The Super Bowl will occur this weekend, and the tide of emotional intensity over a ball being carried, thrown or kicked across a field will be off the charts. Yet, instrumentally, apart from the insanely huge amounts of money to be made by sponsors, players, and media, what real life significance will occur from this event? Will our families be altered permanently? Will our nation undergo an unalterable change? Will the economical, political, geophysical, astronomical realms be shaken and altered? Not even a little, yet we will undergo an emotional tsunami over who handled the ball slightly better - that's it. Sunday night we'll pillow our heads, nothing changed except perhaps we'll be a bit more emotionally drained than usual and maybe our tummy soured over all the greasy chips, dip and beer. For many, it is the high-water mark of emotional intensity for their year, maybe their lives. Over jostling a pigskin ball.
If this sounds ludicrous (which it is) it is only more intensely ludicrous and much, much sadder to realize that many, if not the majority of those who will be watching are men and women who claim to be in a love-faith relationship with the most significant figure who ever walked the earth - the one who DOES make a difference, who DID speak the wind and seas to silence, who DID raise the dead, who DID in a word, make a difference.
But imagine for a moment if you could line-graph the emotional intensity responses of these people on a chart. Imagine if you could graph their emotions this Sunday as they watch the bouncing pigskin, and then compare that chart with the intensity of their feelings, reactions, aspirations toward this Jesus, the one they claim to love? The juxtaposition of these charts might prove to be a monumental embarrassment. The pigskin versus the Eternal One.
Let me make it clear, I do not believe it is in any way wrong, unspiritual or sinful to watch, enjoy and even get riled up at the Super Bowl or any other sports event. Nor do I think on the other hand, that one must charge himself into an emotional frenzy in order to prove that his faith is valid. To do so would be to engage in the very ill I'm pointing out, focusing either on moralism on the one hand or emotionalism on the other. But there's a real lesson here as well, and this is the main point; we have as believers, grown bored with Jesus Christ, and this is I believe, our chief malady. In fact it is our "mother sin" as it gives birth to all of the "children" - besetting sins that more than anything else, distract us from our chief love, our most vital concern, THE main issue of life. Distractionism and boredom with Jesus; cure this "loss of first (or chief) love" and you cure the Body of Christ. It's that simple. Regardless of how it is expressed outwardly, emotional/spiritual intensity toward Jesus, a Jesus-shaped faith, is a good thing, a necessary thing.
But we've had this sickness for a long, long time, so long that we do not for the most part even recognize it. We think of sins as being those outward actions or behaviors that hit the headlines with scandal, make the news stories and ruin lives, when in fact these outward sins, are but symptoms of the bigger sin - distractionism and boredom with Jesus.
The Apostle Paul was not being dramatic, nor was he a misty-eyed sensationalist when he considered, as he calls them, "the unsearchable riches of Christ", (Ephesians 3:8). To him, knowing, and being in relationship with the Master of the universe was like opening a Niagra-sized treasure chest, every day unfolding to him new, inexhaustible, eternity-sized mysteries and beauties - all in the living shape of Jesus. He was content to live his life with this, exploring these inexhaustible dimensions of divine Christ-brilliance for the rest of his life. He had discovered that "for him to live, was Christ".
Would his emotional "chart" rise as the pigskin flies this Sunday? Yes, I don't doubt it for a moment. But for Paul, nothing would rise higher than even the briefest glimpse of the edge of His glory - the glory that was "the mystery of Christ".
Some examples of the distractionism which is birthed by the mother sin of boredom with Christ are:
-Dispensationalism (and Millenialism)
We hope to explore these "distractions" in coming posts. Bottom line: if Christ IS, we really have ONE major, dominant issue in life, don't we? Otherwise, why bother? Let the pigskin fly, because there's really little else that matters in life.