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Watching Hockey & Reading Your Bible

First of all, Go Wild!

I am a guy who loves to play and watch sports, but I have never before been much of a hockey guy. Now, I know that this little fact about me causes half of Northern Minnesota to write me off, but hang with me for just a little bit.

Hockey is both a simple and complicated game. Very simply, you have a bunch of guys with skates and sticks trying to shoot a puck into a net past a goalie. If you know that, you can watch hockey and understand the general idea. But in order to really enjoy watching a hockey game, you need to know something about the rules. What is a penalty, what isn’t? What is this icing thing and why do they keep stopping the game for it? What does it mean to be offside and why does it matter?

Without knowing these things, you would find yourself constantly asking: why are they stopping the play again? Why can’t so and so just position himself there?

I was “that guy” when I moved to Duluth, MN seven years ago.

But do you know the best way to learn about hockey? Watch a hockey game with someone who played or with someone who knows the nuances.

Do you know what happens? You begin to watch the game differently. You understand the rules (in my humble opinion, better than the refs do 🙂 ). You begin to see how the players move together in concert, giving each other multiple options, developing chemistry so that without even seeing them, they know where each other are going to be. My friends Steve and Aaron who love hockey, have graciously invited me to watch hockey with them over the last few years.  They even put up with all my annoying questions.

Do you know what happened? I actually started to enjoy watching hockey because I now see it differently. I see some of the strategy, the nuance, the beauty of the players working together, the way a goalie strategically positions himself and plays percentages and angles.

What’s the point? Do I want everyone to watch hockey? No.

My point is that reading the Bible is much like watching hockey. When you first begin to read it, there is a lot that you don’t understand. You may understand some of the basics, but you struggle to put the pieces together. You talk to someone, maybe a pastor, and you begin to question whether you’re looking at the same things or not. They just see so much more-like my hockey friends.

But then something crazy happens. As you begin to read the Bible more and more, ask questions (theology), and read the Bible with others (theologians, pastors, teachers, and godly friends), you begin to see more and more. You begin to appreciate the beauty of the story and how the different characters weave together and point you to the cataclysmic event of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection (the Gospel). You get hooked much like a fan gets hooked and drawn into a game. You get hooked because you realize that it isn’t simply the old dusty text to be understood, but rather an unfolding story, centered on the person and work of Jesus that continues to this day. It is exhilarating because you begin to realize that this story defines and gives meaning to your story, and that your life is ultimately about Jesus too.

I want to encourage all of you to not just read the Bible in the way I used to watch and dismiss hockey, but to read and question it in such a way as to see more and more.

Blog Post Photo: MN Wild Desktop Wallpaper for May 2014

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