A Brief Theology of Sports

modern-wallpaperSeveral years past I was a speaker at a camp for young folks. When the first group game time arrived, among the leaders started by telling a parable based on Genesis 1-3. He described the delights of playing games in the Garden of Eden where the emphasis was only on the enjoyment of play. But the serpent entered the garden and tempted the Eden-dwellers with the notion of points. They gave in to the temptation and started keeping score in their own matches and this led to all sorts of evils – lust for winning, contest, cheating, rage and fights. They lost the easy enjoyment of play.

The leader told this parable to let the young folks understand that this week at the camp they’d be introduced to non-competitive games. There were no points, no winners or losers, only the pleasure of play. But there was one serious issue – the games were utterly and wholly uninteresting. Day after day less and less of the young folks showed up for the match time so that at the last one there were just a few of young folks there.

youth-sportsIs this an accurate description of a theology of sports? Clearly, I do not believe so. I had like to present a comprehensive and simple theology of sports. Should youn’t enjoy that title you can think of it as, “Why we should see the Super Bowl!”

History can be summed up in three words: creation, fall, redemption. So if you are looking at the theology of a problem you should inquire: What’s its relationship to or reflection of creation, of redemption, of the autumn? In contemplating the problem of sports, I’ve added two additional words to enlarge our thought – incarnation and salvation (both which are, obviously, tied to creation, fall and redemption).

Creation – God could have created everything to be serviceable and grey. Instead, He created a great diversity of colour, size, shape, odor, feel, sounds, and flavors. Why did He do this? He did it so that the creation would be His attractiveness, a manifestation of His man and, in particular. It’s a masterpiece of shape and function. The creation is a work of art.

Artwork is sometimes considered as consisting of two kinds: visual art – like painting, sculpture, architecture, and, performing art – like drama, music, dancing. The Lord contained both performing and visual art in the creation. Visual Art: flowers, trees, mountains; Performing Artwork: oceans and rivers, planetary orbits, clouds. The two are combined by some things in creation.