Football conversion

Posted: January 3, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Last night we dressed in orange.   I ran to Radio Shack to buy the HDMI cord that would connect my laptop to the TV.  Hannah drove home from Dallas in time to see the big game with her family.  Mom bought orange soda (yuk) and made homemade pizza.  Our emotions swung back and forth until Oklahoma State kicked the winning field goal in overtime!

To tens of thousands of people in Tulsa, that was absolutely normal for last night.  But what was striking for me is that a year ago, none of us cared.  I have always been an SEC fan.   All of our orange clothing is new.  What happened?  And what can I learn from this conversion for (forgive me, OSU fans) for things that really matter?!?

We have lots of friends that are OSU fans.  They are not shy to talk about their allegiance.  They are quick to throw parties, invite others to join them, and have a blast.  The game schedule shapes their fall.  Being a fan is a major part of their identity.

The school really welcomed my daughter (currently a freshman at OSU).  They wanted her, they pursued her, they made things easy and fun to get oriented and become a part.  They did the same for us as parents.  When asked how she chose OSU, my daughter replies, “It’s more like they chose me.”

OSU fans are friendly.  They have that reputation and we have seen it lived out.  I’m a lifelong KY Wildcat basketball fan.  No one is more loyal than Big Blue Nation, but we can be snobs.  And argumentative.  And have to be right.  And know it all.  At Rupp Arena in Lexington, the crowd reacts as one voice faster than the referee can blow the whistle.  To go tailgating at OSU was to be introduced to a different kind of fan.

We had a good time last night.  I think we have a new allegiance….a conversion even.  What do you think?  Is there anything to be learned?

  1. James Allison says:

    I’ve always heard that Oklahoma State is a uniquely friendly university. My experience there was positive and I’m very glad to hear your families has been as well.

  2. scottywad says:

    Sadly your description of Big Blue Nation fans is a-typical of most fans. We all desire to belong and have an inner built in desire for allegiance to something or someone. Not many of us like to admit we’re wrong or that we might not know about something. In those two human fallacies might be found our snobbishness or our being argumentative. Sports is just one small area where these things rise to the surface easily. I believe its our deep inner desire to belong.
    God created us to be in relationship. With Him and with each other. It is one of the first (hidden) truths in the Bible. We were created in His image; He was there in the garden with His creation and He said it was very good. A relational God created a relational creature to be in relationship with them. We can run from them; we can abuse them but deep down inside we desire relationship. I know you know this. Your family’s ministry revolves around relationships.
    Our sports affiliations are merely another type of relationship. Sounds like OSU made that relationship easier to accept by their friendliness and pursuit of the relationship. Wouldn’t all relationships be easy to accept if they began with being pursued? Maybe they do; if we think about it hard and long enough. Maybe only the good ones, the right ones begin this way. Like God seeking us. If I understand scripture correctly and I believe I do; our religious conversion (which is the beginning of a new relationship) begins with God making the first move and us responding.

    Secondly: Love is thicker than water. What I mean is I know you love your family. The (conversion) comes easier because of that love. Some mistakingly allow other allegiances to get in the way of their conversions. Some allow other pursuits or loves to get in the way of their conversion. What matters is what we love.
    The Hamilton conversion came easily because of your love for your daughter.
    Lastly: I think the most important lesson is this. Don’t allow our allegiances to hinder the growth or expansion of another’s.

    • halhamilton says:

      Great stuff, Scott! I’m taking notes!

      “Wouldn’t all relationships be easier to accept if they began by being pursued?”

      “Conversion comes easier because of that love (of another)”

      “Don’t allow our allegiances to hinder the growth or expansion of another’s”

      I was talking to one of the ministers here on staff yesterday and he made the comment that the underlying issue for all of us that gets in the way is always fear. Underneath shame, underneath anger, underneath hiding, etc.

      Talking about that later with Annamarie, she made the comment “That is why it is so important to be/feel loved!”

      • Scott Lewis says:

        One reason I love working with youth is: Although they to are layered; they aren’t as layered as adults. As adults we become very skilled thru years of experience of hiding under those layers. Adam and Eve layered themselves with leaves as soon as they realized their nakedness. Not that God prefers us all running around nude but isn’t it a parallel to peeling back the layers of our lives? We need peeled down to that bare inner self. Some of us are really tough onions to peel. Again the security offered by love or being pursued helps peel back those layers.

  3. Scott Lewis says:

    The Great and Amazing thing about God is He accepts us right as we are and then peels back those layers to expose what we were truly created to be. Other relationships often want the peeling to begin first. Pure love accepts our faults, blemishes and layers; then allows the love affair to initiate the changes and the peeling. The great youth ministers accept the youth just as they are. They pursue them and love them simply because they matter. They matter to the one who pursued us and cared about us. That kind of love and caring isn’t easily mimicked. Allowing ourselves to be
    exposed often allows others to begin exposing their own layers.

    • Scott Lewis says:

      On Annamarie’s comment and then I’ll let this go back to being Hal’s blog and not mine.:)
      My reading tonight brought me this by Tozer: “The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.”

    • halhamilton says:

      “Allowing ourselves to be exposed often allows others to begin exposing their own layers.”

      So true, Scott. And hiding/pretending bears like fruit as well!

  4. peterjwhite says:

    Sounds to me like the University (and by that I mean the the system as a whole, not any particular one) has something to teach the church here.

    What if “evangelism” looked like “recruitment”?

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