Let me introduce you to the first part of the Church Lounge Series, where Ben Searle looks at the relationship between the love of money, God, and sports teams:
I am a big sports fan. I love many mainstream and non-mainstream sports. I enjoy watching my family play rugby and cricket, and I love talking about ‘the game’. Yet what has been happening on the business end of sport has me having to stick up for ‘the game’.
The legendary Los Angels Dodgers Major League baseball team has filed for bankruptcy. The second most recognisable baseball team in the world (second only the New York Yankees) – through poor financial management, broken business/personal relationships, and a flawed business model – are now broke with a pessimistic future.
The new owner of Birmingham City football club, Carson Yeung, is in a Hong Kong prison on money laundering charges. This is the majority share holder of the club worth £87 million. There are also claims that some of the appointees have had run-ins with the law also.
The American football (NFL) and basketball (NBA) leagues are having a ‘Lock-out’ (effectively a union strike) until negotiations on greater financial share of the respective sports revenue. It takes the mickey that these bargaining are happening during one of the worst recessions in history.
When I see some of the ancient writings on financial responsibility seem more relevant than ever:
The wicked borrow and never pay back, but good people are generous with their gifts - Psalm 37:21
Poor people are slaves of the rich. Borrow money and you are the lender’s slave – Proverbs 22:7
Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you Let us be bold, then, and say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” - Hebrews 13:5-6
The reason I bring these ideas to attention (which a few of many) is because they are principals that would benefit the many. The phrase Oligarch could be used with quite a few of these owners: Where all power and opinion comes from one sources, maybe even one person. The business-only outlook of such men and women excludes the people whose contribute the most to the owner’s team: the fans, the local citizens, and the sports fans everywhere. A cold and aloof image with minimal press does not help the sport either.
The Biblical principal of not being enslaved by our debtors, seeking to contribute to the good of the world, and to not be solely money-led in life is of benefit for all of us. Knowing that God is for everyone, wanting to help you whenever and where ever, takes the power out of money. We can aim our lives to serving God and humanity, where our income sustains our household and for the greater good. This might be ideological stuff, but these ancient texts (amongst many others in the Bible) give these sports teams a far greater deal.
Ben can be found at BenBlogs, and is a lay preacher at his St Annes Church in Oldland,Bristol.