Monday, February 15, 2010

Did God Win the Super Bowl?

Spoiler Alert: If you do not wish to know who won the Super Bowl, don’t read the two paragraphs below the image.

Several times a month, I teach computer classes at the library I work at; these classes are usually full of middle class workers who are trying to figure out how to use a computer, so they can find a better job. It’s not uncommon to tale to see a laid off person, who has worked in the same position for twenty years, who is now suddenly exposed to a new workforce industry that they do not understand.

It is in these classes that I meant the man who, for ambiguities sake, I will call Library Patron. Library Patron is a middle class male in his fifties who lost his job and does know what he’s qualified to do. The trouble is his job has been outsourced, as have all others in the industry. He never went to college, and had been in trouble with the law as a youth, but his life was turned around and he is now a born again believer.

The man, for whatever reasons, feels obliged to tell me his testimony every time he attends one of my classes; usually it’s while I’m cleaning up the class, and I don’t pay a lot of attention to what he’s saying. Last month, however, he said something I couldn’t ignore; he said, “I really think that if the city of New Orleans finally asks for forgiveness, God will let them win the Super Bowl.”

I didn’t get mad at the man; I got mad at whoever put the idea in his head. It’s easy to stare at the man and think what an insensitive, arrogant, jerk. But as I stood there listening to him ramble about how everything that’s happened in New Orleans is all because God was mad at them, it became clear that he didn’t come up with this all by himself—he had help in the form of so-called Christian leaders—AKA, Christian Talk Radio.

There are a lot of really smart Christians out there; a large number, however, were like this Library Patron. Middle class Americans, who are passionate, but inclined to believe whatever their church leader throws their way. That doesn’t make them bad Christians. What’s disturbing, however, is the number of leaders who prey on people such as this man. Media empires are built within the Christian marketplace with people like this man in mind—average Americans who work so hard they don’t have time to study God’s word when they get home, so they rely on things like the radio to educate them. Only instead of educating them with goodness, they are telling them things that give Christianity a bad name.

It’s alarming to turn on Christian radio and hear people that sound just like public talk radio—rage filled people, who scream about how bad the world is; but these people are worse—they use Christ’s name to support whatever nonsense they’re talking about. I’d be curious to know how much of Christian talk radio is simply about how to do good, and how much is about how this world has gone down the crapper and it’s up to Christians to get people to repent by telling them how sinful they are.

I know there are people who become believers because someone told them they were sinners or asked if they knew for sure that they would go to heaven; most people seem to become Christians, however, by simply watching the way someone lives and coming to the conclusion that they want to live like that also.
The Saints won the Super Bowl; does that mean that God willed it (no doubt because of all the prayers Kim Kardashian said for Reggie Bush)? That New Orleans has redeemed itself and made it worthy of the coveted crown? That come Mardi Gras, Angels will be dancing in the streets? No—I’m pretty sure it just means they played better.

I don’t know if God cares about sports, but I’m pretty sure, regardless of how he feels, he doesn’t change the outcome because the Bible clearly says that he does not show favoritism.


  1. I like to think with all the other stuff going on in the world--Haiti, global poverty, crimes against humanity--the Super Bowl is the last thing on God's mind.

  2. Sigh. I try to understand thinking like this and I just don't get it. Why do people think that a) New Orleans was punished, b) God punishes, and c) God decides who wins a freakin' football match?!

  3. Christian talk radio pisses me off. Not least because of the willingness to ascribe good happenings to God and anything bad to "Human Nature" (code talk for Sin/Devil). It's like they've never heard of personal responsibility or the concept of consequences.

    And then there's the political claptrap. . .