For a while, God had been doing pretty well. God helped a lot of actors win Oscars and assisted many athletes in winning championships; I’d say God was doing a pretty good job.
But, alas! Steve Johnson turned the tables! God’s streak is over!
A week ago, the Buffalo Bills wide receiver took to Twitter to vocalize some frustrations he had with himself. He did, after all, cost his team an overtime victory by dropping a wide-open pass in the end zone.
Ever so elegantly, Johnson tweeted, “I PRAISE YOU 24/7! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS? HOW?! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS! EVER! THX THO.”
This isn’t about the hubris of a misguided young receiver. Very rarely will such a player ever take responsibility for his own setbacks, and we can expect a certain degree of Twitterdiculousness (my favorite new word) after a mistake like Johnson’s.
But here’s our lesson of the week: When there’s nobody else to dump your faults on, apparently, you blame God.
For me, Johnson’s comments weren’t particularly unsettling, but just a little weird. I didn’t find myself offended by his tirade, as I’m not a very religious person, but I’m sure many felt he was using God and religion in vain.
And therein lies the danger of intertwining God with such things as sports or entertainment.
I have respect for the faith of actors or athletes who thank God or Jesus or whomever for their successes, but part of it just doesn’t sit well with me. Whether positive or negative, don’t you just want these people to be thankful or angry at real, tangible things?
There are very few things more heartwarming than an actor who thanks his mother for that Emmy Award, or more refreshing than an athlete who actually blames himself for his shortcomings.
I can’t stop people from having their faith. But Steve Johnson highlighted the issues people have with thanking deities.
Think to yourself for a minute about Johnson’s claims. He blamed God for the fact that he dropped a football.
He’s a young wide receiver who tried to celebrate the touchdown before he scored it and made a routine mistake. He screwed up and used faith as an outlet to place his blame on someone other than himself.
To give some credence to Johnson, showing anger toward God isn’t something completely new. In fact, in the Book of Job, the title character is a man whose story revolves wholly around his questioning and doubt of God. People are constantly at odds with their God, or respective deity.
Johnson was also probably just caught up in the moment. Hasty and impetuous, he took to Twitter, the king of all impulsive communication media, and said some things he wound up regretting. This seems to be the case with most controversial pop culture figures that use the social networking site.
He has since apologized.
As he steps into a brighter spotlight, Steve Johnson should learn to choose his words more carefully. This applies not only to him, but to all the celebrities who have committed some sort of public religious faux pas.
If you have some sort of faith in your life, don’t abandon it. Just curb it. Nobody will sympathize for you if you blame your shortcomings on something that isn’t universally tangible.
Or maybe Steve Johnson knows something we don’t know. Perhaps God is a huge Steelers fan.