We live in Utah, the land of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Independence Day Parade in our city had a 5K earlier in the morning. We noticed many of the finishers wore Crocs instead of running shoes. Now, Utah has many oddities, but this was a new one. Turns out, running in Crocs is a recent Mormon success story:

Mormons have a bunch of kids. And Benjamin who ran so fast is one of ten kids. Benjamin’s dad retells the story of how it all started:

Well, it started by accident really, back in 2009. About to head out for a run, I noticed that two of my children were wearing Crocs: “We’re ready!” they said. And despite me telling them to go and put some proper shoes on, they insisted they were fine as they were. Not in the mood to argue, I went along with it.

Via running heroes

And the moral of the story: kids can spark innovation.

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July is here, and that is reason enough for WBA to crown their boxer of the month: Gervonta Davis. It turns out, that he starts every fight with the sign of the cross. That is a Christian symbol which references Christ’s suffering. That makes an interesting choice in boxing because this ritual expresses an acceptance of pain.

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Tokyo 2020 - 100 days to go

When designing the opening and closing ceremonies for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Tokyo Organising Committee set a clear standard:

the realisation of a more sustainable, spiritually richer, happier society.

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Tonight is the first game of the Stanley Cup and the NHL is celebrating the historic trophy. Did you know that Frederick Arthur Stanley also was founder president of the committee for the building of Liverpool Cathedral?

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Bhavani Devi is the first Indian fencer to compete in the Olympics. Shortly before her trip to Tokyo she shared a picture of herself in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Her dad was reportedly a priest. The athlete herself is named after the Goddess Bhavānī who of course wields a big saber.

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Portugal lost to Belgium and is out of the Euro 2021. Portugal’s captain Cristiano Ronaldo is understandably and visibly frustrated as he exits the field post game. He throws and kicks his captain’s armband. This appears to be a cathartic ritual in line with what Jesus recommended to his disciples when they experience failure:

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.

Matthew 10:14

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MLB player Ben Zobrist is suing his former pastor for various ethics violations. So here are just two things, ministerial ethics could have stopped before any of this happened:

According to deadspin, “in 2016/17, Ben Zobrist entered into counseling with Yawn to discuss his anxiety and depression.” What’s wrong with that? Pastors are not mental health professionals! Depression requires professional counseling and or medical intervention.

Also according to deadspin, “Byron Yawn, who used to be a senior minister at the Community Bible Church in Nashville, Yawn gave some, and also got an executive position with Zobrist’s foundation, Patriot Forward.” What’s wrong with that? As a pastor you cannot do business with parishioners! The sacred trust of a pastoral relationship is in jeopardy once money obligations come with additional power structures.

The baseball player got played here. The pastor should have never done counseling or accepted a job offer.

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Layshia Clarendon is a point guard in the WNBA. ESPN produced a beautiful cover story of their journey through basketball, faith, and gender identity. Layshia couldn’t fit in a sexual binary until finally they found peace and empowerment in embracing God’s unboxed love. Now, the Minnesota Lynx can say, “I’m really grateful for God for not letting me stay there.”

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The biggest sports news of the day is that Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay as the first active NFL player: The timing for this announcement is very appropriate as the NFL and the world at large are observing pride month. But Carl has professed other personal things on his Instagram in the past. In December 2020 he shared a Christmas greeting:

In June of 2020, Carl confessed to being a God-father, which in the Christian tradition means, he takes charge of the spiritual well-being of a little person.

In April 2020, Carl’s birthday happened to coincide with Easter. The feast of resurrection is so important to the defensive end that he mentions it in his birthday post:

In August 2019, Carl instructed his fans loud and clear: “Don’t let a day go by without thanking God for all that you’re blessed with.”

Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out on Instagram big time: as a gay man who cares for the spiritual well-being of a little person, thanks God for his opportunities, and finds meaning in Christian rituals and holidays.

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International Day of Yoga

June 21 is the International Day of Yoga. Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness. During the global COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations picked the 2021 Theme: Yoga for well-being.

If you’ve been stressed by disconnecting through social distancing, maybe the integration of body and mind that yoga promotes may be good for you.

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