Archive for September 30th, 2007

Break, dawggie!The second sports story for today is an extension of an illustration from this morning’s sermon on the church of Laodicea, whose self-sufficiency and apathy were criticized by Jesus in the book of Revelation.

On Monday morning, how many of you hear your friends talking about the football games – college, NFL or otherwise – from the weekend? When you hear about the games, do you hear lots and lots of praise for what a wonderful job they do in the huddle? How masterfully they encourage each other in there in their little on-the-field meeting, the wonderfully they execute hand-holding technique, and how adeptly and precisely they chant “BREAK!” as they leave their short gathering?

Unless you live in the Twilight Zone, I am guessing that this is not the case. Rather, I am more used to hearing discussions of actual results on the field.

And this is where the disconnect exists between the modern church and the world in which it resides. The modern church is seen as spending the bulk of its time huddling – primarily on Sunday morning and maybe, Wednesday evening – and expending its energy in producing the best huddle possible. Or, when they take the field, they spend their time talking about how bad the other church’s huddles or games are, and their strength battling over the best possible rules interpretations, or why theirs are superior to others.

Honestly, if your church were to announce that it was closing its doors and that its members were leaving the community, would the surrounding community cry out because of what it would be losing – that the church was an irreplaceable blessing to it?

Or, would they even notice the difference, because you rarely break the huddle and actually get into the game – and if you do, it is only to recruit more members for the team?

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Bad Dawggie![Advance apologies for readers who don't appreciate stories from the arena of sport. However, I've had several things come my way - or back to mind - in the past day, each of which seems relevant to recent discussions on Christian living...]

In a blast from the past this weekend, I ran into a few dads of kids from a youth football team my son, Jordan, played on in 2001. While names have been changed in this story to protect the innocent and guilt, alike, I’m pretty sure those involved will recognize the characters.

Corey was an unnaturally big kid for his age and was chosen to be the quarterback. He was naturally gifted with some athletic skill, but regardless, he was still a 5th grader with about 2 years experience under his belt. During every practice and every game, his step-dad would pace the sidelines shouting at him “Corey! You’re doing it wrong!” in as many words or more. Not only was this guy loud and obnoxious, but if he had any experience with football, it had most likely been back when he could still see his feet without a mirror.

Jason, on the other hand, was not the biggest kid, but what he lacked in size, he made up for in intensity. When he was on defense, you could count on him always being within a couple feet of the football. His dad would cheer him on from the sidelines, walking up and down the field, parallel with the team. If Jason missed a key tackle, a “shake it off!” could be heard, along with a word of encouragement when he came to the bench. A couple of times, I saw Jason and his dad working through some sort of technique or parent-son coaching off to the side.

My clearest memory of the season came from near the end of the season. After fumbling the ball and weathering a verbal tirade of “you’re doing it wrong” from the sideline, Corey walked to the sideline, drop-kicked his helmet and walked off in disgust. Meanwhile, I overheard Jason’s dad nearby telling his son “don’t worry about it – we’ve got to deal with what we’re dealt”.

What a teachable moment this was for my son, and for others there on the field.

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