Alistair Campbell, the adviser to Tony Blair who famously said, ‘We don’t do God’, was happy to examine the religious views of others when compiling his recent book, ‘Winners and how they succeed’
Soccer addicts have long known that David Moyes and Robert Mancini regularly attended Mass, but now Campbell can reveal that Jose Mourinho, the deposed Chelsea manager, describes himself as ‘very religious’.
Whether his pitch-side antics or post match interviews leave my gentle readers with the impression of a religious man, I will leave them to decide.
Interviewed by Campbell, Mourinho said, ‘I believe in God and I try to have a relationship with Him and it gives me strength and belief in everything I do’.
Asked if he prayed for wins on the football, he responded, ‘Basically not. I pray for my family, for our health and happiness.’
So far, so good.
Mourinho then added, ‘Before a game I like to read a couple of pages of the Bible, read at random.’
Not so sure about that, Jose.
The ‘Special One’ has probably not heard the story of the man who read his Bible in that random fashion. Seeking guidance, he closed his eyes, opened his Bible, and stabbed with his finger. The finger pointed at the verse in ‘Judas went away and hanged himself’(Matthew 27; 5). Not tempted by that, he followed the same procedure again, this time hitting the verse in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, ‘Go and do likewise’ (Luke 10; 37). Not satisfied with this guidance either, he tried again, and read the word of Jesus to Judas, ‘What you are about to do, do quickly’.(John 13; 27).
There lies the danger of random Bible reading. The Bible is not an easy book, written over centuries, by different authors, using different genres, in a geographic and cultural situation vastly different from our own. It demands careful study, but it yields rich blessings. In this New Year, avoid the Mourinho method of Bible reading, and even the Genesis through Revelation method.
Start with a gospel, say Mark, then some Psalms, and then another gospel. Concentrate on the one at the centre of the Bible story, the Man Christ Jesus. Good reading!