I’ve been really busy with BlogRocket stuff this month, so I’m going to be reposting some older content once in a while. Hopefully it’s new to you. This post was originally written for Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like blog.
Being born and raised in Massachusetts means you’ve got 3 things in your blood: platelets, midi-chlorians, and the Red Sox. Cheering on the Sox is a bond that runs through my entire family, so I’ve done my best to pass this love on to my two children in hopes it becomes another connection point in our lives.
If my kids do end up lifelong Red Sox fans, I realize the biggest reason will be that they’re always watching and taking their cues from me. Knowing this, I try to model the appropriate level of fandom for them in good times and in bad. I never want them to think it’s okay to take your fandom too far (see Football Fans, European).
The idea of balanced devotion applies to more than just sports, of course. Whether it’s the Red Sox or a favorite hobby, I don’t want my kids to get overly involved in anything that takes over their lives. The Bible calls this obsessive adoration for something other than God “idolatry”, and if you’re feeling guilty as you read this it could be God telling you to back off of the sports thing for a bit. It could also be your spouse whispering subliminal messages in your ear while you sleep, so it’s best to pray about it. And sleep with earplugs.
I can’t specifically tell you if your love of sports is hurting your spiritual life, but I have however, created this quiz to help you determine if it’s time for you to take a time out from the world of sports. So turn off the game, grab a pencil, and answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the following twenty-one questions.
The 21-Question Sports Idolatry Quiz
1. Have you named your kids, your dog, or your wife after players from your favorite team?
2. When you picture Satan, is he wearing the uniform of your hated rival?
3. Have you replaced your morning Bible devotions with daily readings and memorizations from the team media guide?
4. Have you ever prayed for forgiveness when an athlete on the opposing team sustained an injury because earlier that day you were praying for that exact injury to happen to him?
5. Have you ever used the sermon note section of your bulletin to write out potential starting lineups for your favorite team?
6. Have you been archiving these fake starting lineups in a locked, fireproof cabinet for the last ten years?
7. Are you the reason your pastor recently instituted a ban on sports prayers during altar calls?
8. Have you ever promised God that you’d tithe off of your fantasy sports winnings in hopes he would tweak the wind to help your kicker nail a 50+ yarder?
9. Do people at church avoid you like a leper after your team loses a big game?
10. Do people at church just avoid you in general?
11. Is your favorite thing about Easter Sunday remembering the resurrection of Jesus…EXCEPT when Easter happens to coincide with the final day of The Masters?
12. Do you have trouble getting into the spirit of the worship music unless you’re wearing your foam finger?
13. Have you ever brought your own communion glass to church, complete with team logo and “World’s Greatest Fan” etched onto the side?
14. Have you ever worn long-sleeved shirts to church to cover up the body paint?
15. Have you ever worn a ski mask for the same reason?
16. Does the team schedule taped to the inside of your Bible have more highlights and notes written on it than your Bible does?
17. Have you ever referred to ESPN as “religious programming”?
18. Have you ever considered painting your hated rival’s logo on the bottom of your toilet bowl to improve the overall bathroom experience?
19. Did you just read that last one and think, “Hey, that’s not a bad idea”?
20. Did you read Chad Gibbs’ God and Football hoping it would make you feel better about your obsessive behavior?
21. Have you ever turned to the Book of Numbers hoping to find ERA and WHIP statistics for Moses?
If you answered “Yes” to one or more of these questions, I suggest you put the body paint and foam finger away for a few weeks and try reading a book. Honestly, you’re dangerously close to finding yourself on the bottom of one of those crazy soccer riots.
And while we’re here, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done as a fan?
Don’t worry, as long as if doesn’t involve poisoning sacred Oak trees this is a safe place to confess.
PS…I did an interview with Jason Boyett about BlogRocket today, check it out!