>These are lean times for fans of Miami Hurricanes football. There’s not too much to cheer about right now. Our friends over at The Submerging Influence didn’t make things any easier with this little post last week. The U is accustomed to delivering beat downs like that one, not receiving them. Let the haters rejoice.
My wonderful wife recently started me on a subscription to Sports Illustrated and I was pleased to see that the Sept. 10th issue included an article about Miami’s new coach, Randy Shannon [Hiding in Plain Sight by Gary Smith]. It is a very personal and revealing look at Shannon and there was a lot there to give me confidence that he is the right man for the job.
In the second half of the article, I came across a statement that stopped me in my tracks. I don’t want to spoil the article for you because I recommend that you read it but Shannon has faced and survived hardships that I, as one who came up in the suburbs, could not imagine. He has experienced the tragic death of loved ones (again, reserving details in case you want to read the SI article). Shannon drew upon the life lessons he learned in the face of death to help the young players at Miami deal with the deaths of their teammates over the years. For those who are not familiar with the Hurricanes, the team has lost several players over the past decade-plus to untimely deaths.
Shannon teaches his players about the power of the will (Some Reformed folk may get squeamish over such talk. It would be an interesting side discussion to look at the power of the human will). He began to draw upon the power of the will at a young age. He willed himself to cut weight to make the youth football team and he willed himself to deal with the death of loved ones later on. This is where we come to the statement that really caught my attention that I alluded to earlier. Here is how the section reads:
He willed himself to wake up every school morning at six, without an alarm, in that empty house. To wash and fold and iron his clothes on Saturdays, to polish his shoes and clean the house, to impose order on chaos. To study game film while his high school teammates were in study hall, to compile folders of notes on their opponents’ tendencies, to offset his deficiencies in speed and size as a linebacker through anticipation, technique and cunning…
Did you catch it? Read the title of this post again: Glimpses of the Imago Dei in the Eye of the Hurricane and think about how it connects to the paragraph above.
This is the statement that jumped out at me: “to impose order on chaos.” Boom. A powerful theological concept tucked away in an SI article. Humanity’s compulsion to impose order on chaos is a direct result of the Imago Dei. “The image of God” is somewhat of a complicated subject when you attempt to define exactly what it is but the concept comes from Genesis 1:26-27 (NASB):
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
After leading the reader through much review of the related biblical concepts, one author describes the Imago Dei this way: “The image of God consists of humanity’s investment with God-like glory and the moral capacity to reflect His character while ruling the earth as His representatives.” You may have heard that the divine image has been “defaced but not erased.” I agree with this view. Sin has defaced the ideal image of God and we begin the process of being restored to the ideal image in salvation and sanctification. However, all of humanity is made in the image of God although the image is distorted.
Now back to the point of this post. Imposing order on chaos is related to the “dominion” aspect of the image of God. The description of the Imago Dei noted above mentions “…reflect His character while ruling the earth as His representatives.” God imposes order on chaos and we reflect His character when we “rule the earth” by imposing order on chaos. Even in the seemingly little things.
In the midst of a family torn by drugs and disease, in the midst of a community filled with families like his, Shannon imposed order on the chaos around him to the best of his abilities as far as the strength of his will would take him. This is powerful, this is spiritual. I probably would not say such a thing several years ago. Following the assumptions of a sharp sacred-secular split, a lower story-upper story division and possessing an inadequate view of general revelation, I have not always appreciated the beauty of the intangible aspects of what God has made. The beauty of trees and mountains? Yes. The beauty of each one of us, defaced as we are, imposing order on chaos is something I have had to learn.