I work really hard to keep sport analogies and illustrations out of my sermons because they are so overused. However, my friend Joe Chambers (@josephochambers and Field Notes on the Jesus Way) posted some thoughts on his Facebook page that got me thinking. If one wanted to, it would be fairly easy to preach a series of sermons based on the four football games of the NFL Wildcard Weekend.
Laces Out–This sermon is from the Vikings perspective. Sometimes you do almost everything right, but things fall apart at the end. Things like character, determination, and community are what get you through the hard times.
Keep Your Cool, Don’t Bungal it–The Steelers/Bengals game is the picture perfect example of losing control of your life.
Wide Left–When you get what you don’t deserve, it is called grace. The real life story of the 2015 Seattle Seahawks.
That Awkward Moment When . . . Racism–Sometimes culture lulls you to sleep and you find yourself forgetting to be transformed. This is what happens when we root for the team from Washington and yell out racial epithets that we don’t even think about.
Frozen–The flames of hell can be frightening, but it is hard to move around when your relationships are frozen because the temperature (of the heart?) is below zero. Another possible sermon here is “Mission Trips to Minnesota in January Might Not Be A Good Idea.”
Houston, We Have A Problem–The sermon, of course, is about being a poser. Some people/institutions/churches look like the real deal, but when it comes crunch time, they produce a goose egg, at home.
Thou Shalt Not Steel–The Steelers may have won, but everyone saw their soul (and yes, I Remember Super Bowl XL )
It’s Just A Game–Some people get too wrapped up in sports, and really need to go for a walk or read a book. Never feel sorry for people who make a living playing a game. Remember, most of those athletes on the field are people who picked on and bullied you in high school.
There you–those are free of charge to anyone who wants to use them.
Super Bowls need nicknames, because the number attached just isn’t memorable enough. I had a great amount of fun last year making fun of Seattle versus Denver with my suggestions. This year is even better. Here are some possible nicknames.
1. The Chowder Bowl I didn’t learn to love clam chowder until I moved to the northwest in 1999. Before that, I had never tasted chowder, and boy was I missing out. Even as I set here and write, I think that clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl would be just about perfect. Of course, Boston is famous for its ‘chowda’ too so, there you go! Finally we’d have a real “Souper-Bowl”, but we’d have to find a bread bowl big enough to play it in.
2. The Ball Bowl Most all the world is aware that the Patriots have been cheating by deflating the balls, and it has created such a controversy that it has its own nickname, ‘Deflategate.’ I don’t want this to be called the Deflatebowl. However, given Tom Brady’s ball problems combined with Marshawn Lynch’s famous (and crass) crotch grab when he scores touchdowns, I see no reason not to call it The Ball Bowl.
3. Portland Bowl Both Boston and Seattle are a short drive away (2-3 hrs) from a city named Portland.
4. Mirror, Mirror Bowl The Patriots are known for their offensive prowess, led by male model Tom Brady. Seattle, on the other hand, is known for its smothering defense, personified by Richard Sherman. The two teams are, in many ways, exact opposites of each other. It is as if they were from two similar, but different worlds, like the Mirror Universe in Star Trek.
5. Ex-lax Bowl This might be my favorite. This is Super Bowl XLIX, or as most of us would write, Super Bowl 49. But the Roman numerals are so close to the name of that disgusting chocolate laxative that it must be considered.
6. 500 Bowl Early in the season both the Patriots (2-2) and the Seahawks (3-3) were considered ‘done’ by many people who make a living speculating about football. Both teams rallied from their .500 record and became the number one seed in their conference.
I’d love to hear if you have any other ideas, because I just made these up in the past five minutes, so I bet you could come up with some good ones.
images from pixshark.com, cbssports.com, vitacost.com, and biography.com
I’m curious, what did you think of the halftime show for the Super Bowl yesterday?
Yesterday Mrs. Greenbean and I watched the Super Bowl with some new friends from our new church small group. We had a great time and the food was delish, but we were the only people cheering for the Seahawks. Of course, I predicted a Seahawk victory in the Super Bowl weeks ago. The game itself was never in any contest as Seattle literally led from the first play from scrimmage and never looked back. However, the halftime show was very interesting. I kind of liked it even though I had never heard of Bruno Mars. The ode to James Brown and such was fun and of course the Chili Peppers was a throwback to my adolescence so I was digging that. Not everyone in the room I was in had the same opinion, though. So I thought today I would conduct a little opinion poll. Remember, you have to click the “Vote” button on the bottom right corner to record your opinion. Feel free to leave comments in the comment threads as well and share with your friends so they can vote too and then check back for results.
What do President Obama, Katy Perry, and Richard Sherman have in common? No, not their luscious full hair. The only thing they really have in common is that I am thinking about all of them this morning. So, this blog is about three very unrelated topics bound together only by the fact that they are on my mind.
President Obama and the Night That Could Have Been
I live tweeted during the President’s State of the Union last night. Aside from the comic relief of John Boehner’s orange hue and the terrifying knowledge that Joe Biden is a heartbeat away from the presidency, the speech was rather sad. Obama wanted the speech to portray his administration with a ‘take action’ motif, but the result was that he just threw even more political partisanship jet fuel on the inferno of gridlock. I wanted him to come out and strike a unifying tone. I thought he could really make some headway on three specific issues.
1. NSA Reform. I know he made some meaningless announcements last week, but it strikes me that no one is really comfortable with the fact that the government is spying on people playing Angry Birds. Yeah, they really did that.
2. Immigration overhaul. Even the GOP is coming around on this issue. If a bill could get passed, then everyone wins.
3. Something specific on reducing the national debt. Under the President it has spiraled far out of control, and it would be nice if he took some responsibility and laid out a plan to now reduce it. He could easily argue the debt and spending were necessary when he took over due to the great recession, but now it is time to get our financial house in order.
But he didn’t do any of that. Yeah, he paid some lip service, but he put forth no real specifics.
You Mean Celebrities Don’t Make Good Role Models?
I don’t watch the Grammys because pop music generally makes my eyes twitch and sends me into some kind of seizure. I am more of an Oscars guy (so far I’ve seen 4 of the best picture nominees) and not so much in love with the Grammys. However, I am not immune to the cultural significance of it and the broohaha of Katy Perry’s witchcraft infused performance. I have never liked Katy Perry’s music, but never had a reason to dislike her; until now.
1. I am wondering if she took her cues from Stevie Nicks. Nicks, of course, more in line with my timeline, made a reputation as being a witch into something of a cottage industry. The difference is Nicks always denied being a witch and just played with the innuendo. Perry, on the other hand, I think, actually performed black magic during the awards ceremony. The more I think of it, her antics remind me more of the young bat eating Ozzy.
2. One of the reasons this is shocking so many people, I think, is that a lot of moms thought that Perry was the safe or family friendly alternative to Miley or Lady Gaga. WRONG! I don’t know why they would think that since she is hyper-sexualized, but given the choice, I guess many see her as the lesser of many evils. However, there are no safe alternatives in pop music. You do not want your children to mimic the behaviors or beliefs of these people. The real heroes they should imitate drive fire trucks, work ER’s, fly airplanes, teach children, and wear Kevlar to their job in war zones.
3. There is an internet video floating around where Katy Perry supposedly admits to selling her soul to the devil because her gospel music career never got off the ground. I don’t think the video is legitimate because it looks highly doctored and like bad lip reading. However, keep in mind that these media artist types (actors, singers, writers, models, politicians and the like) will do anything to become famous. They are media whores.
4. This is what happens when you worship people.
Super Bowl XLVIII–The Last I is Silent
The Super Bowl is this Sunday and I will watch it with people from our new church. The three of us will be wearing our Seahawk gear, of course. I hope that the Seahawks win and have already predicted it before the playoffs ever began. However, I am a realist. The Denver Broncos could easily win this game because they are a really good team with a great quarterback and a good coach. In all honesty, I think it is a pick’em kind of game. However, I have three thoughts.
1. Many have made a lot about this being the marijuana Super Bowl as it has teams from the two states that have legalized pot. I have never smoked marijuana and do not endorse it, however, I think the halftime show should now be changed to include Willie Nelson and it is a shame that Ricky Williams is not in the Super Bowl this year. He once famously gave up NFL so he could get high. Do they still call the place where the Broncos play Mile High Stadium?