Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brett Favre

I can be as high brow as anyone, but when I found out that Brett Favre was coming to the Vikings yesterday I paid attention. No, I didn’t get in my car to welcome the (Vikings’ Messiah, Brad Childress’ Savior, washed-up, 39-year old quarterback, Zygi Wolf’s ticket to a new stadium) to Winter Park, but I couldn’t help but go to the Star Tribune web site to get updates, listen to the chatter on KFAN, and watch most of Favre’s press conference during the 6:00 news hour. And I only identify myself as a casual fan!

Yesterday was a day that will get marked on a timeline of significant Minnesota sports events. Hopefully this signing will pay off more like the acquisition of Jack Morris than the trade for Hershel Walker.

I realize that the “Favre-a-palooza”doesn’t interest everyone. Yesterday when I went to my house for lunch and told my daughter, Hannah, that the Vikings signed Brett Favre, she said “who?” My wife, Amy, was more interested in baking cupcakes than talking about future Vikings victories over the cupcakes of the NFC North. I recovered from this apathy by calling my nephew and enjoying some “guy conversation.” And remember—I am only a casual fan!

But I also realize that Vikings’ obsession has landed, and I’m not talking about what landed at the St. Paul Downtown airport yesterday morning. I’m talking about the obsession that Favre’s landing has generated.

And that’s the dilemma for us church, high brows—we want to be in the culture, but not of it. So it’s hard not to be snooty about the whole thing. We can stand back from afar and judge all of those crazies who turned up at Winter Park and secretly wonder why they don’t have that passion for our churches. Or we can enjoy the spectacle and try to learn from it.

I’ll admit it—I’d love it if people had this sort of passion about God and the church, specifically the Presbyterian Church. And some do. But I have a feeling that if the people who showed up at Winter Park were praying yesterday they were sharing a word of thanks that Favre had landed. I don’t think John Calvin would have approved of such prayers.

So I’m not going to be snooty. I’m planning on enjoying the spectacle, rooting for the Vikings, and trying to remain a casual fan—while rooting for that elusive Super Bowl victory. And remembering that it’s only sports. It’s only sports, right?

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