Monday, August 13, 2012


God, Cupcakes, Balance Beams, and Political Primaries

Let me start with a positive statement.  Winning athletes have the right to thank anyone or anything they feel contributed to their success. Family or friends who provided support, great coaching, a sponsor who paid the bills so they could train to compete, a mentor, a teacher, a training partner, or, if they are genuine and sincere about it, whatever higher power plays a real part in their life. Yes, you read that here. I think it is fine if that is something in character for the individual. These statements, if they are sincere, are charming and appropriate and provide an insight into how this individual developed the skills and abilities to become successful.

The same goes for political candidates, people engaged in business deals, or just about any other competitive  endeavor.

That said....

I have a real problem believing that the God who created the universe really cares all that much about the results of a balance beam competition, a football game, or a political primary. Doesn't God have more important stuff-- like incurable diseases, wars, genocide, natural disasters, and the like-- to deal with first before worrying about the Superbowl?

And I am really disturbed by the concept of supposedly religious  folks saying the equivalent of "I accomplished this because I have faith and God loves me more than my competition! Nana, nana, boo, boo, stick your head in doo doo!"

Folks, do you not realize you are trivializing divinity, faith, and your own beliefs when you are more about the  trophy or sound bite or the CNN clip or SI image than about living according to the guiding principles of your life?

It's certainly OK to thank God--- for your gifts, for your motivation, for the courage and strength of character that led you to steadfastly pursue a goal, for the friends and family, coaches, sponsors, etc..... but please be respectful of a power we can only begin to comprehend....

Would you really want to worship a deity who paid more attention to your free throw percentage than to the needs of a starving child? I recently saw a televised cupcake competition where the winner gushed. "Thank you, Jesus" for the win.  Or the Toddlers and Tiaras mom who thanked "the good Lord, spray tan and Pixy Sticks" for the win.

I honestly believe that there is something larger than us.... You can't spend as much time as I do photographing nature without being humbled by the beauty, power, and diversity of the world around us.  But I somehow wonder if somewhere God is up there thinking--- I gave you Yosemite and Kilimanjaro and beluga whales and the smell of lilacs and the taste of perfectly ripe apples.... are you really going to bug me about an arbitrary sporting event? Where did I go wrong with you?

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