Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Should you pray about it?

Yesterday, Urban Meyer was named the new head football coach at the Ohio State University. It was not a surprise, but it has created quite a buzz, because one of the most storied football programs in the country has now hired a coach with two national championships on his resume. Yes, quite a big story.

There are all sorts of things that I could write about this story; as a college football fan it interests me in so many ways. But one part of his introductory press conference grabbed my attention. It did so mostly because of the ridicule it provoked from a sports columnist I read weekly.

When discussing the future of his predecessor, Meyer announced that Coach Luke Fickell would be retained on his staff. Most people expected that. But here is Meyer's statement about how he arrived at that decision:
"Shelley and I prayed about it. We talked about it. We took our time. Next morning, we woke up. I looked at her again - she’s a better judge of talent than I am - and there’s no doubt I wanted (Luke Fickell) to be a part of this team."
Now, that makes perfect sense to me. Well, not perfect sense because I'm not sure how I feel about deciding on a man's career by going home and getting your wife's opinion. (My lack of understanding there may derive from my singleness.) But the idea of praying about an important decision...of course!

Well columnist Pete Fiutak doesn't feel that way at all. Here is what he said about that in his weekly Calvacade of Whimsy column:
This is just the kind of crap the powerfully stupid laps up, and it’s the precise reason why so many confused people start to see football coaches as more than just guys who teach people how to block and tackle....This means that if you’re an assistant coach and you’re not hired for the Ohio State coaching staff, it’s because God, I mean, Meyer, I mean Shelley, I mean God, doesn’t think you’re worthy. 
Well, his opinion is just the kind of...well, it's nonsense. He ridicules the idea of praying about decisions by making the giant leap that in doing so you are telling the world that your decision has divine authority. In other words, he obviously thinks Meyer is saying, "Don't question my decisions - they're from GOD!"

I pray about decisions all the time. Probably not as often as I should, but I do. When I pray about something related to work, that doesn't mean that I'm going to walk into a meeting and declare that my thoughts are final because they're God's. no, it just means that I live my life in a personal; relationship with my Creator and I want him to be part of everything I do. Can I pray about something and still get it wrong? Sure. But I believe I am a better employee, son, brother, and friend because I do pray.

I don't know anything about Urban Meyer's spiritual life. I don't know how often he prays. I do suspect that he learned an awful lot about it from being around his team's QB Tim Tebow for four years. (Tebow is another football star who is a target of those opposed to public displays of faith.) But I know this: he doesn't deserve to be ridiculed because he prays about decisions.

I've never been a fan of Coach Meyer. Still not really. But after that press conference, I have a little more respect for him. And a lot less for Mr. Fiutak.

It will be interesting to see what happens at Ohio State over the next few years. But like anywhere else, a little more prayer couldn't hurt.

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