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"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

Earl & Diane Rodd Phone
10/13/99

The Football Team Who Played Defense

A parable of the political arena

A football team saw that as many aspects of the game changed over the years, they were no longer competitive. Their opponents scored an increasing number of points in ever less time. What was to be done? The point scoring must be slowed. The answer was defense! The team searched for the finest defensive coaches. They held seminars with invited guests who were experts on defense in the modern football era. Massive fund raising was conducted to tell supporters of the need to contribute to the expense of establishing a first rate defense and decrying the evils of rapid scoring by opponents. Players were trained from young ages to be first rate defensive players. The value of defense was emphasized to all the teams' supporters.

The team was able to counter the rapid rate of scoring by opponents. Newsletters to supporters hailed the improvement even while calling for the need to further reduce opponent's scoring.

Years grew into decades. The team's defense was second to none. Defense was so successful that no one remembered that there was another part of the game called offense. When the other team relinquished possession, the team simply handed the ball back, or in an exciting victory, punted, pushing the opponent far down the field. If an opponent fumbled, they rejoiced, then punted and shouted loudly about how the opponent had been set back. When a pass was intercepted, the player who intercepted the pass raised his arms in victory. His picture was snapped for future newsletters. The team's fan's cheered as the opponent was suddenly and totally stopped. The team's goal line defense became nearly legendary. Time after time, the opponent was forced to settle for a field goal. This showed the value of defense while providing a reason to ask supporters for more help since points were still being scored, even if slowly.

As the opponent developed new, sometimes deceptive, methods of playing offense, the team, with a legion of scouts and analysts, worked tirelessly to develop strategies of defending against them.

In many games, the opponent was held to less than 10 points. Often, the opponent was held to a scoreless tie! Team publications hailed the triumph of offense. A few dissenters quietly reminded supporters that they never won a game and usually lost, but their voice was lost in the noise of defense seminars and newsletters on defense.

Who is the defense? Who is the opponent? Who has the better strategy?

In the "Parable of the Defense", the football team with the great defense is the Christian right in the political arena. The second aspect of the parable which is important is that, because many politicians treat serious matters of state as a high school "game", the football parable becomes all too appropriate. The Bible calls it war - a war in which our weapons are not carnal, but powerful to the pulling down of strongholds!

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd