The last game of the National Football League regular season took place earlier this evening. The final position in the upcoming playoffs was at stake. However, I didn't see the game because I was at a church meeting. I hate church meetings.
Growing up, the NFL season was a center point of my existence. I lived and figuratively died with the Green Bay Packers. Given their record in the 1960's, I lived more often than not. The weekly NFL game broadcast on Sunday was a highlight, even though it usually featured the hated Chicago Bears. At least it was football.
The problem was, I was expected to attend church on Sunday morning. Though the games didn't start until noon, the worship service often ran much longer than an hour. By the time we drove home from downtown Indianapolis, we had usually missed a significant portion of the game. I know that I was spiritually immature. I should have willingly embraced our dear pastor's rambling, 45 minute diatribes. But I didn't want to.
When I was old enough to make my own choices, I moved my membership to a church that had 45 minute services featuring 12 minute sermons. I never missed the opening kick-off, and thus became a much more willing church participant.
Through the years, being in ministry, I've missed lots of kickoffs. I've been held hostage by churches and ministers who scheduled events on Super Bowl Sunday just so people would have to choose to miss the game. Of course, the spiritually mature would choose wisely.
I have come to the conclusion that I will never mature. Some part of me will always compare the pastoral prayer and the sermon to the opening kickoff. The kickoff is more exciting.
Some new teams are in the playoffs this year, which is fun. Sadly, the same people were at the meeting tonight that attend all church meetings. In tackling the agenda we witnessed unnecessary roughness, blocks in the back, and late hits. Sadly, there were no winners in the end. When the whistle blew, the only thing agreed upon was to have another meeting. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to contract swine flu by then. After all, there might be a game on.