All posts by Ken Cross

Is Being An Athlete in Conflict With Being a Christian? David Brooks Says so…

Our friends over at Church Sports Outreach had a great post last week on an article by David Brooks in the New York Times.  Below is an excerpt:

Inspired by the Jeremy Lin story, David Brooks wrote this piece.  Below are some excerpts:

The moral ethos of sport is in tension with the moral ethos of faith, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

The moral universe of modern sport is oriented around victory and supremacy. The sports hero tries to perform great deeds in order to win glory and fame. It doesn’t really matter whether he has good intentions. His job is to beat his opponents and avoid the oblivion that goes with defeat.

The modern sports hero is competitive and ambitious. (Let’s say he’s a man, though these traits apply to female athletes as well). He is theatrical. He puts himself on display.

He is assertive, proud and intimidating. He makes himself the center of attention when the game is on the line. His identity is built around his prowess. His achievement is measured by how much he can elicit the admiration of other people — the roar of the crowd and the respect of ESPN.

His primary virtue is courage — the ability to withstand pain, remain calm under pressure and rise from nowhere to topple the greats.

This is what we go to sporting events to see. This sporting ethos pervades modern life and shapes how we think about business, academic and political competition.

But there’s no use denying — though many do deny it — that this ethos violates the religious ethos on many levels. The religious ethos is about redemption, self-abnegation and surrender to God.

Ascent in the sports universe is a straight shot. You set your goal, and you climb toward greatness. But ascent in the religious universe often proceeds by a series of inversions: You have to be willing to lose yourself in order to find yourself; to gain everything you have to be willing to give up everything; the last shall be first; it’s not about you.

I think Mr. Brooks describes the tension well–and I use that word carefully and purposefully.  This is the tension that every Christian athlete feels.  In fact, if we’re honest, it’s the tension that every Christian spectator, coach, volunteer, etc. feels as well.

I would agree with Mr. Brooks when he says much about sports is about supremacy and domination and I agree this is in conflict with Christian tenets.  As you read his piece though, there is no hope offered.  There is no solution brought forth.  Is this because he believes there isn’t one?  Perhaps.

I’m here to say though that there is hope.  There is a solution and that is to offer your sports to God as an act of worship.  Make your playing, spectating, and coaching for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31) and not for the glory of yourself.  Is this difficult?  Absolutely!  Will you fail occasionally?  Undoubtedly.  But you will change (by God’s grace) and it will revolutionize the way you interact with sports.

The First Missionary

Today we look at a story that has bugged me for a good while!

Mark 5:1-20

The Healing of a Demon-possessed Man

 1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

 6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!

Jeremy Lin’s Faith

Our friends over at Church Sports Outreach have posted this short blog on Jeremy Lin.  Jeremy has a great perspective on how to integrate his faith into basketball:

Lin then adds the following commentary about his coming to treasure Jesus more than basketball success:

When Paul wrote in Philippians to press on for an upward prize, he was living for that, and it made his life meaningful (Philippians 3:15). And I realized I had to learn to do the same. I had to learn to stop chasing the perishable prizes of this earth, I had to stop chasing personal glory, I had to learn how to give my best effort to God and trust him with the results. I have to learn to have enough faith to trust in his grace and to trust in his sovereign and perfect plan. I had to submit my will, my desires, my dreams — give it all up to God and say, “Look, I am going to give my best effort, go on the court and play every day for you, and I’m going to let you take care of the rest.

Justin Tuck, Brick Strong

Welcome to my new blog!  I am Ken Cross, the new vice president of the Sports Chaplains Network (SCN).

Why would there be the need for a Sports Chaplains Network? Because as Sports Chaplains we have a unique opportunity to be used of God to change lives with a relational, gospel centered ministry through sports.

A couple of days ago I was watching ESPN and saw this video. A great human interest story about a seemingly all powerful Super bowl winning Justin Tuck and a brave young fan with leukemia. But it was more than that for me.

Watch it and then I will tell you why.

Did you notice that all of this happened as a result of an unnamed chaplain putting a “bug/suggestion