Sometimes It’s Hard to Find Someone to Agree With

I’m just going to go ahead and say this here and then move along.

I don’t suppose I’ve watched an entire NFL football game in over a decade (I do usually look at the scores of the games sometime during the following week.) I do however like to know how my childhood favorite team has done and what’s going on. It’s not a total boycott or anything like that, it’s really a matter that I’ve come to with the moral attack against truth in the majority of the advertisements and trashy half time shows of the past several Super Bowls.

The church I pastor used to cancel the Sunday evening service to put the Super Bowl on the big screen. I have enjoyed many good moments and laughs with friends during the years. But for the past three or so years we have not even given consideration to the annual “Super Bowl” Party. Not because we are opposed to football or sporting events, but because I could no longer justify the sponsorship of the game and it’s clear attack against nearly all things moral and good. (I’m not saying products alone are against all things good, it’s more about the salesmanship employment of immorality and sexual abasement of what God calls right and good.)

As a result of no longer canceling the Sunday evening service on “Super Bowl” Sunday we have as good attendance on that night as most normal nights. Not to suggest that we are anywhere near capacity on any Sunday evenings, but really to notice that having an evening service on Sunday nights during the Super Bowl is really a none issue. I think in the past we decided it would be an issue to make us feel good about wanting to watch a football game rather than sit under the authority of a biblical text to serve as a lamp in our lives. Instead we were, even though we would read a Scripture text or show a video of a Christian athlete during the half-time instead of the secular attack against most everything we stand for.

I’m a bit slow on what’s happening in the NFL today, and I’m good with that.

While reading on Sunday night some news reports of the day, I came across a speech given by our national president about NFL players taking a knee during the Star Spangled Banner. I’ll tell you first, I was disappointed with the misuse of the English language by the “leader of the free world.” I may agree with his conclusion, but I think it would have been more effective had he not used foolish language. Think about it; his calling professional athletes a female dog was fighting words to a people who use that term as though it were part of the alphabet.

I get it, I’m old fashioned, I’m a Baptist pastor. But I’ve also been a bus driver long enough to know that the misuse of the English language on the average school campus (public, private, charter, or Christian) has no restraint in regards to the misuse of words and lack of respect given to friends or foes.

I remember the day I pulled my bus over when a high school student called a grade school kid an “SOB” (only with the words). Every kid on that bus was in shock. Not because a high school student called a grade school student a female dog, but because I would not stand for that kind of language and disrespect for another on my bus. After the shock wore off of making that high school girl sit up front for the rest of the week, and the students reported to their parents that night what I had done, I was cheered as the hero by the bus stop moms and received more cookies that next day than ever before. Yet, every kid in America who has heard a news report over the past 5 days has heard our president misuse our English language and now think that is appropriate. Shame on you Mr. President. No cookies for you by the bus stop moms.

Not that there are times harsh language can’t properly be used. Martin Luther used some harsh language when he was addressing spiritual leaders in the Roman Catholic church that seemed to be appropriate.

Then there is the unexplained lack of respect by talented professional athletes. Every nation in the world has a flag that represents their nation. I’ll be the first to say that patriotism and biblical truths sometimes get fuzzy. Just as there are rare times that harsh language may actually be properly used, there may be times when it would be appropriate to exercise your freedom of speech while the national anthem is being played. It better be a serious issue. It better be an issue you’re willing to go to jail over. It better be because that nation you are a citizen of has declared war on the God of the universe.

I remember being required to memorize the Star Spangled Banner in grade school. Is that still a requirement? It was required that we memorize all four verses. Yes, even the verses nobody knows. Not that I could tell you one phrase in any other verse, but at least I know there are more than just one.

This morning, while waiting to get my blood drawn to prove I had the chickenpox as a child, I pulled up the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner. I wonder how the NFL players feel about verse four? My not watching an NFL football game this week will not effect me or the NFL. I quit watching that with much interest at all years ago. Shame on you NFL athletes who took a knee when that banner was placed before you; not just any man stands when that banner is raised, freemen stand when that banner is raised.

So long as that banner waves among the nations of this temporal world and I am a freeman, and as long as this land does not declare war on my God, I will stand with my fellow freemen and I will take my picture with her in the background any chance I can.

———————————————————
Verse four of the Star Spangled Banner:
 
O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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