I recently ran across a satirical look at sports in the United States titled Inside America’s Largest Religious Revival You Know Nothing About. The author, Heather Smith, makes the following claim:
“This new religious revival has remained under the radar in large part because its adherents do not claim any religious attachment to this social institution, but by every measure of behaviors typically associated with religion, it is deceitful to label it as anything less.”
Following this claim, the author then creatively but very poignantly points out the following marks of the sports culture to prove her point:
Devotion – “These disciples are willing to sacrifice almost limitlessly where their dedication to this faith is concerned.”
Impartation – “One reason for the brilliant success of Athletica in handing down its tenets from generation to generation is the belief that children should be initiated into the fullness of its ways as soon as possible.”
Dedication –“In the more devout Athletica households, diet and other bodily disciplines are also part of the ascetic training…Those most dedicated to this life will carefully regulate their sleep to ensure supreme attunement and awareness in the practice of Athletica.”
Centrality – “Unquestionably, the ongoing success of Athletica is rooted in its centrality to the lives of its devotees.
Heather concludes her article with the following – This depth of enculturation is most certainly the key to the trenchant, growing success of Athletica, which—by all reasonable evidence—has already replaced its rival religions in most American homes.
While you may not completely go along with her tongue-in-cheek comparison of sports and religion, you have to acknowledge the underlying idea behind the article – WE WORSHIP SPORTS!
To highlight this reality even further, take a look at this 90 second video from Skit Guys.
We care about this idolatry at CEDE Partners. We don’t want to get rid of sports. We want to redeem them.
One of the key steps in that process of redemption is the acknowledgement of that idolatry. While no one likes to admit it, the truth is that everyone who plays or watches sports is prone to this idolatry. It is a part of our DNA.
Think again if you read the article by Heather Smith or watched the video by the Skit Guys. How did you feel as you did so? Did it make you feel a little uncomfortable? If so, would you wonder why? Maybe it was because it struck a little too “close to home” or too deep in our hearts.
If that discomfort is the case, acknowledge that to God and ask him to reveal the source. Ask him to show you where you might be making sports and idol and repent wherever and whenever he shows you that idolatry.
He delights to move us away from the unsatisfying pursuits of our hearts to the only one worthy of worship and who alone can satisfy our longing hearts. After all, he is in the business of redemption – both people and the idols of our culture like sports.
For further insights into these ideas, take a look at these blogs: