Sonidos Serranos

Sonidos Serranos: Sounds of the Sierras...
Reflecting some of my family's interests: God's wonderful creation (especially mountains and hills!), music, and language...

Psalm 121:1-2 (NASB)

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

09 June 2015

We ♥ you, Luis Suárez!

Soccer is a vital part of life here in Uruguay! We don’t just love soccer; we live it! Cheering for “La Celeste” unites Uruguay behind the national flag like nothing else does. If that’s hard to imagine, you just might need to make opportunity to experience this important slice of Uruguayan life first-hand, for yourself… J

Flags are everywhere on a game day!

Loving soccer includes loving our Luis Suárez. We love watching him play. We love his love for the game, celebrating triumphs with boyish joy. We love seeing how he expresses his love for his wife and children, characteristically kissing his ring finger and counting to two, when he scores goals. We love his humility as a team player. And our family especially appreciates his community involvement, not only in Barcelona where he now lives but also in his beloved Uruguay, as official ambassador for local organizations dedicated to fighting pediatric cancer...

Friends have wondered out loud about what they call my “theology” of soccer! Well... Call it what they may, this is as good an opportunity as any for me to sit down and at least start articulating thoughts about one of our favorite soccer players... J

¡Celestes de ♥!

But, why write about this now? Well... Copa América 2015 is almost upon us; during the “events” of last year’s World Cup, I posted on fb:
Someday when I’m back in the USA (or maybe sooner when I’m finally settled here and can find time to blog – but definitely when the dust has settled a bit and wounds have had time to start healing), I’ll try to begin to explain in person aspects of my country’s culture that some of you can only catch glimpses of from afar. (You do remember that what you read in the media should be taken with a grain of salt! And an understanding of context [cultural context] is vital.)
But until we can talk in person, I ask you all to remember that fb is an open postcard to the world. I keep my fb account as a tool. On purpose, I'm connected to friends who disagree with me on theology, politics, lifestyle choices (to name a few) – and I love them all; they are my friends! Please remember that fb comments can be seen by all and can be at best unwise and more likely very hurtful, not only to my friends and me but also (far more importantly!) to the Name of Christ! HE teaches us to weep with those who weep; HE was a friend to sinners!

JM also shared thoughts on fb during last year’s World Cup:
World Cup issues run deeper than soccer. Unfortunately, the bigger world in which too many live is one in which powerful people take advantage of the weak. We are opposed to violence on the field. But we’re opposed to ALL illegal violence on the field. And we’re opposed to what – from our perspective – seems to be a hypocritical violence of another sort, motivated by greed and politics that once again hurts many real people in the name of justice and fair play.
If I am to follow the example of Paul—and of Christ—who gave up personal rights for the sake of the gospel (1 Cor. 9 and Phil. 2), then I must at least be willing to give up my right to be ignorant of things that bore me. No, I cannot be so diversified that I never learn anything well. I need not be scattered. My time and energy are finite. But if I am unwilling—and a willing or unwilling attitude, I think, is key—unwilling to discipline myself to care about tennis, or cricket, or soccer; unwilling to listen when I have the right to speak; unwilling to learn which way is north (or south!); then I am exercising a right that may hinder me from being the global-minded, useful Christian that I otherwise might have been. To such a list we could add more significant data: the persecution of Christians in Mexico or Nigeria, the existence of something called Khmer, or the demographics of Provo, Utah. I have a right to be ignorant. But to insist on this right is not the way of a Christ-follower. Such discipline to care will, as always, require grace.

Our disagreement was never with the ban; we agreed that Suárez deserved to be (in soccer language) “admonished” for his (re)action. But our disagreement was with the unjust severity and discriminatory nature of the ban. That is an important reason we as a family last year, along with several college students and friends, joined thousands along the highways to the airport, waiting to welcome our Luis Suárez home.

We went to the airport, in the spirit of the Golden Rule,
to show solidarity to a broken man.

As the Copa América approaches, the wounds still hurt – nationally! But almost a year later, I think I’m finally ready to summarize thoughts.

As a parent (and teacher), I’m actually thankful for the “teaching moments” Lucho has provided. Our reactions really do have consequences; you can choose your actions, but you don’t get to choose the consequences. And guess what?! “Life isn’t fair!” Though everyday life gives plenty of opportunity to highlight those truths, some “events” give added opportunity to highlight complementing truths that are just as important but not as understood (or at least not articulated as often):

Soccer is an important part of life and, like all parts of the whole, must point to Truth! As a parent, I’m also thankful for opportunities to emphasize to my Little People the importance of not assigning to everyone either “hero” status or “villain” status. But insisting on one of two extremes is precisely our human tendency, isn’t it? If forced to look at ourselves critically, we would likely have to admit that the issue is rooted in pride: If I like someone, he (or she) must be “perfect” – almost as if I were saying that my “approval” of him (or her) makes him (or her) perfect. (Really!?)

In reality, a political party whose ideology I oppose might, in fact, do some good, effecting right change in some necessary areas. Simultaneously, the party I approved and supported might fail to take needed action or they might take action in areas I rightfully oppose. We can be so quick to “dismiss” the “mistakes” of those we’ve made into “heroes” for ourselves. And we can be even quicker to treat the ones we oppose as “villains.” (But political affiliation is only one area of life. What about my extended family members, my fellow church members, my pastor(s), and – most importantly – my very own spouse and children? Am I quick to extend grace? Or not?)

Frankly, I’m thankful that in Luis Suárez we have a very human hero! As I warn students in my research writing class to avoid fallacious reasoning, I’m working even more diligently to teach my own children that in order to live realistically, they have to recognize what is true about people – about themselves! People, even the ones we most admire, will fail us – in some way and at some point. So, don’t set people up on pedestals! When you do, you’re only giving them farther to fall. And don’t make “villains” of the ones with whom you disagree. Agree to disagree agreeably, graciously insisting on your convictions – speaking the truth in love!

As a Christian parent, I long for my children to learn to evaluate every “event” honestly, always recognizing that they need look no further than their own human hearts to understand the root of every problemI long for them to be ready always to view life in general (and life for us includes soccer!) through the lens of the Good News of salvation in Christ aloneI long for them to learn to live, extending grace to others, remembering what is true about their own hearts, living daily life genuinely following the example of Jesus, the One who still is a friend to sinners!

No comments: