Monthly Archives: December 2013

Quarter-backing his faith with action

Former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna will return to the Dallas Cowboys’ roster for one game this weekend.

Great story that came out this week as the NFL ramps up for the last week of regular season. This is courtesy of the Inquisitor. What does God want me to do? I think looking at Jon Kitna’s example might be a good place to start.

— Clem

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Jon Kitna is donating his paycheck to Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington. The retired NFL QB has been teaching math and coaching football at the Tacoma high school for the last two years. But after Tony Romo was injured last weekend, the Cowboys signed Kitna to a contract as their third string QB on Tuesday.

Jon Kitna will be donating $53,000 to the school that he led to an 8-2 record this past fall. His sophomore son, Jordan, was his starting QB. The Abes improved on their 5-5 record from their first season under Kitna, who has been coaching the team since retiring from his 15-season NFL career.

Kitna last started in the NFL for the Cowboys in 2010 when Tony Romo had a collarbone injury. Kitna was able to fill in for Romo and started nine games. The Cowboys were 4-5. Kitna does not expect to play much, as Kyle Orton is the Cowboys’ back-up. But Kitna saw Romo’s injury suffered during the Cowboys victory over the Redskins on Sunday, and reached out to Coach Jason Garrett via text.

“I told Jason if he wants me or somebody to come in and call a play and be able to pull a play off if a bad situation happened, I would be willing to do that.”

Lincoln High School is Jon Kitna’s alma mater. He played there in the late 80s and early 90s. After finishing up his NFL career in 2011, he returned to teach and coach at his home school. Speaking about his desire to give his life to helping young men, Kitna said:

“My wife and I always felt like these years in the NFL have prepared us for what our real calling in life is going to be as teachers and running a high school football program. I don’t think there’s anything that has changed from that. God has used my time in the NFL to train me to be ready to train young men to be authentic, real leaders, and to have a positive impact on society. And I want to use the avenue of football to do that. So I am very clear, and my wife is very clear in our calling.”

Jon Kitna donating his first paycheck to his high school makes complete sense considering he considers helping young men his life calling. It is great to see NFL players who understand how to use their opportunities to make a difference.

Would Jesus be friends with my friends?

What would Jesus do? That was a very popular phrase a couple years back. It’s a big question. How would Jesus respond in various situations we find ourselves in? Sometimes I have some sense of that and other times no. I can imagine myself being kind to children in the midst of a throng of adults. I’m a dad so I know how to do that, most days. I’ve never healed anyone, but I can always pray for people that God might heal them. Different I know, but I am counting on the same power source.

How about the people Jesus chose to hang out with? That’s where this can get a big tricky. He did not prefer the company of the religious leaders of his day. In fact Jesus had a reputation for hanging around with the wrong kind of people:

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”’ (Luke 7:34, NIV)

So Jesus is accused of gluttony and drunkenness by the self-righteous, who would never have gone to the house of a guy like Zacchaeus, the little guy Jesus called down from the tree in Luke 19. Once again Jesus heard the familiar accusation:

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’” (v.7)

Zacchaeus was a tax collector and a swindler. He admits it himself in a confession to Jesus:

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” (v.8)

Jesus’ response: “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

Jesus didn’t just plan to have dinner at Zacchaeus’ place but intended to stay the whole day according to Luke 19:5.

It makes me wonder as I consider my “friendships”: would I be accused of picking questionable company to hang out with. Or at least making friends with people who are really different than me. Do people look at some of my friends and wonder, “How did Clem get to be friends with him?” or vice versa, “How did this person become friends with Clem?”

Not that I’m great shakes that’s for sure. I’m got plenty of flaws and made some decisions others scratch their heads about. But it’s just this: as people would see me and my buds they’d realize there’s more of a bond than just sports or playing darts. And it might make them wonder, in a cool and good way, “What’s that about?”

It’s an important question for any of us who are serious about trying to follow the example of Jesus and do what he would do in our place. Are we building friendships on the number one qualifier of all from the Lord’s POV: openness to God and the message about Jesus Christ. If we are looking at friendships that way, we’ll end up in some excellent and unique company.