Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Jeremy Lin's faith in professional sports
Jeremy Lin’s faith in professional sports
Life and religion are complicated
Is it problematic to be a Christian in professional sports, such as Tim Tebow or Jeremy Lin? [“Jeremy Lin: the tension between majesty, morality,” Opinion, Feb. 19].
Isn’t it problematic any time you want to be good in an evil world? Republic vs. empire? Frodo vs. Sauron? Snow White vs. Stepmother?
We all have the tendency to be selfish and that’s not a problem unless you don’t want to be. Why is it so shocking when a pro athlete admits to the age-old battle of wanting to remain humble in this greedy, materialistic world? Can you not have outstanding talent and have a faith in God, as well? Is it really so contradictory?
David Brooks quotes Joseph Soloveitchik, and I disagree. I don’t think religious people feel lonely because of their faith. There is a lot of trouble here on earth and people who are Christ-followers have a longing for a perfect home in heaven with God.
Life and religion are complicated. The basic philosophy in America, as it seems, according to most of the media, is greed, selfishness and hate.
So, when you don’t want that for your life, such as Jeremy Lin, yes, it gets complicated.
— Sandy Johnson, Maple Valley
Look at the attributes of success
I appreciated David Brooks’ caution regarding the tendency of Americans to identify the values of sports with those of religious faith in an uncritical way. It is true that many athletes exhibit the qualities such as self-centeredness and pride which are incompatible with religious faith.
However, I think Brooks paints “the moral universe of modern sport” with too broad a brush. It is interesting that in the modern era, which has been appropriately critiqued for its individualism, team sports have been most popular with Americans.
To play well and win in team sports requires that each player recognizes that “it’s not about you,” and sees himself or herself as an “instrument of a larger cause” — virtues Brooks associates with religion.
Even the greatest individual performers need to recognize this fact. Michael Jordan, for example, was regularly winning scoring titles in his early years with the Chicago Bulls.
But the team could not win an NBA Championship until Jordan was willing to score less and get his teammates more involved in the offense.
Phil Jackson, the Bulls’ coach at the time, attributes the success of the Bulls to the players’ “selflessness” — a virtue he discovered while practicing Zen meditation.
— The Rev. Patrick Kelly, assistant professor, Theology and Religious Studies, Seattle University