Monday, January 07, 2008

American Gladiators and Spirituality

Last night as I witnessed the greatness known as the return of “American Gladiators”, I was struck by a spiritual principle. Some may think it’s a reach, but I think it’s entirely valid and pretty applicable for my life right now.

As I watched my favorite little “spider monkey” trying to climb the pyramid and then being tossed down it like a rag doll, I realized it’s an entirely unfair advantage. Not just because gladiators such as “Wolf Man” and “Toa” are ginormous, but because it is always easy to throw someone down when they are trying to make progress. This plays out very literally as a 150 pound Asian tries to scramble past a behemoth of a man, but even if all things were equal, it’s easy to topple a person trying to ascend.

I don’t know that I have eloquent words to explain what I’m thinking quite yet, but I think it boils down to the fact that it is fairly simple to attack. Honestly, I don't think it takes too much skill. It’s easy to go after someone, more so if they’ve been in the fight for a while and they’re worn down.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't take a strong, mighty, or even a bright person to throw someone down when they're fighting to go higher. However, it takes a special level of courage, tenacity, and strength to get knocked down and keep getting back up.


After I posted this yesterday, I remembered this quote which seemed to be quite fitting.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt

"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910


jettybetty said...

I think you are right on. Might be a reason Jesus told us not to judge. If we don't judge, we likely will not attack.

Really, most of us just need a hand up, not a push down.

Pastor Bob said...

Well I agree and really enjoyed this blog post! I am about to start preaching through Proverbs 17: "Living with Quietness of Heart and Restraint of the Lips".

This will actually fit into a sermon in there nicely, I hope you don't mind if I borrow your illustration.

I do, however, disagree with the comment that was left regarding this. Jesus never told us not to judge. It says to judge not, lest you be judged. It does not mean to never use judgment. It means (in context) to judge righteously. Reading that verse in context, we find that He told us not to judge with unrighteous judgment and not if we have a boatload of sin in our lives too. He went on to say (as well as a lot of other scriptures) to clean up our act and THEN help your brother remove the speck from their eye.

Here is a link you can click or copy for all of the New Testament scriptures with the word "judge" in them. Notice that many times we are told to judge, use judgment, and especially judge those inside the church. Also notice that whenever judgment is told to be held back or cautioned, it is when spoken to the pharisees, or spoken regarding to the world (the lost). But as Christians, we are to judge and use judgment, but in a fair and righteous manner.

Here is the link:¬-words=&scope=New+Testament&matches=&search-text=all

Allison said...

hi ann,
I saw part of american gladiators too and was thinking that same thing! I didn't see the small asian guy do the pyramid but saw the previous two competitors go at it, and the only way the one guy got to the top was by ducking out of the way while the huuuuge gladiator lunged and missed him (did you see that part?). So I'm totally with you about getting pushed off from above being nothing while trying to climb up being a super hard ordeal, sometimes impossible seeming!

jpreding said...

Great thoughts.

ROD said...

Teddy was an interesting person. I just finished The River of Doubt about his adventures in South America. A great read!