Rev Dr Dr Prof David Wilkinson, Principal of St John’s College Durham

Are you worried about the Taliban and religious extremists? Don’t be, there’s sport. Even though we banned the Olympics as soon as we were in charge, just like the Taliban ban sport, there’s always St Paul’s sporting metaphor to talk about.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ixQLwD47cG1lkdJID4U1rlQPh8-Pxmn5/view?usp=sharing

6 thoughts on “Rev Dr Dr Prof David Wilkinson, Principal of St John’s College Durham

  1. If in doubt this cleric talks not about race but sport and tries to justify our obsessions with the usual biblical comparisons. Footballers tennis players and paralympic athletes are the new divinities in the modern view and what they say and do counsels us like saints. I dont buy it and hope for one moment that there is no football or tennis in heaven.

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  2. Having watched both the Olympics and Paralympics with a keen interest I can only say that – despite the evident element of National competition – the majority of the competitors showed greater interest in the performance of their rivals. There were, in fact, no barriers of nationality, language, colour, or religion, but a genuine affirmation of the skill, determination and achievement of other competing athletes. At every finishing line, those who had not won rushed to congratulate those who had; and there were always embraces and words of comfort for those upset by their failure to achieve their goals. The Paralympics have been singularly responsible for a revolutionary change in the public perception of disability; indeed all those athletes with disabilities are a clear example to everyone – able bodied or otherwise – of what we can achieve if we have the determination and dedication. All this is such a refreshing world a million miles removed from the restrictive, limiting, and disabling strictures of religion, which aim more to divide, grade, and disparage people; making them feel guilty for who they are or for things they cannot change.

    Clerics love sporting references and comparisons, as they believe they gain ‘street cred’ thereby. I once listened to a sermon in which the Vicar used a football match as a parallel with the Christian life. The ‘player’ going onto the pitch at baptism; working as a team to overcome the opposition (sin, evil, etc). I was disappointed that the metaphor stopped at the final whistle. I was expecting a comparison of heaven with a giant steamy bath full of frolicking naked young men; but the priest didn’t go there (or maybe he did – in his dreams!).

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  3. The repeated attempts by (usually Christian) TftD speakers to appropriate sport for their own ends is getting tiresome. This year alone they have tried it on with the Euros, the Olympics and now Emma Raducanu. It was the muscular Christians of the 19th century who started the whole “mens sana in corpore sano” schtick, conveniently forgetting that it was Christians who banned the original Olympic Games, and Christians who did their best to prevent people enjoying themselves by playing games on Sundays. And the Apostle Paul a sports fan? Come off it.

    Finally, if anyone else had tried that gag about “the second coming of Christ…iano Ronaldo” they would have been in trouble, so I don’t see why we should let Wilkinson get away with it.

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  4. Either its a misprint or the BBC is acting defiantly against my dislike of overblown titles for clergy. Just who is someone who wants to be referred to as Reverend Professor Doctor Doctor and whatever does it mean? I would drop forever all.these things at the front of s clerics name and would say that what this man offered about the religion of sport was doubly depressing as are repetitious degrees of academia and religious rank.

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  5. Either its a misprint or the BBC is acting defiantly against my dislike of overblown titles for clergy. Just who is someone who wants to be referred to as Reverend Professor Doctor Doctor and whatever does it mean? I would drop forever all.these things at the front of s clerics name and would say that what this man offered about the religion of sport was doubly depressing as are repetitious degrees of academia and religious rank.

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  6. As Prof Wilkinson says, evangelical Christians, versions of Islam and other po-faced religions think sport is unnecessary. You shouldn’t be wasting your time seeing how fast you can run etc. when there is serious praying to your deity to be done. How on earth is an IMF going to know which prayers to answer when he has sports people crossing themselves, kneeling and touching their heads to the turf or muttering prayers whenever they take the field or score points?
    Filtering out all that “Please help me score/win/not break my leg” piffle from the serious stuff of “Please don’t let me get a stiffy by seeing a woman’s leg” must be so tough for Yahweh/Jesus/Allah, especially now there are billions of humans seeking supernatural guidance. It must have been so easy for the Abrahamic God when he started out with a few dozen followers and a some basic rules about liking burnt meat offerings in the stone age. A bit like Mark Zuckerberg sitting in his Harvard room planning The Facebook for his Frat friends and not realising he was going to spawn a monster.

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