Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The National Distraction

Sunday afternoon was perfect. The Sacrament was offered, and I received. I fed the faithful the Word of God, Marjorie’s choirs sounded excellent, lunch was cleaned up, and Jack was asleep on my chest as the Bears slowly defeated Minnesota on their turf. Usually I’m not much of a Football fan. Sunday afternoons are usually full enough without spending a couple of hours watching a game. Monday nights I read or watch a show. That is the way it’s always been for me. I was raised to do things–projects, hobbies, work, books, or even just while away the hours playing a game…but not just sit there and watch one. The same principle applied to music: listening is fine, but if you really love music, learn to play it yourself. Be a doer, not just a hearer. So I did… usually.

I share this in the interest of full disclosure. But this post is more than my gripes at passivity and the near idolatrous relationship we have with sports. This goes beyond my interests and disinterests. The New Orleans Saints won…in the Superdome… amid wrecked houses and entire neighborhoods that are crumbling to ruin, 65,000 fans packed into the Hellhole of Katrina. Saturday night I saw pictures of destruction that had yet to be cleaned up–one year later. Monday morning I heard on the radio that some season ticket holders were still waiting to buy sheetrock for their homes.

On NPR, a Times-Picayune reporter extolled the crazy, unconventional lives of New Orleanians. “The Saints come marching in,” he cried stridently. It all made sense, he assured us, a bit defensively. Rebirth. Renewal. A Sign of Hope. A light shining in the darkness.

Or is it playing the fiddle while Rome burns?

Where did the money for repairs and renovations of the stadium come from? How much effort was exerted to ensure this game could be played, while homes remain infested with vermin and disease and schools sit empty and thousands live in trailers, in exile? And they call themselves the “Saints.” It’s blasphemy.

“They have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy.” (Jeremiah 5:28 ESV)
“O you who put far away the day of disaster and bring near the seat of violence? Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music, who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! Therefore they shall now be the first of those who go into exile, and the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away.” (Amos 6:3-7 ESV)
Lord have mercy on us.