Battling stupidity is a full-time job: it is probably akin the thankless but necessary job performed by septic tank cleaners. The odor is similar and the fact that the tank always seems to fill right back up seems to be analogous as well.
Out of the respect I have for the ministry, I won’t produce the link, but the relevant text should help your Premature Hair-Graying program just fine all by itself. As some context, the ministry whose forum board this is is a bit like Awana’s on prescription grade steroids. It combines intense biblical memorization and elimination style competition on a National level. The thread raised the important question of how to balance competition and discipleship in such a ministry.
My response included this gem of a thought: (Some of the posts justified an overly competitive spirit by appealing to Scripture.)
But I get a little concerned when I hear people quote Scripture to justify a competitive mentality. I simply can’t see a justification of that kind of usage. Is sport-like competition really what the Epistle writers had in mind when they penned those passages? Did they want Christians to win every event they entered, or did they want believers to exemplify Christ in a world in which they were the “least”? Quite frankly, the more difficult achievement is reflecting Christ in the midst of disappointment, loss and frustration than striving to win a competition.
The response, coming from the Nute Rockny School of Biblical Interpretation, went like this:
I do believe we have to ask ourselves, "what is our biblical example?" Is it one of being "born to lose," or are we called to win? The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain," (1 Cor. 9:24). Paul is saying, play to win, work to win, work very hard to win. In fact, it sounds an awful lot like Paul is saying that the objective is to win. He uses an athletic example to make his point, as though there's an obvious connection.
I must admit-Paul’s deep interest in the ancient games and their importance to our faith is news to me. It continues:
So when Paul writes to the Philippians, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," (Phil. 2:5), what sort of image does it conjure up in our thoughts? Christ the "loser" who died as a wimp on the cross, or Christ who suffered and died to conquer sin, and rose again to conquer death?
Jesus was a winner! Just like Pikaboo Street and Andre Agassi! So what should we tell these poor kids who don’t yet understand the value of winning to their faith?
What are we coaches supposed to tell our quizzers when they compete and lose? "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain," (1 Cor. 9:24). We need to tell them that they must work harder, developing the kind of Christian character that is truly Christ-like; they must strive to be winners.
We need to tell them they are losers for Jesus, and that Jesus will like them more if they win silly little competitions!
I almost don't know where to begin...