***warning, the following is only half of a long word document ramble i have been writing for over 2 weeks…it is unedited and not at all *tidied up*, but i do hope you will join in conversation with me in the comments…

i am a lifelong sports fan. as far back as i can remember, i have played sports of some sort, whether it be for recreation, exercise, or for a team. my three favorites are baseball, basketball, and football.

i love sports. i love to play them. and i love to watch them. (except golf ).

i have attended a couple of nba games, one including the all time greatest player in basketball history, michael jordan. i have watched nfl teams from nosebleed seats in the end zone.
i have been to knoxville to see the mighty tennessee volunteers dominate lesser teams (i even endured watching peyton manning before he was on every other commercial on t.v.)

but my all-time favorite team is the st. louis cardinals. i can distinctly remember watching them on t.v. and collecting the baseball cards when i was a boy. my first major league game was in st. louis between my 4th and 5th grade years in elementary school. i was able to meet my life long baseball hero, ozzie smith, when i was in 7th grade. my gracious wife even lets me hang all of my st. louis cardinal memorabilia in a hallway in our house. i literally shed tears when the cardinals won the world series in 2006.

so i truly do understand the love and loyalty millions of people in our country and others have for sports and specific teams.

“march madness” is a time of year unlike any other in sports. starting with 64 teams, countless brackets are filled out after time spent agonizing over who the upsets will be and how far the greatest “cinderella” story of the year will make it. it is fascinating to see people root hard for other teams just so their bracket will be more accurate. some people will even root for teams they ordinarily loathe. it really is a fascinating time in american culture.

i say all of this for a reason. the thought struck me earlier last week as i was rooting for tennessee to not wait until the final 10 minutes of a game to start playing – my emotions, my adrenaline, my whole life was consumed for a whole weekend by basketball.

facts, figures, stats, highlights came to me easily. discussions over every meal and with most people from thursday until sunday somehow found their way to basketball.

thursday past. friday. until late saturday afternoon, i had no conversations about the gospel, christ, or the glory of god.

did i mention that last weekend was easter? lthat ast weekend marked the celebration of the most victorious moment in all of history?

and what did all of my conversations revolve around from thursday afternoon to saturday night?

and *i* am a pastor.

oh i studied for my sermon. i read the bible. i even paused and reflected on good friday. but everytime i got around anyone else… all basketball.

there is nothing wrong with enjoying sports. but we have to ask ourselves, “do i ever get as excited about the lord and his work, his glory, his grace, as i get about what teams beats who or wins what game?”

those who say that they aren’t very emotional win it comes to matters of faith can be seen screaming like their rear end is on fire at a television that cant hear them come playoff time.

why is that?

we all deserve the eternal wrath of god in an eternity spent in hell. all of us without distinction.
yet those who have placed their faith in the life and work of christ have been redeemed and have been given eternal life… yet we get uncomfortable when someone turns the conversation over family dinner to what the lord is doing/has done.
we would rather be able to laugh at inappropriate jokes or movie quotes than reflect on the majesty of god with those we love.
we get irritated when someone doesn’t find it funny when, to get a laugh, we say words or phrases that we would never dare say if we were in public and first had to announce “i am a christian…”.

i guess what has been bothering me is my own lack of consistency. and as i have been dealing with it in my own life i have been noticing how prevalent it is all around me…

what if we kept a record of how much we compromise in one week? how many times we do, say, or think things that we make a conscious decision *not* to do what we know we should do?

and for what? a laugh? to fit in at work. to be thought of as “relevant” or “fun”. or to prove that we are not “too religious” or unable to be fun?

where does it stop- and why doesnt it bother me more?

to be continued….