The countdown to Super Bowl LIII has begun. That would be Super Bowl 53 for those of you wanting it in plain Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals. During a student-led conversation in Southlake Carroll when I was working on their strategic plan, one student asked about archaic learning. "I mean, why do we have to learn Roman numerals?" he asked. I replied, "How else will you know which Super Bowl it is?"
The NFL, back in its day, used Roman numerals as part of its theme of real men, in battle, like gladiators in the arena. Flags flew, men played in conditions of the open air stadium in all kinds of conditions (even the name of the arena has Roman origins), and we have memorable NFL game films done by a man who made military films in World War II, John Facenda, as the narrator (see this link to hear his familiar voice with the familiar theme the NFL used at that time). The NFL was a man's world, and the terms were of military origin.
Clearly we no longer use Roman numerals much, nor do we really talk about football in terms of gladiators in an arena battling it out on the gridiron to ultimate victory. (Click here to hear George Carlin's comparison of baseball and football - it is funny.) . That was then. This is now. Football has changed to fit today's much more sophisticated fan who is complex. Fan base is younger and more diverse, so it responds differently to the culture of football than it did 30 or more years ago. The truths of the game are that it is still a brutal sport played on a field of play. The men today have grown stronger, bigger and faster. Despite our opinions of how soft the men who play the game are compared to yesteryear, I would bet good money that anyone I know would not be able to walk off the field after one direct hit from a line-backer coming at you full speed, or being tracked down and blocked by a 220-pound back coming out of the backfield.
There are truths in life and there are trends.
That is true for the church. Truths and trends. The truth we learn early is that Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14) . Sharing Christ with the world so that others may learn of His redeeming love and grace is our mission. We may use trends in life to serve as a catalyst in how we approach these truths, but the truths do not change. The trends may not serve us well as a church in some cases, but in others, we may resist a trend because we want to stay in our comfort zones.
Another truth is that Christ didn't come to enable us to find comfort zones. In Luke 12, Christ asks, "Do you think that I came to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." Christ came to give spiritual peace, but not an earthly peace his disciples may have envisioned at the time. To respond to the call of Christ is to set ourselves to be at odds with the world and worldliness.
We pray that we adhere to the truths found in scripture and that we zealously go out to take the good news to the lost. This zeal may move us well away from our comfort zones, but the call of Christ isn't extended to be in comfort. We pray that we always know the difference between truths and trends and that we use trends to serve God, not man.
Hope Men's Ministry