Who Needs (the Gridiron) God?

If football is a religion, as some have argued, then here is what a skeptic might sound like:

Don’t get me wrong. It’s fine that football teams pray after games. Lots of people get excited about this religion, and I respect their right to do so, but it’s not for me.

When friends invite me to a game, I respectfully decline. I don’t feel like getting up on a Sunday morning, driving to a stadium and sitting with strangers for 3 hours. I can see maybe going on Thanksgiving Day, but not every week.

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Notre Dame’s Word of Life “Touchdown Jesus” Mural

I saw a signup sheet in the break room for a football pool. I couldn’t help but notice that you had to pay to join. Everything has a price on it, even religion. And besides, I don’t think I can commit myself to 17 weeks.

I feel stupid when people at lunch start talking about football. Everyone takes for granted that I know who Cam Newton is, or why people hate Dan Snyder. Not everyone is a football scholar, you know. Dumb it down for me and maybe I’ll pay some attention to your religion.

The guy in the cubicle next to me is a religious fanatic. He is always reading something on NFL.com, even when he should be working. I get a little suspicious when he starts talking to me about “the big game” – I wonder if he is trying to convert me.

People are always wearing football jerseys on Friday. I believe religion is a private matter, not something you have to wear on your sleeve. They don’t realize that they might turn people off or offend someone.

Football can be controversial, just like politics. I don’t like the trash talking, and the arguing. These people can get really nasty.

My family watched football when I was growing up, but when I went to college I got out of the habit. Maybe someday, when my kids are out of the house and I retire, I’ll start watching football games again. I may even become a fan.

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About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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2 Responses to Who Needs (the Gridiron) God?

  1. Pingback: Who Needs (the Gridiron) God? « HUNTINGTOWN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

  2. Sharon Worthington says:

    Football is a sport and certainly not a religion even though some people watch it religiously. In our nature we want to have something to root for! It is thrilling at times and even though I like it it will never never take the place of my ultimate hero God!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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