CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

It’s Time for Some Passion Here

Sep 22, 2010

Some of you who are football fans may have watched the Brownlow ceremonies the other night. The winner with 30 votes was Carlton’s Chris Judd. This is the nation’s highest award for the best and fairest footballer. It is a huge honour and anyone who receives it is entitled to gloat and carry on big time.

Yet Judd was rather subdued in his acceptance speech. True, this is the second time he had won it. But his speech betrayed some wisdom and maturity; instead of jumping up and down like a mad man, he actually down-played the whole situation.

He reminded everyone that football is not real life, and that it is not all that important. He mentioned that another footballer, Jim Stynes, and his battle with cancer, was in fact real life. That is the real and important stuff of life, not some game and some award.

It was a good speech and helped to remind us all of what is important in life. He certainly had a right to get passionate about winning this twice, but instead he kept his feet on the ground and his head out of the clouds. Given how passionate so many Australians are about football, his speech was almost anti-climactic.

The truth is, there are many important things in life worth getting passionate about. But football really is not one of them. Yet sadly we will fill a religious shrine like the MCG with 90 to 100,000 people to scream their heads off about a dumb game, but we cannot even get a large crowd stirred up about something like the slaughter of the innocents.

I just returned from a public meeting tonight where I and a few other local speakers were on board to bookend the amazing story of Melissa Ohden. She is an American abortion survivor with an incredible story to tell. You can learn more about her at her website: www.melissaohden.com/

And you can watch a short video clip of her story here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5PlZzpfHQI

There were perhaps 120 people at the meeting. That is not bad, with crowds for similar events often smaller. And I am aware of at least two other competing events on the same evening in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. So to get over a hundred people out on a cool Melbourne evening was not too bad.

But the truth is, there should have been thousands there. Indeed, the MCG should have been reserved for a person like her, not some lousy football game. And all the Australian media should have been rushing to get in on her incredible story: 60 Minutes, and A Current Affair, and Four Corners, and Lateline, and so on.

Yet did any of these mainstream media outlets grab her on her Australian speaking tour? Nope, not one. And attempts were certainly made to notify the MSM about her. But the MSM is not interested in pro-life stories. It is only keen on pushing the pro-death agenda.

But the fundamental right to life of every child should be amongst our most pressing concerns. Yet the masses are not in the slightest bit interested. Give them a football game and they will go nuts, but give them a moving and riveting story of an abortion survivor, and they will simply yawn.

Whatever we give our passions to is our God. And any passionate love for anything other than the one true living God is idolatry, pure and simple. Millions worship the God of football and sport in this nation. Millions are guilty of gross idolatry.

Yet where are those who are passionate about God and the things that God is passionate about? As I reminded the crowd just a few hours ago, if we do not have the passion for such things as the protection of our most innocent and vulnerable, then for heaven’s sake ask God for that passion.

Ask Him to break your heart with the things that break His heart. Ask Him to help you rejoice over what He rejoices over, and weep over what He weeps over. Kevin Rudd was wrong to say that climate change is the great moral issue of our time. It is the abortion holocaust.

We are told in Scripture to “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11). Is that our passion? Is that our heartbeat? Is that what stirs us and drives us onwards? Or is it some stupid football game?

God’s heart is broken over the 90,000 unborn babies who are aborted every year in Australia. And the 1.3 million who are aborted every year in America. And the 45-50 million who are aborted every year around the world. God weeps over this. Do we? God’s heart is greatly moved by all this. Is ours?

I also mentioned the analogous moral crisis of slavery which people like Wilberforce fought, decade after decade. They were utterly passionate about this vital cause. How could they rest knowing that their fellow human beings were being treated as non-persons?

How could they go about their Christian routines and not be moved to tears over the plight of their enslaved brethren? How could they just sit back and do nothing about this horrendous injustice? How could they go on as if it’s business as usual in the face of such great moral evil?

And how can we today, with the similar horror of abortion? How dare we sit back and waste our time on carnal appetites and trivial pursuits, when all around us babies are being slaughtered. How dare we walk into the Lord’s house every Sunday with so much blood on our hands?

We need to repent of our apathy and indifference and carelessness and worldliness. We need to ask God to remove our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh. And we need to ask God to stir up within us a holy passion for the things which grip His heart.

Now is not the time for wimpy, don’t-rock-the-boat platitudes and moral tut-tuts. We need men of conviction, men of action, men of moral backbone who will get just as passionate about the wellbeing of the unborn as so many do every week about the wellbeing of their football team.

I can think of no better way to conclude than to remind you of the stirring words of the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass. His fiery words can so readily be applied to the abortion wars:

“It is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.”

[1148 words]

14 Responses to It’s Time for Some Passion Here

  • Thanks Bill.
    Like you, I am no fan of the Melbourne football religion. In fact, as soon as anything to do with it comes on my TV screen I immediately change channels. The sport religion is one of the several stupors now operating to send a whole generation of lemming-like followers to an eternity of death.
    As for abortion, I did not know about the visit of Melissa Ohden, but her story is like that of many others, and her mere existence is a testimony of judgment against a wicked, pro-death generation. Shame on all the journalists who ignore her because she is an affront to their consciences – whatever is left of them!
    Murray R Adamthwaite

  • How about a headline:
    AFL Grand Final called off – entire stadium emptied by abortions 15 years earlier.
    John Angelico

  • Great message, Bill. It should be read from every pulpit.

    A church that doesn’t speak out against the massacre of the innocents is one that is deliberately deaf to God’s call.

    It reminds me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words to some seminary students he was teaching during Hitler’s time: “Only those who cry out for the Jews may also sing Gregorian chant!”

    In a similar vein, the prophet Amos, warned the children of Israel that mere outward religious observance and church-going are not enough; God expects His people to be righteous and pursue justice.

    Proclaiming God’s message, Amos said: “Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:23-24).

    Thank you, Bill, for being a modern-day Amos and confronting us with this uncompromising message.

    John Ballantyne, Melbourne.

  • Many thanks John

    Actually I was seriously considering ending my article with two texts from Amos 6:
    “Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, … you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph” (Amos 6:1,6)

    I guess we are on the same wavelength here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill, your comments about football perhaps betray a little bias? I see no problem in 90 -100 thousand people having a great day at the MCG.

    On the other hand what seems to be the main point of your article is right on – how can we get so excited about something like a football grand final and yet yawn at injustice? Why is it that Pakistan’s crooked cricketers have received more coverage in the press recently than those who have died and been displaced in the floods in that same country? As the prophet says, let us “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly before our God” and when we have done all that, getting excited over a football game is in its proper place.

    John Symons

  • Thanks John

    But of course the issue is not whether people once and a while have a good time at the MCG. I have done so myself. Nowhere did I say that was a problem. What I did clearly say is that it is a big problem when football – or anything else – becomes a god to people, their number one passion and all-consuming desire. That is idolatry, and Australia would be full of idolaters in that sense.

    The other point I was seeking to make is that it is a sad situation when people can become absolutely obsessed and passionate about a game of sport, but will show no interest, passion or dedication to overwhelmingly important issues such as the right to life.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • It seems our media do all they can to keep abortion out of the public eye (unless they find pro-life murderer to rake over the coals). I find the more I know the more I am touched. After the Down’s Syndrome suit earlier this year I can’t look at a Down’s person without a deep sense of sadness and loss, because I know for every live child with Down’s there are nine who were not allowed to live.
    And perhaps it is time we kept the word hero for those who give themselves for others rather than those who can kick a ball through two poles.
    Kylie Anderson

  • This one is more, far more, than just an article, Bill!
    The words are a just and strong admonishment to those of us who profess to be Christians. Yes, how can we indeed rest when there is so much blood on our doorstep?

    The blood of the innocent unborn babies that are killed in the womb, or are left to die gasping when they survive an abortion, day after day, week after week, year after year, surely cries out for justice. I have no doubt whatsoever, if we do not seek it for them, God will. Moreover, God will remove His grace and hand from our nation very soon, and from each of us, if we are not willing to stand up and fight for these little ones.

    PS Melissa Ohden is truly a one in a billion person.

    Trevor Grace

  • Following on from Bill’s comment about football (sport) as a god, I note that a woman who has constructed a huge styrene magpie in her front garden does NOT receive objections from neighbours supposedly “offended” by her religious display!

    The real gods of the society are protected.

    John Angelico

  • Thanks for this passion against abortion which I can use tonight in our Life Group. I think people relegate the abortion issue to a social justice category instead of seeing it as a cancer to the spiritual fibre of our Nations. Can you say any more about why Christians would relegate it to the “social justice box?’ Does it maybe give an excuse that it’s not as spiritual as bringing people to Jesus, so I can prioritise my time away from it?

    Rebecca Field

  • On the news and current affairs shows they has been a lot of discussion about puppy farms and their cruelty. Activists have been show demonstrating calling their closure, and people shown questioning how a modern society as ours can still support such cruel practices.

    Strikes me as tragic that the same support is not given by the media, and indeed the featured activists, to the plight of the unborn, or even the terminally ill (re Bill’s next post on euthanasia).

    I’ve been reading through the Psalms lately and have taken great comfort in the Psalmists’ laments, and their faith in God’s ultimate victory over evil.

    Greg Randles

  • Hi Bill

    No reference to the particular comments on this article, but do you ever feel that the actual comments you get from people could become the outlet for the emotion you stirred in them? I don’t think the majority of people have your writing ability. Perhaps an abortion of passion could actually happen here……writing that punchy one liner was mentally exhausting, but I do feel better now…. I’ve done my bit!

    Annette Nestor

  • Whilst I thought as you did that Chris Judd was a voice of sanity I actually heard one commentator suggesting he showed lack of appreciation for the award.
    I wish we had had a bigger place for and more notice of Melissa’s sharing. Instead of lamenting all she had suffered emotionally as well as physically she could work actively towards helping everyone else involved. A pity she was not given media coverage (or did I miss it?). Her adoptive parents were obviously the best parents for her.
    Katherine Fishley

  • Amen.

    To be apathetic, “neither hot nor cold” isn’t an acceptable option for any servant of our Lord.

    Anna Cook

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