Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sports and Testimony

I really don't like bandwagons. I prefer to start something, then leave it to someone else once the idea becomes more understandable, or popular. I try to determine the merits of a ministry focus or a popular fad on the basis of faith and reason. But I must say, the whole Tim Tebow phenomenon has been very encouraging to me on a number of levels.

A society builds its most extravagant temples to honor its gods, and in the U.S. they can be seen around many of its major cities. There's a very expensive one outside of Dallas. The idol that sports has become didn't start that way. In a very interesting article in the WSJ, the author points out that sports has long been promoted by Christianity in the U.S. as a wholesome means of physical exercise and discipline. Here's an extended quote from this article:

"The intertwining of religion and sports is nothing new in American culture. Both basketball and volleyball were invented by men involved with chapters of the Young Men's Christian Association in Massachusetts. Or consider the pioneering college coach Amos Alonzo Stagg (1862-1965), who created the batting cage in baseball, five-man teams for basketball and several of the standard aspects of football, from the man in motion, lateral pass and Statue of Liberty play to helmets, tackling dummies and names on uniforms."

The YMCA. Wasn't the YMCA founded by another man whose name resonates with many? D.L. Moody.

But we've come a long way since the late 1800s...with Albert Pujols' $250 million contract being the latest obscenity in a long list of excesses. Sports has taken its place alongside politics and "good stewardship" (a.k.a. materialism) as Christianity's favorite distractions in modern day America.

So does that mean I can't root for my favorite team? (It changed, btw.) Does that mean I can't be excited when I see a man who is unabashedly humble and godly in the midst of a decidedly excessive and idolatrous league? I hope not. Should watching a game be a high priority in my life? No.

Back to the encouragement from Tebow's life. I like that in spite of all the hype, he doesn't forget who he is. I like how he gives credit to everyone around him. I like how he never gives up. I like how he is unapologetic when it comes to Jesus and his faith. I like that he mentioned the name of Jesus instead of just talking about God. I especially like that he has said repeatedly that God really doesn't care who wins the game.

My prayer for Tim is that he doesn't fall, doesn't do something stupid and sinful. The whole nation is expecting that, and many, perhaps, hoping for that. Compared to faithfulness, it really doesn't matter if he never wins another game.

1 comment:

Charles said...

As soon as I saw "bandwagons" in the first sentence, I got excited for what could only be a blog entry about Tim Tebow!

Honestly, I might have only prayed for like 3 famous people in the past year, but Tebow is one of them.

So... which is your favorite team? GB² (God bless and go Broncos) ??