Playing on God’s Team – Brazilian Soccer Stars and Christian Evangelism

Kaka
Brazilian superstar Kaká bows down and praises the Lord in a very public display of his faith

When one thinks of Brazil, one will automatically think of Ipanema Beach, Carnaval in Rio de Janiero, beautiful women, and of course soccer. North Americans have difficulty understanding how popular a game soccer is worldwide and especially in a country like Brazil where it is a national religion thanks to the fact that their national team has won the World Cup a record five times.

Not only does Brazilian soccer and its fans take on a religious sensibility, its soccer stars are infusing the game with their own brand of Christianity, Evangelism. Superstars such as Kaká (pictured above), Lúcio, Zé Roberto, and Cacau openly profess their faith during matches by either wearing undershirts with a Christian message, or consistently making the sign of the cross throughout the game. Logic would suggest that these players are simply devout Roman Catholics since we’re talking about Brazil but they aren’t: they belong to the Pentecostal Church which counts 17.6 million adherents in this South American country.

Cathrin Gilbert takes a look at this phenomenon in Playing Soccer for God:

The Schalke team captain Bordon has joined the other Evangélicos in the Bundesliga, as well as about 100 other athletes from Brazil, and formed an organization called Atletas de Cristo. Their mission, as stated on their Web site, is to convert the world to Christianity. As often as his playing schedule permits, Bordon meets with his brothers for religious services.

At a training camp, Bordon invited Schalke manager Andreas Müller, a Mormon, to a bible circle. Missionary work is part of the commitment Bordon entered into when

click here to read Cathrin Gilbert’s article in its entirety


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