X Games Bad Boys Turned Christians

xgamesA recent NYT article chronicled an encouraging if unexpected development: a bunch of professional skateboarders and bike riders are boldly witnessing to their faith in Christ. (Photo: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Here’s what one of the guys has to say for his new calling:

“Today, Hosoi is an associate pastor at a church in Huntington Beach, Calif., and he travels the world as an evangelist.

“I’m using my popularity, the history, my image and my accomplishments to preach the gospel,” he said.

Deegan is on a similar mission. At an X Games tribute to Lusk on Saturday before the freestyle motocross finals at the Home Depot Center, Deegan said a short prayer, thanking the Lord for Lusk’s talent on a motorbike. Lusk, who won the gold medal in freestyle at the 2008 Games, died of head injuries sustained in a crash during a competition in February.

Before taking part in the ceremony, Deegan weighed the potential effect on his image.

“In the end I said, who’s more radical than us?” Deegan said. “Everything we do is full-on. Once we went to church, we were full-on Christians, too. And we’re going to go for it. On the mic, I’ll say it. On TV, say it. The next thing you know, I have way more people pumped on me.”

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So there you go–here’s the whole article.  You never thought you’d be praying for X-Games winning, punk-music listening skateboarders, did you?  Well, now we can.  Now we should.  These guys and a number of peers are no-holds-barred for the gospel.  Their public witness in an arena many Christians might ignore or dislike brings honor to Christ and pushes us out of our own comfort zones to image our Lord in our world.

When I lived in Louisville, I would often drive by a massive skate-park that was always filled with droves of kids.  Tons skating, tons watching.  It struck me as one of the best witnessing fields I’d ever seen.  I’m not a skateboarder or X-gamer ( to say the very least), but I would have loved to get out there with those kids, get to know them, and witness to them.

Here’s hoping that the Lord will bless the witness of these X-Games athletes and that He’ll do the same for many of us.  We might associate skateboarding with rebellion (for good reason), but it also is a sport that draws many youth who are lost and desperately need (and want) friends and Christian witnesses.  Like all natural “tribes”, skateboarders are just lost people in search of community.  Let’s not disdain skateboarding, but on the grounds of witness, let’s engage it, or at least pray for those who do.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “X Games Bad Boys Turned Christians

  1. Louis

    “On the mic, I’ll say it. On TV, say it. The next thing you know, I have way more people pumped on me.”

    That worries me! I wish to give him the benefit of the doubt, but due to the fact that I don’t know these guys, and the fact that there are so many false converts out there who are “following Jesus” for all sorts of reasons, I’m going to use caution and allow them time to show the fruit of a real conversion.
    Many “ministers” of the gospel have fallen (think Ted Haggard, or Jim Bakker) because their relationship with Jesus was built on what Jesus could do for them.

    I’m not saying that these guys are not genuine, I’m just saying that I think that we should use caution and allow them the time necessary to show that they are not just using Jesus because He happens to be “cool” right now, and the crowd becomes more “pumped up” when cheering for an X-gamer who mentions the name of Jesus.

  2. Tim

    Louis, I can assure you that being a Christian in the extreme sports scene is not cool. I do not know these guys personally, so I can say nothing of their faith. I can however say, that I have been a part of the skateboarding and punk rock culture for more than a decade, and being a Christian is never seen as cool. Often Christians within these scenes are daily attacked for their beliefs and constantly criticized, all the while being in the midst of a culture that stands for individuality and partying. We should be praying that these young converts find strong spiritual leaders to disciple them, rather than waiting to see if they fail in their Christian walk.

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