Division 1 Re-Integration...

By now, I am sure many people have read about the disheartening abuse scandal regarding a former Penn State football coach.

Legendary head coach Joe Paterno (left) announced today that he will be resigning at the end of the season and he expressed his sorrow that he wished he had 'done more' regarding gross mishandling of the situation by his staff.

From this event, we see many realities at hand.

First of all, we see that sexual abuse is not a problem solely encountered by "religious organizations." Whenever a priest is accused of abuse, critics are quick to attack and often drag in the issue of celibacy as a reason for abuse. This is untrue. Sickness and brokenness are the reason people abuse others, not celibacy.

We also see that the tendency and desire to keep problems quiet or to deny their existence isn't only a "church problem" but is trait of fallen human nature. Many times when bad things happen or we have trouble in our family or organization, our first response is to deny the existence of the problem or convince ourselves that it's
"not that bad."

This denial obviously leads to devastation on many levels, especially in regard to the victims. Children never deserve or "ask for" abuse. Children only deserve love, kindness, guidance and protection.

A friend of mine and I were just talking about how coaches have so much influence over their athletes. They often teach the young men and women in their care the meaning of true masculinity and femininity. When a coach violates that trust, everyone suffers. Being a coach is a tremendous responsibility.

Our founder, a former Notre Dame football player, told me a long time ago that when we coach young athletes, we aren't teaching them a sport so much as we are teaching them how to live their lives.

From this angle, we can see how a predatory coach destroys the foundation of the athlete as a person.

As the stakes get higher, (and make no mistake that Men's Division I athletics, especially football and basketball, have VERY high stakes and make an incredible amount of money for their athletic program and school) perhaps it's easier for coaches to forget that the most important thing they are doing is guiding and forming immortal souls, not making money for the university and promoting themselves.

God help us all.

All of us will answer to a higher power than the boosters of the athletic program, the athletic director or the president of the university. We will all give an accounting to God Himself. No amount of money or fame can bypass that reality.

When I see stories like the one that is being exposed at Penn State, its another revelation that we all must seek integration and healing of our sexuality- our masculinity and femininity. We can't pretend that we or our families or institutions don't have problems or disorders. We must go to Christ and embrace all the other help available and begin the journey of healing.

There is a saying: "Suffering that is not transformed is transmitted"

If we don't honestly face our disorder and fears, we will just continue to pass them on to our children, athletes, co-workers, families,and others.

We pray for all victims of abuse that they receive healing, help and hope. Abuse is a devastating crime. The longer it's allowed to continue, the deeper the wounds.

May God have mercy on us all and may we pray for the courage to do what is right, no matter what the cost.


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