Do you know if we matter?

skieologians: Applied Sport Theology

By Ryan Sederquist

Here is something you’ve probably heard a good coach tell an athlete: 

“You matter.” 

Here is a response you’ve probably never heard: 

“Says who?” 

Because 95% of practicing coaches and sport psychologists would not answer that question with a person’s name, they fail – in sufficiency and consistency – to answer it at all. 

Can your worldview account for the key philosophical principles inherent in mental strength training? Principles like “you matter,” a claim undergirding every single concept, theory, and treatment used to aid in framing and reframing the competitor’s mind. The more I study mental strength training, the more research I read, and the more experts I listen to – most of whom do not believe the Bible is the inerrant, God-breathed, self authenticating Scriptures – the more I have come to realize one thing: mental strength training is Christian at its core. It assumes the God of the Bible is real and it assumes His Word is true. It’s fundamental beliefs require it to be so. 

Now, I understand non-Christians believe and act as if “people matter.”Most of the coaches, PhD’s, and athletes I know aren’t Christian, but they believe many of the same core principles and sport philosophies as myself. That’s the whole point. You don’t have to be a Christian to live that way and hold those beliefs. But you do if you want to account for those beliefs. An unbiblical worldview can’t account for key ideas like “people matter.” If you believe we are premordial scum which evolved over billions of years, living in an earth that blew up into existence by random chance, and all of the thought particles in our brain fizzes are random, too … on what basis could you possibly argue that I or anyone matters?

You can’t. 

But you will. 

Why? 

Because people do matter, and

everyone knows it,

even if their worldview can’t account for it. 

This is why the God-hater will deny they are made in the image of their Creator – the only reason any of us actually matter in the first place – and then say in the next breath that there is more to Ryan Sederquist or Bill Walton or Ajee Wilson than who we are as athletes. They will argue that my self-confidence should be free of a fear of failure because I have a foundational identity which can’t be shaken by external circumstances. They aren’t lying. But they aren’t addressing the question: “Says who?”

What is the only unshakeable, immovable identity? The one which says, no matter what happens on the field of play or the field of life, you are a son or daughter of the Living Christ because He saved you from sin and is sanctifying you daily.

Unbelieving readers, examine your worldview and decide to do one of two things: 

  1. Live it out consistently – people do NOT matter.

OR

2. Reject it. Repent. And Turn to Christ – because YOU do matter.

I know it.

One thought on “Do you know if we matter?

  1. Here is a way I wrote this to a non-believer recently in an email …

    Last night, my discussion point basically pointed out how Dr. Jacobs said the key to self-confidence was overcoming a fear of failure. The key to overcoming a fear of failure is your identity, since, those with a stable identity have nothing they can lose by failure!
    I think, regardless of an athlete’s worldview, religious beliefs, etc., this is something we as coaches can and should teach and believe. However, the philosopher in me – who thinks about metaphysics and presuppositions and logical consistency – recognizes something else, too. 
    When we tell an athlete, “You matter,” on what basis can we make such a claim? In academia, we walk into one classroom and are taught – or teach – that we evolved from pond scum over billions of years, our planet is the result of a random explosion, and the thoughts fizzing in our brain are just chemical reactions. Then, we go out onto the field or court and tell our athletes they matter. On what basis does randomly evolved pond scum with chemical brain fizzing back and forth matter? And, how do I know, if my coach says that or I THINK it MYSELF that it isn’t just the random result of brain fizzing. 
    Thus, a worldview which believes that about the world in general is being inconsistent if they also believe athletes matter. 
    Not sure if that makes sense …. but basically, the more I read all of the materials on your site, the references you list, other great coaches/materials/podcasts/blogs etc., in the field of mental strength, the more I find that a Christian worldview accounts for all of those principles. Non-Christians, obviously, will believe and practice the same thing I do, but they aren’t being consistent with their fundamental beliefs about the world – or they simply don’t realize the inner inconsistencies of their ultimate authorities in their worldview. For example, regardless of religious belief, most people believe, “people matter.” That’s because we all know it. But even the fact that non-Christians know that is a Christian concept, as we are made in God’s image – the only basis, I believe, for a fundamental, stable, unchanging identity. 
    Anyway, hopefully that didn’t feel like crazy preaching or anything haha! I never know if sharing these types of thoughts with friends, professors, etc., is wise, as I understand it can turn them away, but I hope you are able to chew on these thoughts. No matter how they are received, know that I respect you and your work and look up to you as a teacher and researcher!
    Best, Ryan

    Like

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