A few years ago I was a speaker in a camp for young men and women. After the first group match time arrived, among those leaders started by telling a parable according to Genesis 1-3. He explained the joys of playing games at the Garden of Eden in which the accent was only about the joy of drama. But one day that the serpent entered the backyard and enticed the Eden-dwellers with the concept of things. They gave into the temptation and started keeping score within their matches and this resulted in all sorts of evils – rivalry, lust for winning, adulterous, anger and struggles. They dropped the simple pleasure of drama.
The chief told this parable to allow the young men and women understand this week in the camp they’d be introduced into non-competitive games. There were no points, no losers or winners, only the joy of drama. However there was one serious problem – that the matches were totally and completely dull. Day after day less and less of those young folks showed up to the match time so that in the previous one there were just a small number of young individuals there.
Is this an accurate portrayal of a theology of sport? Obviously, I do not think so. I’d love to present a quick and comprehensive theology of sport. If you do not like that name you may imagine it, “Why we ought to see the Super Bowl!”
History could be summed up in 3 words: creation, fall, redemption. So whenever you’re taking a look at the theology of a problem you want to inquire: What is its connection to or manifestation of production, of this collapse, of salvation? In thinking about the problem of sport, I’ve added two additional words to enlarge our thought – incarnation and salvation (both that are, of course, tied to production, fall and redemption).
Generation – God may have made everything to become grey and serviceable. Instead, He generated a fantastic diversity of colour, size, shape, odor, feel, sounds, and tastes. Why did He do so? He did it so the creation could be a manifestation of His individual and, specifically, His beauty. It’s a masterpiece of form and function. The production is a work of art.
Art may be thought of as comprising two kinds: visual artwork – such as sculpture, painting, design, and, acting art – such as play, music, dance. The Lord comprised both performing and visual art in the production. Visual Art: flowers, mountains, mountains; Performing Art: waters and ponds, planetary orbits, clouds. Some things in production combine both.
Sports are a manifestation of the creative action of the Lord. In addition they combine visual art (painted fields/courts, team colours and logos) and performing arts (the real play). Sports reflect the role and form of production. There’s beauty in a drama that’s run to perfection, at a well-thrown ball at a diving grab, in turning into a double play. These things can bring delight and happiness as they’re a reflection of how in which the world was made to be. They’re a display of artwork (or even artistry, should you want).
The Lord also generated things in a particular sequence, not in a random way, and He put inside the production laws or principles by which nature functions. Sports have an arrangement to them and also have rules where they function. Just because there are impacts for rebelling from the established order (for instance, blowing off gravity), therefore that there are consequences for not following the rules in athletics. Sports reflect the character and principles of this production. As in character, this manifestation, when performed well, honors the Lord and provides the enthusiast joy.
Fall – From the autumn, man rebelled by the curse that led from this autumn touches every component of everything – there is nothing that flows. It follows that we’d expect to see signs of this drop in athletics and, obviously, we do. There are sins of mindset in addition to sins of activity.
The deadliest of those sins is that the idolatry of sport – if it holds the maximum place in the affection of their heart and at the thinking of their brain. When life is intended around when matches are played if a individual’s whole outlook is influenced by if his team wins or loses, he’s crossed the line to a sinful obsession.