On the state of Christianity in sports

I’ve mentioned a few times over the years that I’m a big football fan (for some strange reason, of the Oakland Raider variety).

I’ve often read a football writer named David White, who covers the Raiders and 49ers for the San Francisco Chronicle. It now seems that Mr. White is leaving the newspaper business — of his own accord, which is a nice change of pace — for the ministry.

He’s written a column about leaving the gridiron to become senior pastor at the Porterville Church of God, a Pentecostal congregation.
He covers the “local state of Christianity in sports, and why no one is really buying it,” and weighs in on several issues I’ve wondered and written about:

*****

When thou tear an ACL, don’t say it’s because God lets everything happen for a reason. There is a reason. A 320-pound defensive tackle landed on the back of your knee.

Thou shalt not thank God when only you win, and never when you lose. What, is it his fault that 4th-and-inches call was a few yards off? Did he fumble away the game-winning interception? The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

Thou shalt absolutely not say your team won because it was God’s plan. What does the Lord have against the other team? And why should God even care in a world of suffering how our games play out? Maybe you think He doubled down on your end of the Vegas line? He didn’t.

*****

I hope that, a few years down the road, White writes about his lessons in ministry.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.