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!
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.