And if God really wanted to make a statement, why not zap his jersey and padding off with a blue lightening bolt as he celebrates. I’m telling you if God cared enough to do that, there would never be another profanity uttered on the line of scrimmage. Those 300 pound linemen would be quoting the beatitudes and blessing their opponents in fear of their big butts be aired on network television.

Too many have this “cause and effect” expectation of God. Meaning if they pray or read Scripture or praise him 24/7 then God has to bless. Life is not only filled with missed opportunities, sadly it’s marked by tragedies, and defiled by evil. When we read the Scriptures, we see the righteous destroyed by evil. The same sun that gives us life can sometimes give skin cancer. Even water, that is so essential to our survival, can drown us. It’s not cause and effect. Though I wish it were as simple as “Do good, get good”, there are no guarantees in a flawed world.

So then how do respond to this? The short answer is to trust the Lord who is at work in the redemption of all things. I’ll try to elaborate later this week.
Feel free to comment, disagree, or I dare you, defend Steve Johnson’s tweet ;-).


  1. It’s amazing how bad theology can creep into our daily lives. Thanks for exposing it.

  2. We’ll have to talk on this one a little bit. I think I have too many thoughts to type on your comments ;)

  3. Courtney Roberts says:

    You better not use the wrong names while officiating my wedding. ;)

    But really- I am looking forward to the second half of this post. I am glad you decided to tackle this topic- it’s a good one!

  4. Thanks Ed. I think you do an excellent job exposing these things as well. I’m behind on your series of “Search for Christmas” but I really enjoyed your “God Doesn’t Play Games” posts.

  5. Ed: Agreed!

    Jim: You must type! Refraining from type and resorting to verbal communication deprives the rest of us from your incredible insight and certainly your well thought out argument to defend Mr. Johnson :).

    Tim! (felt I need the exclamation to keep format): Great job as always.

  6. @Jim If you are going to defend the There’s a reason for everything” then I’d like you to consider that the reason God had for you in reading this post was to change your mind from such a terrible understanding of fatalism and providence.

    @Glenn – THANKS MY FRIEND!!!!

  7. @Courtney – don’t worry, there’s a better chance of you tripping over your dress and the bouquet ricocheting off the maid of honor and toppling your cake than for me to call you “Connie” or call Matt “Bartholomew” or something. ;-)

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