Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kurt Warner, Tim Tebow, Tom Krattenmaker: A Lesson from Nasreddin Hodja

In his introduction to Onward Christian Athletes: Turning Ballparks into Pulpits & Players into Preachers,  (Rowman & Littlfield Publishers, Inc., 2010) author Tom Krattenmaker notes that sports figure Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals and other Christian athletes (read Tebow here) who give glory to the Lord whenever their team wins,  "have not a word to say about their Lord" when their team loses, "suggesting that the religious obligation to proclaim Jesus belongs only to the victors." Krattenmaker's observation brought to mind an old Nasreddin Hodja story.

Nasreddin Hodja is walking along the road without his donkey, singing God's praises.  A passerby asks him why he is singing God's praises.  Nasreddin Hodja answers, "I am singing God's praises because my donkey is lost."  The passerby, confused, asks, "If you have lost your donkey, why are you singing God's praises?"  Nasreddin Hodja looks at the passerby, wondering how the man could ask such a question.  "I am singing God's praises because if I were riding on my donkey, I, too, would be lost."

Athletes of today just may have a lesson to learn from Hodja Nasreddin.


  1. Tebow has said that The Lord does not care who wins a football game, but what Tebow prays for is the grace that he can honor God and be faithful to Him, win or lose. there is such a great tendency to take credit, and puff oneself up over one's successes, and since we know that pride comes before a fall, it seems that such a public honoring of God at the moment of victory, if it is sincere, and springs from a true faith, is a good defense against the tendency to claim credit and therefore to be puffed up. The lesson to be learned from Hodja Nasreddin is to look at life through a lens that is not solipsistic. Granted, the humor is great, but so is the wisdom, if one can see beyond the smile, and have the ears to hear beyond the laughter.

  2. Psalm 5 concludes with these verses? Psalm 5:11-12 (NASB)
    11 But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You.
    12 For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield.

  3. I'm not sure what lesson is to be learned.
    Hodja gives thanks to God in all things, as the Apostle and others command us. If he were riding the donkey, perhaps he would have kept the donkey from getting lost.

    When should one give thanks to God? If not with a success (e.g. King David over Goliath). What is the alternative? Keep the glory for themselves as many more athletes do?

    Not many camera lens were recording Tebow's words after they lost the playoff game. They just showed him walking off the field. So do we know he didn't proclaim the Lord in defeat?

    Perhaps Krattenmaker is a little too cynical.

    The criticism I read of Tebow is that he is just too serious about his faith. Even Kurt Warner got down on him for being too verbal about his faith.

    I wouldn't mind such criticism.

  4. http://www.tmatt.net/2012/01/23/concerning-the-prayers-of-tim-tebow/