Sunday, April 6, 2008

Soapbox Sunday!


The Soapbox Sunday topic this week is modesty but I have another topic on my heart so I hope you all don't mind if I venture from the path a little bit.

I am writing this post at 8:30 Sunday morning. Normally I would be preparing for church at this hour but for the second week in a row I have had to attend the Saturday evening service because of conflicts on Sunday morning. What, you ask could conflict with going to church on Sunday morning? Only one thing could possibly have the nerve to do that..........Children's Sports. Yes, that is what I want to get on the soapbox about today.

Over the years all of my kids have been involved in some sport or another. I think sports in general are great fun and benefit kids immensely. Unfortunately sports can also have an ugly side.

One of the things about it that has repulsed me the most, is the attitude of many of the coordinators and directors of children's sporting events. Our children and the games they play are money in their pockets and that is the motive they operate under. To these people it isn't about fun, growth or fairness, it is business.

Not so long ago "business hours" respected the Lord's day and games were never scheduled for Sunday mornings. In fact, even Sunday afternoons were reserved only for rain make-ups. But then someone discovered the gold-mine of scheduling Sunday games. It has snowballed from there and now games on Sunday are not only common but they begin as early as 7:30 am.

As parents we are caught between a rock and a hard place. We want our children to participate in activities that will grow them physically and socially. We want them to learn how to be part of a team and what commitment looks like. But what happens when that commitment conflicts with their commitment to church?

Obviously the answer is "go to church". But what are the ramifications of that choice? Letting their team down, consequences from the coach and maybe even forfeiting their place on the team. Hard things for a child to do and in my opinion a child shouldn't have to make those kinds of decisions. Parents shouldn't have to make those kinds of decisions. If sports were truly about the kids then this wouldn't even be a topic of discussion, there would be no games scheduled on Sunday (at least not in the morning) except for maybe a "pickup" game among family & friends.

But of course we live in this fallen, broken world. Satan is doing whatever he can to destroy lives and families and keeping us from attending church together is just another notch in his belt. What better way to attack our families and their Christian walk than through the guise of our children's sporting events. Like everything else, we need to be careful not to let something as innocent as our children's sports become an idol for us (and I know how easily that can happen).

I don't pretend to know the answer (obviously I am as vulnerable as the next guy) but I do recognize the problem. I am thankful that we have a church that offers a Saturday evening service and maybe that is where we need to focus. If sports can take over Sundays, maybe Church can take over the whole week!
Can you tell this is a "hot button" for me?

So there you have it, my two-cents worth of Soapbox Sunday! For more see Tonya at Safe in His Arms.


PS....after sharing this post with my husband he says it sounds "a little harsh" and "maybe I should reword some of it". What do you think? Please don't think I am judging anyone for their decision to play ball on Sunday, I just don't like that it has become "required".

21 comments:

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

You're right! I don't minimize your stress in the matter. You shouldn't have to make the decision, nor should your children be penalized for not being there on Sundays.

You'll have to wrestle this one out. Your "stress" in the matter is a good thing...it means you're bothered and you should be bothered. So many others have lost touch with the sacred meaning of a Sabbath rest. I'm not legalistic in the least, but I can see how this presents a dilema for us as Christians.

Where do we draw the line on Sunday activities? I went to early church this morning, so I could rush out and get a wedding gift for a shower I forgot about that is happening this afternoon!

So you see...I'm asking myself some of the same questions. I'll be interested in seeing what your other readers have to say. Ultimately, we wrestle out our faith before God. As it should be.

peace~elaine

Lelia Chealey said...

Love this girl! My parents,Gene & I were just talking about this a few weeks ago when our son had a b-ball tourney Sat/Sunday. It was through the YMCA..Young Men's CHRISTIAN Association. Whatever! I agree though...we as parents are put in a tough spot...an unecessary tough spot.
Thanks for your e-mails & prayers for my family right now. You are so right...She Speaks will be beyond a blessing & well needed break! :)
love ya,
Lelia

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

This is just one more reason that I am NOT looking forward to the whole sports thing.

I don't think you are harsh. But then, I am known for being harsh, so.... :)

Yolanda said...

Sometimes we have to be bold. And when it interferes with our corporate worship....hmmm....bold is good.

Love,
Yolanda

Joyful said...

Kelley, this is wonderful! Most of my friends are so unconcerned with the fact that week after week they miss a Sabbath rest because of sport commitments. And, you're right - the children shouldn't be the ones punished for the decision we as parents most often must make.

All the years my son played soccer, and now most recently with school musical commitments (he plays in the 'Pit band' for the schools productions), we are upfront from day one that should Chris be chosen for the team or the band etc...he will not be attending a rehearsal or game/practice should they fall during church time. So far, this has been the best for us. We wondered if it would mean that Chris would never be chosen to participate, but in truth, the fact is he's never been let-go because of this...in fact...his current music teacher at High School says he is going to come to our church sometime to see Chris - I think he wants to see what is so important that Chris (now at almost 16 years of age) won't miss being there for anything.

We've found that our upfront commitment, before the schedule is even given, has been the best for us. The coaches/conductors have known in advance where we stand and have respected our commitment. Praying that we are being a testimony to others of uncompromising in our walk with the Lord. We are also very involved at all other times - driving to games, baking snacks for the kids etc... It's important we show Christ's love and be a witness in other areas at all times.

Thanks for taking a stand. As that song says, we will stand for Him, because He died for us.
Blessed Sunday,
Joy

Rhonda said...

Sports on Sunday has never been an option for us. We work on Sunday. My husband is the pastor of our childrens' ministries and I am right there along side him.

A while back our oldest was taking horse back riding lessons and in the summer her competitions were on Sundays. That took some juggling. It was not easy and of course she wanted both of us there to watch. One time, neither of us could be there. :(

I can certainly understand your frustration. You begin to feel like you are being forced into a position that you didn't choose. Our culture is changing dramatically from when we were kids and the malls weren't even open on Sundays. (And yes, I do go to the mall & the grocery store on Sundays.)

I read Elaine's comment about going to a shower on a Sunday. I don't like it when I get invitations for Sundays that don't include my husband or my children. I prefer Sunday to be a family day.

(Tell hubby that your post was not too harsh.)

Jamie said...

I hear you girl...I could jump right up on that soap box with you. I agree this is a tough one to deal with.
Jamie

DeAnna said...

You are absolutely right!!! I disagree with hubby. There is no need to soften this. I totally get where you are coming from and all the frustrations that come with it. You know, I have come to the conclusion that it won't change until enough of us Christians take a stand and say enough is enough. The Lord's Day is something that we still believe needs to be kept set apart.

Slowly but surely our society has tiptoed away from that ideal. I remember the days when no one was out mowing lawns or "doing work" of ANY kind on Sunday. In fact, you were looked down upon if you did. Not anymore! Will we ever see those days return?! Sadly, I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you and don't think that you sound to harsh. I think that Christian parents need to be bold in standing up for our beliefs. God gave us a day of rest for a reason. What are we showing the world if we don't take our God seriously enough to set a day aside for Him?

Our son's soccer is fortunately just weekday evenings and doesn't interfere with Sundays. I'm not sure what we'd do if it did. What we have opted to do is not shop on Sundays if we can help it. My husband works in the retail business and needs to work Sundays once a month. He says that a lot of the customers that come in are people that he knows go to church. (We live in a small city). He gets frusterated at that. How busy would the stores be if Christians stop shopping on Sundays?

We're guilty of eating out a lot on Sundays, as we go to church an hour away from home. I'm hoping to be organized enough to make lunches for most Sundays so we don't put so many people to work on the intended day of rest. (Now I think that I'm sounding to harsh.) Mark Buchanan's book on "The Rest of God" speaks about this.
Lynn- Manitoba, Canada

Kim said...

Kelley~
You and I have dialogued about this very issue before and as we've discovered...it's not an easy one.

I too do NOT feel that you were being harsh, but rather, simply sharing your heart.

When our son participated in traveling basketball. it only required 2 weekends a month. Often, (because we live in a huge metro area and the games were within the metro) we were able to get to church....and to the games. But, at other times we did have to miss church.

There are NO easy answers, and each person/family has to make decisions that are best for them.

You are BLESSED that you have a Saturday service to go too...as we didn't have that option. I'm so happy to hear that you are at least able to get church in, even if it's on Saturday.

We also have to be SO careful that we don't become legalistic....and that my friend...has been difficult for me.

I'll be praying for you and your family as you walk this road!!

Kim~

Ang baylis said...

We just got home from my son's lacrosse game at Michigan State. They won 10-9 in double overtime! Go State. But... I have to admit I agree with you 100%. It isn't right. Unfortunately I would love to say we went to church last night but we didn't. Our church is somewhat of a "seeker" church so I don't mind too much. I love my Wednesday nights! That's a whole other post. I just want to add that I worry about parents who have their kids involved in too many activities. Kids need time to be kids. I think that's a problem as well.

You are not harsh! I loved this post!
Much love to a great mom with her priorities in the right order...
Angie xox

Jenny said...

I agree with you! Here where we are at, being in the Bible Belt, we don't run into it much at all. But when we lived up North, we struggled with it.

It is a hard struggle, being part of the world but not of the world.

I wish there was a cut and dry answer but there isn't. I think its one of those things we have to take week by week. You are blessed to have a Saturday night service!
Jen

Tonya said...

Hello, My Friend...
I'm SOOOOOOO SO SORRY that I've not posted any comments until just a while ago. I don't know WHERE my brain was. I COMPLETELY FORGOT to change the setting on my comments section to automatically take comments. (Not to send them to me for approval) I'll mention in tomorrow's post that I goofed and ask that everyone read the posts I've just listed. (I've already added them as a link in my next post - so that I don't forget) Again, I apologize!

Now, about your "SS" post... I agree. It's so sad that we can no longer make GOD our top priority while trying to participate in public games.

Tell your hubby there are no worries about this post being too harsh, sometimes a hard word needs to be said! I think you said it beautifully!

LOVE YOU!

PS... I'm going to copy my apology to the other ladies that I failed to post today.. I'm not one to post the EXACT MESSAGE multiple times, but tonight it's needed. O=-)

Young Creations said...

YOur blog today really hit home. Take a look at my blog and you will understand the stresses and time committment that I have with sports and my kids. All of Adam's meets are on the weekends. Mostly on Sundays. Fortunately, there are only 7 meets a year. We use Sundays as family day as we celebrate the sabbath on Friday. But I have complete consideration for you soapbox. And no, I don't think you are too tough.

Zhohn said...

Thanks for stopping by and signing.
You have a beautiful family. I love large families!
I do not understand why games are held on Sundays, especially Sunday mornings.
I hope you have a great week.

Christina said...

I don't think this post sounded to harsh, but maybe that's because i agree with it. We don't have a Saturday service, but we have 2 on Sunday morning and one at night. We attend the night one if we can't attend the morning. The only bad thing is the kids get tired if it is a school night because it tends to run long with fellowship and all that.

I don't know why sports have become popular on Sunday, but I am guessing it's because of limited weekend time in our busy world. I don't like it but I think it has become a fact of life. I think as long as you can attent service that it is fine, I also think sports falls more under the catagory of fun and exercise so I don't think it is work. Enjoying your down time and time for God and family are most important so you can still have a holy Sunday and also fit sports and church together. When satan throws us a roadblock we just have to drive around it not let it get in oour way. So all I have to say to satan is na na nana na!

luvmy4sons said...

I don't see why they just couldn't start things like at 1PM when most services are over. You are obviously not alone in how you feel. But it is not at all surprising that it has gotten this way. It surely is a FALLEN world in which we live and as Christians we are a peculiar people that stand out in the world as different! Yes? And to me you simply sounded honest, forthright and transparent about how you feel!

Teri said...

This is a big one. Last fall we went ahead and said yes to football for our boys. Playing football in the local organization meant Sunday games. We missed so much church. Honestly, this area is just saturated with Sunday games/practices. We do not have a Saturday evening service.

My kids had wanted to play for literally years. We always said no because of church conflicts. My husband and I are basically are unpaid pastors at the church. (We both are licensed pastors through Elim Fellowship.) We have given the last nine years of our lives in service to our church because it was a brand spankin new church and we "planted" it with the senior pastor and his wife. So as you can imagine the work that goes into the ministry...my kids have never known life to be any different.
Then we started to see a resentment rise up in our oldest son. He just wanted to play football and the answer was always no. He started to feel like we were making the church and the people there a priority over him. (Because he was only 11 at the time, of course he might think that.) Actually it took some extreme prayer for us to come to the place of comfort with the whole Football thing.
Let me tell you, there was a grace for that season! We saw some incredible things happen in our family because we decided to actually SHOW them that they come first over the ministry.
It was amazing the relationships that were formed with other people in the stands too.
This year my oldest will be playing football for the middle school and only the little guy will be playing on the club team, which will mean a lot less church being missed! (Probably not much at all!) So I am really glad we said yes to the season, and God worked it out for it only to be one season and not a lifestyle.
This whole thing doesn't mean I don't agree with you...because I totally do! I wish I was never put into this position in the first place!
Plus, around here sports are insane. My girlfriend and I were talking about it yesterday...her son is on a basketball team that is like the elite players in our (small) town. The coaches of the team basicaly told her that her son would not have a chance at playing at the high school if he didn't play on this team. Her son is in FIFTH GRADE. How much money/time and pressure does one family have to spend/take in order for their son to play basketball as a high schooler? IT IS UNBELIEVABLE. Fifth graders should be having fun learning skills and playing...not traveling around the state two to three weekends a month so they might one day play basketball in high school.
Anyway, I will climb off my soap box now too.
Sorry this comment is a novel:)
BY the way, I stop by daily...I don't always leave a comment, but I am here!
Love,
Teri

MrsJoeB said...

Harsh? I don't think so. Reality is that we do live in a world dominate not by the church or things of God. It's a choice that has to be made. I am lucky that my girls sports activites has not interfered with Sunday worship-yet. I would lean to go to church instead, but I am not in those shoes... We don't have the option of a saturday night service though. Ot is a tough call and needs to be made by each individual family. Blessings!
In His Graces~Pamela

Susan said...

Hey Kelly,

Wow, you sure stirred a lot of emotions!

I'm with you on this! I'm not doing this any more, but I DO REMEMBER these days, oh so well...

It's really sad how sports has taken on such a different purpose these days, really SAD.

Glad you had another service to attend.

Blessings my friend♥

lori said...

STAND PROUD GIRL!!!
I'm with you 100%

What is THAT about....you know we have had to do that as well...go on Saturday night...
The kids know that it is a PRIORITY...no church, no nothin...
I'm thankful that we can go on Saturday....we usually go on Sunday night....because of the Teen service...and I teach a class..you wouldn't believe how many DON'T show up because of sports...

Ultimately, it's priorities....bottom line...like it or not...harsh or sugar coated...that's it....

I'll share the BOX with you!! We've HAD to choose....and rearrange schedules...
it's our choice....

hugs,
lori