This is a post that originally appeared in August of 2010 on matthewboyd.net after recently returning from my first trip to India.
After visiting a place like India, people are often horrified by the pictures of the many temples filled with idolatry worship. A common response would be, "I am thankful we live in a Christian nation, where we don't see idol worship or temples." First, that is a very United States mindset and far from the truth. Second, when are people, specifically those in the church, going to open their eyes and look around them at all of the idolatry taking place all over their city and in their own life.
As most people are this time of year, I am anticipating the official start to football season. I watched a three hour pre-season game last night of my favorite team, the Carolina Panthers, signed up for a fantasy football league, and watched a special on the upcoming season this afternoon. None of those things are inherently wrong, but I did make some key observations, specifically during the special today that troubled me.
First, I cannot get passed the new Dallas Cowboys stadium and not be reminded of the Hindu temples in India.They may look different, but just listening to the Cowboys organization describe their stadium, temple, in their own words, what it means and symbolizes to them, and how over the top it is. Second, I heard a player say, "I am giving my heart and soul to this organization." Now, I know you are thinking he probably didn't really mean that and there is a place for dedication and putting your heart into your work, but really, giving your heart and soul over to a football organization? Third, I heard another player say, "I worshiped this guy(referring to a veteran player) growing up." We all look up to people growing up, but admiring someone and worshipping them are vastly different.
Well known pastor, Mark Driscoll, once had a Christian woman in India tell him she would never visit America again because of all of the idolatry in America: the stadiums looked like temples to her. Most of us hear that and laugh, but in part she is right, to many people that is their temple. Think for a minute about how many people every Sunday from now to the Super Bowl will pack into stadiums all over the country week after week to cheer on, or worship their team, and now compare that number with the amount of people in our churches every week being introduced to the only God who deserves worship. There is no comparison in the numbers.
Let me clarify that I am not against football, stadiums, fantasy leagues, etc. in and of themselves, but when they become what we are worshipping in our lives I am. My above paragraph is also another reason that there needs to be more men stepping up to the role of church planter so our cities all over will be full of churches where people can hear the truth and have an opportunity to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, I am excited and plan on enjoying this football season as I hope all of you do, but just think about who or what you worship and observe those in the culture around you as we are all designed to worship and we all worship someone or something daily. Leave the fantasy where it belongs and embrace the reality of truth.