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God and the NFL

I had a chance to talk about God with my Hebrew School kids this morning, several hours before the last two football playoff games. I think - I hope - that I challenged some of them to think about God in a previously unconsidered way. In traditional fashion, I asked the questions and then provided the answers.

"Does God care who wins the playoffs/Superbowl?"
No. Corollary question: Does God favor one team over another? No.
God only cares that the players play fairly. No "juicing" up, no dirty tricks.

"Does praying to God for the (pick your team) to win make a difference?"
No more than praying for a bicycle gets you one or for a good grade (minus the studying) gets you a B. And in fact, it's actually pretty demeaning to God - if something can be said to demeaning to God - to ask God to intervene on behalf of a football game, as though God were some kind of cosmic puppet master, moving the strings on the players.

An aside: I've always wondered exactly what's being prayed for when players (you see it a lot in baseball) get up to bat and cross themselves before they get set. But that's another story.

"Is there anything worthwhile in thinking about or praying to God about a football game?"
Sure. We can pray that God gives the refs and players the strength to play fair. We can say a prayer before we dig into our wings during the game. We can ask God for the strength to maintain perspective and recognize that - ultimately - these are only *games* and that as important as we think these things are, there are so many more vital and critical things that demand our attention. We can say thank you to God that our parents are able to provide us with the media means to watch television or check up on the internet.

That said, I really do hope the Jets win :)


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