Bo Sanders: Public Theology

updating & innovating for today



Cut it out with the whole ‘Curse’ business

My posts on Tim Tebow and Pat Robertson were so well received I thought I would  comment on one more incident this week.

You may have heard that another football player made non-sports headlines this week when he admitted that he now believes in curses.  You can read the story of Payton Hillis here.  You see, it is believed whichever player makes the cover of the Madden Football Video game each year can expect trouble in the season that follows and may see his career take a turn for the worse.
There is a similar curse for the magazine Sports Illustrated cover. I have seen that pattern happen over and over in past years.

I want to suggest here that we leave behind the idea of curses and all that associated hokus-pokus.

Before I do that – let me clarify two things:

  • You can curse somebody by saying hurtful things about them. Words effect both the speaker and the the hearer. Not guarding one’s tongue can be a curse.
  • You can curse someone by gossiping about them and crippling their chances with other people.

If we want to use ‘curse’ in a symbolic-poetic way … that would be one thing. But if we think that it has a literal correspondence to actual (ontological) reality then:
What I am saying is that this idea of somebody being cursed or being under a curse is so medieval, antiquated, and superstitious that it is somewhere between folk-religion and hogwash.

Now you may be asking yourself “Why does he get so upset about this stuff? Why does he even care? Why does he bother taking this on? Why not just let it go?”

It turns out that there is a really good explanation!

  1. I have been told that I had a curse.
  2. I regularly have to council people pastorally who have been told that they are under a curse.

It is hurtful and superstitious and I want to shout “How do you think that universe works? Really!”   Do you think that I could be plagued today because somebody who I may or may not know said something into the air that I may or may not be present for and it limits my life?” I have spent hours & hours late into the night praying to break curses – trying to discern in prayer who & where the curse came through in order to overturn its power at the origin.

Over the past 20 years I have been told so many times by people who are into Spiritual Warfare and Intercessory Prayer that “witches go through the phonebook and pray against pastors by name and put curses on churches” as an explanation for everything from pastoral adultery to drops in attendance.  Continue reading “Cut it out with the whole ‘Curse’ business”

Talking about Tebow’s God

This is a repost from Homebrewed Christianity. There was a wild discussion that ensued. I thought I would bring it over here as well – in case anyone wanted to have quieter conversation.

I have held off as long as I could but I think we better talk about this now before it goes any further.

Tim Tebow is a phenomenon is the media these days. His Denver Broncos football team is on a 6 game winning streak and he is 7-1 as their starting Quaterback. Despite his apparent limitations (skills) he has orchestrated a series of amazing comebacks during the winning streak.  That is a big deal! Any fan would love to have their team on this kind of a roller coaster – come from behind – frenzy.

That, however, is not what makes this news. Continue reading “Talking about Tebow’s God”

From Men to Boys

Masculinity is a fascinating topic. I really am quite intrigued by what it means to ‘be a man’ and how that has changed over the last 200 years. There is a biological component (no doubt) but there is also a really prevalent social component. Masculinity is a construct in flux.

I was in College training for ministry during the Promise Keepers years. As a minister interacting with different families, I realized that the PK model didn’t work for every guy (and fewer gals). I loved the subject though and I read everything from “Wild at Heart” to Lads Mags. There was little doubt for me that masculinity was changing even in my lifetime. This was obvious at every level from my Family Reunions to the Church’s men’s retriets and Pastor Conferences to the missions trips we went on to other countries.

The best resource that I ever found was a book called “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: the archetypes of a man“. It is written from a Jungian perspective and it is powerful powerful stuff.

I have been saying for a long time that something is in the air. Part of it is the divorce culture, part of it is the feminist revolution, part of it is the medium of media (video games and internet) and part of it is the economy-work force.  But something is up. Continue reading “From Men to Boys”

Football Jesus

There is an immense amount of football on the TV this month and the ‘God’ or Jesus of Football players continues to perplex me.   But recently I have found some relief!  A month ago something happened that I can not stop thinking about.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson dropped a game-winning touchdown in the end zone Sunday in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That night he used Twitter to say the most honest thing I have ever read!


I can not tell you how refreshing it is to hear Football Jesus get it trouble! He never gets blamed for anything. He gets all of the credit when things go well and none of the blame when things go wrong. This drives me absolutely crazy. This was like the Twitter version of the Psalms of lament where the psalmist cries out “where are you God?” Continue reading “Football Jesus”

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