Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Athletes, verses, and OSU (ammended)

Last night I found myself pulling for a team I've always pulled against: Ohio State. Why you ask (or I'll ask on your behalf)?

A number of players including their All-American linebacker and freshmen quarterback had little scripture references on their "eye black" (those black sticky things they put under their eyes to reduce glare, and to look cool). Now that is not unique. Florida Gator QB Tim Teebow has "Phil" on one and "4:13" on the other. In case you're not familiar with this verse, it is the sports-ubiquitous "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" verse. I think this is a good verse to put, especially if "all things" include "being content" with a loss (as it refers to Paul being content , in essence, whether he "wins" or "loses").

But the scripture references these players were donning seemed to be less about the game itself. The QB was wearing Phil 3:14. Either he got confused and mixed up the scripture reference OR he was "....pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Wow. I thought that to be a pretty cool reference since it didn't have anything to do with the outcome of the game (unless his translation was "goal-line" instead of "goal!").

The verse that linebacker James Larunitis (whose father and uncles were professional wrestlers-seriously, remember the "Ultimate Warrior?") had was Gal 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Nothing against Tim Teebow (seriously the dude is an incredible athlete, Christian, missionary, etc.., the Tony Dungy of college quarterbacks) but these are the verses I personally would rather see because they seem to place more emphasis on Christ and less on the actual game. That and I still can't get the taste of Evander Holyfield's use of Phil 4:13 on his boxing robe out of my mouth from the late 90's.

Nevertheless, I am thankful for all such athletes who wear their faith (literally during the games) and who will have a chance to minister on a larger platform in the NFL. Click here to see some other NCAA football players who share faith in Christ.

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