Two quick thoughts today:

First of all – what was Peyton Manning thinking??  According to a variety of sources Peyton has previously made the claim that he is a Christian – in fact, in a radio interview about five years ago he said, I always felt it was very important to have a good relationship with the Lord. He always has to be your number one priority. I grew up in a good Christian home. My parents…we went to Sunday school and church every Sunday, so it’s always got to be a number one priority. 

 In his book, Manning, which he co-wrote with his father Archie, Peyton states, For me generally it had always been the big four: faith, family, friends, and football. . . . as important as football is to me, it can never be higher than fourth. My faith has been number one since I was thirteen years old . . . Some players get more vocal about it . . . and some point to Heaven after scoring a touchdown and praise God after games. I have no problem with that. But I don’t do it, and don’t think it makes me any less a Christian. I just want my actions to speak louder, and I don’t want to be more of a target for criticism . . . My faith doesn’t make me perfect, it makes me forgiven, and provides me the assurance I looked for half my life ago. . .

I’ve been blessed—having so little go wrong in my life, and being given so much. I pray every night, sometimes long prayers about a lot of things and a lot of people, but I don’t talk about it or brag about it because that’s between God and me, and I’m no better than anybody else in God’s sight. But I consider myself fortunate to be able to go to Him for guidance, and I hope (and pray) I don’t do too many things that displease Him. . . . I believe, too, that life is much better and freer when you’re committed to God in that way.

Now if all this is true, then why did he agree to participate in the Comedy Central roast of Rob Lowe wherein evidently nothing was off limits – from the subject matter (they joked about the sex tape Lowe made with a 16 year old girl in 1988) or language (according to Jim Hoft Ann Coulter was referred to using the “c… word” 19 times — I didn’t bother trying to count.)  It was a roast, I understand that, and at these roasts everyone – the “roastee” and the “roasters” alike are targets – and the humor can be a little tough (even the Washington Post described the night as brutal) – but there is a limit or ought to be – for those who claim to be Christian and are “committed to God.”

Most of the press reports say that Peyton was very funny, that he “stole the show.”  And from what I’ve read he kept his jokes within reasonable bounds – but why did he feel the need to be on such a show in the first place?  He didn’t need the money, that’s for sure.  If he did it for his “image” – well I wonder what his parents thought about the event? How about his wife?  Would he stand still if someone, even in jest, spoke to her or about her, in such a way?  Is this show going on the Peyton Manning highlight film that he will show to little Marshall and Mosley some day?

It was being taped that night for editing and broadcast later – so he could have taken a stand in the midst of this “locker room” by walking off the dais.  He could have issued a statement the next day with an apology to Coulter and the public at large.  He still can.  I’ve always liked the Manning clan – and I’ve always thought highly of Peyton.  Maybe he’s not the person I thought he was.  Maybe his faith claims were a bit inflated.  Maybe he didn’t know how to respond to the tone of the evening.  Maybe I just don’t really understand what the evening was all about.  As for Ann Coulter, she is known to have a rather caustic edge in her political commentary – but agreeing to be on this show, as she said “to promote my book” is, for me, rather hard to understand.  Sometimes I agree with her, sometimes I don’t.  Doesn’t matter.  What is being reported as having taken place was wrong, period.

I still wonder what Peyton was thinking but this is now less about Peyton Manning than it is about you and me.  It should be enough to make us wonder what we would do if (or when) we are invited to participate in such behavior.  Maybe it doesn’t matter much to the world around us – but it should to people of faith.  The Scripture is full of guidance in regard to such things.  The Book of Proverbs is particularly invaluable in helping us to understand that the world will try to drag us into its way of behaving.

Take Proverbs 16:29 as an example:   A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good. (ESV).  The International Children’s Bible puts it more simply:  A cruel man tricks his neighbor.  He leads him to do wrong.

Paul too has much to say on such things – consider this guidance:

  • I Corinthians 15:33-34 (ESV): Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”  Wake up… and do not go on sinning.
  • Ephesians 5:11 (ESV): Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
  • Romans 12:2 (Phillips NT): Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.

In Titus 2:2 Paul gives these instructions:  Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.  I suppose there are those who would want to debate the meaning of “older,” but nevertheless it seems to me that Paul’s guidance here for “older men” ought to be the goal of all who are in Christ.

Just a thought (I’ll save my second thought for later.)