Monday, May 05, 2003

Jesus Tragics?-This was an interesting piece on Australian PM John Howard getting the VIP treatment at a Yankee’s game, including a standing O from the crowd. Howard’s a noted cricket junkie, or “cricket tragic” in Aussie idiom. The term’s wide-spread enough to see a Cricket-Tragic blog. While the sports may differ, sports fandom seems to be nearly universal. It’s interesting how society has certain quirks that are socially acceptable and some that aren’t; being devoted to a sport is accepted, while devotion to God is not. One of Nixon’s better-tolerated quirks was a love for the Washington Redskins; Nixon was noted for sending coach George Allen Sr. trick plays to run. Likewise the cricket tragic PM is not disparaged for his love of the game. For those of us who are sports fans, our love of sports is often greater than our love of God, especially if our team’s going good. Sports are a respite from the real world; I recall Earl Warren’s line that he headed to the sports page first, for the sport page had man’s accomplishments and the front page had man’s failures. It’s an easy addiction to get into, especially if you’ve got problems in the real world. Just spend your evenings and weekends watching sports on TV or going to the games in person if you have the geographic and financial advantages to do so. Like the old quip about alcohol, sports aren’t the answer, but it does help you forget the questions. Such fandom is tragic in the sense that they are spending a lot of time on things that only provide a temporary escape for their problems. One of the reasons I make a point of putting my Edifier post first every day is to give God my first blogging fruits (I hope that doesn’t sound too pretentious) and not dive into last nights game or yesterday’s news first. For the faithful in the crowd who are also sports fans, count the time you spend on sports and count the time you spend on Christian activities (“But aren’t they one and the same?”) during the week. If the first starts to get much bigger than the second, rethink your priorities. If we can get the title “Jesus Tragic”, then we’re starting to head in the right direction; it sounds better than “Jesus Freak”. However, give someone an equivalent love of God, and that devotion becomes dangerous. People don’t get their eternity questioned when they talk about the Pistons-Magic series, nor do they get their sin nature question when they talk about whether Carson Palmer will pan out with the Bengals. Taking about your passion isn’t going to be easy; one of the reasons that people become sports tragics is that knowledge in sports is rewarded in conversation. That’s why evangelism is hard work; you’re going to get less flack saying “How about those [fill in local team here]!”

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