home
RSS
Soccer team 'not about winning'
August 16th, 2011
10:20 AM ET

Christian pro soccer team: ‘Scoring souls, not goals’

By Elizabeth Johnson, CNN

Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) - With 12 minutes left in the game, the Charlotte Eagles are losing 2-0. The North Carolina humidity hangs thick in the evening air. The home crowd becomes restless as the opposing team's goalie blocks kick after kick.

But the team gets a big break in the 78th minute and scores twice in two minutes against the Rochester Rhinos. This men’s soccer match ends in a tie.

Did God bless the Eagles with those goals?

“I don’t think God cares if we win or lose,” Eagles captain Josh Rife says, shrugging.

Coach Mark Steffens agrees: “Our No. 1 goal is not winning games. Our goal is to bring glory to God.”

It’s an unusual stance for a sports team, but the Eagles aren’t just any soccer squad. Members of the United Soccer Leagues’ 12-team professional division, they’re the only ones who say they care more about Christian values than about winning.

The team was established in 1993 after a “sports junkie fell in love with God,” Eagles co-founder Brian Davidson says. But if he was going to continue being involved in soccer - where he saw players cheating and sneaking fouls past referees - he needed to find a way to live out his faith on the field.

He had two goals for his ministry. First, teach men to live for God on the field by playing fair. The second: Send team members into the community - both locally and “to the ends of the earth” - to teach impoverished children and refugees about soccer and to use the sport to attract people who wouldn’t normally visit church.

Like any high-level competition team, the Eagles have regular practices. They sweat in the scorching heat. They win games. They miss goals. They hear lectures.

But the organization also focuses on character by investing in the players and the community.

Steffens, Eagles coach for 15 years, uses what he calls an “in-reach” plan, mentoring and building personal relationships with the 26 athletes on his squad and setting up accountability groups within the team.

“My ministry is to grow 26 guys into men,” Steffens says. “Men who do the right thing.”

That goes for both on and off the field.

On the field, the men are expected to be above reproach. They know better than to tug on an opponent’s jersey, run out the clock or take a dive to fake a foul. As Christians, they say they hold themselves to a high standard. They challenge each other to work harder and play better.

But is that enough?

Some observers say Christianity and sports are a questionable mix.

Shirl Hoffman, author of “Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sport,” says Christianity teaches “peace, humility, putting others before yourself,” while athletes are often more willing to cheat, hurt their opponents or take credit for their accomplishments.

“Sports don’t develop character,” Hoffman says. “They teach you to be selfish.”

Rife, 31, an Eagles captain and a midfielder for nine years, disagrees. He says there is a common misconception that Christians should be meek or passive. There were times when Jesus displayed meekness in his ministry, he says, but other times when he was confrontational.

Rife argues that sports are the “greatest teacher for wrestling with one’s faith.” Learning to strive together for excellence and unity in a competitive, challenging environment can help players grow and deepen their beliefs, he says.

As for whether God cares if a team wins or loses, he says that “isn’t a biblical view.” He cites the book of Job, in which God let a righteous man lose his family, livestock and health. God cares more about the bigger picture - the response of a man’s heart, as he did with Job - than he does about making sure they look good, Rife says.

Eagles co-founder Davidson says he realizes there may be few examples of godliness in professional sports. But like Rife, he says there are opportunities in a game when “we as Christians can live out our faith” - such as responding with grace to a ref’s bad call.

And when an Eagles player reacts to such a call with anger? Davidson knows it will be a learning moment and an opportunity for the player’s faith to grow. There’s a lot of grace and forgiveness in the Eagles’ locker room.

“We’re OK with failure,” Davidson says. “We just want to grow from it.”

Bob Schindler is a former pastor and current vice president of church mobilization for Church Sports Outreach, an organization that helps churches use sports as a tool for spreading the gospel. He believes the sports realm has strayed from God’s intended purpose, but that the problem is limited to selfishly motivated individuals. Competition itself is not the problem, he says.

A key question from the Christian perspective, Schindler says, is whether there was competition in the Garden of Eden.

If the answer is no, then sports are a result of sin, and Christians should not partake in competitive activities.

But if the answer is yes - as he believes it to be - then Christians can take part in competition if they use it for the glory of God.

“The whole point of sports is to draw the best out of your teammates and opponents,” Schindler says. “I see that as very compassionate and grace-filled.”

The word “competition” is derived from the Latin “competere,” which means “strive together,” Schindler says. But he says athletes are indoctrinated with a self-glorifying mindset that has corrupted the word's original meaning.

Aware of the problem, Steffens, the Eagles' coach, regularly talks to his team about it.

“Guys, it’s not about you,” Steffens tells his players. “It’s about putting God first.”

During one pregame chapel service - a regular feature in the team's locker room - speaker Sam Blumenthal, a local businessman, reminds the team of this principle: It’s about “scoring souls, not scoring goals,” he tells them.

Through prayer - before and after each game - the team refocuses its attention on God.

“I think most high-level athletes pray to God for good individual performances and for their team to win,” Steffens says. “Our main prayer before games is for God to grant us strength and wisdom to play fair and Christ-like."

After the game, the team prays for its opponents and thanks God for the results, regardless of the outcome.

“We honor God whether we win, lose or draw,” Steffens says.

His players feel called by God to play for this team and want to “keep the main thing the main thing,” Steffens says. “And the main thing isn’t winning.”

“Priorities are well set and kept,” says goalie Eric Reed, 27. “It’s about living the gospel in a broken world - like in any job.”

The Eagles’ ministry can be seen in various ways around Charlotte, through weekly soccer camps, church involvement and inner-city ministry - as well as in their overseas tours.

This year, six players will travel to Trinidad to play soccer and do service work in the community. The team traveled to Jamaica last year, playing high-level opponents as well as spending time at an orphanage and a delinquent center.

Other recent destinations include Nigeria, Ethiopia, Colombia, Laos and Thailand. The team members who travel each raise a couple thousand dollars for the trips, believing they are preaching sermons through the way they play soccer overseas.

Locally, four players and two staffers have moved into four urban neighborhoods to lead the Urban Eagles, an outreach program directed at kids living in low-income housing.

“We’re a family,” Eagles forward and Urban Eagles volunteer Ben Page says. “The Lord has created this culture of love and acceptance, and the kids have responded.”

Page, 26, lives in Grier Heights in east Charlotte and has worked with the Urban Eagles since January 2010. Through this work, Page said he has realized that the unconditional love he is developing for the kids “is the love God has for me.”

In addition to soccer, the kids are taught basic manners and respect for one another. They learn how to struggle through difficult times and work hard.

“The world says they’re a statistic,” Page says, “that they’ll go to jail, or won’t graduate, or will cause trouble.” Urban Eagles teaches them that God has a plan and a purpose for their lives by pointing them to Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

“My goal isn’t to see their behavior change,” Page says, “but to see their heart change. And the fruit of a heart change is a behavior change.”

Page has played for the Eagles since 2008. He considers the team a training ground to learn how to care for others and find joy and purpose in investing in eternal things, such as sharing the gospel of Jesus with others.

“This environment where we’ve been coached by men who love the Lord - we’ve been cared about as people instead of just players,” Page says.

It’s an attitude that he hopes to pass along to the kids he works with off the field.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • North Carolina • Sports

soundoff (1,195 Responses)
  1. albert

    “Our No. 1 goal is not winning games. Our goal is to bring glory to God.”

    When will make pretend Christians just pick up the Bible, read it, study it, and live by it? To be a Christian, you follow Christ. Neither he nor his disciples did these silly things to bring attention to themselves. Then again, it really doesn't surprise me since modern day Christians follow Pagan traditions and Greek mythology more so than the Bible. Christmas, Easter, the Rapture, etc. None of these things are found in the Bible, and yet they swear by these things. Read Matthew 7:21-23

    August 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  2. Rhonda

    This article is about Christians living out what they believe. The things they are living out are nothing but commendable. Faith and good action together; something naysayers on this blog have called impossible. But it happens more often than not in my experience.

    August 16, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Semper Fidelis

      Same here, Rhonda. Bless you.

      August 16, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  3. Chris

    Despite being a committed agnostic, I must express admiration for the Charlotte Eagles. These men strive to live according to their principles in an environment where that is often hard to do. They play fair. (Remember the saintly Derek "Hit-by-the-pitch" Jeter?) They help others. They acknowledge their failures and try to learn from them. Those are not exclusively Christian values, but they are values that everyone regardless of religion (or lack thereof) or occupation should try to live by. If their religion inspires these men to make an extra effort to live by these values, then why would anyone complain about that?

    August 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Glenn

      Nicely said Chris... There is way too much bickering going on about this topic.

      August 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  4. Eharris

    I think what this team is doing is great. I think you preach and show examples as you can and where you can. Everyone has a right to there own opionion and if you are a christian you are and if you are not you are not. But you do not have to attack people because they do not beleive as you.

    August 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Semper Fidelis

      Well said. Couldn't agree more.

      August 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  5. Jack Mihov

    They should bring back the Hebrew Oilers as a soccer team and have a match

    August 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  6. God

    Everybody knows that the Baghdad Bombers are going to smoke the Eagles this Sunday.

    However, I still bet Allah and Zeus 72 virgin's each that the Eagles would cover the spread.

    August 16, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  7. Kenrick Benjamin

    Peace2All, when you started to telling me about what you believe you just lost me, that is why i asked the question what is science.

    August 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Castiel

      Helpful hint: the reply button. Then you don't get lost on a different page where that person you're talking to never sees the comment.

      August 16, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  8. Reality

    Some 21st century reality for all global citizens to include this brainwashed soccer team:

    Mark 3:20-21

    "20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family[a] heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

    Jesus actually was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher man would do or say?

    August 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • john

      dude.. you just rambled yourself into the history books for one of the most boring posts ever. i couldnt make it half way through.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Susan

      That's what I LOVE about your comment sir.... Why WOULD billions of people care and believe what a man did 2,000 plus years ago. Especially since this same man never held an office, never owned a home, never went to college, never married or had children, and only had a public ministry for 3 years? Why do so many care what He did or said??? No other has ever held the attention of the entire world for so long with so little worldliness to offer. I think that because of the above He was in fact God in the flesh, who suffered and died so we could live in eternity with Him rather than in hell without Him. But He is a perfect gentleman and has chosen to GIVE us a choice, you have the same choice. Hopefully, this will cause you to re-think your disgust for a man who only offers us peace and love, what is so bad with that????

      August 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Semper Fidelis

      @Susan – well put. Reasonable and informative. Bless you.

      August 16, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Reality

      “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

      The Situation Today

      Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

      It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to radomness of birth. Maybe just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

      August 16, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Reality

      For those who are reading challenged:

      SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
      THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR

      SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
      THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY

      SAVING 15.5 MILLION ORTHODOX FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
      ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

      Added details upon request.

      August 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Glenn

      Reality

      "narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred" are very human traits which need not religion. Just ask Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, Moa etc etc etc

      By the way as long as you are talking about myths how about the big bang... There is a fairy tale if ever I heard one.

      August 16, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  9. max

    the church has some of the best marketing folks.. they know sports has wide reach.. so how to reach the audience? get into sports.. brilliant.. now, if they can only get some sports superstars to join their team.

    August 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  10. Justice

    There are many hateful comments on this list. Why do you feel the need to persecute others who are different from you? By conveying your hatred for others, you create nothing but division. One is slave to whatever overcomes him and you have been consumed by anger and hatred. I am truly saddened by these hateful remarks and hope that you will overcome them.

    August 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • If it's Christian, it's Injustice

      You'r talking about the Christians, right?

      You seem to be accusing non-Christians of the horrible things Christians have done for centuries.

      August 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Glenn

      You're talking about the Atheists, right?

      You seem to be accusing Christians of the horrible things Atheists have done in the last century.

      No I think JUSTICE is talking about all the current angry hate speech... Which there seems to be a lot of lately in the belief blog.

      August 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • MQ

      @Glenn: What have "the athiests" done in the last century? Here's the part where you mention Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. While they may not have subscribed to religions, they didn't commit genocide because they believed in some murderous tenet of atheism. They were just sociopaths (nevermind the fact that we can argue authoritarian states are eerily similar to theocratic ones – leader worship, conviction of thought crimes, etc.).
      However, religious killers commit genocide SPECIFICALLY because they are following a religion.
      And don't try to tell me they're the wacko fundamentalists, either. They are the ones quoting scripture verbatim. In other words, they've read the books and they're following the orders transcribed therein.
      As they say, it takes a good man to do good things. But for a good man to do bad things...that takes religion.

      August 17, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  11. Bambi

    The ACLU will file suit against this. Clearly ts discriminates agqainst suicide bombers.

    August 16, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  12. DMB

    Way to go Eagles! I appreciate the good human interest story with uncluttered reporting. Thanks CNN.

    August 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  13. Gifts

    God has endowed each being with varied talents, let it all be used to bring Glory and Honor to his name, be it music/movies/sports/academics.

    Go for it Charlotte Eagles make a positive change for the Glory of God!

    August 16, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • JiminTX

      You mean the invisible man who lives in the sky and grants wishes?

      August 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • J.W

      JiminTX is that all you know how to say. I have never know a Christian who thought God was an invisible man in the sky who grants wishes

      August 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • john

      jiminTX.your idea of god is pretty childish. is that really where you ended it?

      August 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Les

      Nice list of modern talents. I especially liked the wonderful talents of movies and sports Who would have thunk? One problem> I can't find a single instance of the particular "talents" you mention anywhere in the scriptures. "Make a joyful noise" and "Strong drink makes for a glad heart" don't count. Could you please share which version of the Bible you are using?

      August 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Les

      They are NOT making a strong Christian statement by praying in PUBLIC. The is absolutely FORBIDDEN by the New Testament commandment to pray in PRIVATE. Portraying an act of sin as somehow remotely good is exactly why the NT warns us that in the last days "men shall do things that seemeth good to a man."

      This act of encouraging and engaging in the SIN of public prayer in disobedience of Christian principles cannot be viewed from any angle as "good". To do so glorifies its integral sinfulness. Get off the field and pray in private or you will suffer the pains of everlasting hellfire or some such nonsense. This team needs to read the Bible and sin no more.

      August 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  14. Kenrick Benjamin

    Thank you BRC

    August 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  15. JT

    Wow, an entire football team that is almost certainly going to be voting for Rick Perry. You whacky, deluded Christians never cease to amaze me.

    August 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • mlm

      who are you voting for?

      August 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • senoy

      Why do you think they would vote for Rick Perry? Contrary to popular belief, Christians are not actually required to vote Republican or be members of the tea party. I'm a devout Christian (even an Evangelical) and an anarchist in the Tolstoyan tradition. The last time I did vote was in 2000 for Ralph Nader. Our political memberships are not checked when we go to church.

      August 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Vestram Liberate Mentem

      @senoy
      My understanding is that Tolstoy was an ardent believer in freedom of thought and tolerance for all things different. Does that clash (for you) with being a devout, evangelical Christian?

      August 16, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  16. max

    Why are so many of you threatened by God?? The minute God or Christianity is brought up everyone gets mad. I think many of you equate God with accountability, especially accountability to ones actions–and it scares you all to actually be accountable. Ignorance is not bliss people, it just prolongs the inevitable of actually having to face yourself one day.

    August 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Why are so many of you threatened by challenges to your beliefs?
      Any time an Atheist asks for a reason for a stated belief, theists just assume that Atheists feel threatened by something they don't believe in.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • NJBob

      Why do Christians embrace mythology instead of embracing reason and science? Why don't Christians realize that their morals don't come from the bible? They come from society. Why don't Christians ever read the WHOLE bible instead of just the parts that support what they already think? Do you have any idea just how obscene that book is?

      August 16, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • JT

      We atheists aren't afraid of this "god" of which you speak. We are afraid of you followers of this invisible, nonexistent god and are upset at your efforts to drag us all back to the dark ages and your threat to our liberty.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @max

      I, personally don't feel threatened by God. I don't give 'God' much thought, actually. Seems to be kind of a pointless pursuit...trying to prove 'God' or not.

      Also, I don't feel I need 'God' to be accountable, or moral, or whatever you 'believers' "think" that you need from 'God.' I hold myself to standards of accountability to myself, my wife, family, society etc...

      You Said: " Ignorance is 'not' bliss people " I agree... however, you believers tend to violate logic and reason daily by making your assertions or 'arguments from ignorance' as if they are fact. So, I would suggest that you work on your 'ignorance' and learn to 'critically think' and 'reason.'

      No 'God' required in this equation, btw.

      Peace...

      August 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Maya

      It sounds like you have a persecution complex.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • nympha

      Religion – that which explains where I came from, where I am going, and what drives me; my world view.
      Faith – belief in that world view which equals doubt in other world views.

      Christian faith in Christ equals doubt in other views including atheism.
      Atheist's religion or "world view" is faith in science/observation/no god and equals doubt in Christianity and other views.

      Neither will let go of "converting" the other. Both sides continue the debate because both sides want to "win". Brother's and sister's in Christ, use your time and efforts in the salt & light of your life as an example to show truth. These comment boards are a waste of effort because there is no way to "know" who someone is through a computer screen. If you want to engage in debate, do so with caution. Nearly 100% of the the time it ends up in circular reasoning on both sides.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • JiminTX

      Believing in an invisible man who lives in the sky and grants wishes is the very essence of ignorance.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • J.W

      You atheists lie. You are so scared of God you pee your pants every day.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @J.W.

      Your comment, while ridiculous, doesn't sound like what the 'real' -J.W. would say. Are you a 'troll' or are you the 'real' J.W... and we are to take your statement as is...?

      Peace...

      August 16, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • fred

      nympha,
      Thanks for the sane advice. I stumbled on these boards thinking one thing then ended up trying to save Atheists. The good news is that there were some areas of question in the bible I was not aware of. In the process of testing my faith it made me a stronger believer.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • nympha

      You are so right, Fred. Found many of the same, myself. There is never anything wrong with questions, is there. Jesus said to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul". Key word for this context being "mind". He encourages thinking and questioning and provides the answers for the ones who seek.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • J.W

      Peace2All it was me but it was just a joke. I was being ornery.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • fred

      Peace2All,
      Good catch, I have never heard J.W to make such a statement.

      @J.W – It is not a lie if you have received bad information. Bush did not lie about WMD's as all the intelligence agencies were fooled by Sadams bluff

      August 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • fred

      Nympha,
      I was able to wrestle most of the missinformation about God and the Bible down except for 1. Would Jesus tell us to confront the ho mo $exual that is not a believer. My thought is we can only confront the ho mo $exual as to seeking Jesus.

      August 16, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  17. Friedman

    My goal isn’t to see their behavior change,” Page says, “but to see their heart change. And the fruit of a heart change is a behavior change.”

    I'm glad that Page gets this. So many people try to fix the outside when it is the heart that matters.

    August 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  18. Jesus Says This Team Will Not Get To Heaven

    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 6:1

    August 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • rh

      Then I suppose a whole lot of Tea Party and ultra conservative Republicans are going to keep them company wherever they end up.

      And BTW, do you have a direct line to Jesus, or are you taking Matthew's word, translated eventually into English, as God's?

      August 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Larry Pappadopoulas

      Sounds like almost no Christian will be rewarded.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Arvn Huac

      I have a direct line to Jesus, rh. I call him and he comes over and mows my lawn. The resurrectted Son of God does a really nice job on my landscaping.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Steven

      You forgot the rest.... typical. I'd like to see an Atheist not verse pick for once.

      2 “So when you [a]give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they (B)may be honored by men. (C)Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 But when you [b]give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your [c]giving will be in secret; and (D)your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

      5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to (E)stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners [d](F)so that they may be seen by men. (G)Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 But you, when you pray, (H)go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and (I)your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • John A. Johnson

      Context, brother. The Bible is not a Burger King book-youcan't have it your own way.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • NJBob

      @steven - you mean the way Christians verse pick?

      August 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • lol

      Steven, have you been going into your inner room and doing things in secret with your right hand?

      August 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Steven

      @NJBOB – No, I don't believe Christians need a reason to verse pick. We are the ones who find the bible inerrant, remember?

      @lol – Thanks for showing us the elementary way: "If you can't attack the argument, attack the arguee."

      August 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Steven, everything else you quoted just says the same thing as the first line: keep it to yourself, do it for yourself and for God, don't be a hypocrite.

      Do you understand *any* of the lines quoted?

      August 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • BRC

      @Steven,
      I think that NJBob was trying to point out that most churches are as guilty about cherry picking from the bible as any individual on this blog. It has been repeatedly found that the average church-goer doesn't read any further into the bible than they are directed while at church. If they did, they may see the litany of material that does not carry the same uplifting message as the commonly referenced materials (and for me that's a problem).

      August 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Steven

      @Jeremy

      "Do you understand *any* of the lines quoted?"

      Yes, the verses following Matthew 6:1 are referring to those that do things for the wrong reasons. "Look how many people I led to Christ.... Look how often I preach the Gospel.... Look how much money I give." The context of this verse is to avoid drawing attention to yourself, not to avoid preaching, giving, etc in public.

      @BRC – I agree. Most people don't read their bible enough, and a lot of churches preach 'prosperity gospel.' Some Christians on this forum may throw one liners out there to make a point, however the point the first commenter was trying to make was this soccer team is going against the Word of God, which (as noted above) isn't the case. Like I said, I don't think Christians try to verse pick to prove anything. But, I agree, the bible isn't all sunshine and roses.... That doesn't make it inadmissable.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • sam

      @Jeremy – I don't think he was paying attention. Mostly he was trying to jump in, accuse the OP of being athiest, and whip out the rest of the quotation.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Jesus Says This Team Will Not Get To Heaven

      Thank you Steven for proving my point.

      August 16, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Steven

      I don't understand why this is so difficult to understand. You are as.suming the soccer players are doing this for their own glory. The article directly refutes that.

      August 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Steven,
      Doesn't the fact that there is an article directly support that?

      August 16, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  19. Joe

    It is good that a group of men are willing to step out in faith. It is a difficult journey that they are undertaking. Society is so against God and the values that are instilled in a Godly person that at times it is almost imposible to walk in faith in this world that hold sin in high regard.

    August 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • rh

      Society is more against people than God. If God helps someone to make more moral choices, good for that person.

      I let God, if he exists, take care of His own business, and I'll take care of my business. Any owner can run their team any way they want, it's free will. Just keep your God out of my government.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Friedman

      That is true. But you still need to live out your faith in Christ. Don't lose hope.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • George

      "Just keep your God out of my government."

      And keep your government from trying to irradicate my God.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • MomOf3

      The 'gov't' isn't trying to eradicate your god, just trying to keep him in his place.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I don't think the govt is suppose to tell where God should be at all. They should focus on running the nation. Separation of state and church you know.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • MomOf3

      I agree Lycidas, but it's difficult to see the separation of church and state when there are so many people who know better (politicians) that try to blur the line.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Anotheralt

      "Society is so against God and the values that are instilled in a Godly person that at times it is almost imposible to walk in faith in this world that hold sin in high regard."

      Said with such arrogance that you assume your vision of God, morality and sin *must* be correct and True.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  20. C.J.

    Congrats, Eagles. Huge EPL and MLS fan and a Christian. Way to make God, not religion or politics or greed your focus. Forgiveness and grace and servant living are such overlooked elements of the Christ-life. God bless you ministry!

    August 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Hoss

      Big EPL and MLS fan here too CJ and today I became a Charlotte Eagle's fan as well. They are truly being the hands and feet of Christ.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • nympha

      I've been studying atheism for some time now and the joke about Jesus & landscaping has been copied and pasted so many times from the atheist handbook that it is no longer funny nor original.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • nympha

      woops...having computer problems and that was meant for Arvn at the top.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • BRC

      @Nympha,
      Just out of curiosity, how does one study atheism?

      August 16, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • sam

      @BRC she reads the handbook.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • nympha

      There is actually quite a bit of sources available for study (books, articles, the comments made on news boards, etc...). An endless supply these days coming from both the atheist side and the Christian side. It's very interesting.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Anotheralt

      @BRC how does one study theism–of any variety? It might be slightly more accurate to say that nympha has studied Humanism or secular humanism, if you want to nit pic that much.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • BRC

      That's more where I was taking it. there is a rather large humanists movement right now ( I approve of it highly), with lots of "newly" emerging material (old wisdom in new books, but still worth thinking about). But people keep trying to make atheism a group or a movement or a religion. It is in a very rudimentary sense a belief system, but it's study would result in a very short test- "Is there a god?" "No""Congratulations, you're an atheist".

      August 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.