There were some great football games this past weekend for the divisional championship round games (winner goes to Super Bowl). Unfortunately for both losing teams, their losses are mired in the mystery and misery of mistake ridden final moments.
The 49ers lost to the giants in OT because kick-returner Kyle Williams fumbled the ball on his team’s side of the field. As a result, the Giants kicked the game winning field goal. Unfortunately for him, he actually received death threats via twitter (unfortunately its not just soccer where that happens).
The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Patriots due to a missed field goal in the final moments which would have sent the game into OT.
Two games. Two goats.
But each responded a little differently. 49ers Kick Returner Kyle Williams owned his own mistake. Ravens kicker seemed to do just that. But then he began blaming the New England scoreboard for not putting the correct down causing him and his teammates to rush. Given New England’s penchant for cheating, I’m sure that it was intentional.
However, two games, two goats. Two different responses. As Jim Rome said on his radio show today, “One guy manned up, and owned it. That’s macho.”
I’m always interested in what folks consider masculine, or in other words, what “real men do,” because even “Christian” masculinity seems to be cut and pasted from respected cultural norms. Then you can just throw a verse or two on top of it and canonize it.
But because man is made in the image of God, we shouldn’t expect everything held high in our culture to be completely devoid of biblical truth. Rome is on to something here. In part.
Right: It is “manly” to confess when you screw up. Men often run from their problems. We blame. Adam did it. But redeemed manhood does confess. And this can be hard because men are designed to lead and saying you screwed up seems to get in the way of leading. But part of leadership is being able to say, “I screwed up. I own it. It’s not YOUR fault. It’s mine.” People like that. Kyle Williams’ teammates did too. Of course this really can only be accomplished by a deep belief in the gospel that says, “I screwed up, but God loves me the same as He did before I screwed up. I don’t lose my opportunity to lead, but have the opportunity to recognize my need for grace. Ideally others will also see their need for grace too.”
Perhaps not as Right: While it is “manly” to confess when you screwed up, I don’t know that is is uniquely manly. Men do need to take the lead in this because, well, they are to lead. So maybe there is a primacy…Yet you could also just as truthfully deem this quality “womanly,” or feminine. You could just as easily say, “Woman up, own this, and move forward.” Adam blamed Eve. Then Eve followed his example and blamed the serpent. Just like the natural man, the natural woman, is prone to blame shift. But the redeemed woman, can also believe the gospel, and “woman-up,” and display this “manly” or “womanly” quality.
Owning your mistakes and shortcomings is both masculine and feminine, if you have to put it in those terms. But truthfully it is simply living out the gospel. It is Christ-centered more than anything.
The fact that some people appreciate this characteristic is but another example of the ways man/woman still images God. While I don’t know that this is SPECIFICALLY masculine, it is still part of godly masculinity. And it’s great to see this quality praised as opposed to what passes as “macho” in beer commercials. Maybe folks like Jim Rome will take the next step and say, “I screwed up because that’s what I do. I’m a screw-up. But Jesus loves screw-ups who recognize their need of His grace.”