Football season officially began this week. The most popular sport in America will once again headline sports pages, influence workplace conversations and impact family life.
Many Americans love their football and many love their faith.
For some, football is a religion, but for many more, football and their faith are perfect partners.
Some of the most famous and successful NFL players are men of strong Christian faith. Players like Aaron Rodgers, Robert Griffith III, Adrian Peterson, Drew Brees, and of course, Tim Tebow, are all very devote Christians.
Are these two loves at odds?
In the February 4, 2013 Sports Illustrated Super Bowl issue, Mark Oppenheimer wrote an article entitled, “In The Fields Of The Lord.”
One of the essential message of the scriptures is that Jesus wants us to be servant oriented. This is exactly what football teaches players.
His essential thesis was that for Christian players and coaches, football is bad.
Oppenheimer claims football will likely corrupt their Christian values, and thus all who love and follow football are corrupted as well. He argues the violence, physicality and adulation in playing football is “deeply at odds with Jesus’ message.”
But this is simply not true.
First we must examine the message of Jesus. Oppenheimer says Jesus preferred the loser to the winner, the weak over the strong and the poor over the rich, but this is not an indictment against football.