Sunday, February 01, 2004

going national

So it is Super Bowl Sunday. I find it interesting that the Super Bowl has become a national holiday of sorts. It's not really a game anymore. Its not called the Super Bowl game. Its taken over a whole day. And for this day our nation pauses in honor of our beloved sport of football. It's funny when things get national status. When this happens, they tend to get Lost in Translation. There is an Adaptation which happens to the actual event. The celebrated event becomes merely a rallying point for the other festivities. And soon the surrounding festivities dominate the event until the event is not the point at all.

This has happened with many holidays which have gone national. Christmas is a natural example of this. It has moved from parties which celebrated the season of Jesus' birth to Christmas Vacation, consumer bonanza and a capitalist orgy. For those people who are Born on the Fourth of July, they understand this phenomena. July 4th is no longer about Independence Day as much as it is about cook outs, alcohol, and fireworks. Who actually thinks about how glad they are that we are no longer a colony of the British Empire? We are left with thoughts about the best place to see fireworks or who's house is hosting the cook out. Why? Because its gone national.

Memorial Day is the same way. It has become about a trip to the beach or to the local pool. It's about a day off of work and hanging out with family. Don't get me wrong, these are all good things. But Memorial Day was created so that we would remember those who have fought and died for our country. Going national, ironically enough, has managed to help us all become less of The Patriot that we are all supposed to be.

And this is what has happened to our beloved Super Bowl. We no longer prepare to see each Gladiator pound it out on the grid iron. What we gear up for is soda commercials and pre-game shows. We are so exited to see commercials that are 30 seconds long and cost 2 million dollars to air. The whole day is one slick, capitalist Road to Perdition.

In the end, going national somehow corrupts the true meaning of any event or occasion. This seems to be what happened to Christianity with Constantine. It also kinda happened in the 40's and 50's in the U.S. When we claimed to be a Christian nation, we mistakenly thought the goals and values of America were the same as those of the Kingdom of God. This is old news now. We never were a Christian least now we are not trying to be one. At most, we can hope for a remnant like in the days of Judah's exile. My hope is that A Few Good Men and women are being moved even now to rethink our faith and the way we do church. I still think going national is a Clear and Present Danger to even this new breed of disciples. Maybe this time we can avoid prostituting ourselves to our nation. Maybe this time around Keeping the Faith away from the dancing cheerleaders and the talking frogs might prove more healthy than worshiping on an all day Sunday bonanza.


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