The Beautiful Game

As I watched the ‘samba boys’ make sport of my peeps (who did a phenomenal job in my opinion) on Sunday, I was reminded of this article by Pastor Kenyatta Otieno, who runs Life Groups at Mavuno…

“Which is the most popular sport in Brazil?”

This is a question I use to pull the leg of many a football fans, poor you if your answer soccer. The right answer is volleyball; soccer is a “religion” in Brazil. You are not mistaken if you thought that soccer was invented in Brazil; the Irish gave us potatoes and the French fried it the same way the British invented soccer and Brazilians made it beautiful. Beginning June 11th , 2010 when world cup starts in South Africa, Rio de Janeiro and the whole of Brazil will stand still every time the ‘samba boys’ step into the pitch.

Between 1885-1933 soccer was a game for the British elite before it was let loose and the Brazilians started playing it on the beaches, streets and every space they could find. The great thing that happened either by default or design was to fit football in their culture. The Indians roamed Brazil before the Portuguese colonized them and brought in Africans to work in their farms. Africans brought their food, music, dance, and martial arts to their new found land. The suffering poor people had to develop great capacity of overcoming barriers with imagination that has influenced the world to date.

The Brazilian soccer style is a reflection of the culture of its people who dance samba creatively in a swing to bring out various rhythms and choreographies. Soccer then is transformed into an art and its players into soccer artists (Ronaldinho has confessed that he plays soccer like an artist would play on canvas), the same creativity that goes into their popular culture of samba dance, and Capoeira – Brazilian martial arts.

The game is played extensively and intensively in Brazil. The high numbers of players involved makes it easy to get the best players at the professional level. The difference is obvious when you try to compare it to Kenyan soccer. We have a mosaic of rich culture which if we apply in sports will be more beneficial than how we bring it in politics. If we can stop trying to play like the British who invented soccer and formulate our own original style and rhythm then we can start saving for the world cup in Brazil in 2014. It can be done if we think outside the box!

I suspect the pioneers of Brazilian soccer did not have it easy because everyone would have insisted that soccer was meant to be played the British way. But by taking it and domesticating it into their culture, they not only owned it more, but they discovered their culture added huge strengths. Samba dance gave the style and rhythm, martial arts provided the discipline. This made their style of play very attractive. Brazil is the one team that even when they beat you, you actually enjoy the experience! 

Very instructive for us as Christians: The awesome, relevant and unchanging truths about God need to always be contextualized, or ‘culturalized’ into the language and forms of our culture. When you ‘culturize’ something, it becomes a natural way of life for people; easy to grasp and pass on as well.

That’s what I enjoyed most about reading devotionally through the book of Daniel. These ancient truths, when applied by individuals to our every-day marketplace situations, have the power to transform the very nature of how business is done in our nation.

Speaking of which, it’s time to turn your business into the beautiful game! See you on Friday at the Mavuno Business Breakfast.


5 responses to “The Beautiful Game

  1. hey Pastor M. thank you so much for your great work. i’m a chapelite but i still however enjoy your sermons. i wish i was able to attend the past month’s sermon but i have gotten bits and pieces of it. sometimes we talk big as Christians and can’t back it up. we are not willing to go the long haul. speaking for myself, i chose to settle for common and from picking up the bits and pieces of your sermon, i pray to do what it takes to get to where God has called me to be.

    thank you for that Sir. Barikiwa sana.

    i’d also like to Kindly request for you to put up your sermons like you used to for mp3 download purposes. it would be of great help to those of us who are in other churches. sorry for the trouble, but i look forward to your assistance.

    God bless,


  2. Wow! I just love your way of passing across the message and thanks for the enlightenment on the game of soccer at such an appropriate time “the FIFA world cup”.

    Been following the blog quietly for the last two months and it has really taught me and built me a great deal. About “what next?”, I have embarked on a journey through the book of JUDGES. I serve in the Green House, where we are currently dwelling on the life of Samson and I need to gain a deeper understanding of the history of the people of Israel.

    My request is for to stand with me in prayer that I may be a real blessing and a good example to the children who are entrusted under my care at the Green House. Thank you so much and May God Almighty bless you abundantly and keep you away from the snares of the devil.


  3. Hi Pastor,

    Thank you for the devotions which I religiously follow.Just wanted to say best weekend ever. I am an Arsenal fan supporting Arsenal players so Netherland and Spain was total entertainment for me.Couldnt resist to comment. Be blessed.Had a wonderful weekend.For Van persie and Cesc Fab. For the lessons learnt from Daniel….Playing to Win.

  4. Pastor M,I cannot say how much the last month has changed my way of living,almost as much as the serom you did last year on finding our purpose which led me to realizing what my calling is.I read faithfully,through book of Daniel and now I have developed a habit of faitfully spending quality quiet time by reading God’s word and asking for wisdom on how to apply it.The race is tough but I will make it.You taught us to pray with a heartof gratitude and I’ve been practicing that.Also your word on the jobseekers to pray for not just a paycheck but to be part of a solution for a need around us has been eye opening.So anyway on the last week of your sermon Pastor S prayed for those of us jobunting and believe it or not the monday after I got a call for an interview for a position I have been dreaming of that’s in line with my calling&God-given purpose.Indeed,Pastr S is a prayer warrior.I made it through to the 2nd and final round of interviews,that will be picking 5kenyans out of 15 east Africans for the post and even though judging form the other kenyans vying for the same position who have over 5yrs expereince as opposed to my few mnths of no expereince,I remembered how u said that my race is my own.SO i trusting a wk’s time by His faithful grace that got my CV noticed out of 100s,I will make it after a 2yr jobhunt.Tank you pastor M for the sermon that showed us God is also our deliverer and like Danile,he wlaks with us through the fire.You really have erased all the bitterness I had and made me a grateful christian content that God’s timing is exact whether I get the position or not.If ever you wonder why u do what u do,just knw you did touch me.Oh and pls pray for me to ace this final interview in a week’s time so I can be the influencer I am called to be.Let me go blast my CD of gospel music and dance away in thanksgiving coz my ehart and soul says yes to being His servant in playing my own game to win.I am glad Mavuno came into my life at the right time at the incubatioon phase of my life.Be blessed Pastor M and the rest for your team that make these life-changing sundays possible,form the senior leadership,to the ushers to the ladies and gents who ensure that even the washrooms reflect the saying “cleanliness is next to Godliness”.

  5. I have a question Pastor M, I dont mean to be critical or anything but why do we remix secular songs in church why not instead of write fresh ones from God like the really cool ones I have heard mavuno worship project do? Then imagine people who’ve been saved from that lifestyle and in the safety of the church they are transported mentally to the place where they have just been delivered from and maybe are struggling to chuck.In the process of trying to be hip, God is left out of the equation and flesh starts to glory but aren’t we doing everyone a disservice when we leave them at the same place where they were wen the got saved? They should be at a place where slowly, the flesh is getting crucified and silenced, but we keep entertaining it and it will never be subdued….those are just my thoughts kindly note I love love mavuno but I have never loved the worship service infact most of the time I skip it intentionally coz i find it too hyper…I would rather listen to some Hillsong music first then come to church….

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