Kevin’s Conversations: When the Loudest One Wins
My love for sports has been plainly (or painfully for some) obvious in my writings here. When I get the chance to watch tv I will frequently choose sports over most other programming.
When I am driving in my car I sometimes will listen to a game or even sports talk radio.
When surfing the internet, I will often go to various sports websites to get my fill of scores and stats and news and information.
(Of course, only after I first check the Phoenix Preacher. 🙂 )
One thing, however, that makes me quickly change the channel are many of those sports debate shows. Not that I don’t like a good sports debate, but the problem is that many of these debates fall well short of being anything approximating “good”. The reason is that the debates aren’t constituted by well thought out and reasoned contentions. Rather, they are based on one commentator making an over the top, sometimes even completely ridiculous assertion, and then boldly and arrogantly defending it. The opposing commentator will attack the assertion of the first commentator and tell them how stupid it is and then when it’s their turn, give their own over the top, sometimes even completely ridiculous assertion. Back and forth, over and over again. It is completely inane.
Now, not all tv and radio sports debate is to this extreme, but unfortunately, seemingly more and more of it is. Nothing can make me reach for the remote or the buttons on the radio any faster than to see the face or to hear the voice of Skip Bayless or Screamin’ A. Smith or some of the hosts of the local sports talk radio stations.
I was reminded of these jokers once again when I read an article about how Bayless accidently praised himself on Facebook when he seemingly was meaning to do it under a dummy account in order to make it look like other people were praising him. So not only do these guys need to carry themselves in self-promoting and arrogant and condescending fashions, they then need to resort to deceptive practices to do it even more so. Please God, give us more Vin Scully’s than Skip Bayless’s.
I believe these sports personalities and shows are a symptom of the culture in which we live. While having stupid arguments about sports is usually relatively harmless, we see similar tactics employed in politics and other realms of life which impact people in more real and meaningful ways.
In order to better the chances of winning, we must be increasingly haughty and outrageous in our arguments. We must do whatever it takes to bring more attention to them and to us. Who cares about solid facts and lucid reasoning, being louder and more brazen will be the key to winning. Or so the thinking implies, judging by the behavior we see.
In a culture that is more and more losing its attention span, the go to technique seems to be to make a quick statement or to post a meme that boldly states how right we are and how wrong the others are. Scarce with facts but full of bravado and flamboyance. And to promote ourselves or our cause or organization to no end in order to build credibility and to show how good or smart or cool we are through means of inundation.
All the more problematic when thinking like this infiltrates Christians and the church, and it does. When we try to make our point or win the argument with a cacophony of force and loud noise and antagonism. When we go over the top in pointing out just how bad those other people or groups are, often times misrepresenting them or portraying them to be worse than they really are. When our promotion focuses more on how good or smart or cool we are or our church or group is and Jesus takes a back seat. When we must put on an act to show just how “authentic” we are. A whole lot of bluster with little substance.
We can think of some of the most ridiculous examples in the church where churches or church leaders or just Christians in general do or say outrageous things in order to make or draw attention to their point or cause or even just themselves. From Ed Young’s challenge to married couples to have sex every day while he and his wife broadcast from a bed on the roof of their church, to John Hagee blaming Hurricane Katrina on homosexuals or an ebola outbreak on President Obama’s position on Israel, to the increasingly crazy things that come out of the mouth of Pat Robertson. But thank you, God, that we are not like these men. Because our words are always pure and precise and well formulated and we would never do anything with the unrighteous intent to make others look bad or the selfish motive to draw wanton attention to ourselves.
Yes, there may be some segments of the church that have a bigger problem with attention seeking and over-the-top bluster and bravado. But when thinking on these things, probably all of us could gain in one way or another by watching how we carry ourselves and interact in personal conversation or on the internet. There may be times where it is necessary and righteous to get loud or forceful or to promote why we are right. Other times, however, I think we misappropriate such tactics. We can do better.
Lord help us to do so.
Good and timely article Kevin. Thank you.
“We can do better.”
Yes we can. Keep pushing us to do just that.
I take it you are a Steven A. Smith fan? 🙂
“Scarce with facts but full of bravado and flamboyance.”
It seems to be the culture of the day. At one time, learning was honored and musicians had to put in their “10,000 hours”. Now, as you say, “the loudest one wins”. I’ve watched it in university classrooms over almost four decades. I guess it takes a bit of humility to figure out that you don’t know it all and someone else may have a valid position…
Unfortunately, the man has done much work in the Philadelphia market and I believe resides in the area. So I have been exposed to him more than even most sports fans across the nation.
Wow. Yeah. He is obnoxious.
What we miss in these discussions is the physiological effect of these shows, whether the screaming is about politics or sports.
People don’t listen for information anymore…they listen to get wound up and upset or excited.
The brain gets used to this constant surge,like strong coffee in the morning.
The problem is that the content now has to do this every day and there is no distinction made between real issues and ones made from whole cloth.
We all grow less intelligent and more irritable daily…
#6 Agree totally.
A populace who doesn’t care about truth and substitutes emotion for fact is a civilization in danger of folding.
“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.”
Hannah Arendt, famous poiitical theorist
As for as sports talk I like Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd, Around The Horn, and Highly Questionable.
You’ve got a glut of sports talk on the tube and they all talk about the same things with ratings being the bottom line. So they gotta do something to attract viewers. And when it comes to ratings Steven A. delivers.
It actually relaxes me to watch the various ESPN and Fox talkies. I get my highlights and commentary along with Golic dressed as Kim Kardashian!! 🙂
There’s a lot to pick at in the church as it’s everywhere via social media. I try to maintain equilibrium when I comment on things here but find I can be out there myself. Looking at ourselves is key as you pointed out Kevin. None of us have arrived.
OTOH some of us are approaching the age where it’s not safe to get too worked up about anything! 🙂
Good thoughts Kevin, thanks for this.