Maybe it was instinct that sent me back to relive the 1924 Olympic Games.
Yesterday you found me despairing, feeling a sudden collapse of my lifelong will to write. Slumped on the couch, I was watching, of all things, Chariots of Fire.
As a child, I loved this movie. But it wasn’t until college that I saw how it stands in stark contrast to so much evangelical entertainment, how it avoids a faith will make your dreams come true pep talk.
In fact, its most fervent evangelical figure, Eric Liddell’s sister, Jenny, is frustrated when her athletic brother postpones his missionary work in China in order to become an Olympic runner. Straightforward evangelism, Jenny believes, is the real work. If people are dying without hearing about Jesus, what is running but self-indulgence?
The tract-peddling, altar-calling culture in which I grew up would have loved Jenny.
And yet, Eric argues with her: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”
His father supports him: “Eric, you can glorify God by peeling a potato if you peel it to perfection.”
And we still hear about Liddell’s faith today. Why? Because he ran. He ran like a holy fool. [Read more…]