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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Has The Super Bowl Become A Worship Service?

Another year, another Super Bowl. And in terms of the pregame and halftime shows, this year's festivities continues to be mere an intensification of last year's. There was the hypercelebration of the military with the constant message that whenever they are sent on a mission, they are defending our freedoms. There was the singing of the National Anthem, which was done both in a respectful manner and expressively by Lady Gaga as she displayed that she has received some quality vocal training.  There was the huge American flag. There was the timely Blue Angels fly over. And there was the halftime show filled with repetitive music and a conformist performing audience on the field. Finally, there was the game itself with all of the hype as well as a collection of extraordinary athletes. So, with the exception of a veiled, at least veiled to me, protest song performed by Bayonce (click here), the picture we get of America from this game should fill every American with pride as well as a belief in American Exceptionalism--exceptionalism here would refer to the extraordinary lifestyle of manyAmericans--if not in an America as a utopia. In the end, the Super Bowl is about celebrating our country to the extent of worshipping it.

But suppose we were to examine America's underbelly, what we would find? Perhaps some quotes form the Old Testament prophets could describe the America not seen in yesterday's Super Bowl festivities (Bible quotes come from Biblegateway.com).


No one sues righteously and no one pleads honestly. They trust in confusion and speak lies; They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity. -- Isaiah 59:3

“Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness And his upper rooms without justice, Who uses his neighbor’s services without pay And does not give him his wages, -- Jeremiah 22:13

Woe to those who scheme iniquity, Who work out evil on their beds! When morning comes, they do it, For it is in the power of their hands. 2 They covet fields and then seize them, And houses, and take them away. They rob a man and his house, A man and his inheritance.  -- Micah 2:1-2

Woe to those who are at ease in Zion And to those who feel secure in the mountain of Samaria, The distinguished men of the foremost of nations, To whom the house of Israel comes. 3 Do you put off the day of calamity, And would you bring near the seat of violence? 4 Those who recline on beds of ivory And sprawl on their couches, And eat lambs from the flock And calves  rom the midst of the stall, 5 Who improvise to the sound of the harp, And like David have composed songs for themselves, 6 Who drink wine from  c]sacrificial bowls While they anoint themselves with the finest of oils, Yet they have not grieved over the ruin of Joseph.   -- Amos 6:1; 3-6

49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. 50 Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it. -- Ezekiel 16:49-50

Thus says the Lord, For three transgressions of Gaza and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because they deported an entire population To deliver it up to Edom. Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of Edom and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because he pursued his brother with the sword, While he [i]stifled his compassion; His anger also tore continually, And he maintained his fury forever. -- Amos 2:6, 11

From oppressing and neglecting the vulnerable at home while living a life of comfort to exploiting and abusing people abroad, we can see how the Scriptures foretold life in America as it is today.  Of course such does not include what life has become for those living in countries in which the US has intervened. 

See, the Super Bowl has become a national self-worship service.  All of the hoopla that exists both before the game and at halftime presents a picture of America that is true for fewer and fewer of its people. In the meantime, we have banks that are too big to fail or jail and our government is controlled by those with wealth (click here, there and there). Such means that regardless of the effects on many Americans and the vulnerable, bank officials can no longer be criminally prosecuted with them serving jail time for crimes, nor can the American government afford to ignore banks when they need money. In addition, our laws are crafted by and for those who can buy them.

It has been sometimes said, and not without merit, that Conservative Christians are too heavenly minded to be any earthly good. What shall we then say about those Americans who live a life of ease and distraction, as described in Amos 6, with help from events like the Super Bowl? Only in this case, people are such pleasure seekers that they can neither see nor hear nor care about those around them who are in need.

Eventually, the targets of the words from the Old Testament prophets foretelling doom came true. The water crises that cities like Flint, Michigan are facing as well as many of our other problems are a testament to our upcoming doom if we don't change. And what prevents us from changing are distraction, especially the self-worshipping kind of events like the Super Bowl.
  

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