Leadership Styles in Tolkein

jacksontolkeinWith the release of the second chapter of Peter Jackson’s version of The Hobbit this week I thought it might be appropriate to revisit some old friends from the Lord of the Rings.

It seems to me that leadership conversation are wending their way into my day with ever increasing frequency. With that in mind I use the observations below, which I have in fact posted previously, as the start of a new series on leadership looking at several of these characters as well as several from The Hobbit. See if you can find yourself in the list below


ElrondElf Lord, bearer of one of the three elven rings.

  1. Leads from a base of wisdom: “counted chief among the wise”
  2. Leads from a safe haven: Rivendell, “the last homely house”
  3. Leads as a counselor, not as a participant.
  4. Leads out of enough experience to have become somewhat jaded.
  5. Provides a sense of big picture direction

GaladrielElf Lord, also a bearer of one of the three

  1. Leads out of a safe haven: “Lorien, a place where time seems to have stood still”
  2. Leads rooted in an ancient traditional past.
  3. Leads as a counselor not as a participant.
  4. Leads out of specific commitments rather than overall purpose
  5. Provides potential operational direction: “The mirror of Glaldriel”

TheodenKing of Rohan, the horse lords

  1. Leads from a deep association with his people.
  2. Leads out of militant participation.
  3. Leads with compassion.
  4. Leads with a sense of his historical place within his organization.
  5. Is the prime example of redeemed leadership.

DenethorSteward of Gondor

  1. Leads out of a fortress mentality
  2. Leads out of ancient traditions
  3. Leads out of militant participation
  4. Leads out of an ego that forgets limitations and boundaries
  5. Succumbs to temptation and evil in the end

BoromirEldest son of Denethor

  1. Leads with a sense of his own strength.
  2. Leads as a militant participant.
  3. Leads with fervent passion.
  4. Leads by putting the world on his shoulders.
  5. Succumbs to ego and temptation.

FaramirYoungest son of Denethor

  1. Leads out of a sense of duty.
  2. Leads out of a love that inspires.
  3. Leads as a militant participant.
  4. Leads with a sense of nobility.
  5. Leads out of a humility that is almost his undoing.

TreebeardAn Ent (talking trees)

  1. Leads out of long tradition.
  2. Leads out of deliberate thought not sudden emotion.
  3. Leads out of a commitment to purpose and his people.
  4. Leads as a militant participant.
  5. Is the prime example of a long dormant leader rising to meet a new need.

FrodoA hobbit, ring bearer

  1. Leads out of reluctance.
  2. Leads out of a sense of purpose.
  3. Leads out of compassion.
  4. Leads for a project, not a period or a program.
  5. Retires from leadership after having accomplished his “task”.

Sam A hobbit, Frodo’s “man Friday”

  1. Leads out of devotion.
  2. Leads out of humility.
  3. Leads only reluctantly.
  4. Leads without knowing it.
  5. Easily moves back and forth from servant to leader.

Merry and PippinHobbits, cousins of Frodo

  1. Lead out of a desire for something better.
  2. Lead as militant participants.
  3. Lead out of organizational and inspirational strength.
  4. Lead through crisis and on into stability.
  5. Are the classic examples of leaders being “grown up”.

GandalfA Wizard

  1. Leads out of wisdom.
  2. Leads as a steward.
  3. Leads with a fervent passion.
  4. Leads as a militant participant.
  5. Occasionally allows his passions to overrule his compassion..

AragornKing in exile

  1. Leads out of patience and longsuffering.
  2. Leads with an acute knowledge of the mistakes of his predecessors.
  3. Leads with a sense of timing and purpose.
  4. Leads as a decisive participant.
  5. Inspires others to greatness

I love looking at leadership styles using these characters because we’re given a view of them in the context of an epic story. Your life is an epic story, even if you don’t have to battle orcs, nazgul, and evil wizards. So as you read the above descriptions ask yourself the following questions:

Did you find one that matches your style?

Try watching the film that features the character you chose (or reading the book). What are that characters strengths, weaknesses, blind spots?

How is that character tempted?

How do they respond?

Any parallels in your real life?

A Reminder to Christians About Noah

noahheaderAs most of you are no doubt aware Darren Aronofsky’s film version of the Noah story came out this week. I actually thought it came out weeks ago given all the flap over it but there you go…that’s just me not keeping up. With all the furor over the film I find myself sometimes amused and other times annoyed by what I read.


A couple non-spoilers here:

  1. I’ve not yet seen it.
  2. Aronofsky himself claimed it would be the least biblical film ever made, or some such thing.
  3. Christians viewers of the film seem divided on whether the faithful should attend or no.

My intent here is not to come down on either side of the see-it-or-not argument. There is merit in not wanting to put your money or support towards something you believe may go against what you hold to be true, strong merit.

On the other hand there is merit in wanting to be culturally relevant. Even if there are those who too often use this as an excuse.

If you read anything about Darren’s other movie, The Black Swan, then you had to guess this film would come replete with shock value. So why are we all so up in arms when the guy claimed it would not be biblical and we knew ahead of time it would be shocking in some shape or form? Come on man! We’re better than that!

So as you, my Christian friends, try to determine if you’ll go and watch this film I want to offer you a couple reminders:

1. We believe this is a true story.

It may be portrayed incorrectly, even if I like the idea of a Russell Crowe-like Noah, but we believe in a version of the same story and we believe it is true. AND, isn’t part of what we’re called to as Christians is to speak the truth in love?

Ephesians 4:14-15As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. 15 Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ,

So whether you see it or not be prepared to speak the truth, intelligently, and in love.

2. We believe we win in the end.

Sometimes it seems like the bad guys always win. I have a number of Christian friends who get violently upset when they feel that the Gospel message has been attacked. There is nothing wrong with a little righteous indignation. But at what cost when it gets too heated?

One of my favorite moves as an athlete, when I was winning a game and the opponent started talking trash, was to smile at point at the scoreboard. Even sweeter than that was enduring trash talk when we were behind and then being able to smile and pat them on the head when we won.

Not to trivialize in any way anybody’s eternity. But let’s remember that we believe we win in the end and we want to do our best to be sure that even the producers of non-biblical versions of bible stories, and perhaps more importantly, those whom they influence, win too.

So whether you see it or not remember to speak boldly, kindly, and with confidence.

Funny how the secular world isn’t up in arms, divided in the mindset, over it all. Just those of us who are supposed to be unified. Come on guys, we’re better than that. I, for one, hope some good conversation comes out of this film so I’ll probably see it at some point. Whether you do or not just remember, we win, and while it appears that we’re momentarily losing we get to speak the truth in love.

Will you go see Noah?

Three Switches That Can Get You Off the Couch

switches 3This past Saturday I ran a 10k with a good friend helping him train for a half marathon coming up in May.

If you would have asked me a year ago to go run six miles for fun I would have told you you were insane. At that point 6 miles was the furthest I had ever run in one go in my life.

But in July last year I started training to run the Walt Disney World Marathon, which I did run in January.

How did THAT happen? How did I go from, “I will NEVER run a marathon!” to “I could do that again” ?

For me it all started with a medal.

Switch #1: A Worthy Reward

Disney has a marathon weekend in Florida (which includes a 1/2 marathon) in January and a 1/2 marathon weekend in Anaheim in August. If you run in both you get a very cool coast-to-coast medal. Those that know our family know we’re HUGE Disney fans…the parks in particular…and the medal depicts a statue of Walt and Mickey that has many memories for us from our trips to the parks. I have wanted that medal for five years.

But every year for five years I have dallied. Told myself I’d get around to registering for the January event but always getting around to it after the 1/2 marathon is sold out. Which has meant I have to wait until the following January to get in the cycle.

That happened again in 2013. I was bummed.

I stared at the now sold out 1/2 marathon in disbelief. I had missed it AGAIN! Then, and I still don’t know why I did this, I looked at the marathon and saw it was the same price. Hold on…you’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking.

Switch #2: A Fair Cost

Traveling to Florida is expensive and that expense had been one of the causes of my dallying year after year but now I had come to the doorstep of acceptance, ready to pay the piper, permission from my wife even! The cost was no greater for the full than for the 1/2 ?!?! I could still get the medal?!? I’LL DO IT.

Almost as soon as I had signed up I started to question my sanity. Twenty six miles is a long way. I had ridden my bike that far but never imagined traveling that far on foot. But I had done a could of short triathlons. I had used an app from Jeff Galloway to train myself up to a 10k and he did have a marathon app as well. Maybe it was doable?

Switch #3: A Motivating Plan

My thinking started like this:

  1. I don’t have to be fast, I just have to finish
  2. They require a 16 minute max pace, I can walk at about 14-15
  3. In my shorter runs I’ve been aiming for an 8 minute pace, this is twice as slow
  4. So it’s just a matter of not stopping

Breaking it down like that made this herculean task seem achievable. On top of that Jeff Galloway teaches a run-walk-run approach which means I didn’t have to think about running even a mile. I only had to think about running the next three minutes.

If you’ve been contemplating taking on an physical challenge such as running, biking, swimming, triathlon, climbing a 14er…whatever it is…look for ways to flip these three switches:

  1. Set a worthy reward out there…sometimes finishing isn’t quite enough, you need a tangible goodie.
  2. Compare the cost to something you DO consider reasonable. It’s helps remove that as an excuse.
  3. Come up with a plan that breaks down the big challenge into manageable bits. You may need help on this one. I’m glad I found Jeff Galloway’s plan.

In a coming post I’ll talk about the race experience itself but for the moment:

What challenge have you been considering for way too long? What is your biggest obstacle?




Do You Want To Be a Better Speaker? Read This!

speakerpantsYou’re headed into one of the larger session rooms at the Denver Convention Center. You’ve worked through conversations with customers all morning and now you’re hoping to catch your breath while you listen to your boss regale them.

Suddenly two of your cohorts come flying out of the room.

“Fletch! Dude, where you been? It’s standing room only in there and you’re up to speak!”

Raising one eyebrow you reply, “Um, no, not my session, Gary’s session.”

Heads shaking in unison like some demented imitation of synchronized swimming.

“Nope, yours.”

How do you handle this potentially disastrous moment? Argue? Panic? Flee?

None of the above.

You calmly ask to borrow one of the guys laptops with a single Powerpoint slide, that you know he has, you calmly walk into the room and wow 250 customers with one of the highest rated presentations of the conference.

How is it that you can handle a situation that close to 3/4 of the population list as one of their top two fears?


You’ve been to the SCORRE Conference!

We’ll teach you a method for organizing your thoughts and information that allows you to present with crystal clarity and pin point focus. A method that gives you the tools to put together a memorable talk using the information you already carry around in your head. A method that comes in handy when faced with the surprise assignment of walking up in front of hundreds of people all expecting to hear something of value.

We’ll equip you with skills can give you the confidence you need to overcome your fear of public speaking and train you to craft stories that drive home your point in meaningful ways.

Does this sound like a commercial yet? You may think so but wait…there’s more.

In my ten years of youth ministry and more than twenty years preaching and speaking at youth camps I’ve never found a better tool.

In my corporate career I’ve used the tools we’ll teach you to train literally thousands of sales and marketing people, to develop go to market strategies, and to craft countless presentations…some in as little as 5 minutes.  🙂

You won’t find a more valuable tool for people who have to communicate to an audience.

So here’s the deal…

Early bird registration ends Saturday for the conference happening in Orlando May 5-8. Click on the pic below and, when you register, be sure to enter the coupon code: CURTIS

If you register by Saturday, AND use my code, I’ll give you another $50 back in your pocket as a rebate at the conference.


After more than 20 years teaching SCORRE I can say without hesitation this will be a valuable experience.

Go ahead, click on my face. It’ll take you to the registration page.

To Be ( a better speaker) or Not To Be. The choice is yours.


Three More Reasons to Run a Marathon

marathonheaderI said, “There’s no good reason for me to run anywhere unless someone is chasing me.”

I said, “There is no sane reason to even attempt running 26 miles!”

I said, “I feel pretty confident that I will NEVER try that, nor ever feel the need to try that.”

And then, in January of this year, in Orlando, I ran the marathon I said I would NEVER run.

Now listen, you’ve probably seen any number of posts where people try to convince you you can do this (which is why I call it three MORE reason…) so I’m not going to promise some new secret sauce. What I will tell you though is that:

  1. I’m 52 and the longest distance I had run before signing up for this race was 6 miles.
  2. When I started training for the race I was about 35-40 pounds overweight.
  3. I’ve had two knee surgeries and now have one pretty badly arthritic knee.
  4. My ortho told me I probably shouldn’t run much at all.

So compare YOUR excuses to those before you continue.

Ready to continue? Ok.

The process of HOW I conned myself into this is the subject of another post. For the moment though let me tell you why you should give a marathon a go.

Reason 1: Because you CAN do it.

No really, you can. It is as much a mental thing as it is a physical thing. There are any number of training programs out there that can get you from couch to marathon in less than a year. The two I used primarily were an app called GIPIS and a combination of app and training program from Jeff Galloway. His run/walk/run approach really does work and you can tune it to you.

So ok, doing something just because you can isn’t all that great a reason so…

Reason 2: You will become part of an ELITE club.

According to a couple of studies from 2011 less than 1/2 of 1% of people IN THE WORLD has ever run a marathon. In what other categories can you claim to be in the 99.5th percentile? Talk about bragging rights! People will call you crazy, they will shake their heads, and they will secretly wish they could accomplish something as unique as what you have done.

Of course it doesn’t seem like the percentage is that small when you’re running in a crowded race but you’ve surrounded yourself with a group of folks who are going after something incredibly unique and that alone feels incredible.

Reason 3: You will believe in yourself in a NEW way

When you finish the race you’ll have to deeply philosophical and life changing thoughts:

  1. Crap, I’m never going that again!
  2. Dude, I can do anything!

The first of those two changes within the first 30 minutes simply because the strength of the second is so all encompassing.

I ran my race two months ago today and I am still feeling the motivation, the encouragement, the sense of accomplishment, and the power of that experience.

Will it be hard? Yes.

Will it take some concerted effort in terms of training? Yes.

Can you find the time, the strength, and the will to do it? Yes.

I’m already planning to go back to Orlando next January with an ever crazier scheme in mind than JUST running a marathon. Why not start planning now to join me?

What is it about you that makes you think you couldn’t do this? Are you willing to try?



Throwing Down the Christian Social Media Gauntlet

lentGot your attention didn’t it ? Yeah, probably a bit more of a provocative title than was really necessary. But true nonetheless.

For those of us who don’t go by some of the more Catholic traditions surrounding Easter lent may seem like something “the other folks do”. No matter your persuasion toward lent though, if you claim to be a believer in Christ then I would like to offer up a challenge as to what we might all give up for the lenten season.


Here it is: Let’s all agree to give up ANYTHING in social media that is aimed at telling our Christian brothers and sisters what they should NOT do.

Whether it is five theological fallacies we need to reject, or the one thing we must stop doing, or the eight reasons we should not be excited about an Oscar acceptance speech, let’s all agree, that for at least the period of lent, we’ll only be supportive, encouraging, a positive in how we choose to “instruct” one another in social media.

Don’t get me wrong. In private you can have a go at whomever and whatever you like, just not in a public forum.

Yes, I do appreciate the irony of this challenge. But in the spirit of lent I thought it was ok.

Why do I throw down this particular gauntlet?

Ephesians 4:

The Message (MSG)

4-6 You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

Or maybe it is more…

John 13:

The Message (MSG)

34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

Or perhaps it’s just…

Colossians 3:13-14

Living Bible (TLB)

13 Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony.

So what say ye brothers? How cast ye thy vote sisters?

Just for lent, nothing but unity and encouragement in social media. What would a united body look like in the public eye? What difference might it make with those who choose to come to church that one Sunday out of the year? What might the lasting impact be on those who are watching?

Can we, for 40 days, present a unified loving reality? If you like the idea pass it on.

God Math


About a year ago my wife and I decided we needed to get back to tithing regularly. We were giving to a several different ministries but we weren’t at 10%. This wasn’t a theological compunction so much as a feeling it was what we were supposed to do.

And really it made no sense.

We had a lot on the calendar already for 2013-2014 and giving away another several hundred bucks a month seemed ridiculous. Unfortunately it also seemed obedient. We knew we’d have to rely on God Math.

I won’t go into all the details of the past year but let me provide the most recent example.

We’re trying to put together a graduation trip for Ian that includes some steep airfare costs. A week or so ago we were going over options and fretting over how to afford airfare. We had several conversations about it before I had to travel to Houston for three days at a customer site.

The trip went fine until I was headed to IAH to come home. My boss and I got notice that our connecting flight out of Austin was delayed. (We took the connection because it was cheaper.) Fortunately because he has mega world status with the airline he was able to get us both switched. He was going direct back to Denver and me direct to Colorado Springs. Or so I thought…

We got to the airport and went to the Red Carpet Club where I was told my flight was oversold…by 1…so they’d have to wait to give me a seat. Not to worry thought, several connecting flights were late so I’d be fine.

An hour before my flight I went to the gate to get a seat. I was told that my flight was oversold…by 1…not to worry though the connecting flights were still late so I’d be fine. They’d give me a seat closer to boarding.

For the next hour I watched the gate agent giddily sharing facebook photos of her new puppy with anyone who would look. I wasn’t TOO worried, after all, I’d be fine. Right? That was until our flight started showing 10 then 20 minutes delay.

Michelle, the puppy loving gate agent, had my seat confirmation though so although I began to boil inside at her canine cavorting I managed to keep it cool on the outside. When she started boarding the plane and stalled the line to show off her pooch pics I didn’t flinch. When she ignored me standing at her desk and called two people who were apparently on the stand-by list I bit my tongue. When she turned to close the door and asked if I was standing by I kept an even keel.

“Um, no actually I have a confirmed seat which we talked about a little over an hour ago.”

Recognition dawned and she furiously started typing in the information she had on my flight card right in front of her. She realized she’d blown it bad but wasn’t going to admit it. She talked to the folks on the plane twice hoping to find an empty seat but there were none.

“Mr. Fletcher I’m apologize, but I have managed to confirm you on a seat on the 5:15″ (two hours later). I was TICKED!!

“Because we involuntarily bumped you we’ll have to compensate you. You can either get the unused portion of your ticket back in cash, (probably $100) or we can issue you a coupon for a future flight valued at $500.”

Hmmm, two hours delay for $500? Yeah, I’ll take that…and just about cover what I need for the grad trip airfare.

God Math. It comes out of nowhere, shows up when we need it, and always seems to add up.

When was the last time you experienced God Math?

American Preferences Revealed in Learnings from Odd On-line Study


The American Association of Online Retailers reported last week that We the People actually enjoy pop-up adds! Insane you say? Perhaps not.

In a lightly attended press conference Mitch Engle, senior research designer at Nielsen, presented the findings that Americans, more than any other people group, respond favorably to online pop-up advertising.

“We took a different approach to collecting data this time around.” Engle said, “In most of these types of studies people are presented with advertising that matches their online behavior and preferences as closely as possible. For the purposes of this study we presented people with an average of ten adds that had no connection to their online behavior for every one pop-up that had a connection.”

The results were astounding.

“What we found was that, over time, people actually started to click through adds that had no connection whatsoever to what their normal online behavior had previously revealed.”

The study also showed that time of day seemed to make a difference.

“We found that at those times when regular online activity, reading blog posts, checking Pinterest boards, Tweeting etc. we’re at a lower ebb people tended to click through one off adds more frequently.”

When asked why he thought this was the case Engle had a ready answer.

“Americans are enamored with their online “communities”. Their online relationships offer a sense of control that just isn’t present in real life and so more and more people are spending more and more time in this controlled environment. This provides a real boon for advertisers because when a shopper feels that they are in control of the experience they are more likely to buy.”

Recent changes to Facebook helped accelerate and confirm results

“When Facebook went public we really had a chance to start hitting people more frequently with adds. We put them in their newsfeed, we put them in the margins more often and even started popping them up in games and other apps.”

But aren’t most of us annoyed by these pop-ups? Not according to Engle.

“The average Facebook user is in their late 30’s, has a little over 200 friends and typically uses the online platform to send private messages. That means that when they’re online checking and have nothing new to read, either in terms of status or messages they hang around to see if something “pops-up” (pun intended). At those off times of the day we can hit them with adds that are completely nonsense to them and, after an acclimation period, they’ll start to click through them. The click through to purchase rate is well over 35%”

But what about people in other countries?

“The research seems to indicate that people in other countries view their online relationships as being mush less critical to their daily lives. I’m not a social theorist, nor was that the intent of this study, but if I had to guess I’d say people in other countries tend to get out more. Going out to dinner in, say, Italy or Brazil is a five or six hour affair. In the States people are in and out.”

So what does this mean for us, the online consumer?

“Well”, said Engle, “if the shoes fits someone is going to sell it. People are buying from adds with no connection at a greater than 35% rate so we can probably expect more and broader advertising to encumber our online experiences.”

Oh great.

What do you think? Do these findings make sense to you?

Check out the full results of the study at:


A Matter of Perspective

225This past Sunday I found myself driving to the airport in the pre-dawn darkness planning on staying awake just long enough to sleep through a two hour, early morning flight to Dallas.

As I smoothly guided my little MR2 around the corner from I25 onto I225 north I found myself momentarily befuddled. You see I225 actually heads mostly east at this point, yeah, don’t ask, and there, in front of me, in the phantom light of early morning, I saw mountains on the horizon.

If you’ve ever been to Denver you know the mountains are on the west. To the east is the beginnings of the great plains…NO mountains…even very few hills.

I started to wonder if I had taken the wrong exit. I started checking the road that I had taken so many times before to be sure all the proper landmarks were in place. The entire landscape started to look unfamiliar and different. It probably took me close to 30 seconds to fully convince myself I was headed in the right direction.

And then I realized the “mountains” were just clouds.

For the next ten minutes or so my mind kept bouncing back and forth between the assurance that I was following a well known path and the suspicion that I was headed into some entirely new, unknown, potentially misleading landscape. I must have checked the next six or seven exit signs just to be sure they were filing by in the corrected order. But that rolling feeling of strangeness and discomfiture continued.

Fortunately I wasn’t lead astray. I stuck to, constantly glancing at the mountainous clouds which became more and more evidently clouds as the sun came up and as it did my discomfiture ebbed.

Those several minutes stuck with me though and made me wonder, how often does this kind of thing happen in everyday living? How often does some odd cloud on the horizon of life suddenly change my entire perspective and cause me to question where I am headed, cause me to question if I even really know where I am at all?

Allow me to share three lessons I learned from my Sunday morning encounter:

1. We’ll all encounter clouds on the horizon of life.It is inevitable. Usually we know they’re clouds and we know how to handle clouds but sometimes they’ll look a LOT like something else, something different, something disturbing to our normal order. When that happens remind yourself they’re just clouds.

2. Clouds are temporary

When you find odd shaped clouds on the horizon of life remember that clouds are temporary. Yes they may LOOK like permanent mountains but don’t allow that to stop you. Consider them carefully and you’ll discover they’re really clouds, no need to change course. (Of course CAREFUL consideration is the key…just in case you ARE going the wrong way and they ARE mountains!)

3. We don’t have to be fooled.These confounding clouds can confuse us but when we stick to what we know rather than giving in to the emotion of the moment we find that our path hasn’t changed, nor does it need to change. We can, and will, continue towards our goal, even getting a laugh out of the moments confusion if we allow ourselves the freedom to laugh.

When we find ourselves confronted by a confusing set of clouds on the horizon, if we remember that it is expected, it is worthy of careful consideration and it is temporary we can more easily navigate the confusion they cause and continue towards our original goal. It’s really a matter of perspective.

What are the “mountainous clouds” that have popped up on your horizon? How have you navigated that strange set of moments?


The Tebow/Lewis Conundrum

timrayIt’s funny how a year changes things.

Last year, when Tim Tebow was leading the Broncos to their first playoff win in a long while the media could not get enough opportunity to bash him for what they saw as an over the top display of faith that some said had no place on the football field.

I’ve found it interesting then this year, as the Ravens have made their unprecedented run to the Super Bowl, that very little is being said about Ray Lewis’ outspoken display’s of faith.

Oh sure there are the undercurrent of social media debates both amongst and between those on the far right and far left of the socio-politico-religious scale. I’ve seen Lewis actions lauded as those of a man who has “found Jesus” and decried as fake by those who remember Lewis as a murder suspect back in 2000. In either case though the press seems largely unimpressed.

Which makes me wonder…why?

In my musings over the mystery of the media’s maligning of my man Tebow and their seeming silence on the self same stuff with senior statesman Lewis I’ve considered a cadre of conspicuous contributors:

(All of which is to say I think I’ve figured out what happened.)

1. TimeTewbow was a rookie, a highly touted rookie but a rookie nonetheless.  He hadn’t had any time in the league to establish himself with anything other than pre-draft hype.  Although Tebow had been highly regarded throughout his college career he hadn’t had the same kind of media attention that players get in the NFL. In short the media hadn’t really had an opportunity to build a relationships with him.

Ray has been in the league for seventeen years. Granted that time has been turbulent at points but over the course of time the media has been able to craft an understanding of how they relate to Ray and how he relates to them.

I think it is very true in this case that time equates to relationship.

2. PerformanceThis one is almost a double edged sword because while Ray had proven himself over time, Tim WAS proving himself in his short opportunity to do so. I actually believe now, in hindsight, that part of the shots that were being taken at Tim were specifically because he was winning when by all intents and purposes he should not have been able to pull out those wins.

The media really didn’t want to admit that this kid, who looked like he really was NOT an NFL passer, was somehow winning games that he should be losing because of his relationship with God. Tim put them in a place where they had to consider that as a possibility. Tim wasn’t winning WITH God, Tim was winning BECAUSE of God and that didn’t sit well. We’ll never know, on this side of the box, whether God was orchestrating wins for Tim but the media certainly didn’t want to entertain that possibility.

By contrast Ray Lewis has proven himself a proficient, first ballot hall of fame, linebacker. Ray wins. If Ray wants to give credit to God the media can give each other a wink and a nudge and say, “Ok, but you won before you got religion too.”

This combination of time and performance creates a certain credibility in relationship. Faith has a place in the public arean of football no doubt. But the arena IS football. The Tebow/Lewis Conundrum seems to support the notion that the people who manage the popular opinions ensconced in that arena are willing to accept faith second if football is proved first. You can be good at football solely because of faith, they don’t like that.

Which leads me to wonder:

  • What are the arenas in life where our faith is welcomed AFTER we’ve proven ourselves in the arena?
  • Where are the places that we can invest time and performance that produces credibility?
  • How patient are we in building that street cred before bringing faith to bare?