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Why I hate the Super Bowl

Published 10:31pm Friday, February 1, 2013

By Rev. Chris Surber

I hate the Super Bowl.

No I’m not Canadian, and I did not grow up in Europe playing the other football. I am a real American, and yet I despise the Super Bowl. More specifically, I loathe the culture surrounding it.

In fact, if I hear one more person bring God into a Super Bowl discussion, I might kick them through a set of uprights.

Are we really going to pray for God to allow our team to win the Super Bowl? Does God grant His favor to the team with more faith? Perhaps He gets out His celestial calculator and crunches the numbers to see which team has more Christians?

I know, I sound ridiculous. I mean, He is God so of course He can do the math in His head without a calculator….

Perhaps in the grand scheme of His sovereignty there may be some reason for one team to win. Perhaps a specific player needs to learn humility to later be used by God. Maybe.

But I would contest the notion that the Lord of all creation is sitting in a recliner on Super Bowl Sunday, eating nachos, waving His hand so He can see Colin Kaepernick throw for 200 yards.

Perhaps I’m overstating my case. I guess I don’t really hate the Super Bowl. It’s our obsession with distraction that I really hate. While God’s creation groans under the weight of human sin, suffering and shame, we amuse ourselves into a dull-minded oblivion. And not just on Super Bowl Sunday. This mega sporting event just highlights the problem in our culture and in our churches.

To be honest, I’m not surprised those who have no interest in the things of God make a holy day of a sporting event. As a follower of Jesus, however, I find it vastly troubling that so many Christians do so.

My friend, what does it say of our faith that while millions of people perish without Christ, we pray for the ‘49ers, or whomever, to have a good game?

Someone asked two of my young sons recently if they would be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday. Their reply? “What’s the Super Bowl?” The man looked at them like they were from another planet.

In fact, they are not of this world. And neither are you if you claim Christ. “But our citizenship is in heaven — and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20 NET)

Yet sadly, I am certain that an all-expenses paid trip to the “Big Easy” to watch the Super Bowl would generate a great deal more excitement in most churches today than an all-expenses paid trip to Burma to preach the Gospel in the jungle to people who have never heard of Jesus.

I hate the Super Bowl, because it, like many other things, is a grand distraction to that fact of the Christian life. It is a glaring example of the ways that we celebrate the silly things in the world wholeheartedly, while halfheartedly serving Christ in the world.

There is nothing wrong with entertainment, but we are entertaining ourselves to death to the exclusion of shouting life to a dying world.

Chris Surber is pastor of Cypress Chapel Christian Church in Suffolk. Visit his website at www.chrissurber.com.

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  • thekytikat

    Seriously dude? I’m a Christian, and I enjoy football. Yes, I pray my team wins, but I don’t blame God if they lose. Fact is, many players on the field are Christians, and God is interested in their lives, so of course He is interested in the outcomes of the games. Many fans are Christians, and they love the game, so of course He is interested. And I fully believe that He will intervene, and the outcome of each team’s season is for His glory, just as everything else.

    My story, my reason why I KNOW God cares about football — My father, a BIG NY Giants fan, died in March 2007. He was legally blind his whole life and had never really seen a game despite watching every game ever. The following NFL season was the year the NY Giants spoiled the Patriots “perfect season” in the Super Bowl. I firmly believe that my father was not just watching, but was on that field with his favorite team. Many of the players said they felt a presence out there with them. David Tyree, the man who caught the football one-handed against his helmet, said he felt his recently deceased mother out there with him. God was on that field. While I’m sure it was an important game to many, God knew how important that game was to me and my family especially.

    True, God likely doesn’t kick back with a bowl of nachos to watch the game. But He does take an interest in us, and in our lives, therefore he does take an interest in the game.

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    • http://www.chrissurber.com PilgrimPastor

      With respect to your dad, I don’t think God is guaranteeing Super Bowl wins with ghost players on the field. I’m glad your father enjoyed football. I’m using this monstrosity of a sporting event, this huge celebration of glamour and glitz as a backdrop to highlight our obsession with entertainment which is one of many distractions for the church.

      Friend, a good test if Christian discipleship is to measure how different your life is than the world around you, in ways that celebrate Christ. For a lot of us, not even our Super Bowl parties look different. We live the same way as the world, love the same things, and somehow think we are disciples of Christ.

      With respect to the man who caught a football against his helmet; the Bible, you know, that book Christians claim to believe, says when we die we are either present with The Lord or in utter darkness – based completely on whether we were coveted with grace through faith in Jesus. So, sorry, no ghosts helping people catch footballs.

      Friend, if it is true that people perish if they depart this life without Christ, shouldn’t the church do and pray and concern itself more with that than Football?

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