Has Thanking Jesus at the Microphone Jumped the Shark?

You know the routine.  You’ve heard it a million times already.  A professional athlete  known to be an evangelical Christian, being interviewed after the game to comment on his play, will almost predictably begin his answer with the words, “First of all, I’d like to thank mylordandsavior Jesus Christ…”  Usually the journalist holding the microphone wears a goofy smile and stares into outer space.  They know it’s coming, they are prepared for it, they tolerate it, and they know that the public by this time is innoculated by this brief and harmless religious comment.

Last night I saw Josh Hamilton, the superstar Texas Ranger accept the 2010 ALCS MVP award.  Anyone who knows anything about Josh Hamilton knows he is a recovering drug and alcohol addict who attributes his comeback in baseball and life to God.  If you’ve paid a little closer attention, you might know that Hamilton is an outspoken evangelical who spends a lot of time and energy using his baseball-hero platform to spread the gospel and his testimony to its effect on his life.  If you’re a Christian and a baseball fan, its likely you already know this.  You see, Christians LOVE to discover celebrities and world-class athletes who confess Christ.  It makes us feel good–like we’re on their team, the winning team!

But something’s happened in our culture since the “John 3:16” dude who used to appear at football games on TV.  Athletes (and other entertainers) accepting accolades who give this rapid-fire Christian witness to mylordandsavior Jesus Christ are viewed as merely tipping their hat to the man upstairs.  That’s a shame, because that’s not the goal of it.  But that’s where we’re at as a culture.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Josh Hamilton, I suggest that with just a little bit of mental preparation, you and other famous Christians can really shake things up in a non-controversial way.  I know that microphone man controls the message to a large degree, and it’s understood that you’re entitled to a grace period of 3-5 seconds to put in a personal plug for Jesus.  I get that.  So I’m not suggesting you prepare a sermonette.  Christians with a secular platform as a guest need to use their time wisely.

So here’s my simple suggestion.  Use those 3-5 seconds to glorify Jesus Christ by using another title besides “mylordandsavior.”  This would accomplish a number of things.

  1. It would mess with your audience.  They’re expecting you to call Jesus “mylordandsavior.”  They’ve heard it ad nauseum.  They can see it coming a mile away.  If there’s no such thing as a sure thing, this hearing “mylordandsavior Jesus Christ” is the closest thing to it.
  2. It would wake people up and cause them to actually listen to you.  Nothing jars a listener from mental slumber than NOT hearing what they’re expecting to hear.  People who study how memory works know that substituting a phrase for words that are expected will stick in people’s minds.
  3. It would educate people about who Jesus really is.  He’s not just your Lord and Savior.  He is oh so much more.  The Bible gives Jesus so many titles and descriptions (many that used to be well-known) that draw attention to him and bring him glory.
  4. It would exponentially increase your ability to be a Christian witness.  That’s what you’re trying to do, right?  Imagine the opportunity you might have when a teammate or fan asks you about that interesting way your described Jesus.  Betcha you’ll get TWICE as many questions as you do now.  At least.
  5. It would cause a stir in the media and give Jesus some much needed publicity.  Sure Jesus gets some press at Easter and Christmas, but it’s usually not the kind of press most Christians appreciate.  What would happen if a media discussion ensued after thanking “Jesus, the Creator and Judge of all men?”  It’s possible.
  6. It would spur other Christian athletes and celebrities to broaden their thanking-Jesus-repertoire.  That could multiply accomplishments 1-5 listed above every time a believer followed your example.

Josh, I’ll even help you out.  Here’s a short list of biblical titles and descriptions of Jesus that you could use to get started.  Biblical references are included so you can look it up to get some context before using it on the air.  This list is by no means exhaustive.  But let’s climb out of the mylordandsavior Jesus rut one step at a time.

  1. Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8)
  2. Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)
  3. Bread of life (John 6:48)
  4. Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16)
  5. Brightness of the Father’s glory (Hebrews 1:3)
  6. Captain of the Lord’s army (Joshua 5:14)
  7. Chosen of God (1 Peter 2:4)
  8. Power and Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24)
  9. Son of David and Abraham (Matthew 1:1)
  10. Emmanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14)
  11. Friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19)
  12. God our savior (1 Timothy 2:3)
  13. High priest (Hebrews 4:14)
  14. Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 41:14; 54:5)
  15. King of kings (Revelation 17:14)
  16. Light of the world (John 8:12)
  17. Lord our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)
  18. Man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3)
  19. Master (Matthew 23:8)
  20. Only begotten, one and only (John 3:16)

Here is a larger list to print and study if you like.

Now, if only I could get Josh Hamilton (or any other Christian celebrity) to read this!  If you know one of these guys personally, please pass it along to him or her.  Let’s make this happen so the listening world doesn’t yawn every time they hear, “First, I’d like to thank mylordandsavior Jesus Christ.”  Dangitbill!  It’s about time.

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2 Responses to Has Thanking Jesus at the Microphone Jumped the Shark?

  1. David Rupert says:

    Good post. I agree. Don’t rely on overly used expressions that people dont understand.
    He’s really got an amazing talent and story. It’ hard not to root for him.

    I blogged about Hamilton’s path of success, failure, a fall and redemption at:

    http://tinyurl.com/2acs7p5

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