Futbol & Freedom

A World Cup loss on the eve of the July 4th weekend – what a downer!  I’m in no way a soccer expert, but the games were exciting to watch and I imagine have helped to continue the growing trend of soccer’s popularity in this country.  While I lament the decline of baseball being played in most parks around this country in favor of other sports like soccer, I realize that it will have some dramatic ramifications in the years to come.  Not only will the US World Cup soccer team get better, but baseball (the national pastime) will probably decline with fewer and fewer young people playing my favorite childhood sport.  The only constant is change!

As our country takes time to reflect upon its past, present, and future this Independence Day weekend, we are assured of the only constant – change.  This country has changed dramatically over the last 238 years, and yet the one thing that remains the same is our reason for celebration:  freedom.  While freedom has meant different things for different people at different times over these centuries, at its heart it has always meant the same thing:  the ability for each of us to grow into the person God has created us to be.  In this definition, no one grows while someone else declines – for me to be free, you need not diminish into something less free.  Even as our Supreme Court in these days makes judgments regarding freedom as it understands it in light of the Constitution, we are called beyond those distinctions to a level of life that doesn’t look for self/other limiting structures.  Instead, we pray for the coming of the Kingdom when and where we all, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reach true freedom as “an abiding expression of man’s higher spiritual nature.”

Soccer or baseball – in the end it’s just a game.  Our lives and our freedoms are far more important.  Just ask the millions of people around the world who live in oppression.  I am blessed to live in a country that strives to express freedom for all even as it recognizes the ways it has failed in the past (and even in the present).  May our living of freedom here in the USA and all over the world continue to grow along with our World Cup hopes.  That even out of our defeats and setbacks, we can commit to growth that will spur us to greater victories in the years ahead!

Peace,

Fr. Mike
fr.mike@duke.edu  c. 919-316-8763 / w. 919-684-1882
Follow me on Twitter @TheDukePriest