Rulon vs. The Rock

June 8, 2007, 10:00 am; posted by
Filed under Articles, David  | No Comments

“TV evangelists are the pro wrestlers of religion.”

Someone emailed me a list of humorous quotes, and this was one of them. After my initial laughter, this particular quote just kept hitting me with wave after wave of meaning.Wrestling It’s not just funny, it’s actually profound.

If you were to ask a group of ordinary people, “Who is Rulon Gardner?,” I’m not sure anyone would answer correctly. They never have the few times I’ve tried. He is the US wrestler who defeated the Russian giant, Alexander Karelin, in the 2000 Summer Olympics, winning a gold medal. Karelin had never lost a match in his entire career and had not even yielded a point in six years. It was an amazing feat and a huge upset.

But how many of those same people could correctly answer, “Who is The Rock?” Ah, many — because he wrestles on TV and has starred in movies. But he’s also a fake. Back in the 80’s, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) had to admit they were not a real sport, but rather “entertainment.” Why did they have to admit this? Real sports are taxed more heavily than entertainment, so it was either fess up or pay more in taxes. They did fess up, and now they’re known as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

But Rulon is, in fact, a real wrestler. See, aside from the charade that is “Pro Wrestling,” there is a real sport called wrestling, played out before small crowds in high school gyms across America. These people don’t get the bright lights. They can’t employ chairs, carefully written plots or fake blood to draw large crowds. It is what it is, wrestling. It’s hard work, and it’s boring to watch. But these people are the real thing.

Christianity, real Christianity, is not played out before bright lights with carefully scripted plots and predictable results. We all know what will happen on TV — the lady will get up from her wheelchair and dance across the stage, the man will throw down his crutches and walk. It’s JEVO, God on demand, and it works every time. God never fails to show up and move, in slick one-hour segments designed to show us the Christian need never taste defeat. Too bad the real thing doesn’t work that way.

The real thing happens away from the bright lights. No crowds, no applause, no guarantee it will work out the way you want. I heard one man say, “For every Christian healed of cancer another one is not . . . because the world needs to see how Christians face death as well as life.” I don’t know how accurate that is, but the point is well taken. Adversity, disappointment, the death of a loved one, it’s all part of life and our walk with God. They do need to see how we face adversity. How do we react when we fail? Do we get up or do we give up?

I’ll yield my soapbox now . . . but I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Rulon wrestled The Rock. I would pay to see that.


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