Football & the Gospel…

In seminary, I discovered I had a problem (among many):  I took college football way too seriously.  I suppose I can blame my dad’s side of the family for this condition, as it is hard to not become indoctrinated in this Saturday religion while attending games at one of the largest football worship centers in the nation:  Neyland Stadium at The University of Tennessee.  My commitment to worship of the pigskin was furthered by attending the University of Georgia.  Football, of course, is best in the Southeast.

Anyway, back to self-discovery…In 2002 UGA had an awesome team and were poised to make a run at the National Championship.  That was, until, they lost one solitary game toward the end of the season.  Once again, UGA lost to the University of Florida – even though UGA should have won.  Or at least were suppose to that year.  We were so depressed that we dreamt about the game that night and then skipped church due to our morosity.  That’s not such a big deal, unless what you are training to do for a living largely centers on a different type of worship held on a different weekend day!  That was a turning point for me…no more could my passion for college football consume my passion for worship of the Triune God and my Savior.

I still care greatly about college football.  I am still as big a fan as one could be, but I won’t let it occupy the supreme place in my heart.  So, this past Saturday, when UGA got absolutely demolished by the University of Alabama I allowed myself to be bummed about the game while it was unfolding, but once it was over – it was over.  The next morning, I had the joy of preaching God’s Word to those gathered in worship and one of the things that I got to talk about was the Gospel.  In fact, I told the congregation that one of the most powerful ways that we can respond to those who reject the Gospel is by our growing more in love with and in awe of the Gospel.  And though I did not say it, the message I was preaching to myself is that the football game is just that.  It is not the Gospel.  It is not the Gospel!  Wall Street might collapse and economic hell ensue, but it is not the Gospel.  Our cars may/will break down again, but it is not the Gospel!  This is the perspective that I was preaching to myself Saturday night as I busied myself, hoping for an epic comeback that did not materialize.  And it is the message I taught our congregation.

What crowds the Gospel out of your life?  And what are you preaching to your heart to counter the false worship that comes so naturally?

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3 responses to this post.

  1. That’s why you need to become a Gamecock, brother– it’s good for the soul. You CAN’T be a Gamecock and take the competitiveness and devotion too seriously, because it’s a fast-track to depression.

    Reply

  2. Thanks, Adam, that cuts right to the heart of some recent convictions of mine in regards to football (watching and playing fantasy). Good stuff.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Helen Lee on October 2, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Okay, so I have my limits. I won’t read the article about football and religion. I see football and I tune out.

    Reply

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