Super Bowl parties at church. Church-sponsored Super Bowl parties. You knew this was coming. Let’s go ahead and throw it all out there.
Let’s not avoid this. Let’s actually embrace this discussion and see where it leads us.
The larger issue I see is with a Christian church celebrating and glorifying the sex, violence, and greed symbolized by this American free-enterprise entertainment extravaganza in the same room where we glorify and worship our God and on the same screen where we post the holy words of Scripture and sacred songs of praise. I see a tremendous disconnect and mixed-message. If you watch NFL football — and I do — you know a lot of what those broadcasts stand for, including but not limited to the PG-13 pregame, postgame, and halftime shows, directly opposes our Christian message. It contradicts the very things for which the Church of God stands. At the very least I believe it’s questionable to invite our family and friends and little kids to the church building and project those images on a huge screen in our worship center.
I don’t see a difference between doing that and holding American Idol or Dancing With The Stars or Survivor parties at church. Fans of those TV shows are just as passionate and follow it just as closely as fans of the football TV shows.
I know the building is just a building. I’m fully aware that the church is the people, not the space. But what the church does together as a collected community of God’s people in the space that community has designated for Christian activities such as worshiping our Father and encouraging each other is important. It does matter. At the very least, it demands careful thought.
And it’s not easy. I do struggle with my thoughts and my feelings and my convictions on this. (Please see the three-day blog from August: The Question of Sacred Space, Sacred Space Part Two, and Sacred Space Last Part.) Again, God is no more present with me in a beautiful cathedral with a thousand other disciples than he is with me alone in my closet. I get that. And I believe that.
Also, I don’t think it’s hypocritical to object to the idea that if watching the Super Bowl at home in my living room is OK, then it’s OK to watch the Super Bowl in the worship center at church. I would answer that we would probably all agree that there’s nothing wrong or sinful with you drinking a glass of wine in your kitchen. But we wouldn’t want to wheel in a dozen barrels of it for a Fifth Sunday Fellowship at the building. For many reasons.
I understand a lot of this makes me look and sound like a prude. And I generally try to avoid that as much as possible.
I’m curious as to your reflections and thoughts on this matter.
P.S. Please don’t cancel your Small Groups Church meetings this Sunday. Schedule your dinner and times of worship and application of the Word around the TV show if you must. Watch the TV show together. Bond around the TV show. But please don’t cancel.