Author Topic: Muhammad Ali  (Read 2302 times)

RogerMartim

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Muhammad Ali
« on: June 04, 2016, 09:55:06 PM »
How are we Lutherans supposed to respond to "The Greatest"?

Ali's death supplanted all other news today. You'd think that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton didn't even exist.

I've never liked boxing. I think that Ali punched himself into oblivion leading to the brain damage of the last 32 years. He never left the ring without his face all bloodied and swollen. What's so great about that?

D. Engebretson

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2016, 10:28:58 PM »
Ali is, by most accounts, among the greatest in boxing history.  No debate there. 
He is also hailed by many as a man of conviction.  He risked jail and being barred from professional boxing for refusing the draft, claiming a conflict with his relatively new Muslim faith, a point never proved.  Apparently he never wavered from the faith he adopted which brought about the famous name change.
He is also admired by many as a proponent of the rights of African-Americans.  Starting with the disposal of his gold Olympic medal in the Ohio River, he is seen by some as one of the early and prominent voices calling for civil rights.
In his later years he was a well-known philanthropist, using his fame and fortune, to some degree, to help others less fortunate. 
Whether we would want to give to him a broad, unqualified "the greatest" as a title remains doubtful.  He was a man who made a name for himself, and a subsequent fortune, by clever self-promotion and great speed and skill in the ring.  He was an entertainer.  Unfortunately his form of entertainment came with huge physical risks, and successive blows to the head never bodes well for ones future health.  Today we hear loud cries against the NFL for not adequately protecting the heads of football players as we see the effects of their own collisions resulting in various degrees of head and brain injury.  Like cigarette smoking many probably were slow to see the full extent of the health risks involved in boxing.  Still, one would think that being hit and hit hard in the head so often would have an effect.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

bookpastor/Erma Wolf

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2016, 10:33:23 PM »
I think we respond by praying for consolation for his family and close friends. And perhaps for medical advances to help those who suffer from this form of Parkinsons, brought on by repeated traumatic brain injury.

One doesn't have to approve of the choices Mohammed Ali made regarding boxing in order to respond to the news of his death with Christian mercy and kindness.
Better is a handfull of quiet, than two hands full of toil and a chasing after the wind.  Eccl. 4:6
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2016, 10:42:50 PM »
At St. Joseph Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, there is the Barrow Neurological Institute, as part of that, there is the Muhammed Ali Parkinson Center. https://www.barrowneuro.org/get-to-know-barrow/centers-programs/muhammad-ali-parkinson-center/


He was more than a champion boxer.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Jeremy Loesch

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2016, 10:57:41 PM »
I've never understood the fascination with Ali. I know I am out of step on this one. He objected to a war like many others. He changed his name when he became a Muslim like many others. He was a very good boxer like many others before hom and since.

Jeremy
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2016, 02:53:48 AM »
I've never understood the fascination with Ali. I know I am out of step on this one. He objected to a war like many others. He changed his name when he became a Muslim like many others. He was a very good boxer like many others before him and since.


First of all, I'm not sure that there was any other boxer that was like him in his prime. I remember watching his fights on TV. His speed was unmatched by anyone in his weight class.


Secondly, for good or ill, he was boastful about his prowess as a boxer: "I am the greatest," at a time when athletes were supposed to be humble. He changed the tenor of sports. (He also backed up his boasts.)


Thirdly, I'm not sure that anyone gave up as much as he did in his objection to the war. He claimed religious conscientious objector status. It was not granted. (Could a Muslim object to killing people in a war? Could a boxer object to hurting people in a war?) He refused to be drafted. He was arrested. He was stripped of his boxing title and lost his license to fight for three of the prime years of his fighting career. He stayed out of jail while his case was being appealed. This also cost him his popularity in the country at the time. See http://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2016/06/muhammad-ali-vietnam/485717/ one one report about it.


Fourthly, how many "draft resisters" had their cases go to the supreme court? His case was overturned on a 5-3 decision.


He was a unique athlete and man.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2016, 07:11:24 AM »

Charles Austin

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2016, 07:59:54 AM »
We teach what we believe faithfully to be true, knowing that we do not always get it right. We leave a lot of things up to God. I do not understand the value of speculating on the eternal fate of a particular person for a particular reason. ("He believed, but he was bad. He didn't believe, but he was good.") I do understand the reluctance to grant temporal honors to the late boxer. Here was a black man who challenged sports, the nation, and religion - the cultural Holy Trinity - and kept at it and (OMG!) some people were moved and listened to him.
Can't have things like that happening. 
Retired ELCA Pastor: We are not a very inter-Lutheran forum. Posters with more than 1,500 posts: ELCA-6, with 3 of those inactive/rare and 1 moderator; LCMS-25, with 4 inactive/rare and 1 moderator. Non-Lutherans, 3; maybe 4 from other Lutheran bodies. 3 formerly frequent posters have gone quiet.

David Garner

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2016, 08:11:13 AM »
I've never understood the fascination with Ali. I know I am out of step on this one. He objected to a war like many others. He changed his name when he became a Muslim like many others. He was a very good boxer like many others before hom and since.

Jeremy

You truly do not understand.  Nobody -- before or since -- was a boxer like Muhammed Ali.  He was in every sense of the word the greatest who ever lived.  There may be one greater one day, but that person hasn't arrived yet.  And the crazy thing is, it really isn't even close.  Naming other contenders for that title would get one laughed at by boxing enthusiasts.

Beyond that, I also don't think he "objected to a war like many others."  He gave up more, sacrificed more, risked more, to take that stand.  People respect him because he literally risked everything to take a stand he believed in.

EDIT:  See?  Pastor Stoffregen and I do agree on occasion!   ;)
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

David Garner

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2016, 08:14:24 AM »
A somewhat less positive take on Ali by a boxing writer: https://joebrunoonboxing.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/joe-bruno-on-boxing-muhammad-ali-is-not-a-hero/

Everytime someone famous dies, there's always that 1 jack*** out there who has to write a negative article that he hopes will go viral and make him famous.  Joe Bruno (who is Joe Bruno? Exactly…..) is today's version.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Weedon

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2016, 08:26:33 AM »
I will never understand boxing, but I remember the Frazier fight and how Ali characterized his own method as "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." Even someone like me who will never appreciate people pounding on each other as entertainment, could see something remarkable graceful in his approach.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2016, 08:30:47 AM »
A somewhat less positive take on Ali by a boxing writer: https://joebrunoonboxing.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/joe-bruno-on-boxing-muhammad-ali-is-not-a-hero/

Everytime someone famous dies, there's always that 1 jack*** out there who has to write a negative article that he hopes will go viral and make him famous.  Joe Bruno (who is Joe Bruno? Exactly…..) is today's version.

As the linked stated, Joe Bruno is a boxing writer and the former vice-president of the Boxing Writers Association.  Also, you may have noticed, he wrote this article in 2010.  After Ali's death Bruno simply wrote an introductory paragraph, stating that he stood by what he had written then.

David Garner

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2016, 08:32:53 AM »
A somewhat less positive take on Ali by a boxing writer: https://joebrunoonboxing.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/joe-bruno-on-boxing-muhammad-ali-is-not-a-hero/

Everytime someone famous dies, there's always that 1 jack*** out there who has to write a negative article that he hopes will go viral and make him famous.  Joe Bruno (who is Joe Bruno? Exactly…..) is today's version.

As the linked stated, Joe Bruno is a boxing writer and the former vice-president of the Boxing Writers Association.  Also, you may have noticed, he wrote this article in 2010.  After Ali's death Bruno simply wrote an introductory paragraph, stating that he stood by what he had written then.

Fair enough.  I still think it's weak sauce to go after someone after they die, even if by reprise.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2016, 08:34:58 AM »
By the way, Bruno's point was that while Ali was undeniably a great boxer he was NOT a great man.  Bruno gives his reasons: his "draft-dodging"; his adulteries and multiple marriages; his affiliation with anti-white black Muslim group(s).

Eileen Smith

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Re: Muhammad Ali
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2016, 08:39:27 AM »
I know not a whit about boxing.  Yet, like many others, I've seen photos or footage of Ali in his years after boxing when afflicted with Parkinson's.  I admired that he lived as normal a life as possible, advocating for those suffering from this disease.  That he cared was etched on the lines of his face which could no longer smile nor frown - I know that paralysis well as my mother suffered from Parkinson's.     

I have been following the news stories following his death and have been most interested in interviews with those who knew him professionally or as a friend - many of those professional relationships seemed to become friendships.  He has been remembered as not only a great fighter, but a worker for those who are in need - those on the fringe.  In fact, other than the article posted above by Joe Bruno (which seems more about his giving up 8 years while, in his mind, Ali gave up nothing) Mohammed Ali has been remembered very lovingly by those who knew him - even those with whom he fought.

David, the only Joe Bruno I know of is a Republican in Troy NY - convicted on corruption charges, but that was turned around on appeal; convicted again on other charges and was found not guilty.  But that's Troy NY where a Republican like Joe Bruno will never be convicted.  But that's another story - another thread.   ;)

I pray that God is merciful to this man and that all who loved him find solace in their grief.