Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII

If January 20 was a day of community and celebration, Sunday, February 1, followed close on. Once again millions gathered around television and computer screens (BIG screen was definitely preferred), this time for the XLIII Super Bowl game. (Roman numerals are always used for Super Bowls, symbolic, perhaps, of the ancient Roman coliseum). Years ago, when first doing work on ACR, I noticed a pre-game Super Bowl commentary playing the “Hallelujah Chorus” in the background.

Super Bowl Sunday continues to be a High Holy Day of ACR. The advertisements not only amuse, but reflect our belief systems. This year the advertising spots sold slowly, but they sold, many for beverages which people continue to consume during hard times. Side celebrations were fewer. Corporations didn’t want to be seen spending millions to party with the country in a recession. Eyes were focused on the game! And an exciting game it was! The Cardinals mounted a comeback to pull ahead just to lose the game in the final seconds to the Steelers. Probably the play that will be most long remembered was the Steelers defensive linebacker intercepting a pass with 18 seconds left in the first half and running 100 yards for a touchdown, those who would stop him being knocked down all the way.

One could also take the broader picture on television. Even though it was no competition, there were options for the wide variety of tastes in the society with Anne of Green Gables on PBS and an interview with Alice Walker on C-Span. The game, of course, was the center attraction. I noted, perhaps not surprisingly, a pre-game sports commentator said, “Even though fewer people may be able to afford to come to Tampa,” it’s still a communal gathering, “kind of like the whole country going to church together.”


Anonymous said...

This is a test comment.

Anonymous said...

As Lutherans in the USA, we continue to discern the waters of broadcast media. And, how we use media quickly becomes a question of ecclesiology.
If one of the "head ushers" of ACR says that gathering around TV screens is like going to church, are we to think that people find it as meaningful to watch TV as it is to be at the game? As meaningful to sit on their couch as in a pew? Well, I'd say no, but people gathered together in the midst of dispersion and hardship IS important.
So, the question comes - How do we gather to learn and celebrate our faith? When the Lutheran church as a high holy day, what are the many ways we gather in the midst of our hardship and dispersion? What are the functions of TV, etc., and small gatherings of family and friends in our religious celebration?

I'm sure that each of those questions have different answers in different places, but as we interact with ACR, we must continually be mindful.

BTW - the ever famous "Puppy Bowl" on the Animal Channel was also on during the game!

Amanda Esping

Anonymous said...

Hello Norma,

I've had my fill of football this year, following our son's 11-2 High School Season.
Football is the liturgy of the nation - the battle myth - the lens by which we have interpreted the world and use to perpetuate conflict for the justification of multinational corporate interests. Gee - do I have a few opinions or what?!
Bruce Springsteen was the best part. I have been to three of his concerts in my lifetime.
Knowing that many people are losing their jobs, while some of the box seats went for $1,500 was a definite turn off.
Overall - the game is functioning like a distraction from the globalization of poverty that is taking place. We are being eased into it through a bailout that will leave us as citizens in the same economic condition as other nations that we used to call "Third World."
You are welcome to see what I am up to in my preaching - I post my sermons on our church website:

Hope you are well, Norma

+David Froemming

Anonymous said...

Amanda mentioned her question regarding meaning behind gathering around a football game versus a church service. I wonder, however, whether our church services are becoming more like our football games--a spectator event in which few want to step up to the plate, but there is no end to "armchair preachers." Everyone has an opinion (and we do value every person as a theologian), but when the rubber hits the road, who will be prepared to step out onto the field, regardless of the odds? It's easy to be a spectator, and my experience is that it's the position that most people want to play. How can we inspire our congregants to use the gifts they have been given and get excited about playing the game and engaging others, reglardless of who wins?

Tobi White