Saturday, June 12, 2010

United Nations: Every man is not an island

A few weeks ago I heard Matt Chandler say that when you start saying "we" about sport instead of "they" you're getting into idolatry and folly. He has a point - sport is good but I don't play for the team...

Equally, it's interesting to watch the collective sense of identity that football gives a nation, especially when we're up against one of our former colonies. Most days we believe the Pelagian heresy that every man is an island, today we think of ourselves together in Rooney. 

England vs. USA cartoon explained


  1. I'm not sure about Matt Chandler's point. It's helpful to remember that we are all part of others - a family, a city, a country, a nation state, a commonwealth: represented by a father, a mayor, a ?national team, a government, a queen. We should think 'we' do something when our government does it; so we should think we do something when our national team does it. This is only idolatrous when it becomes our primary, all-encompassing identity and removes the capacity for critique or love of 'enemy'. In a healthy dynamic, it is because of our ownership that we feel able to critique - I am securely British so can expect our gov't to be held to account over corruption; you are securely English so can criticise an England football player's behaviour if he commits a foul. It is idolatrous if it removes love of the 'enemy' (relative to this group identity). But identifying with national representatives in and of itself is not idolatrous folly.

  2. I guess he's saying you can take it too seriously, as people do, when it's not a matter of life & death. But I do think there is much to be said about the sense of collective identity, and for that matter - I'm convinced sport is part of how the universe is wired to point to the gospel... in a 2 Tim 2 sense it points to resurrection.