Tag Archives: football

Jesus and the Super Bowl, football player

Jesus and the Super Bowl: Sunday Message

Today, on the hallowed American holiday of Super Bowl Sunday, pastors are preaching sermons about the Super Bowl in churches all across America. Pastors preach about Jesus and the Super Bowl. They call their congregations to be “champions” for Jesus (well, champions of the capitalist society).

Pastors use Jesus and the Super Bowl to compare the Christian life to a cosmic football game, full of adoring Jesus fans filling rah-rah stadiums. This is not necessarily a bad picture. But these Jesus fans should not be cheering on just some game, they should be cheering on the poor and the oppressed, Jesus’ brothers and sisters. The Super Bowl for super souls.

Pastors publicly pray for their favorite team to win the Super Bowl. This I do not agree with. These pastors presume that, in a world full of suffering and pain, a callous world where children die of hunger and poverty, a violent world where adults die of human hatred and war, God somehow cares about the outcome of an American football game.

Jesus and Super Bowl Violence

American football is a game that glorifies war and violence. Yet churches uplift the game. Some churches even broadcast the Super Bowl in their sanctuaries, areas that are supposedly sanctified to holiness. The Super Bowl is far from holy.

I have also heard Christians say that if Jesus was alive today, he would certainly attend the Super Bowl.

But would he? The Roman society, which Jesus inhabited, oppressed and impoverished his people, the Jews. Roman society was violent and divided by class status, not too different from American society today. Yes, we are a little more civilized. Rome put their protestors on a cross; we put our protestors in jail. Rome killed their gladiators in Colosseum games; we give our players concussions and broken bones in football games. WWJD? What would Jesus do? Would he celebrate the violence?

Not too long after Jesus’ death, Rome decimated the Jews and destroyed the temple in 70 AD. Rome took the temple spoils and enslaved the Jews to build the Colosseum, opened in 80 AD. They used the Colosseum to murder early Christians, followers of Jesus.  The Romans set wild animals lose to create human blood baths, believers perishing as entertainment for the people in the stadium.

Yet today’s American Christians cry that they are “persecuted” when somebody says happy holidays to them, or when they are not allowed to lead Christian prayers in public schools. How far removed they are from the agonies of the cross!

I do not believe that Jesus would celebrate the spirit of the Super Bowl, a game that glorifies war strategy and violence, winners and losers, haves and have-nots. In history, rich and the poor spectators sat in separate Colosseum seats. Today, rich spectators buy Super Bowl tickets for thousands of dollars, the tickets a status symbol of wealth. Gladiator glory and multi-million dollar football player contracts are not too different.

Jesus, a Champion for the Poor

Jesus is alive today, but you won’t find him in the Super Bowl stadium or the Super Bowl pulpit. You will find him in the streets, sharing chips and dip with the hungry. You will find him in the charity hospital of sickness, healing the people and paying their bills. You will find him in the prison of hopelessness, giving a party to the lonely.

If Jesus did preach a Super Bowl Sunday message, he would tell us to give up our lives and worldly glories and become champions for social justice. He would explain the game strategy of lifting people out of poverty, freeing the wrongfully imprisoned, bringing peace and justice to a warring world. He would tell us how he resisted the political wars and violent games of his day. He would remind us what true persecution looks like, and to stay strong when society tries to destroy you.

Jesus and the Super Bowl: A Prayer for Peace

Dear Jesus,

I pray for peace today on Super Bowl Sunday. I pray for the kingdom of the Father to come to earth, and the American football stadiums to be full of intercessors for the poor and least of these. I pray that you will humble our hearts and make us champions against the powers of darkness that seek to destroy the human soul. l pray that we will stop destroying each other and playing soul-crushing games of winners and losers.

Jesus, please change hearts on Super Bowl Sunday. Help us learn to give our millions of dollars to change society, not just to win a big game.

Amen

NFL violence

NFL Violence, Adrian Peterson, and Child Abuse

Adrian Peterson is the latest casualty/perpetrator of the epidemic of NFL violence. Peterson is accused of brutally whipping his child in a twisted form of corporal discipline. Peterson is also a celebrity player, worth millions to the Minnesota Vikings. Are celebrity football players above the physical law? What about the moral law of holy justice? Would Jesus whip and bruise his child?

One Game

There is something sinister about the Twin Cities metropolitan area, which I am not proud to currently inhabit, plus the NFL as a whole, that Adrian Peterson could brutally beat his son and then only miss playing one game. He had many Vikings supporters rallying in Minneapolis to have him play again. Peterson was suspended from Sunday’s football game, then reinstated under the guise of leaving the allegations for the courts to sort out.

One game.

Is this really about the courts, or is about big money which routinely overlooks NFL violence?

Of course Peterson means big dollar signs to the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings lost the game without Peterson, and losing teams mean losing revenue. The team owners decided to reinstate Peterson based on their own greedy calculations, and nobody really expects Scrooge to do the right thing. But the show of support from the community? It makes me tremble to see all the people wearing Peterson jerseys and saying “discipline” is a parent’s choice. Do they think NFL violence is just part of the game. Do they thing violence off the field is OK, too?

Discipline or Abuse?

Is beating a child simply a discipline choice?

No!

It is never a choice to harm another person, especially the weakest among us. Beating, especially beating to leave bruises, is an act of violence. Jesus called the little children to come to him, to show us adults the way of the Kingdom. Children are imagination and innocence. Yes, children can make mistakes and misbehave while learning social norms, but they need gentle correction, not violent discipline.

When correction turns into beatings that leave children bloody and bruised, it has crossed the line into abuse. Beatings are never appropriate, no matter how wealthy or famous their parents. Peterson claims, as do most other perpetrators of child abuse, that this is the way he was raised so he doesn’t know better. This is not an excuse. People who truly come from a background of abuse should be the first to understand the lifelong pain, emotional and physical, brought on by a parent’s violence.

NFL Violence

Unfortunately, the NFL promotes this type of violence. Football is a violent sport, physically and psychologically. NFL violence is NFL entertainment. The slow motion film is fed to the screens small and large all over the county, ready for fans to view all the brain- and bone-crushing hits.

Football is a game of war, focused on the strategy of how to destroy the enemy. Many people live out war and violence fantasies vicariously through their favored team. My father used to yell, and even break things, when watching his favorite team lose a play, or a game, on television. Football terrified me as a child. My father embraced the NFL violence, and then he became violent at times toward me and my siblings. Just like Peterson did to his son.

Maybe it wasn’t entirely Peterson’s fault. Playing football encouraged and nurtured his violence. It is hard to leave a war game behind on the field. The big money the NFL makes from its legions of fans contributes to the culture of violence. This too often spills over into the player’s home lives.

The football league, made impotent by greed, loves the big hits.

Something must change. Adrian Peterson must be dismissed from the league, from the spotlight, for the life of his child, the future of his family, and for a change in the bigger culture.

A Prayer for the Children

God sees the tears of the children. He stands up for the innocent and the abused. Jesus weeps over families that condone generations of violence, and for societies that condone sports of violence.

Heavenly Father,

I pray today for Adrian Peterson’s son, and all the other children who are going to bed with bruised bodies and bruised souls. I pray for the parents who have learned generational violence and embraced cultural violence, including the violence of sports entertainment, that they will see the error of their ways and turn from the violence for the sake of the precious children. I pray that greed will not triumph over morality, and the NFL will change as a driving force in American culture. I pray for healing and justice over this situation.

Amen

Tebow football

Tebow- Gains, Guts, and Glory- For Himself?

Nike lawsuit against Reebok stops Tim Tebow apparel sales

-Los Angeles Times

Nike and Reebok, two of the largest players in the sports gear industry, are embroiled in an unholy spat over who gets to make and sell products featuring the name of newly minted New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow…Through it all, we can’t help but ask: What would Jesus do?

This quote says it all. The Christians worship Tim Tebow, and he soaks it all up. Now Nike and Reebok have joined his mass of adoring fans. And they can’t play nice.

Jesus said,

Matthew 6:5
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full

Jesus practiced what he preached, going off to the lonely places to pray and commune with the Father.

Tim Tebow Does Not Follow the Kingdom

Apparently Tebow has never met Jesus or understood his words. Tebow loves the crowds. Any Pharisee would be jealous of the crowded stadium awarded to Tebow. His reward comes from men and not from God.

Tim Tebow has not found the hidden kingdom. His is on the wide road of destruction, crowded with his legions of followers. Truly he has received his reward of the earthly kingdom, and he has forsaken the heavenly kingdom.

Some would argue that Tebow is “letting his light shine before men,” but apparently they forget the second part of the verse – “so that they may glorify your father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Tebow is only bringing glory to himself. If this were not true, he would intervene in the Nike lawsuit and tell the sports companies to stop endorsing him. He would refuse the earthly riches provided by the nice Nike and Reebok contracts. He would forsake the world, take up his cross, and follow Jesus.

The Narrow Road

The narrow road is a road that is too hard for Tebow and his followers. If he really lovedJesus, Tebow would sell all that he owns and give it to the poor, as Jesus told the rich young ruler. In the US, athletes are all rich young rulers of the culture.

Tebow would do well to heed Jesus’ words. He would find the treasure hidden in the field and sell all that he has to buy that field. Yet he spends his money merrily on himself. Truly he has received his earthly reward.

Worse, his selfish actions cause the media to slander Jesus and make fun of holiness, as the beginning quote shows. The church laughs right along at the joke, and Jesus weeps.

The time of judgment is swiftly approaching. God will allow Jesus to unsheathe his sword. Those who follow Tebow and not Jesus will head straight to destruction. Choose you this day whom you will serve.