If you want to experience a modernized gladiator event like those performed in the Colosseum, be sure to check out the Super Bowl tonight. You’re guaranteed to see super-sized men bash bodies with each other. These men have trained their entire lives to achieve peak physical condition, and tonight they will display their physical excellence by risking injury, concussion, even death, to entertain the viewers and pursue the coveted title of World Champion. I once heard a statistic that professional football players live 15 years less on average than the ordinary man. They also have a greatly increased risk of memory loss and dementia – but hey – who cares about the brain when you have…well you won’t remember what you have, or what you accomplished back in the day of the pigskin, but at least you put up a valiant fight for that ring.
I wonder how many people would still play football if everyone stopped watching. We’d probably just have the good ole games of pickup and none of the brutish violence we see on television. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
The Priest talks about the Super Bowl…
This morning I felt inspired to go to church with my mom. I thought I wanted to go to catch up with an old friend, but sure enough the Mystery of all Mysteries had greater plans. Instead of seeing the old friend, I listened to Paul’s words on Love, a passage I recently spent time memorizing but hadn’t returned to for a couple weeks, and then had the pleasure of hearing a sermon addressing one of the greatest displays of cultural violence – the Super Bowl!
The Priest awakened the congregation to the notion that watching the Super Bowl, including the ads, supports the violence, materialism, and consumerism of our times. Surely, if anything is evil, it’s violence.
Meanwhile, just as the Priest condemns the Super Bowl for its violence, he also says that he likes football. So, I’m thinking, “How do his words translate into action?”
I told this story to my dad when I arrived home and he asked, “What’s all that mean to you?” I said, “It’a disgusting incongruency between actions and words! ” It reminded me what I disliked so much about traditional Christian teachings and practice. Based on what the priest said, it doesn’t sound like he practices what he preaches. Now I wonder, “If even the priest is going to hypocritically preach one principle but practice another, who the heck is anyone supposed to look for as a role model?”
As I read this morning in Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is Within You, “To enter upon the Kingdom of God so far as it is yet accessible to Man – All that is Needed is to make an end to Lying and Hypocrisy.” So simple, yet, oh! The distractions…
Despite the Priest’s words and representing that he’ll probably watch the game and act hypocritically, I am still grateful for his openness and honesty. Until he refreshed my memory this morning, I almost forgot the violence of football. It’s easy to look at the screen and just see a bunch of dummies with mattress pads of protection on their back, but ultimately they are human beings just like you and I, and they are on a field hurting themselves and others.
This calls to question, what do you really believe in? One of my fundamental beliefs is in Peace, and that Peace in you, in me, and in the world is absolutely possible, and not even that far away if we literally wake up and start smelling the roses. As a collective, we take way too many of the pleasures in life for granted, and as a result, we’ve conformed to the masses and stopped appreciating the simple beauties of Life.
Back to the question… what do you really believe in? Whatever it is, believing it implies that the belief penetrates every part of your reality. When it doesn’t, you’re acting hypocritically, and your actions suggest that you don’t really believe what you say, all the time. Of course, we can forget, we are forgetful creatures, and constantly tuning our awareness is a challenging task, but definitely worth the effort. Thanks to the sermon this morning, my awareness re-tuned towards the potential complicit behavior in violence this evening, and instead of acting complicit, I will spend my time away from the television screen. Besides, there are plenty of other wonderful activities to do to enhance my Peace of Mind and service to humanity. Sure, exceptional human beings, even the very best at what they do, are performing for ultimate human supremacy in the realm of football, but it’s violent. And I don’t support violence.