February 04, 2011 by Pastor Jeremiah
This Sunday is Super Bowl XLV in Arlington Texas with the Green Bay Packers vs. the Pittsburg Steelers. It’s the biggest television event of the year. All this week the media will be in a frenzy creating hype for the big game. I love sports just like the next guy…at least I thought so. That was until I saw the new super bowl ads put out by Visa documenting the “Super Bowl Club”, a group of friends who have never missed the big game. It may sound like a dream come true, but their individual stories reveal some disturbing side effects that have resulted from their fanaticism.
In the video I posted below, Larry Jacobson, a fanatical football fan is describing what he clearly considers to be the crowning achievement of his life. He’s never missed a super bowl. He’s missed weddings (hopefully not his own), funerals, even babies being born, but never a super bowl. While I admire his dedication, I can’t help but think that he’s missing the point. It’s like Larry is trapped in the Matrix. He’s missing out on all of the “real” things that are going on in his life in order to accommodate his fantasy life. If you think I’m overstating his obsession with football by describing it as a fantasy life, just listen to his interview below. He claims that as a part of the crowd he possesses telepathic powers that can will his team to victory. Yeah he’s nuts, but Visa wouldn’t have made a commercial with this guy if they didn’t think millions of people could identify with him. And believe me there are a lot more Larry Jacobson’s out there.
A news story was released earlier this week about a Chicago area car salesman named John Stone who was fired for wearing a Green Bay Packers neck-tie to work the day after the Bears were defeated by the Packers in the NFC championship game. Seriously, I’m not making this up. Apparently, John’s boss felt that his wearing of this tie was a form of trash talking that the customers would not appreciate. John disagreed with his boss and refused to take the tie off. After five warnings, John was fired. As a lifelong resident of Seattle, I am ready to admit that I don’t understand the amount of passion with which football fans in the Midwest rout for their teams. After all, I’ve grown up with the Seahawks and they aren’t exactly easy to love. However, what brings a person to fire an employee for having a little fun with a necktie the day after the big game? Vic versa, what in the world was John thinking by putting his job at risk for refusing to take off said necktie? What is the world coming to?
In the good old days, sports were considered a “pastime.” We welcomed the opportunity to view a baseball game as a mild distraction from the realities of life. Nowadays, sports have become “our national obsession.” From Lebron James “Decision” that was one of the top stories in the news this past year, to all of the annual hype that goes into the most watched televised event of the year (The Super Bowl). As a culture, we no longer consider sports to be leisure time. Basketball really is life and the rest is just details.
“Thou shall have no other gods before me,” God thundered from Mount Sinai. Some have suggested that God must have an inferiority complex in order to make this demand. I don’t agree. We were created to receive everything that we need from God. Worship is an expression acknowledging that we receive our meaning purpose, and life from God, or something else. When we mess with the order of who, or what we worship, it can become quit disturbing. Immediately following God’s delivery of this commandment from Mount Sinai, the Israelites created a golden calf idol in order to worship a god they could see with their eyes. I used to think this was a ridiculous story that could only happen in primitive days amongst superstitious people. Now I’m not so sure. Consider this, the golden calf is a symbol of wealth (gold) and prosperity (fruitfulness). The two teams that are playing in this years’ Super Bowl are both named after industries in their respective regions that produce wealth and prosperity. The Packers represent the god of the cheese (their mascot is a cheesehead) industry in Wisconsin and the Steelers represent the god of the steel industry in Pittsburg. Ok., maybe not in the pagan sense, but you get the idea.