Go online right now and read a story or blog about the entertainment at this year’s Super Bowl. Most of the stories I’ve read seem to say the same thing, the whole thing was commercial and ridiculous. I’ll be honest, I listened to most of the Super Bowl from another room, while the sounds of the event blared from my in-law’s 55-inch TV. I was almost roused from my disinterested perch when I’m pretty sure I heard Christian Aguilera mess up one of the most oft-sung songs in America. But alas, I wasn’t moved enough to rise. Later I listed to even more familiar songs as the Black Eyed Peas crooned their way through what seemed like their entire catalog. The only thing I was left with after the halftime show was the realization that almost all their songs sound the same. In the end, some team won the slightly less exaggerated portion of the evening’s event. I think it was the Packers. Go Packers.
After the game, and more importantly after the delicious dinner my mother-in-law provided, it was Steak Sunday after all, I returned to my nerd-hole only to find Facebook aflutter with congratulations to the night’s victor. Everyone seemed to have something to say. More posts were dedicated to the game than the Egyptian revolution already in progress, and way more than anything that happened earlier today.
What happened earlier today? Most of my Facebook “friends” went to church; it is just a hazard of spending the last four years living in the Bible-belt and having most of my California friends encountered in a Christian context. I really don’t know what’s on the mind of most people I know today, but I do know what they felt was most important to share with world. Tonight, it was the Super Bowl. The four hour production stirred emotions and motivations to share more than anything it a while, but I have no idea what went on in church. I went to church today, even got their 90 minutes early for part two of a class for potential members. Our church lets out fairly early in the day, so there was no conflict with the game. I know many churches canceled or condensed their afternoon and evening programs for the game, acknowledging the reality that many people just wont come in the face of such an exciting alternative.
I’m not throwing stones at churches or the people who would rather pump it for the Super Bowl, but I have a question: Why isn’t church more exciting than a football game?
In theory, the church has all the ingredients to make it the best place to be, and later the most talked about online. For one, we have a message that literally changes lives. I doubt with the exception of some of the players on the field tonight, lives were not changed by the Super Bowl. Secondly, we should have the most uplifting gathering in town. Who wouldn’t agree that genuine love and acceptance by their neighbors beats flying Fergie and LED-lit dancers? Lastly, we got to hear from the very voice of God. We actually heard the words of God as they pertain to our lives! I can’t imagine that Moses would have been distracted on top of Mount Sinai by the Hebrews down below playing a sporting game, while he stood and listened to the living God.
So what gives? Is it that mankind has created a cultural event so awesome, so life-defining, that it should affect us so much we have to share our feelings about it within minutes of its conclusion? Or could it be that we sell church short? Do we sit in pews or stackable chairs not expecting to hear God, love or be loved, or experience anything life-changing? As leaders, do we phone it in with jokes, amusing stories, and conventional wisdom, never expecting that God will speak through us? Do we ignore that strange face in the next row, content with not knowing who that strange person is or what they are going through this week?
I know what I want in life. It is not to be less captivated by the yearly football championship. My deepest desire is that church becomes more captivating to myself and everyone who stumbles upon it, and I want to do everything I can to make that happen.
Anyone else with me?