“Jordan wouldn’t be nearly as good if he played in this decade”, a co-worker exclaimed.
While at work and in the usual fashion, a volcano was determined to erupt following this statement. The sports gods were no longer smiling when hearing a statement like this come out of a 21 year-olds mouth that didn’t remember Mike in his day.
To start this story the right way though, I have to take you back. Let’s get into the Delorian and ride back to 1998. My brother had just graduated High School. I was at the end of my last year of middle school. We were at the restaurant, O’Charleys. While waiting for seats there to celebrate my brothers graduation, The televisions were showing the Bulls-Jazz NBA finals, Game 6. As an eighth grader, I knew as I watched Jordan slyly shove Russell to hit the shot that would be the seal for his seat in the hall of fame, that I was watching greatness (in the sports sense).
So back to work…
As the young co-worker, who is a friend of mine made the statement about Jordan; I was shocked because I remembered Mike. It only takes a google search or a short visit to youtube to remember that he was no less athletic(I mention athleticism because the argument made then and a majority of the time is that today everyone is sooo much more athletic and talented) then the guys who preceded him years later.
A look at stats will show that Jordan can trump all of the arguments about Kobe and LeBron. There is a reason that people consider him the greatest basketball player of all time. But for those who don’t remember him, it’s hard to imagine that the athletes were just as good in his day. But what bothers me is not that my co-worker doesn’t think Mike could have done his thing in today’s day. I’m not trying to convert anyone to think Mike is anything more than a talented Athlete. What bothers me though is the trend I see in the same mindset when dealing with Christianity.
I have seen many churches that look at the saints of old with total disgust and disdain as not having been close with God. And though I in some ways agree that “history is written by those who hang heroes”(a la Braveheart), I also know that with some of the checkered past in Christian History, there is also a history that is consistently neglected and overshadowed by the transgressions of some. I posted about saint Patrick in an earlier post because there are believers who have served God faithfully. I am thankful for the sacrifices by the many believers who were martyred for their faith and in so doing brought the Holy Scriptures into my hands. I am thankful for the many Protestants who stood bravely against heresy when taught and paid the physical price of death when speaking against it. I have a lot to be thankful for in the heritage of my Christian faith.
Kevin DeYoung’s book, “Don’t Call It A Comeback” explains more elaborately the ideas that I am getting at. Though I might explain it in a different way, I am thankful for the men and women before us who have continued the “old faith”.