Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Cool Article by Chuck Colson on how basketball was created to advance the gospel:

“It was the basketball game for the ages. On Monday night, the Duke University Blue Devils survived a desperate, last-second shot by the underdog Butler University Bulldogs to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship.

It was a great game-a classic “David and Goliath” matchup, given that Duke has appeared in eight championship games under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and that Butler had never even made it to the Final Four.

You may hear folks talking about the game for some time. When you do, you can add to the conversation by revealing an interesting fact: Basketball was invented more than 100 years ago by a Christian theologian as an evangelical outreach tool.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, one of our Centurions, John Murray, recalled the story of the game’s founding. The inventor of basketball, James Naismith, became convinced that he stood a better chance of exemplifying the Christian life through sports rather than through preaching. So he took a job as a physical education instructor at the YMCA’s International Training School for Christian Workers in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith’s vision was “to win men for the Master through the gym.”

In 1891, Naismith set out to invent a new indoor game that students could play during winter. He spent weeks testing various games, including versions of soccer, football, and lacrosse, to no avail. “Finally,” Murray writes, “Naismith decided to draw from all of these sports: with a ball that could be easily handled, play that involved running and passing with no tackling, and a goal at each end of the floor.” In short, he came up with basketball.

From the beginning, Naismith and his athletic director, Luther Gulick, held the players to a high standard. As Gulick wrote in 1897, “The game must be kept clean.” A Christian college cannot tolerate “not merely ungentlemanly treatment of guests, but slugging and that which violates the elementary principles of morals.” He recommended that a coach should “excuse for the rest of the year any player who is not clean in his play.”

Basketball served as an important evangelical tool during the next 50 years, Murray noted. In 1941, Naismith wrote that “whenever I witness games in a church league, I feel that my vision, almost half a century ago, of the time when the Christian people would recognize the true value of athletics, has become a reality.”

In the last 100 years, we’ve seen no shortage of Christian athletes who use their skill, self-discipline, and sportsmanship as a witness to Christ-from Olympic runner Eric Liddel in the 1920s, to football player Tim Tebow in our own generation.

In fact, so many athletes give the glory to God after a game that sportswriters sometimes get irritated with them. To which I respond: Which would you prefer-players known for their faith and good sportsmanship, or players who are arrested for assault or drug use?

If you have a young basketball fan in your family, tell him or her the story of how basketball was invented. And pray for Christian players who can use the public’s love of sports the way Naismith envisioned when he invented basketball-as a witnessing tool to “win men for the Master through the gym.”

-Chuck Colson, An Evangelistic Slame Dunk: The Roots of Basketball


Mark Driscoll on ABC’s Nightline

Posted: October 16, 2009 in Culture

If you didn’t catch Mark Driscoll on ABC’s Nightline show over a week ago talking about idolatry, check out the video below. Terry Morgan and ABC interviewed Mark Driscoll about the 2nd commandment after he made a twitter post about Michael Jackson and idolatry. Before you watch the video, here is a excerpt of Mark Driscoll describing the interview.

“I sat down for about 30 minutes with Terry, and we talked about how idolatry underlies all sin, how it is rooted on a false promise of happiness, how it ultimately destroys, how it is often the result of turning a good thing into an ultimate thing, and how it shows itself in our culture in how we idolize celebrities, athletes, food, family, sex, money, relationships, and achievement—or rather, what we call American culture.

…Most importantly the Nightline team gave me the chance to explain how Jesus is the only answer to all of our idolatry:

  • Idols take. Jesus gives.
  • Idols destroy life. Jesus gives new life.
  • Idols break apart people and relationships. Jesus redeems and heals.

…Please join me in praying that God would work through this to overcome our rebellion and turn all of us—believers and non-believers alike—from our worthless idols to the only true King, Jesus.”

-Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Blog

I would not label most worldly entertainments (such as TV, movies, internet, ipod’s, video games, ect.)  as intrinsically evil, but we should interact with these forms of entertainment with moderation and caution. The question shouldn’t always be, “is this sinful?” but rather, “is this helpful for my growth?” Pastor Matt Chandler, talking about morally neutral things, basically says we should fill our lives with things that stir our affections for Christ, and avoid  things that rob us of our affections for Christ.

One of the things that robs me of joy and love for Christ and his purposes are intaking too much media such as TV and movies. As I was reading J.C. Ryle’s book, Thoughts for Young Men, he said something very interesting and helpful about ‘worldly entertainments.’ Keep in mind, R.C. Ryle wrote this over 100 years ago. I wonder what his thoughts of media would be if he was still around today…

This, too, is one good reason why worldly entertainments are so objectionable. It may be difficult, in some instances, to show that they are, in themselves, positively unscriptural and wrong. But there is little difficulty in showing that the tendency of almost all of them is most injurious to the soul. They sow the seeds of an earthly and sensual frame of mind. They war against the life of faith. They promote an unhealthy and unnatural craving after excitement. They minister to the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. They dim the view of heaven and eternity, and give a false color to the things of time. They take away time for private prayer, and Scripture reading, and calm communion with God. The man who mingles in them is like one who gives Satan an advantage. He has a battle to fight, and he gives his enemy the help of sun, and wind, and hill. It would indeed be strange if he did not find himself continually overcome.”

-R.C. Ryle, Thoughts for Young Men