Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Football and being a Christian

I have been a lifelong supporter of Manchester United, probably in part because my Dad supported them and I learnt about the Munich Aircrash Disaster, quite early in my life.

I remember getting overly excited at games on TV, no doubt shouting at the ref and even wrote to the FA once complaining about the lack of fairness over a dismissal.

However I have started to wonder whether football, especially as it is portrayed in the media and how the premier league is run is truly compatible with me calling myself a Christian.  The overriding principle of Football these days is to make money, and this is carried out on the pitch by fair means or foul it would seem.  The amount of players who all too readily try and win a penalty by diving is evidence of this.  When the commentators suggest that it is reasonable for the player to go to ground - that is what you should do for the team after all - and hearing players and managers support their colleagues when it is clear that their has been cheating going on is starting to make me rethink my position.  I heard on the radio yesterday that David Moyes had allegedly been given a £10 million handshake and that MUFC had made £120 million by sacking him.

This behaviour no longer fits with my following the way of a peasant from nowhere who argues for righteousness and justice first.  When I do see Football on TV I see players doing anything to gain an advantage.  Even the terminology, is telling that a player wins a freekick.   Winning is an active verb which doesn't fit with the presumed truth of the player is fouled, i.e. something is done to him

This season Luis Suarez is a hero, everyone has forgotten how he will do anything - even bite someone - to get an advantage

So what can Christians do?  Pray certainly, but should we be supporting teams financially?  Should we be joining the baying crowds, so reminiscent of the crowds in Roman Theatres baying for blood.  One look at the forums on social media will show us that we haven't changed much in 2000 years.  Some so-called Christians are just as bad as people who support a humanist tradition or also other  faith traditions.

I think we also need to ask ourselves uncomfortable questions.  What are we willing to sacrifice in our lives to follow Jesus.

Please feel free to comment.  I am still praying and thinking through this myself.