Monday, December 14, 2009

What to learn from the Tiger Woods' scandal

Al Mohler has commented on the Tiger Woods debacle. Among the many lessons that can be learned from the scandal Mohler points out three that deal specifically with whether or not Woods' serial adultery is a strictly private matter.

1) Acts done in private can and will have public consequences.
2) The public still believes adultery is a big deal.
3) A fall from public favor can happen in an instant.

Mohler writes,

A good number of observers, including Peggy Noonan, appearing on the "This Week" program on ABC News, argued that the scandal was a private matter, since Tiger Woods is a professional athlete and not a politician. Writing in Newsweek
magazine, Julia Baird made a similar argument. "He is not a politician, priest, or morals crusader. He is an athlete," Baird declared.

She continued:

"Why do we even pretend that sportspeople are models of propriety? Or rather why do we need them to be? They are physically gifted, driven, and disciplined. That's what you need to excel in sport. Not moral strength, courage, decency, or fidelity. These virtues are admirable, but are a bonus: they should not be an expectation. Yet we continue to project an irrational desire for the physically perfect to be spiritually strong."

That is a rather amazing argument. Moral strength, courage, decency, and fidelity are "admirable," but not necessary for athletes? Clearly, the American public was not buying that argument -- and for good reason.

Tiger Woods may not be a priest or a politician, but he has transformed himself into a public figure. Indeed, most of his income is derived from selling himself as a brand, an advertising symbol, and an image. The glare of publicity was not forced upon Tiger Woods -- he has actively and quite successfully cultivated this publicity
for his own purposes. There is no inherent fault in this, but the American people are not buying the argument that his adventures in serial marital infidelity, combined with two late-night 911 calls, are matters of purely private concern between Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin Nordegren.

Read the entire post HERE.

What interests me is the impact upon pastors this story ought to have. Tiger's reputation will never be the same. He is not a member of the clergy. He is not, as far as I know, a professing Christian. As far as I know he has never been a crusader for family values or public morals. Nevertheless as someone whose image depended upon a certain level of wholesomeness the revelations of Tiger's debauchery have forever impacted his life and career.

When a pastor falls headlong into sexual immorality or even plays around on the margins the impact of that behavior goes far beyond his own family and reputation. It casts a shadow over the body of Christ. It gives unbelievers and various other cultured despisers of Christianity fuel for the fires of their unbelief and mockery.

I hear Paul's charge to Timothy to watch his life and doctrine closely ringing in my ears. The pastor much pay careful attention to those two things that can either build up or tear down - what he believes (and therefore teaches) and who he is (how he lives when no one is watching).

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

This, more than anything, cuts to the heart of the matter:

"For Christians, there is an even deeper concern. The current travail of Tiger Woods points far beyond his need for marital recovery, career consultation, or brand management. Tiger Woods needs a Savior. I am praying that this devastating experience, caused so classically by his own sin, will lead Tiger Woods to understand that he is not so self-sufficient as he thinks. Tiger Woods now faces a problem that he cannot solve. Though he can do much to repair his marriage, his family, and his public image, he cannot atone for his own sins. My prayer is that there is someone who can reach Tiger Woods with the Gospel of Jesus Christ."