Jeremy Lin, The Basketball Star Nobody Wanted: A Gospel Coalition Essay

Just had a new theological essay posted over at the Gospel Coalition.  It’s entitled “The Basketball Star No One Wanted: Jeremy Lin’s Unlikely Triumph.”

In it, I weave in my own experience with the game as I talk about what Lin’s success means for many.  In the end, I try to show that in Lin’s unusual story, there’s a hint of a far greater triumph, the victory of Jesus Christ over the forces of darkness.  He was not esteemed, no one volunteered him for greatness, and thus he was an underdog if there ever was one.  Because God worked in and through him, he persevered, and we are saved.

Here’s a little snatch from the essay:

It never happened for me, the basketball thing. I was born an underdog, and I remain an underdog. It is for this reason that I so appreciate stories like Jeremy Lin’s and Tim Tebow’s. Not because I think sports are ultimately important; they really aren’t. They deserve far less attention than many of us give them, and that realization should be a part of our ongoing discipleship in Christ. But when we see Jackie Robinson stealing bases he once couldn’t touch, Tim Tebow defying pundits who swore him off before he threw a pass, and Jeremy Lin torching teams who couldn’t be bothered to waste a late second-round pick on him, we are getting just a little taste of something bigger, something shaking, something trembling and mighty and earth-defying (Hebrews 12:18-29).

Read the whole thing.

I would just like to say that I am not quitting my day job to become a sportswriter (fun as that would be), nor am I switching my scholarly specialty to sports, much as it might seem otherwise.  We’ve witnessed several unusual developments in the sports world the past few months, and it’s been fun to give a little bit of attention to these things.  But I don’t teach Sports and Christianity at Boyce College.  It’s back to history and theology for me.

But before I go (!), here’s Lin’s testimony from a few months back (this is part one, part two here).

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  • heliconkuan

    Good stuff Owen. Thanks for your insights. I read your books on J. Edwards and thoroughly enjoyed them and was blessed by what you wrote about. It was random, but I also tt my friend Bing who studies at Trinity, and he shared how he knew you. Anyways, blessings to all that you do.

    Also, I wrote some thoughts on Jeremy Lin as well regarding a similar thought.

  • owenstrachan

    Helicon, thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot. Bing Nieh is a great dude–miss seeing him around. Good baller, too.

    Really enjoyed your thoughts on Lin and commend them to other readers.

    • heliconkuan

      Thanks much Owen. Blessed by your encouragement and definitely looking forward to reading more of your work. Perhaps one day I’ll visit Chicago, and we can grab a cup of coffee. :)

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Helicon Kuan,

    Great, great essay. Deserves a wide reading!