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God and the Super Bowl

February 4, 2016

Well, it turns out that 88% of Americans believe that God doesn’t care who wins the Super Bowl.  Sadly the report I read doesn’t give any data on their opinions as to why God is so indifferent.  As a result those who are sure that God is not a sports fan are lumped in with those who think God is still sulking about the Patriot kicker missing a PAT that would perhaps have given the Pats a shot at the big game.  There is no breakdown on what Christians think about this either, although I am reasonably confident a large number of the 8% who feel that God decides the winner are evangelicals, and probably Calvinists.

The issue of what portion of the goings-on in our world God does care about has been a major portion of my theological musings for some time now.  Is there a line between the “big” things that God ordains and the “small” things that he pretty much ignores?  For instance, I am wearing a grey shirt today.  When I stumbled half-asleep into the closet this morning did I grab this shirt because God chose it for me before the foundation of the earth?  Or did he let me just grab “by chance” the shirt that came to hand?  Do I need to consider God’s will in my day-to-day shirt selection?

Most evangelicals are confident that they consider God’s will, and God’s guidance, a critical part of their lives.  We make all kinds of decisions using the term “God is leading me to.…”  This is a particularly handy phrase because, if you think I am wrong, it is me and God vs you and woe to you.

I am probably in the vast majority of evangelicals who takes what will honor and please God into my decision process.  Sadly, there is simply no support for the concept of a “big vs little” decision matrix in the Bible.  I’m left to assume that every single decision down to my daily shirt selection has a God-ordained right answer and, worse, also an answer that displeases him.

Most of us are incapable of actually living as if each and every decision we make has a God-choice.  As a result we have, consciously or not, some sort of dividing line between decisions we need to consult God on and those we don’t.  But where is that line?  Today is my wife’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Sweetheart) and we are going out to dinner.  Do we need to pray about our restaurant choice?  We haven’t so, if you feel we need to, please get back to me before the end of the day.

Lately I’ve considered a major portion of my growth as a believer to be based on examining all the assumptions I’ve thought were important to God and, more often than not, dropping many of them.  I am becoming more and more convinced that Christian maturity is making me see there are far fewer things on God’s agenda than there were on mine.  Of course, I could be wrong.  This may be part of distressing slide into heresy, as a few of you have assured me is the case.

The question “Does God care if…” becomes exciting, alarming and exhilarating when we stop talking about Super Bowl winners and the shirts in my closet.   Does God care if I am a Calvinist or Arminian?  A Complementarian or Egalitarian?  More importantly, does God want me to tell others who differ with me that they are dead wrong and opposing God?

I’ve been following a somewhat heated social media debate between Rachel Held Evans and Doug Wilson on whether or not adult single women need to be “under the protection of” a man.  Actually, while both are straightforward thinkers most of the heat has come from others who are egging them on.  The question is serious because studies show that about half of the adult women in America live in homes without a male adult, let alone a male protector.  So does God care about whether or not adult women live under a male protector?

I’m pretty confident that God cares about every man woman and child.  I’m also confident that many good, solid Christians have pondered this question and come down on opposite sides.  I’m free to have my own carefully considered answer to this question.  I’m not free to say that my conclusion is the only one God wants.  So my answer to the question “Does God want every adult woman to live under the authority and protection of a man?” would have to be “I don’t know.”

Gosh, that is even my answer as to who He wants to win the Super Bowl.  Because I live in North Carolina I will be rooting for the Panthers.  I don’t plan to worry about whether they are opposing God in addition to the Broncos.

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