Do Ray Lewis’ repeated references to God bother you?

ray afcc 2013

To say that Ray Lewis is a passionate man would be the understatement of the century. His passion about and commitment to his beliefs are incomparable.

The depths of his devotion and the intensity of his emotion are difficult for some to accept as genuine. And for casual observers, that’s completely understandable.

We’ve been conditioned as a society to be jaded and skeptical when it comes to uncommon passion like Ray’s. We wonder if it’s staged, if it’s disingenuous. We’ve seen bible beating evangelists who have been exposed as practitioners of acts that fly in the face of the things that they preach.

So we observe such uncommon passion with a jaundiced eye.

What are these professors of devout faith trying to pull over on us?

What’s in it for them?

And why does Ray Lewis have to preach about God all the time?

Think about that question for a moment.

Does Ray’s purpose, clearly guided by faith, bother you? And if so, why?

Is it your own insecurities about your faith or lack thereof that are agitated by Ray’s pontifications? That you don’t really want to hear him expressing his religious convictions because it’s a reminder that yours are weak?

Some might say that Ray’s responses to questions regarding the game of football, often driven by his faith, are out of place and that they just want to hear an answer purely motivated by the game and the things that happened between the lines.

Still others might say that God doesn’t really care about football so why bring it up? Even Tim Tebow believes God doesn’t impact the outcome of football games.

But every man, every woman is wired differently.

Ray is about leaving a team, a game, a city, a little better than when he arrived. He wants to express those passions, emotions and devotion to his faith so that in some way it connects to you, reaches you with hopes that you channel it in a way that works for you and inspires you to be better at whatever it is you do or want to do.

Even if he only reaches 1 out of 100 or 1,000, that is one more person inspired to make a change that impacts the world of his family, his friends or even yours and mine. Maybe it’s as simple as having one more person practice random acts of kindness.

I’m reminded at this moment of Jim Valvano’s famous speech at the ESPY Awards just prior to losing his bout with cancer.

“When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy.

“But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

Strong words, no doubt.

They resonate immediately yet to really act upon them and do what Jimmy V suggests every day the ambition has to be fueled by something.

For Ray Lewis, that something is his faith and if that faith has guided him in a way that has allowed him to achieve, to lead, to inspire and to make a difference in the lives of many the way he has, then why should anyone criticize that?

If anything, it should inspire you to seek out the touchstone that fuels your passion to be better at whatever it is YOU do; to be a better person and leave YOUR mark on the world.

It’s been said often that it doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive, the size of the home you live in or how big your bank account is. What matters is how you affect the life of a child.

That’s a legacy.

It lives on.

Clearly Ray Lewis has done that exponentially, driven by faith.

So if after the Ravens win on Sunday, Ray begins to preach that this is what God wanted and you find yourself rolling your eyes think about this…

Maybe it wasn’t the Super Bowl that God wanted but instead He wanted to deliver that audience for Ray, to impact lives, even if just a few.

For me this isn’t about influencing your religious convictions, it’s about connecting to them, whatever they are so that it helps you to be a better you and therefore make a better world.

And what’s wrong with that?

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured, Lombardi's Way by Tony Lombardi. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

40 Raves on “Do Ray Lewis’ repeated references to God bother you?

  1. Tina Thompson on said:

    I have read countless articles/blogs attempting to tackles this subject… you have truly done it justice – accounting for a number of viewpoints. You’re right – and Ray would agree – that God doesn’t care who wins a football game. God’s will to give someone the strength to persevere and be given a platform to reach others… that’s what has been granted to Ray and he carries that responsibility dutifully. Well done.

  2. Oliver K on said:

    Ray is my favorite player and I am an atheist. What he says goes in one ear and out the other. It is his choice, his freedom to say what he likes. If anyone is bothered by it, there is nothing stopping anyone from changing the station or channel.

  3. Chris on said:

    “Maybe it wasn’t the Super Bowl that God wanted but instead He wanted to deliver that audience for Ray, to impact lives, even if just a few.”

    I got the chills when I read that sentence!

  4. Scott on said:

    I am an extremely convinced atheist and I could not care less what Ray’s faith happens to be (or how much he references it). He has done phenomenal things for the sport and for the community, and if God is the motivation behind his actions then more power to him.

    There are only two scenarios where I get tired of hearing about God (from anyone):
    1) When it impedes education or scientific progress.
    2) When it infiltrates the legislative and judicial processes.

    That’s about it. Otherwise, to each their own. Preach on, Ray.

    • Kelly on said:

      I couldn’t agree more. I too am an athiest after a long bout of religious soul-searching. While I do not agree with nearly everything Ray says about Theology, I respect him as a person, a man, a leader, and a linebacker. Has Ray lived a perfect life? No. But who does? I know he has been an inspirational leader focused on making himself and those around him better on and off the field. They are truly 53 mighty men working toward a common purpose and I hope they acieve it -whether they credit a deity with the victory or not.

  5. floyd on said:

    When a person accepts Jesus Christ into his/her heart, he/she becomes a new creatation ((2Cor 5:17). When Christ is the center of your life; guess what, He is the center of your liife! Ray’s references reflect the changed life of a new creation! As such he is unable to keep silent about it! PTL!! Way ta go Ray!!!

  6. Dink Montgomery on said:

    I personally find RL52′s passion, love & devotion extremely refreshing & committed to his higher power! The Bible tells us whom have seen & know the Good Lord’s work in our own lives, to SHOUT it from the mountains high! Simply put, he (RL52) was blind in his younger years, but now (the man he is today) has seen the light! To mock him for his beliefs & passion is to mock the way he chooses to acknowledge & serve his God. Yet people have done just this & he seems to grow & gain strength from the ignorance of others. RL52 is the best linebacker to play the game, he’s a leader, he’s devoted & committed & a great man (does so much for those in the community, his team mates, the sick & dying & others! He no doubt is my favorite player & will sorely be missed. May God continue to bless Ray Lewis!

  7. Michael T on said:

    All things for GODS good! If in a life time one person is affected by something God inspired, that something was delivered thru a vehicle of GODS choosing.

    Great article, words well chosen, Thank you!

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!GO RAVENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Tyree on said:

    I just don’t like when something that could easily be explained by x’s and o’s gets the Jesus treatment ray is cool he thanks god but will also give you a football reason for victory or a loss tebow bothered me cause he never knew why anything he did worked it was always gods plan and like one of you guys said I’m pretty sure god doesn’t care who wins football games so religion can’t always be the answer to football questions

  9. Rumor Ray on said:

    I does not bother me at all that he is a believer….. The true test of the mans soul is when you see his countless acts of kindness that the does with out the medias knowledge. The one thing I know for sure is that Ray Lewis is a GREAT MAN and if it was due to his faith in GOD then I am glad he found him.

    Thanks RAY and you are the Baltimore Raven!

  10. rick on said:

    He never has said that God is favoring him in the Super Bowl, that’s something others have put on him. He believes God walks with him in all his endeavors as do I. He is relentless and ferverent in his conviction as he is in everything he does. It’s a real shame in this country due to “political correctness” that 1 who is passionate about his faith is persecuted but immorality is celebrated.

    • Josh on said:

      Actually …he did say that to the effect of “no football team formed against us as a weapon will prosper.” As if there are a bunch of pagans on the other side of the football field.

      Quite the contrary. You will see that both teams have men of faith who pray together, typically in a circle, before and after the games.

      Christianity and faith have its place in sports but ray crowbars it into every conversation to the point that it loses its effect.

      He is the Kim Kardashian of football. A Christian no doubt….but he craves attention and drama. When Saturday night live creates a skit dedicated to the over dramatic personality of an athlete…something is obviously not right.

  11. george on said:

    This is an awesome article. We have been forgiven by christ so we should also forgive. Ray Lewis past is his past he now born again, the new man is here and the old man is gone. And I believe that about the Superbowl that it is to provide an audience for ray Lewis to express his faith in christ and be a witness to millions

  12. Craig Mack on said:

    The reason it’s annoying is because he’s using religion as his way out of being cast in a bad light. Did he really have a choice? The guy was tied to a double freaking homicide on Jan 31st, 2000. Believe you me, had that never have happened, there is a good chance you would see a different RL today! I mean what easier way to get people to forgive you than “going with god”? If people would take off their purple sunglasses for a minute and look objectively at it, it’s really not hard to see.

    • Michael T on said:

      Yep, Craig that is exactly what happens……..are you serious?
      Bad things happen to good people,
      and good things happen to bad people,
      and bad things happen to bad people,
      and good things happen to good people!
      It’s all Gods will for us! We can’t choose God unless he chooses us!
      He knows your heart, We can not hide anything from him.
      And his WILL be done!
      Make no mistake, Ray nor anyone else make those decisions.
      God bless you dude!

      • Craig Mack on said:

        Michael T,
        With all due respect, if god has a plan for us all, and we can’t change it, why bother praying? Why bother going to church? Why bother being a good person? This is exactly the mindset I’m talking about. “Oh, it doesn’t matter that you were involved in a double homicide, it was god’s will! Now that you’re a god lover, all is forgiven!” GTF outta here! I’ll bet you would feel a little different if it was your mother shanked! Or would that have been god’s plan as well?

      • Craig Mack on said:

        Naive about what? Like I said, take off the purple glasses for a second, dude! You seriously want me to believe Ray Lewis is a good person because he loves god now? Because he gives to charities? Because he’s active in his community? I feel sorry for you if you can’t see through that farce. I think you’re just upset, because you know deep down, the man they worship in Baltimore, is a scumbag. You can paint a turd whatever color you want, man, it still smells like $h!*!

  13. Tina Thompson on said:

    Craig,
    I have a ten year old son who has recently made friends with a kid who’s attitude worries me, to say the least. He pushes boundaries and bucks authority, yet my son insists he is the best friend ever. I use every opportunity I get to use ‘Ray’s story’ to help guide him. My son is a really good kid and well knows the consequences of wrong doing. It scares me to think that he will be at the wrong place at the wrong time with his new best friend – much as Ray was many years ago. And like Ray, my son will be held culpable for being there. That culpability will be something he will have to carry for the rest of his life. Now, I don’t believe his friend will ‘shank’ somebody… but the possibility of some type of trouble seems inevitable. And the part where Ray tried to cover for his friends… well, he can never forgive himself for that – it will always be his proverbial cross to bear. I hope my son can remember these things should something ever happen and make good choices. Even if you don’t want to believe that God might have pulled Ray up from that heinous night to serve as an example for countless young people… at the very least, he HAS changed who he was – shouldn’t we all strive to be our best and make the world better. As far as God’s will… I’d like to hear you argue that goodwill and love don’t truly exist in this world – well, where there is good, there is also evil. God can’t control evil… we have the free will to make our choices. You can make your choices, you can try to control your own destiny and you can judge others for what they do… but do you think your judgments really mean anything? Is there NOTHING in your life that maybe others should judge you for??? Go ahead, Craig, cast your stones.

    BTW, it’s not that we worship Ray, we are thankful for him. I couldn’t be prouder that he is a Raven. Okay, I’ll step off the pulpit now.

  14. Tyler on said:

    And how would a Ravens writer for 10 years write anything other than this? Your bias is quite blatant and undeniable. Is it possible for Ray Lewis to have had a sincere transformation? Absolutely. I myself am a born again Christian and know my opinion holds no weight in regards to the man’s salvation, but this man seems to be way more focused on his ‘legacy’ and ‘press’ and restoring an image that it just seems fake. Having seen countless interviews with him the past week or so, he is so self-absorbed and legacy-centric that I question his sincerity. The Bible warns us of false prophets and advises us to take caution.

    Matthew 7:15 says “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

    “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:11

      • Tyler on said:

        if you actually have anything worth saying in regards to my post, please do. otherwise, I understand if you’re just into making wise cracks to seem cool or gain popularity to your page.

        • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

          Tyler, I’ve said what I believe in the story. You disagree by claiming Ray to be disingenuous and accusing me of bias. So really what’s the point. You apparently have more time to spare than me.

          • Tyler on said:

            Clearly I have more time, since you respond to my posts quite immediately as well.

            Are you seriously claiming there is no influence of bias in this article whatsoever? Please don’t be so ignorant as to say there isn’t.

          • Derek ArnoldDerek Arnold on said:

            Tyler,

            Again, Tony stated what he believes above. You disagree. All fair.

            However, you say that you’ve seen countless articles and quotes “this week” that make you think Ray is fake or whatever.

            Tony, meanwhile, has been running a Ravens website for well over a decade. I guarantee he’s spent much more time thinking about, writing about, and talking to Ray Lewis than you have.

            So what you call “bias,” I call “informed opinion.”

          • Derek ArnoldDerek Arnold on said:

            Once more, bias vs. informed opinion.

            You know what you see during Super Bowl week, or a couple times a year.

            Ravens fans know what we’ve seen from this man as a person, teammate, leader, community activist, and player since 1996.

            Amani Toomer says he’s a fraud, sure.

            Rod Woodson – who played with him – called him perhaps the greatest leader in any sport, ever.

            Who’s biased, who’s informed? Who speaks from experience, and who talks out of their butt?

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