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Superbowl Sunday Resources

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Here are a selection of Superbowl Sunday Resources
The Super Bowl And The Church In A Culture Of Dominance, An ON Scripture Feature by Matthew L. Skinner (1 Corinthians 8:1-13) The Super Bowl And The Church In A Culture Of Dominance, An ON Scripture Feature. A reflection by Matthew L. Skinner with a focus on 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 (Feb 01, 2015) On Scripture Video.  [Read Article]
      If what a nation watches on television makes a statement about that nation’s values, then Americans value their football. The Super Bowl spectacle draws huge numbers of viewers, still usually the most watched television event of each year. The commercials and halftime shows certainly boost the numbers as well.
     At the same time, many find it harder to watch professional football now than ever before. We know more about the damage caused by head injuries, the sport’s longstanding cavalier attitudes toward them, and the National Football League’s longstanding refusal to admit the problem. The franchise near the nation’s capital stubbornly refuses to engage in debate about how to honor native peoples. Those who run the league showed themselves as ignorant (at best) or enabling (at worst) when it comes to addressing the seriousness of domestic violence committed by its members.
Talking Sports Helps Connect A Community: The Rev. Stephen Fichter understood just how dominant a role sports has assumed in the culture when a family told him they would be out of town Good Friday to Easter Sunday to attend their child’s volleyball tournament.  “It’s truly sports that has become like the religion” for many people, said Fichter, a researcher and the pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Haworth, N.J.  [Read Article].
Enjoy The Super Bowl; Be Suspicious Of Its Values, An ON Scripture Feature by Matthew L. Skinner (Matthew 5:1-12) Enjoy The Super Bowl; Be Suspicious Of Its Values, An ON Scripture Feature. A reflection by Matthew L. Skinner with a focus on Matthew 5:1-12 (Feb 02, 2014) On Scripture Video. 
     If the outcome of Sunday’s Super Bowl comes down to the game’s final play, and you find yourself inclined to ask Jesus to help your favorite team win, remember: It’s quite possible he doesn’t know squat about tackle football.
     At least, when we read the opening sentences of his Sermon on the Mount (found in Matthew 5:1-12), it seems his values are lightyears away from the confident and muscular ethos that football teams rely on for success. He directs attention in this passage toward the weak, powerless, and vulnerable elements of humanity. Consider these some of the groups he embraces: [Read Article].
Too Much Salt Or Not Enough? What Jesus Says About Americans And Their Super Bowl, An On Scripture Feature by Barbara K. Lundblad (Matthew 5: 13 – 20 and Isaiah 58: 1 – 9). Too Much Salt or Not Enough?  What Jesus Says About Americans and Their Super Bowl, An On Scripture Feature by Barbara K. Lundblad with a focus on Matthew 5:13–20 and Isaiah 58:1– 9. More Bible Study and Sermons Resources From Barbara K. Lundblad (January 31, 2016). 
     The Super Bowl – A Religious Festival?
     It will surely be a festival, but is it religious? Most people will say “no,” but in terms of devotion – well, devotion to a team or even the game itself often has religious zeal. The game hasn’t started yet, but we can imagine this year’s festival. Even the number of the game cannot be ordinary. Roman numerals set it apart as sacred time: this is Super Bowl LI (and that doesn’t mean Long Island!) Pilgrimages began earlier this week from New England and Atlanta, not on foot but by some faster means.  Around sundown, the service will begin with the invocation. Everyone stands without a minister’s invitation. “Oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light…” There are no stained glass windows, but an enormous American flag covers the field, carried by soldiers. Liturgical actions differ. Many place a hand over their heart. Men remove their caps. Some sing along with the soloist or choir. Others mouth the words in silence, as if praying.  As the invocation comes to a close there is a sense of anticipation, then applause erupts. Most of the people sit down, though some continue to stand.  Ushers move through the aisles shouting. An offering is made and the donor receives something tangible in return: a beer with a hot dog, a bag of popcorn or another high sodium snack. In church people don’t usually receive anything that tangible which may explain why people are willing to pay so much for a paper stub.  A week before game time, available tickets ranged from a low of $5000 to $16,674, far more than most people ever consider giving to any church or charity.The Super Bowl – A Religious Festival? It will surely be a festival, but is it religious? Most people will say “no,” but in terms of devotion – well, devotion to a team or even the game itself often has religious zeal. The game hasn't started yet, but we can imagine this year's festival. [Read More].
For Better Or Worse, Faith And Football Are Linked: Superbowl 2014 Super Bowl Ad Sparks Discussion by Trent Gilliss, at PBS' On Being with Krista Tippett, explores Super Bowl advertising, including an automobile-maker's ad last year, "So God Made a Farmer," which evoked discussion. Prayer, Tebowing and the Super Bowl: The evolving relationship of sports and religion by David Briggs contemplates the role faith plays — if any — in the world of sports. Although research is admittedly sparse, Briggs concludes, "Even in the early stage of research on religion and sports, there are indicators that prayer can help fans and players alike."  The graphic, God in the Super Bowl, by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux on the website of Religion News Service shows the results of an American survey on faith and the Superbowl. According to the results, nearly one-third of Americans believe that Americans believe that God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event, while a majority (53 percent) agree that God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success. [Read Article].
Fuller Studio's Voices On Sports  “Rigorous physical activity, like sports, that emphasizes striving, growing, becoming ever better and more capable, is a spiritual activity. . . . Sport serves as a systematic vehicle for this spiritual pursuit, the improvement of the body, the whole person, and the spiritual self.” - Erik W. Dailey, PhD student , nd adjunct professor, from his essay “Sport and Transcendence through the Body” in the International Journal of Public Theology. Erik was one of many speakers at the inaugural Global Congress on Sport and Christianity held at the Yorkminster Cathedral in York, England. Other Fuller representatives included Adam Metz (DMin student), Ben Houltberg, associate professor of human development, Ruben Fernandez Morales (MAT student), and Robert Johnston, professor of theology and culture, who are quoted on this page. Dean of Students Steve Yamaguchi (pictured above) enjoys the rigorous activity of riding to work every day, and recently took a group of students on his route from Pasadena to Long Beach, California. [Watch Now]. 
Making A Connection Between Sports And Faith:  In December 2011, the Religion Newswriters Association, a professional association to advance the field of reporting on religious news, prepared a Guide to Sports and Religion to provide background and expert sources for reporters writing about the intersection of faith and sports. Following on the public expression of Christian faith by Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow, the child exploitation scandal involving the Penn State football program and the “bounty” system apparently sponsored by the New Orleans Saints, RNA issued a March 2012 update featuring recent articles on sports and religion published by major news outlets.
According to a Public Religion Research Institute poll, half of Americans say that “supernatural forces” influence sports. Football fans are the most likely to say they pray to God for team victory, to believe their team has been cursed, and to perform rituals before or during a game to stimulate victory. The active faith of football fans, players and coaches led to complaints when openly gay Michael Sam was drafted; complainants cited their Christian faith as the ground of their objections. Meanwhile, the International Basketball Association has banned players from wearing religious headwear, resulting in protests from observant Muslim and Jewish athletes, and Arkansas State University removed crosses from their football helmets.
      Sports also raise ethical concerns, from Ray Rice's assault on his girlfriend to the question of whether athletes with high-tech prosthetic limbs have an advantage, to a the new NCAA two-tiered system that allows some college athletes to earn money while playing on college teams. 
      To help news writers and other interested persons explore the intersection and interplay of sports, religion and ethics, NewsLink, an online resource provided by Religion Newswriters Association, which promotes quality religion news reporting, has produced a page devoted to recent articles, sources, experts and vetted organizations addressing the links between religion, ethics and sports.
      Also see our feature article, “The Evolution of Sports from Pastime to Religion,” for an examination of how some congregations are meeting the challenge of competing with sports for attendance and loyalty amid a growing trend in which “religious groups...report increasing difficulty convincing families that are willing to spend half a day traveling to a 9-year-old’s softball or soccer game to make time for worship services.”
"On weekdays, rugby players and a mosaic of neighborhood people from different racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds shared a turf American football field in the community park. The two fields were vastly different -- the one down the block reflecting the diversity of the neighborhood, the one outside my apartment reflecting homogeneity. The neighborhood field brought together the leadership ability, creativity, intellect and elite skills of the best athletes in different sports for the good of the others. The one outside my home did not." [Full Article from Faith & Leadership]. 




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