The goddess Nike is perhaps the most worship God in the world. So much so that often Christianity and I imagine other understandings of God are often infused with the enticing allure of the goddess of victory. So, what would it mean to claim the vocation of athlete without taking along with it the worship of Nike?
The truth is, I do not know what form this would take or if it is even possible.
First, athleticism contains a few inherent challenges. It can be narcissistic and self serving. It can easily focus in on victory to the exclusion of other aspects of life. These problems are common to a number of disciplines. They are neither worse nor better than other disciplines.
So, a Christian calling or a vocation would be a way of wording a life that is ordered to follow Christ. An athletic vocation then would be an order of living that follows Christ and has a particular focus or inclusion of training the body.
Scripturally, the love of God with all your strength would be a foundational point. Along side this a true Christian vocation could not ignore the love of God with all our mind and heart and our neighbor as ourselves. In a Christian sense the God of Victory looks very different from Nike, it is a victory where we want the best out of all our competitors. We want to help them and be helped by them, to find a community of mutual support and respect.
Now, I’m trying to figure what a “rule” or guide to life for a Christian athlete would look like. What form would prayer take? Study? Meditation? Fasting? Service? Worship? Community? What practices and behaviors would be peculiar to a Christian athlete? As I ponder I will share.