For the next three to four months, stadiums, parking lots (for tailgate partying as well as parking), living rooms, and the like will be packed with adoring fans. And if a given group of fans’ favorite team happens to keep winning, then the fever within them will only rise!
Of course, as the fever rises, church attendance and participation will likely be impacted as well. Only these don’t always go up. Sometimes, they go down instead!
You see, whether we wish to admit it or not, for some here in the southeast, the plain and simple truth is that loyalty to football will likely eclipse loyalty to church – at least for the next few months.
In light of these things, I thought I would share a humorous piece that has been around for a while. It is often titled “12 Reasons Why A Pastor Quit Attending Sports Events”. While it is not new, I do think it bears repeating here.
1. The coach never came to visit me.
2. Every time I went, they asked me for money.
3. The people sitting in my row didn’t seem very friendly.
4. The seats were very hard.
5. The referees made a decision I didn’t agree with.
6. I was sitting with hypocrites—they only came to see what others were wearing!
7. Some games went into overtime and I was late getting home.
8. The band played some songs I had never heard before.
9. The games are scheduled on my only day to sleep in and run errands.
10. My parents took me to too many games when I was growing up.
11. Since I read a book on sports, I feel that I know more than the coaches, anyway.
12. I don’t want to take my children because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.
Despite the humor intended, more than one person has observed that this list tends to raise some interesting issues worth some degree of thought and/or discussion.
Given this, I would simply ask two questions. The first is “Which of the above twelve items may have pricked your conscience?” The second is “Why?”
Oh, and a third question might also be: “What do you intend to do about any of this?”
You see, it is entirely okay to be present in both the stadium on Saturday and the church on Sunday! That is to say, it is entirely okay to cheer “Go team! Win! Win! Win!” on Saturday as long as you also shout “Go church! Advance! Advance! Advance!” on Sunday!
SOURCE: Various versions of this particular piece are available widely on the internet. See, for instance, Scot McKnight’s blog post from back in 2013 at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2013/10/15/12-reasons-rjs/.