But the depth of convictions from evangelical Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner to the Steelers who will do their best to plant him face-first into the ground on Sunday has put religion squarely in play this week. All of a sudden the G-word is in vogue.Tangentially speaking, Jim Evans, in an entertaining opinion piece, points out the theological logic within sports. When an athlete hits a homerun or scores a touchdown, he/she oftentimes thanks the heavens. Yet, when the the athlete strikes out, misses the field goal, or duffs a shot on an open goal, the athlete doesn't rebuke God for God's supposed absence. Therefore, theologically the argument goes:
When you win, God is with you -- but when you lose, you are on your own.Yet, in light of a recent high school basketball game, this theology needs some nuancing. Two Christian high schools, the Covenant School and the Dallas Academy, played a girl's basket ball game, and the final score was Covenant School 100, Dallas Academy 0. Yes, no typos there, 100 to zero. This led to some public criticism against the un-Christian-like behavior of the Covent School's team for their lack of sports(wo)manship; Jesus, of course, wouldn't run up the score. So, in terms of theology, winning should happen with grace:
If you have success in appropriate portions, God is with you. But if you flaunt your abilities and run up the score, God is not with you. Or: If you lose, you are on your own -- unless you lose in such an egregious fashion as to invoke the oppressed-people syndrome in which case God is with you.But, as cool as this theology sounds, we truly understand that God doesn't concern Godself with the outcomes of athletic competitions. God is the God of both sides, neither team elevated to an elect status. As such, Evans concludes:
God does not take sides. God doesn't care who wins or loses. Like all things in life, God is mostly concerned about the way we play the game.It would be fun to see a 100-0 Steelers victory though. Amen.