Jeff Nelson | Pastor, Spiritual Director, Writer
"If there's a god, he is laughing at us and our football team."
So is their faith not as profound because they profess it on a football field? Maybe it's the wrong venue? Is it okay to thank God after winning an Oscar? How about after winning the Nobel Peace Prize? My old pastor used to say things like this on Sunday mornings after she caught a snippet of college football or basketball the day before. Apparently, even though she's a UCC pastor and they profess to be all about respecting people of every faith, she saw into their hearts and just knew that this was disingenuous.
For me, it depends on what they're expressing thankfulness about. Is one thankful for the God-given talents to make a Super Bowl or Oscar win possible (just as God gives similar talents to the other team or nominees), or is one thankful that God made the win happen; made it work out in their favor? Does God really care about who wins a football game?I don't totally buy the "respecting people of every faith" application here. I can respect fellow Christians who do this while questioning or pushing them on why they do it.
So should people sing a doxology in church? Are they thankful that God made the original flow of cash possible or just that it flowed to the church? Does God financially bless one church over another? These seem to be essentially the same questions, in my humble opinion. Perhaps in that moment, they feel incredibly blessed and fortunate.
I think that the context of the doxology as it is sung in most churches is acknowledging God as the source of blessing, but also that blessing brings the responsibility to share it with others. Of course, whether churches put it to worthwhile use is another matter. Blessing is two-pronged that way: what you have and what you do with it.One is blessed with athletic gifts, another with acting gifts, another with financial gifts, another with Nobel Prize-worthy gifts. I believe that God is more concerned with how those gifts can be blessings for others; whether they're being used to the holder's utmost ability.Should a football player refrain from being thankful for his gifts? I would hope he is regardless of whether he wins the Super Bowl. He still has plenty of gifts and plenty of opportunities to use them. Take Kurt Warner, for instance: he didn't win a football game last night, but he was recognized for using his profile and wealth to support Habitat for Humanity.
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