Hallowed be thy game

Hockey is a unique product of Canada’s divine cultural calling — and one of its best.

This Sunday a sacred ritual will play out.

And the faithful will gather from sea to sea to sea. Congregating on the edges of our couches, eyes glued to our sets, we’ll get caught up in an ecstasy, lost in a glory. And for a few rapturous moments we’ll experience what can only be described as heaven on earth.

By John Van Sloten for the Vancouver Sun.

Read the full article here.

CBC Radio 1010 Calgary – sound bite on John’s upcoming “Hockey” sermon. (mp3)

2 thoughts on “Hallowed be thy game

  1. jvs

    Hey Nick,

    Thanks for your very thoughtful response… too big an answer to fit in this comment box (I’ve just finished a book trying to explain it all actually, coming our this fall, The Day Metallica Came to Church, Square Inch Press, August 2010). Bottom line… the piece is intended to introduce, into what is arguably the most alive thing Canadians are now living, questions about why God made us this way, and what are we ultimately meant for. Sunday’s sermon on the topic will bring in a bit more of the balance you’re seeking. But this piece is not a sermon… it’s the kind of thing you’d say to someone who is outside of the faith… a first conversation… hopefully communicated in a way that might evoke a few existential questions.

    Bottom line for me in this… I wrote what I wrote personally believing in a huge view of the sovereignty and Lordship of Christ. And I believe that the yearnings expressed in our seeking of hockey glory are given by God and ultimately meant to be met in God thru Christ.

    Not much of an explanation… but I’d suggest reading the book when it comes out.

  2. Nick Loenen

    Pastor John:

    I am troubled by this piece. What is your message? On the surface, you endorse sport as the new religion. Is that what you mean to say? If so, why are you a pastor in a church and not a coach of a sports team?

    Should sport be a religion and its heroes be worshipped?

    You don’t quite say it but you leave the impression, starting with the provocative title, that sport is an object worthy of worship. Technically, you cover yourself by writing sports is part of a divine calling and is meant to honour God.

    But how many readers, particularly teenagers would make such fine distinctions. The main message seems to be: sports is worship as much as praying and preaching!

    Then this: yes, sport is part of our calling and Sunday’s game should honour God. No doubt, that is biblical.

    But what is left unsaid is under what conditions do we fail our calling and how might Sunday’s game be an abomination to God?

    There are numerous elements of modern sports that seem very questionable – obscene salaries, violence, hero worship, a destructive form of excessive competition, and probably much more. What would Jesus or the prophets say?

    To write without qualification that Canadian hockey is among the finest products of our divine cultural calling reminds me a little too much of American evangelical prosperity theology.

    You have certainly provoked thought and hopefully constructive discussion. For that I am grateful.

    Perhaps, I have completely misunderstood. I should welcome your thoughts.

    Nick Loenen, Richmond, BC

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