Practiced faith is one thing, practiced sport is another. But the Evangelical Churches see this as a fictitious connection. From September 1st, 2023, the EV-Kirche Bayern has a new sports officer with great ambitions for “holistic, spiritual experiences”.
Inhalt / Content
Not in sports, but sports in the church
The chronic loss of members of the evangelical church visibly inspires fantasies about ways and means to keep people happy for whatever reason and thus in the lucrative church tax mode. So it can also be the creative visions of management consultants and economists (more Info) to keep a foundation of believers (in something).
Those responsible in the Protestant churches in Germany have seen a connection between church and sport for decades. From the point of view of being present where the many lost people gather en masse, not a bad idea. The Evangelical Church in Bavaria jumped on the horse of sporting events with the organization of the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. However, it did not stop at a presence even with small to large sporting events, but sport was brought into the church without further ado.
Sports Pastor – Movement in God’s Creation
On September 1st, 2023, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bavaria (ELKB) will have a new “sports officer”, as the church announced. Under the spiritual motto “Sport and church convey values”, the new ELKB sports officer, Stefanie Mages, as a sports pastor, wants to convey to people how body and mind can be strengthened.
For Mages, her role is a mission. “The movement in God’s creation is nothing more than a spiritual experience,” said the sports officer. The strengthening of the body and the spirit is therefore the great goal associated with the church. Mages was trained as a “Teacher for Bible Yoga”. In this way the “Holy Scriptures can be experienced holistically”.
Mages describes herself as a sports enthusiast and also very active pastor. She describes the gym as her “happy place” where you can recharge your batteries and “work out”. As a sports officer, it goes without saying that you are also interested in sports. If it had been possible as a girl in her home village in Upper Franconia, she would have liked to have become a soccer player herself. But it stayed with the membership of FC Bayern Munich.
One of the goals envisaged by the sports officer is the further networking of sport within the Evangelical Churches in Germany (EKD). On a smaller scale, confirmation students should already be motivated to take part in sporting activities, such as going to the “stand-up paddle board”. After all, faith is not only experienced in church, but also in nature or in sports.
One shows oneself generally theologically athletic
One of the “sporting prayers” and even beatifications it has proposed shows how closely the Evangelical Church in Bavaria feels connected to sport. Here are a few excerpts (Source):
“Blessed is he who remains humble in victory. His team will honor him.
Blessed is he who shows greatness in defeat. Respect is paid to him.
Blessed is he who fights for victory on his own. Fair play deserves recognition.
Blessed is he who gives everything. This is a victory of great willpower.
Blessed is he who achieves his best performance in competition. The training paid off.
Blessed is he who praises with body and soul God who gave life.”
What can be found in the Bible about beatification?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”
If you want to find something “sporty” in the Bible, you will search in vain. There is not even a hint in either the Old Testament or the New Testament that calls man to exercise or engage in any sporting activity. Nothing can even be found about attending sporting events. There is also nowhere to be found anything about “physical faith experience” or “holistic spirituality”. Man is called in the Bible not to spoil his body, but not to perform any contortions to create spiritual contact surfaces.
Even if the Evangelical Church in Bavaria and its new sports pastor don’t talk about having to tie your legs behind the boat for the “intensively experienced faith”, this “holistic spirituality”, be it “spiritual hikes or mountain biking”, is based on the “holistic nonsense” of the New Age. The term “Bible Yoga” alone, whatever that is supposed to be, clearly points to such fantasies with a touch of the Far East. If you really want to do physical exercise in connection with your faith, you should simply hold a larger copy of the Bible in your hands while reading instead of putting it on the table.
Bible verses from King James Version