Monday, April 6, 2009

Athletes Making a Spectacle of Thanking God

I've always been uncomfortable when an athlete scores a touch down or a goal or does something extraordinary & then bows in the end zone. Pointing toward heaven always makes me cringe, too.

It looks more like a spectacle than anything else.

Why do it? What is the point? Is it an act of worship? Thanksgiving? Is it giving God credit?

Let's stop & think about it for a moment. In order for one team to score a touch down, that means the other team's defense didn't do so well. Does that mean God blessed one team & not the other? If a pitcher strikes out the side to win the game, does that mean God didn't want the other team to win? If God gets credit for one team winning, then God has to get credit for the other team's loss as well.

The theology of it all bothers me. Why do players only give God credit when something good happens? What about when the player misses the shot at the buzzer? Doesn't God deserve the same credit for the missed shot? I'm sure the other team is praising God for the missed shot, right?

I think it is time we need to begin reminding the players exactly what they are doing when they invoke God in the celebrations. They are not-so-subtly saying
God is on their side & God didn't like the other team.

No matter how you cut it, that is what it comes to.

And it needs to stop. It is bad theology. It presents a God who favors winners, while saying the outcasts are not wanted by God. Somehow, I think Jesus would not be too pleased with that presentation of himself.

Honestly, I don't think God cares who wins sporting events. God is more concerned about the attitude of honesty in competition & fairness than in the final score. Sports --- in fact, all competition --- should be about becoming a better participant & human being than pummeling the other side & then thanking God for the strength to knock the fool out of someone.

God doesn't care who wins. And God doesn't wear those funny-looking,
over sized foam #1 fingers either ... except for when the Steelers win the Super Bowl. He does wear the foam #1 finger then because it just looks so cool.


Georgia Mountain Man said...

Thank you. I'm glad someone else has expressed this. It has bothered me for years. How many times have I heard a coach or a player say "God blessed us today" after winning a game? God didn't bless them and make the other team lose. He doesn't care.

Dirk said...

I agree, if that's the intent, it shouldn't be. The intent SHOULD be thanking God for the ability and opportunity to play in the first place, remembering those who can't because of physical impairments or they work hard and try and simply don't make it.

Thanking God for a particular team losing has never been a good testimony to me - there are Christian brothers on that other team too.

Guess I was raised in an era where sportsmanlike conduct was actually taught as being the desirable way to play.