Soccer is what Religion should be…

At least according to Sean Wilsey, a writer who contributed to a National Geographic (June 2006) story on “The Beautiful Game” in anticipation of the 2006 World Cup.

Here is what Wilsey wrote,

What is soccer if not everything that religion should be? Universal yet particular, the source of an infinitely renewable supply of hope, occasionally miraculous, and governed by simple uncontradictory rules that everyone can follow.

I wonder if Wilsey realized that he described Christianity, which JI Packer correctly describes as the “true worship and service of the True God”?

Shall we run down the list? Notice that each of these qualifications has been raised (sometimes vehemently) as objections to Christianity.

  • Universal, yet particular

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:28

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. – John 14:6

  • The source of an infinitely renewable supply of hope

And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?

But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. — Romans 8:23-25

  • occasionally miraculous

“He is not here, but He has risen Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee,

saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” — Luke 24:6-7

  • governed by simple uncontradictory rules that everyone can follow.

One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him,

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

And He said to him, ” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’

“This is the great and foremost commandment.

“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’

“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” — Matthew 22:35-40

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