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Attention to the Tensions

             Each chapter of a great novel ends with captivating yet unresolved tension.  Page after page holds the reader in rapt attention. Similarly, the intrigue of a great competition is similar to a novel with suspense-filled tension of not knowing the outcome of the contest.  I’ve often read an enthralling book slowly simply because I didn’t want it to end. I experienced the pure joy of well-placed words or delectible descriptions that held my imagination and heart captive.  I’ve also experienced pure joy in a well-placed hit or aesthetic moves too beautiful to forget.  Just like a good book shouldn’t be judged only by its last few pages, an athletic contest well played shouldn’t be based simply on the outcome.  The plot of a good sporting event is the sheer delight of the competition. Minimizing an athletic contest to its final result overlooks the joy of the experience, the beautiful tension of not knowing, the details of characters working together to execute well-rehearsed strategies, and the perfect execution of something that was repeated over and over in practice.

            As a young athlete, I yearned to not only play well but to make a difference for the Kingdom in my sport.  I read everything I could find on Christianity and sport.  Although there were few resources, instead of being spurred on by the wisdom of thoughtful writers, I was actually disenchanted by the lack of depth or the recurring defensive need to justify the role of sport.  Most of what I read espoused a performance-based theology, diluted sport simply as a tool for evangelism or misused Scripture to promote athletic clichés.  Let’s face it, there are only a few places where Scripture specifically addresses sport.  Paul states after a round of golf, “I have finished the course” (II Timothy 4:78).  Genesis refers us to the notion that Joseph was a tennis player since he “served in Pharoah’s court.”  The Bible addresses recruiting when Saul says, “to find someone who plays well and bring Him to me” (I Samuel 16:17). 

            Seriously though, no one was writing about how to resolve the tensions I felt every time I suited up for a contest.  I wanted to know how to be a Kingdom player in the midst of the physical, mental, emotional and ethical tensions in competition.

If this resonates with you, we encourage you to take our Faith in Practice course for athletes to go deep and thoughtfully wrestle with what it means to be an athlete who follows Christ as you live and play through the tensions of sport and faith.

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Josh made this video to express his beliefs.  Listen to the wisdom that exudes from his life.  Perhaps this will inspire you to make a video to proclaim your beliefs and values.  Feel free to leave a positive comment about how Josh's video encouraged you.

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