What price glory? Parsing the mixed messages of sports celebrations

Stephen Woodworth

Stephen Woodworth
October 2, 2014

Given the mixed messages - religious and otherwise - of sports celebrations, might players be better off keeping silent?

Pastor J
October 3, 2014

Great Word!! I honestly bounce back and forth on sports celebration. It always seems to be "Yay I did my job...correctly" However with endzone celebration it has become as much a part of the game as the game itself, so if it is going to be there anyway the question is "should there be acknowledgement of God"? Purely in the interest of giving an opposing view I will say this. I agree with your posit that we shouldn't pray in public, when it is meant to glorify ourselves. I am not sure that a finger pointed skyward or even taking a knee for a quick "Thank you Lord" represents this kind of prayer. In Proverbs 3:6 the Word says "In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." I would contend that by acknowledging God the player has submitted his own glory for that of God. The fact that the NFL and/or the referees would try to distinguish between one celebration and another is frankly ridiculous. Freedom exists for everyone as far as this country goes. As for the Christian and the question of putting it out there for all to see, that probably falls under "Work out your own soul salvation...." I for one am at least happy that some Christians are willing to be outed as a Jesus Freak only makes it easier for me and my anonymous life to face that challenge every day.
Great Food for thought Pastor Stephen!

October 4, 2014

Pastor J, I go back and forth on celebrations too. Could you imagine if you or I started celebrating at work just for doing our job? It's a running back's JOB to score a touchdown! It's a defensive tackle's JOB to sack the quarterback or knock the pass down! Why the need to celebrate doing the very thing you get paid to do? But then again, at the end of the day, it's a game, and there should be an element of joy and fun involved.

Not sure I'm a supporter of the overt religious displays though. Seems a bit showy to me, but now I suppose my Calvinist underpants are showing. :)

Jonathan Downie
October 6, 2014

Theoretically speaking, what would be the difference between praying in the end zone and an academic acknowledging Jesus in the acknowledgements section of their thesis? Besides the difference in readership that is.

While I understand the issue with public religious showiness, my understanding of Christ's teaching was precisely that the pharisees' prayers had become simply for show and were not married to anything internal. They were, to use a colloqualism, all mouth and no trousers. If this is the case with sports celebrations, the crit is well-aimed. If, on the other hand, we realise that Jesus prayed and worshipped publicly on several occasions, even in front of large crowds (blessing of the food given to the 5,000; His baptism; His prayer for Jerusalem; even on the cross) then we have to look more deeply about what might be going on.

I would have no issue with acknowledging God's hand in my work while in the office. If I get the funding I am applying for, my officemates might even glimpse the odd tebow. But it will be out of a heart that recognises my own weaknesses and dependence on God, rather than as an attempt to draw attention to my work. Might the same thing be happening on the fields of dreams?

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