With every day that we come deeper into football season I find myself drawing comparisons between football and God. Of course, being the nice guy that I am I'd NEVER call out teams. So remember, you are reading into it if you hear me call your team stupid. And yes, I'm going to be very pessimistic.
There are two great comparisons you can draw between football and being a christian.
1.) The classic, "If only people were this fired up about God" discussion. Have you been to a football game lately? Seen the pre-game? Its incredible. thousands of folks in the stands screaming and cheering and singing the team songs. Such unity. Such excitement. Such passion. Shouldn't Christians be as fired up about God as we get about football?
Frankly, we will never get as fired up about God as we do for football - and I wouldn't want it to happen anyway. With football (especially here in the south), there must be competition. Competition is the kind, sanctified way of saying its okay to create haves and have-nots. Thats what the whole football season is about! Winning and losing. Tons of money, time, advertisements, etc. goes into making sure a team wins. Now, I'm not knocking competition. I'm knocking the rabid "your fans suck and I hate your kids" competition. When fans of football teams look at children wearing the colors of the opposing team and think contempteous thoughts, its gone too far. I don't want that for our world - not in God's world.
Jesus never put up boundaries. He blurred the lines between the teams. Who wins, who loses...you can't think of the Kingdom of God like a football team (or game) - it just doesn't translate well at all because you miss the point. The lack of an "enemy" for the Christian side means we will never garner the attention that sanctified hate can bring. In football? sure. I guess you can hate the other team. But lately I've been finding out that my love of Jesus means I can even see people differently when they have a particular color on. In a strange way, I've suddenly become a fan of every football team. I can cheer with anyone. I can enjoy the game so much more than I used to. I still love my own team and in a lot of ways can't stop doing that. But yours? Yeah. I don't hate you any more.
2.) The less classic but more epidemic, "Bi-polar Christian" discussion. Here is the comparison: football fans are swayed by the abilities of their teams. Win? Feel good for another week. Lose? Suffer from depression and feelings of hopelessness. Am I wrong? Not here in the south. When I was in college class attendance was down a monday after a loss. Its a fact that when teams in alabama win, tithing goes up. Comparison: football fans often hinge all their happiness on whether their team wins or not. Some go as far as to hinge that happiness on smaller things like if they made enough touchdowns or whether we are out of the championship race or not. Christians do the same exact thing and its killing me. We look around our lives and we think "I found a decent parking spot at Publix! God must love me!" or we stub our toe in the morning and think, "wow, I must have done something bad yesterday" or worse, "God doesn't love me!"
You get the idea... a bi-polar football fan is a bi-polar Christian. neither of which is very productive for anyone. We should not be so fickle that happiness lies in such random and worthless proceedings in life.