Last night, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the New England Patriots by a score of 28-13 to advance to the Superbowl. One of the stars of the game for the Ravens was WR Anquan Boldin who caught two touchdown passes. Boldin is a Christian and has said this in the past regarding his faith:
“That’s just who I am; that’s just my faith. No matter what goes on in my life; surgeries, injuries, hard times or whatever, I’m a man of faith and I believe that’s one of the reasons I’m here today.
(Faith’s) what keeps me grounded; it’s what keeps me focused. Through life you are going to go through some ups and downs, you are going to go through some hardships, but me being grounded in my faith I think truly is the reason that I’m here.”
Let’s set the scene: In light of this testimony, I found Boldin’s reaction to his first touchdown reception troubling. You can watch the video here.
From the video, you can see Boldin score the touchdown then point down to the defender at his feet to mock him. He then immediately points up to the sky to thank God. Sigh.
These words from Philippians 2:1-3 seem appropriate:
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Or Proverbs 3:34:
He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.
Or this from Matthew 23:12:
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
God gave Anquan Boldin an amazing gift of athleticism. By mocking other players and then pointing to the sky, he mocks that gift. He brings glory to himself as opposed to God. And to those watching who don’t know Christ, what are they to make of the mocking and then pointing to the sky? What does that communicate about Christianity?
I really don’t have much more to say on this incident as the video speaks very clearly for itself. I wonder if all of this is lost on Boldin though? I wonder if he sees any problem in mocking an opposing player and then immediately pointing to the sky? Does pointing to the sky validate that he gave God glory? Is that what makes him a Christian athlete?
Boldin is not the only Christian athlete that does this, only the latest. Much like Ray Lewis’s comments from a week ago, this act does far more harm than good in the discussion of what it means to intersect Christianity and sports. I hope and pray that Boldin would be convicted of this act and would strive to make much of Jesus and not much of himself as he plays. May he understand that being a Christian athlete is more than pointing to the sky.