"Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come..." from Amazing Grace.
Those are the words to Amazing Grace, a popular song in many communities.
I know someone who has been through many dangers, toils and snares. He is still alive and well. He is a former Oakland Raider.
He is veiled in anonymity for now. He represents a category of former NFL players. Nevertheless, he has had his "burning bush" experience, both on and off the football field.
One day, many years ago, the former NFL player said that he saw Jesus at the goal line in more than one of the Oakland Raiders' games. When he told me this more than 38 years ago, I thought he was joking.
Many years passed, and I re-encountered him. After several interviews, I probed and poked his mind to understand how he was thinking. He said it again.
This time, I listened more carefully, for my viewpoint has broadened beyond just a secular understanding of the world. In my senior years, I have more fully embraced ideas which are shrugged or ignored by many people who depend only on their intellect.
My family told me about the mural called, "Touchdown Jesus." Then, I began to ask myself questions. I insisted on visiting the Notre Dame football field so that I could personally witness the mural, and how it looks from the football field.
It is a remarkable view.
Could this former Oakland Raider have seen "Touchdown Jesus" during his travels? Might the former Oakland Raider have been impressed with the fact that Jesus was even on the mural?
In any case, the former Oakland Raider was known for being found near the goal line. In fact, one article said that a historical question was asked during the era that this player did an outstanding job with the Oakland Raiders, "Where is he?" The answer, "At the goal line."
Yes, this story may seem a bit different. The moral of the story is:
The former Oakland Raider had an experience. It was possibly spiritual, but it motivated him to race toward the goal line, and he was relentless in his desire to grab, hold on to the football, and get to the goal.
I pose this question:
Do our current players need to see something so powerful at the goal line that they catch the ball, race toward the goal with a passion, to get there and meet "Jesus"?
In recent years, nothing else has worked. So, I conjecture, try to see "Jesus" at the goal line, and race toward him with that football in your hand, and then shout, as they often do at Notre Dame, "Touchdown, Jesus."
OK. You think this is absurd. Think again.
You curse. You use profanity. You practice all types of beliefs.
It seems the results are minimal in the past six years.
In logic, if p is not true, then the negation of p is true. So if what you have been saying, doing, and believing in the last six years is not working, then try something new and different that negates what you said and believed during these six years of "football famine."
Some folks say that it is defined as "insanity" to keep doing the same thing over and over, getting the same results.
So, do the "sane" thing, and say the opposite of what you said.
Do the opposite of what you did.
Believe the opposite of what you previously believed.
If the Raider Nation desires a "reversal of misfortune," then find the inverse of practices and behaviors so as to transition from hitting the ground where no goal is, to hitting the ground in the area of a touchdown.
When enough pressure is put on a human being, he or she sometimes sees mirages.
Even if the mirage is not a reality, it often pulls the man or woman through their painful, thirst for victory.
I will conclude by saying that I hope these young Oakland Raiders begin to see something that awakens their passion to catch the ball, carry the ball, and make it to the goal for a touchdown.
It does not matter that what they see is real, or unreal to you or me. What matters is that what the young Oakland Raiders begin to see, stirs their soul to a point of having a passion and zeal for excellence and victory.