Thursday, July 8, 2010

Looking for answers, in an evangelical World Cup brochure

My favorite World Cup ephemera is this brochure, produced for a "Bible Correspondence Course" in Long Beach, CA. A friend of mine found it on his car windshield, a couple weeks before the tournament's start. 

I'm amazed by the ease with which the authors of this text move from "How about life after death?" and "There is not much time left before the World Cup of Soccer takes place...." The brochure alternates between these visions of the afterlife and practical information about the tournament. It provides a list of previous winners, for example, and a table you can fill out as the tournament progresses as well as the essay pictured above, addressing the sense of emptiness and betrayal we are destined to live with, come Monday morning.

On the brochure's last page, one finds an address to which one can turn for solutions.  Apparently, even the God Squad profits from World Cup fever.


  1. "One day we will die and even if we don't want to think about it, we need to be prepared for it, to make it a priority." I think this guy writes for my life insurance company

  2. I'm just relieved that they clarified for me that South Africa is located in the southern part of the continent.

  3. I imagine Robin van Persie finding this tract beside his locker yesterday, sighing, and thinking, perhaps not out loud, but from a depth of sorrow allowing himself a nod and telling gesture toward Dirk Kuyt at the adjoining locker, his mind all cognitive dissonance because of the timeliness of the revelation, "This," eyes quickly referencing "Who's to blame?" in display type, "really puts it in perspective."

    There's a lot here for me. I'd be immediately convicted by a witness of the door-to-door variety: "Is soccer important to you?"

    "Umm ... define 'important.' "

    This is me, dissembling.

    "Define 'soccer.' "

    If I could pull my wits together, I hope I would confess my confusion whenever life and faith are kept separate. The Atlanta Beat host a "Faith and Family Night" on July 21. Oh, no. What happened to the Frisbee dogs? Are they only for winning teams? To me the liturgy has already taken place once the 90 minutes are over - invocation, confession, absolution, proclamation, praise ... done. Why are we sticking around to hear testimony by Tobin Heath? Not that I have anything against the woman - for purposes of cohesion in the attacking third, the Beat could use her right now.

    I get especially antsy seeing the faux, PR-generated quote from Beat General Manager Shawn McGee: “It is going to be a great evening of soccer, fellowship and music.” Given that I had a perfect midfield view, surrounded by thousands of empty plastic seats, to see Marta last weekend in the wilds of Cobb County, that we were bombarded by YouTube scratchings from the stadium tannoy, and that "Atlanta," as a collective, is shite - yes, women's sides can play shite football, too, but few ever give them enough respect to acknowledge it - I'm not sure which part of McGee's statement could possibly be true.

    Just hoping that publishers of the evangelical missive rendered the appropriate levy unto Caesar. World Cup fixture lists are the property of Fédération Internationale de Football Association, thanks very much.

  4. Global Game: One of the most awesome comments ever. Praise be.


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