Posts Tagged ‘football’

I wasn’t really thinking about the Super Bowl today. I planned to watch it.  I love competition.  I like football.  It’s right up there with futbol and basketball.  🙂  And the Super Bowl is a cultural event for North America.  But I admit I wasn’t following the stories very closely this year.  The truth is that I like the Rams and the Packers….as well as some individual players and coaches – almost none of whom are on the Giants or Patriots team.  Once they were out, I focused on other things.

Oddly enough, out of nowhere, during communion this morning I started thinking about the Super Bowl.   I dearly love taking communion.  But believe me, distractions come….and it’s been worse than football sometimes!  🙂  Anyway, these thoughts came to me:

  • We love the Super Bowl because it seems bigger than life. And we want to be part of something that transcends the everyday.
  • We want the players to be bigger than life so that we can “encounter” (safe) adversity and “overcome” through them vicariously.
  • We love the storylines.  They help us believe that we too can be  a champion.
  • We love the commercials.  More than the game even, they call out to a place inside of us.  A place that loves beauty and excellence and creativity.  A place that is fearful at times.  A place that longs to be well thought of…and well taken care of…and if we are honest, in control.

Now I’m not hating.  In fact, in a few moments I will be heading to a Super Bowl party….and not as a wet blanket!  But during my communion rabbit trail this morning, I was struck by the contrast between the the annual “story” of the Super Bowl and the timeless story told in the ancient Christ hymn in Phillipians 2:3-11.

The Super Bowl narrative would tell us that we must consume to be happy, to be powerful, to be loved.  The Christ hymn gives us the model of One who emptied himself and became a servant.   The Super Bowl narrative tells of seeking to be #1.  The Christ hymn tells of One who was “in very nature God” but did not grasp at His position.  The Super Bowl narrative tells of happiness that lasts for a day (I think of John Elway staying in the stadium, not wanting to go home, knowing the feeling would never be the same again).  The Christ hymn tells of lasting honor coming through obedience and laying down our lives.

Dr. Autry was preaching this morning.  He said this: “It is almost unAmerican to speak against consumption.  After all, our economy is built on spending.  But….(God) didn’t call us to be consumers, spending our money and our lives pursuing more and more stuff.  He called us to be holy, sanctified by our worship of him, and devoted to his purposes in the world.  His purpose is to bless and heal the world through right relationships with God and one another.  We’re called to be part of that healing.”  Good word, Arden.  Thank you.

How do you do it?  How do you navigate the fun and celebration of the Super Bowl while choosing the narrative of the Christ hymn?   I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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?