WWF, Congressional Baseball, and Violence In Us All: An Interview with Eric E. Hall

The Facebook post read, “(sic)Que the across-the-aisle finger pointing! If your reaction to this shooting is “see, violent libtards!” rather than concern for the congressman and the state of our nation at large, then you are part of the problem. Thoughts be with our representative and please use this as a call to action for coming together.

Eric sent me this from his FB Feed with the editorial comment spurred by our conversation just ten minutes after we finished recording,

Both sides are violent. One seems to take a sadistic pleasure in pretending to be violent in and of themselves, the other more explicitly rests on the violence of the state. God save us.

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Junkyard Dog

Debates over the greatest player in every sport pick up steam with the emergence of a new star. The recently concluded NBA Championship Series stirred more of the same. Our local newspaper suggested, despite the crowning of different league MVP’s the last few years, Lebron James still is the current, and maybe the all-time, greatest NBA player. Do I hear the chants for Jordan?

Eric recently wrote a piece titled, Gianforte: “The Wild Beast.” He acknowledged his weakness for WWF styled wrestling and referenced Stone Cold Steven Austin. I could not help but think back 30 years to the days when my brothers and I followed the sport locally. One of our favorites was, The Junkyard Dog. One wonders who wins in a cage match.

Though we laughed at our former, and maybe not so former, infatuations with the latest good guy bad guy script in the WWF or WWE, we quickly took to the subject of violence.

Yesterday morning news broke of a shooting . . . another one.

Shooting Over Body Slam

When I read Eric’s article last week the story du jour that triggered his keyboard was Gianforte’s body slam of a Guardian reporter just prior to his election. I emailed Eric and suggested we get online and talk about his article. He agreed. Little did we know that this morning a shooting in Virginia would again remind us of the ever present reality of violence in our world.

We tend to locate violence the way we do sin. Some violence is passed off as mortal while other instances are venial. That is to say that we do not equate the scripted violence of championship wrestling with the shooting of innocents practicing baseball. Or, we do not think the violence vicariously enjoyed in a mature-themed video game to be on par with an ambush in Iraq.

They are the same. One is outsourced. The other is sourced within.

Killing Me with Words

Eric may lapse into reflection on Gorgias the way Nathan P. Gilmour will default to Dante. He did. We did.

Current dialogue, according Hall, demonstrates monologue rather than dialogue. Rather than working to arrive at what is truer,

… our current forms of communication, which are naught but ideological and idolized monologue, meant to destroy and violate the other whom they touch.

The practice ensures the de-dignifying of the other. Maybe you are accustomed to reading marginalized. De-dignifying carries a particular nuance since Christians believe all human beings express dignity and worth as created in the image of God, imago dei.

For Eric, a way forward is Christological. Methodologically he suggests we appropriate the Socratic method where questions open us up to greater possibilities as we listen to one another rather than continue in our self-adored monologues. The vision obtains to what is more true, beautiful, and good. Who could argue with those aims as those given to the Way of Jesus?

Take a listen. Let us know what you think.

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About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

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