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Here’s why I like Chad Gibbs:
1. The banner on every page of his website features a close-up of Tim Tebow’s eyeblack, on which someone, presumably Chad Gibbs, has written “Chad Gibbs.”
2. The background on his Twitter page is one of the most memorable designs I’ve ever seen.
3. He is funny. See #1 and #2.
4. He has written a book about SEC football and religion, called God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC. Personally, I care about as much about SEC football as I do whether Ashton may or may not be cheating on Demi. But I read God and Football all the way through, and enjoyed it immensely, despite never having said anything like “Roll Tide” for any reason in my life, even accidentally.
5. He refers to my Friday guest series as a “cavalcade of doubt.” See below.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chad Gibbs…
When Jason Boyett asked me to join his cavalcade of doubt, my first thought was, ‘I doubt I’ll be able to squeeze in a plug for my new book, God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC. But my fears were relieved when I remembered that I am
shameless, and even spent most of my grandfather’s funeral visitation telling people
about my book, which incidentally is available for $9.35 on Amazon.
Grandpa’s death was easy for me. Well, as easy as the death of a loved one can be.
He’d been sick, for years it seemed, and every time I visited I knew in the back of my
mind it could be the last time I’d see him in this life.
What made it even easier though was Alabama’s National Championship. I realize
that’s an odd thing to say. But grandpa was a huge Crimson Tide fan, and I grew up
going to games with my uncle and him. Later in life I would switch allegiances, and
attend college at Auburn, Alabama’s archest rival, breaking a bond grandpa and I
had always shared.
So after Alabama won the National Championship last fall, a fall I had spent
researching a book on keeping football in its proper perspective, I knew I needed to
do something nice for my grandpa. So I made a few phone calls to some friends in
Alabama’s athletic department, and was able to arrange for grandpa a personal tour
of the athletic department, which included stops at the latest BCS Championship
Trophy, and the Heisman Trophy. It was a wonderful day, one I will never forget,
and one grandpa talked about until he died, four months later.
My uncle’s death was much more difficult. It came quick. A car wreck in the middle
of the night. And instead of a wonderful final memory, I only recall a jarring 4:00
AM phone call.
What made matters worse was I had been praying for my uncle, along with my best
friend who’d been praying for his own brother. Both men had some issues in their
lives, and we knew our prayers were all they needed to overcome.
It worked for my friend. One glorious Sunday morning, while tornadoes were
swirling outside, our pastor ended church early and conducted a quickie invitation.
My friend’s brother stood and walked the aisle. A year’s worth or prayers answered
before my eyes. I knew my answer would be coming soon. Except it didn’t, and just
a couple months later we were burying my uncle.
I’ve never doubted that God existed. God has always just sort of been a given for me.
But for the next four years I seriously doubted that he cared, and even wondered
at times if he was out to get me. It just didn’t seem fair. I felt I had played by the
rules just like my friend, but instead of an answered prayer I had to bury my favorite
So what finally changed? What was it that erased my doubts about God’s
goodness? Beats me. Time maybe. Maybe I just got tired of being angry. Maybe I finally realized not everything life is about me, and my uncle’s death, while
tragic, may not have been God trying to ruin my junior year of high school.
Here’s the thing. I don’t sit and think about this stuff that much. I’m just not that
introspective. In the stillness of the night, when I’m alone with my thoughts, I’m
much more likely to think about how cool it would be if I owned the Millennium
Falcon than wonder why God lets bad things happen to good people. But I have had
my struggles with doubt, and can tell you from experience, bottling up your anger is
not the answer. You need to talk about it, in forums like this, to your friends, to your
family, whoever. Because even if your questions don’t have answers, it’s comforting
to know you are not the only one asking them.
Previous posts in the “Voices of Doubt” series…
• Leeana Tankersley: The Swirling Waters
• Robert Cargill: The Skeptic in the Sanctuary
• Dana Ellis: Haunted by Questions
• Rachel Held Evans on Works-Based Salvation
• Winn Collier: Doubt Better
• Tyler Clark on Losing Fear, Losing Faith
• Rob Stennett on the Genesis of Doubt
• Adam Ellis on Hoping That It’s True
• Nicole Wick on Breaking Up with God
• Anna Broadway on Doubt and Marriage