Monday, February 06, 2012

Worshipping at the Super Altar

"The Golden Cash Cow had the body of the great cows of ancient Egypt. And the face of Robert Tilton, without the horns." -- Steve Taylor

My wife and I were among the few who didn't go to church yesterday. We were on our way home from our wedding anniversary weekend. But while on the way home I told my wife that I had a confession to make: Had the Denver Broncos or the Seattle Seahawks been in the Super Bowl this year, I might have been at church, too. Or at least I would have poked my head into the sanctuary to see what was going on. But my teams didn't get in and so I didn't even glance at yesterday's national televised worship service.

With more than one-third of our nation's population tuning in, there were a lot of people at church yesterday.

The Super Bowl has become our nation's annual church gathering. What other event can guarantee to get us all in one place, excited about one thing and take communion with a big bag of Doritos? We raise our hands, shout in jubilation over victories, and cry in disgust over the opposing team's foothold in our hopes and dreams. Heck, this year the service had Madonna leading the choir on the stage. How appropriate. Thousands of fans across the country even packed real churches to watch their second worship service of the day on the big screen. The Super Bowl is a huge four-act passion play that brings us all together.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am all about having some fun and enjoying time with friends and loved ones over a common interest. But, I have to say, the more I read about this year's version of the annual gathering, complete with a completely idolatrous halftime show and sexually-charged commercials, the more I am glad I missed it. For a few years now, too, the networks on which the game has aired has had to apologize for what people had been watching. But then it happens again the following year. It's an opportunity for corporations and famous individuals to push the boundaries of decency as far as it can until we don't care anymore. And it seems that we don't care. After all, it's the Super Bowl. And it's all about fun.

And it's all about a sermon about money that, for once, people don't mind hearing.

It's ironic that for the past year a vocal segment of our society has talked about being part of the 99 percent and hating the wealthy one percent. Those evil people with money, including a current candidate for national office, shouldn't be able to have all that money, they say. Laws need to change so their money can belong to everyone else, others say. Even some famous one-percenters have duped us into thinking that they even believe their fellow one-percenters are the worst of the worst simply because they have more money than them.

But on one particular Sunday every year, people don't seem to mind that those filthy rich millionaires possess what the rest of us never will as long as they keep us entertained for a few hours in their cathedral of avarice. We'll gladly put something in their collection plate. If we can't be like them, we might as well watch them and wish we were them.

But maybe I'm just upset my teams didn't make it to Super Sunday.

Who won, anyway?