Posts Tagged ‘Sports’

The Difference Between Sports and Church

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

I love sports.  Plain and simple.  Love them. Love them. Love them.

And in this day and age, sports have slowly overtaken church as maybe the primary “third place” experience for families. (The other two places being “home” and “school.”)

Is that good or bad … I am not sure.  Certainly a good athletic experience teaches in ways church can’t.  But maybe the reverse is true as well.

One paradigm  goes back to the concept we can form two types of communities … a community of interests or a community of commitments.

A Community of Interests

  1. Formed largely around a desire for success and winning (For a team that never wins it is hard to have a “good” experience)
  2. Includes two parties (Me/ You or Us/ Them)
  3. Requires a connection with like motivated/ minded/ skilled individuals
  4. Requires an evolving mastery of a certain skill
  5. Requires sacrifice on many levels, in which “liking it” ties ultimately to a desired level of success

A Community of Commitments

  1. Formed largely around a desire for meaning and service (For a church that never conveys deeper meaning to life or service, it is hard to have a good experience)
  2. Includes three parties that eventually yield to ONE (Me/ You/ God or Us/ Them/ God which eventually yields ONE)
  3. Requires a connection with similarly committed individuals
  4. Requires a sharing of skills
  5. Requires sacrifice on many levels, in which “liking it” takes a second seat to a core commitment to “just do it.”

Both types of communities are incredibly valuable.  And it is not a binary choice where we must pick either a community of interest or a community of commitments.  Both dovetail in many wonderful ways.

The worry for me is that with social media, youth sports etc… the draw of impassioned communities of interest far outweighs, in this cultural era we live in, the sacrificial beauty of communities of commitment.

Maybe there is more space for “both-and.”

As a Pastor some days it is hard to move a conversation with myself and with others from “What are you interested in?” to “What are you willing to commit to?”

With a big smile, before I turn on ESPN, maybe we can find more interest in commitment.


Football, Anchoring, And Just A Lot Of Questions

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

For starters, I love football.  Passionately.  I don’t watch many games live because they are too anxiety producing.  But I watch dozens on replay, hours after I know the score.

And well there is struggle.  A great deal of questions.  Over the past two weeks…

  1. USC fired its head football coach as he struggled with an obvious alcohol addiction.  Maybe the pressure was relentless?
  2. USC’s AD, Pat Haden, later collapsed on the sidelines at the first game under an interim coach. Passed out.  Not alcohol induced.  Nerves I would imagine.
  3. Michigan State beat Michigan on a last second gafffe by the punter.  Michigan’s punter later received so many death threats that Michigan’s AD wrote an open letter imploring the no doubt small group of wayward fans to stop the harrasment.
  4. The young man who scored Michigan State’s last touchdown in the miracle win broke his hip on the play.  How will that turn out?  A legend maybe but maybe a legend who never plays a down as a starter again.
  5. Johnny Manziel, Heisman winner and QB for the Browns, well just look at his exploits this weekend.  An argument with this his girlfriend … while driving … that became so heated several people called the police.  No big deal he said.  Alcohol involved.
The struggle is this … a gnawing worry that we have anchored far too much of our lives in sports. And as a pastor, I know that comes with a cost.  I hear constantly from parents who can no longer bring their family to church on Sunday because of athletic commitments.   The anchor for life becomes sport/ athletics.
And that sounds so old and fuddy-duddy doesn’t it?  Like some 1950′s Father-Knows-Best line.
But I do know this … faith lived well, lived courageously builds character too.  Builds teamwork.  Builds commitment. Builds dedication. Builds a moral foundation.  Gives a higher perspective. And maybe on some Sundays church does those things even better than sports do.
It is not a conversation about Sports or Church.  But maybe there is space for “and.”  I hope so.