This is the Super Bowl weekend, and the nation is mesmerized by a game played with inflated pigskins. It is also played by a group of people who are paid not to keep the Sabbath holy.
Those who promote a literal interpretation of the Bible, however, the children from families with conservative theology are more likely to play football than the children who grow up in families that are progressively oriented. This seems to be in contrast to the Bible.
Some verses should trouble people about professional football on Sundays.
Deuteronomy 14:8 prohibits touching a pig carcass.
Exodus 20:10 states, “but the seventh day is a sabbath…you shall not do any work – you, your son of your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.”
Before I go on further, I need to let you know that I bleed green and gold on Sundays – I grew up in Wisconsin, and they are the colors of the Green Bay Packers.
So, should we watch the Super Bowl? Yes.
The commands given in the desert were for a group of people who had lived in fertile Egypt all their lives and had no idea how to live in the Judean desert. The laws prohibiting eating pork or shrimp were for health reasons. The prohibited animals and seafood were the bottom feeders and were often riddled with parasites and worms and carried diseases.
The issue I am raising is the selective nature of the cultural Christianity of conservative evangelicalism. They selectively choose convenient verses to make up their theology to support their brand of cultural belief system, but it is not faith in God.
The culturally conservative Christianity likes football because it is a cultural sport of the U.S. Their ignoring the biblical commands is because their goal is to be like their neighbors – which is what God commanded Israelites to avoid doing in the Promised Land. It is much easier to fit into the world because only talking about spiritual life does not challenge the culture of its injustices, especially against the poor and disadvantaged.
The Bible teaches the importance of the centrality of God in the heart of the believer, not ritualistically following outward appearances. If we make the Bible into children’s books to be memorized, word for word, and do not understand it so we can contextualize it for our time, we miss the wisdom of the sacred text. Let us be led by the Spirit of God.