Who should Christians root for in Sunday’s Super Bowl: the San Francisco 49ers or the Baltimore Ravens?
It may be a silly question to some, though not to millions of American believers who invest a lot of faith and hope in their sports teams, and see it repaid many times over by the regular public testimonies of numerous athletes and coaches.
A survey released days before the big game shows that more than a quarter of Americans – and about four in 10 evangelicals – think God will help decide the winner of the Super Bowl. So certainly God is rooting for one side or the other, no?
This year’s NFL championship game, however, is especially challenging for those who like their Christian faith to align with their sports loyalties.
The problem is not that evangelical poster boy Tim Tebow isn’t in the big game; heck, the celebrity quarterback had such a lousy season with the New York Jets that no one knows if Tebow will ever make it back to the pros, much less to the playoffs.
Instead, the heart of this moral conundrum is that both the Ravens and Niners have more than their share of Bible-quoting believers — as well as card-carrying cads. And to make matters worse, the saint and sinner can be the same person.
Take Ray Lewis, Baltimore’s defensive standout and future Hall of Famer.
Not only is Lewis a great player, but he is so outspoken about his Christian faith that Sports Illustrated dubbed him “God’s Linebacker” in a 2006 cover story. Moreover, Lewis is retiring after a 17-year career and a season in which he made an improbable (miraculous?) return from a triceps tear that should have ended his year. Redemption, anyone?
Vist RNS.com for more interesting commentary.
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