Thursday, October 30, 2008

Alone in my conviction

I was really in the mood to blog today (although it has been months) and was bummed because blogger is now blocked at work. I was gonna write a word document and send it to myself and post later but decided to give blogger a try. To my delight, I was able to get on my page. Who knows how long it will last.

So anyway, I'm sure y'all know about the World Series and how Game 5 was suspended due to horrible rain and weather. Well actually it is possible that you don't know if you don't live in the Philly area. If you do live in the Philly area you would have to live in a box not to know. The Phillies have gotten more press than the election this week....seriously. So if you don't know, Game 5 on Monday was the clincher for the Phillies. If they won, they would be the champions because they were ahead 3 games to 1. Well the weather got bad Monday night so they suspended the game during the sixth inning. This has never happened before in history. The weather was again horrible on Tuesday so the game was suspended until Wed. night (last night) at 8:37 p.m. The scored was tied 2 to 2 when the game was suspended. This game was extremely important to sports fans in this area. It was the team's chance to pull off a victory for the first time since 1980 so 28 years. It would also be the second victory in all of Phillies history (in 126 years of history that's pretty pathetic). To add to the drama, the city of Philadelphia has not won a championship in any sport since 1983. That can be heartbreaking for a big sports town like Philly.

So I give you all of this background so you know the root of the problem. Well Wed night was the big game so of course everyone planned on watching it. Wed. night also happens to be my House Church (HC) night (HC is what my church calls small groups-it's based on the Bible when groups met for church in people's homes). My HC leader has lived in the Philly area his whole life. He loves everything about this area and is a diehard fan of Philly sports teams. On Tuesday he sent me an email asking my advice about having HC or not. I told him it would be a bad idea to cancel HC and we should compromise and have HC earlier or meet for an hour instead of an hour and a half. Well he decided to cancel it completely. He wanted to be authentic and real with us so he told us he didn't want to have HC. He invited us to a sports bar where we could hang out (fellowship :)) and watch the game together.

So as it seems, I am the only one who was upset that he decided to cancel HC. Everyone else who came was all for hanging out because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Everyone felt that it was just one HC but the Phillies playing in and possibly winning the World Series is a rare event. I just don't see why we let popular culture influence the church. Shouldn't it be the other way around? I know it was just one HC but what if someone was really looking forward to it all week? Or what if someone from our group really needed prayer and was needing us to be there for him/her? What if someone new decided to drive out to HC to find in canceled? I feel like it sends the message that a big game is more important than HC. HC was pretty much started and made popular by my HC leader (he is also an associate pastor at my church). I know how important HC is to him. I just think canceling it like this sends a bad message. And how far does it go? What if there is a series finale on TV that most of the group is into? That's a once in a lifetime event too. Do we cancel HC for that? I know there are a lot of 'what ifs' in here but you never know.

I want to add in here how much I love and respect my HC leader. He is a wonderful guy who is so real and a very godly man. He has helped me grow in so many ways. I completely understand his passion. I am a sports fan myself. I just don't agree with his decision to cancel it completely. I don't see why we couldn't have compromised and done both. I guess it was his desire to go to a sports bar with other Phillies fans and we wouldn't be able to get in if we went too late. His point was that if one of the other HC leaders decided to cancel, he wouldn't be upset. He decided to be real and do what he wanted to do rather than look out for the interest of the group. It's not always fair but part of being a pastor is looking out for the group first over your own desires.

I ended up going with them and having a blast. I even got to know a girl better from HC. The Phillies did win and it was an exciting game. However, I still feel so unsettled about the whole thing and it wasn't even my decision. Maybe I'm wrong. It was just one HC and there will be plenty more. Maybe I'm being too legalistic and set in my ways. I'm really the only one who thinks it was a bad idea, including the lead pastor. I'm really trying to let it go but it is still bothering me. I think it is more about the big picture rather than this little event. It reflects our American culture. I'm getting sick of American culture and how it influences the church. We make decisions like this daily.......we choose things over God........and at what price?