what.matters

This post is not really about football, so hang in there.

SEC football is widely regarded as the toughest conference in college football. Of course many may argue this point of view, but season after season SEC foot ball has enjoyed a prominent place in the sport. The competition inside the conference is fierce, and you can generally count on a tough fight whenever SEC teams play one another. Even with disparagingly ranked teams, each battle has the potential for huge competition. Evey SEC is every other SEC team’s rival.

During any given season, only one SEC team will ever make it to the national championship game – of course some years no SEC makes it. But, if one does, you can count on people crossing team-loyalty lines to collectively cheer for the SEC team that made it. Even bitter rivals would rather have their most bitter SEC rival win than cheer for a non-SEC team. Loyalty to the conference typically supersedes team rivalry.

We no longer argue over who has the better tradition, or the better coach, or the better players. We come together under one banner and press on united as the SEC.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6)

Silly, I know, but I think SEC pride is a handy analog to how Paul sees Christians operate. Believe it or not, there has been contention in Jesus’ church almost as long as there has been a church of Jesus. Even today, there are so many things about which one Christian body differs from another. Yet, we are one in Jesus Christ.

I enjoy a good theological discussion as much as any one could, but vastly more than that, I love when the whole body of Christ expresses Christ’s love together. Whether Reformed or Wesleyan, whether pentecostal or liturgical, whether contemporary or traditional – we are one in Jesus.

It doesn’t really matter what mode of baptism I think is best, or the method and frequency of communion I prefer. Don’t get me wrong: we ought to have well-developed theologies regarding these things. But, the only thing that really matters is the standing of our faith. Are we His or not? If we are, people will know by how our love flows.

32 thoughts on “what.matters”

  1. Hah! I loathe the SEC, but I totally agree with you. I figure Jesus would probably an SEC fan, but he wouldn’t be such a homer to not admit the failings of the BCS. Oh yeah, you said this wasn’t about football… 🙂

  2. Contention saps energy. Healthy discussion where multiple views come together for an even greater overall view – now that FUELS energy.

    I want to be in the “healthy discussion” camp. Your post helps remind me of that.

    Thank you.

  3. Warning: sacrilege coming. I could care less about the SEC or the BCS or the NFL or the NBA for that matter. 🙂 I do care however about what you wrote Herb. Several years ago I would have given you a big humbug on this. I am from a camp that says, “We are right and you aren’t. Deal with it.” I repented of that long time ago and still cringe at my crassness. while I do have some pretty solid beliefs I also realize that much of that is not a hill worth dying on. I will, however, die on a hill for love (as long as truth is maintained). Good thoughts today my friend.

    1. Bill, other than your very un-Christian apathy for matters of God’s sport (just kidding) I am with you. I was that guy who would argue and debate that my view was right. Like you, God set me straight and showed me what really matters is Jesus Christ and how he makes me love.

      1. Apathy? Don’t you know that God wears a Buckeye on His chest? And a Steeler shirt with a Pirate hat and ride a Tour de France bike? No sacrilege meant there. Just to show you I am not a total dork when it comes to sports other than cycling. LOL

        1. Bill, I agree about the Buckeye Shirt…But I’m pretty sure He’s a Red’s Fan and He definitely love the Bengals. He loves the Bengals because they are the team that signs all the players who used to be in trouble. They are the team of a second chance. 🙂

  4. The tie in or analogy works great with this.

    I think that we have especially seen this in the “blogging” world recently. It is nice to see so many guys from so many backgrounds pressing towards furthering the kingdom.

  5. This post is not about football? 🙁

    I am from Oklahoma and I have to say that it sounds like SEC is similar to the Big 12. Both are a pretty tough divisions.

    Oh and about love, unity and the standing of our faith, I’m all about it. 🙂

    1. David, I didn’t know you were from OK. I grew up there! Cool.

      Herb, great post. The same squabbling was there with the disciples as they argued who was the greatest among them and Jesus had to deflate their balloon and let them know that the greatest among them was the one who serves as He did. We can still boast about all kinds of things to make ourselves seem more important, but Jesus’ words are still true. Thanks- I appreciate this post.

  6. Hi Herb, I agree with your post 110%. We have been able to accomplish may great things here by partnering with other area churches. A men’s ministry is thriving that started with two churches and now has seven churches participating and an addictions ministry is thriving as area churches have been willing to tell there congregations about services that are available at a neighboring church. The ministerial alliance is working as a unit without competition, making sure our VBS, trunk-or-treats, etc are coordinated to best suit the community and not a particular church. However, there is a church in our area that has convinced itself and it’s people that every other church in the community is evil and ungodly because of a certain doctrine they hold supreme, that they determinied was mandatory to be a Christian although the scripture never says so and Jesus never did it Himself. It has only served to cause bitterness and discouragement amongst believers and has done nothing to build the kingdom. I’m sure the Devil is having a lot of fun with their choice to put down every other church, instead of working together toward a common vision.

  7. I could not agree with you more. I – like Bill – was at one point in time from the camp that I was always right and everyone else was wrong. I do something these days I would have never done – I have community services with churches from other denominations. As long as the fundamentals are there – I can hang with anyone.

    As far as the sports goes – well …. I am still in the camp – I am right and you are wrong 🙂

    Still praying God would release you from the Hersey of ‘Bama football!

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