Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Aaron Rodgers and Christ

 I received this from our campus pastor at Crean Lutheran High School.  I have no idea where he copied this from, but I thought it'd be nice to post to the blog this week (for obvious reasons), even though it is not necessarily apologetics related.  The quote at the end by Saint Francis of Assisi could be apologetics related. And for the record, I root generally root for defense, so I am in full support of the Steelers because Troy Polamalu is a favorite player of mine, if I had to pick one (I don't really follow football). 

Ed and Darla Rodgers raised their kids in a Christian home. Their life in Chico, California was centered around church, family, and sports. Ed, a local chiropractor, credits his wife for helping to raise their three sons in a proper way. “My boys are humble,” he said to a local paper, “and that’s what makes us most proud.”
 This Sunday, middle son, Aaron, will be on display with that humility, as he leads the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the Green Bay lockerroom, coaches and teammates know all about Aaron Rodgers leadership and quarterback skills. His arm strength has been described as “ridiculous.” His uncanny ability to find receivers and get the ball to them has made him the NFL all time career leader in passer rating at 98.4. But they also see the character that was developed at an early age.

“I grew up knowing what a stable relationship was by my parents example, and how it centered on Christ,” Rodgers says. “When our family had its ups and downs, I knew my parents relied on God for everything, and he always got us through the rough spots.” Until he was 17, Aaron says he went to church because his parents went to church. But about this time, he began to make some choices with his buddies that he knew were not right. It was then he rededicated his life to the Lord. “Ever since then,” he says, “I fall on my face and get back up, get on my knees and confess, and keep on trying to live for Jesus.”

This would also describe his play. No one can question his toughness. After two concussions this year, Rodgers came back to lead the Packers to their first NFC championship since 1998. It hasn’t been an easy road for Rodgers. After three years as a backup quarterback, he was called on to take the place of the legendary Brett Favre, who had been the starting QB for the Pack since 1992. His steady play was largely overshadowed by Favre’s “unretirement” and subsequent trade to the New York Jets.

Rodgers is used to being overlooked. After a fine high school career at Pleasant Valley High School, in Chico, he got exactly one Division 1 offer, and decided, instead, to go 30 miles down the road and play for Butte Community College in Oroville, CA, Here he led the the team to a 10-1 record and a #2 national ranking. After one year, he signed to play for the University of California, leading them to a #5 national ranking in 2004. In the 2005 NFL draft, the Packers made him their #1 pick overall.

As a Christian, Aaron is a solid individual, but as one teammate said, “He will not stand on the bleachers and shout.” In fact, Aaron often quotes St. Francis of Assisi, who said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words.” He often quotes his favorite Bible passage of Psalm 91:1-2. It reads “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.’” 



He may need that and more this Sunday night as he faces the onslaught of Troy Polamalu and the Steeler defense. But when it is all said and done, and the Lombardi trophy, named after the former Green Bay coach, is handed out to someone, Aaron Rodgers will walk away exemplifying the example of both his earthly and his heavenly Father. “I try to live my life in a way that reflects the Lord, he says. “I use that as a model as I relate to my friends and family, my teammates and coaches. I want them to see that I really love and care for them as individuals. I try to build relationships. I feel if you are not personally invested in the people you spend every day with, then you are missing out on building a relationship and wonderful life experiences. This is what I like about Jesus. Jesus is about relationships.” And you can be sure that somewhere in that massive stadium on Sunday night, Ed and Darla, and Luke and Jordan Rodgers will be proud of Aaron not just for what he does, but for who he is.

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