Berwick Thought for the Week: 'We growl at the foul - and yet fouls occur and go on occurring'
This summer there is Wimbledon, Le Tour, The Ashes, and a Women’s Football World Cup to boot. The highs, the lows, the tension and the tantrums – sport scintillates, fascinates and captivates us. Why?
I wish to suggest that it has something to do with the people we are made to be. In the Bible we are told that God created us, not just according to any old mould, but in his image.
We are told that we are made to reflect and represent the designer behind our design. Consequently, we have a sense of justice and of joy.
We love fair play; we growl at the foul – and yet fouls occur and go on occurring. They are as much a part of sport as they are of the humans that play it.
The question is, why does it bother us so? Perhaps it has something to do with the people we are made to be. We are made to be image bearers, yet the image is not all it’s cracked up to be when seen in our fractured reflection.
Can anything be done? Can doping be done away with? Can match fixing be fixed? Can professional fouls be stamped out? Can the human race be rerun?
At its root, this is not a question for WADA, nor for FIFA, nor the UCI to try and address.
This is a question for religion, because it is a question which concerns the human condition; simultaneously superb and abysmal.
Further, it concerns not just the human condition, but the human creation and the human connection to something beyond, before and above us.
In this way, perhaps sport is a window into the dressing rooms of our souls.
Rob Parson is the pastor of Wooler Evangelical Church. He lives in Wooler with his wife and four boys, having recently received his MA in Theology from Oak Hill College in London.
He has previously lived in the North East for more than a decade, working for a church with students, children and youth. He enjoys reading, teaching, chatting, getting out into the Cheviot Hills and enjoying the beaches of Northumberland with his family.