Reality Shows, Sports Competitions and Really Confused “Christians”
Either I’m really confused, or a lot of other people are really confused.
Not surprisingly, my sensibilities and my ego lean toward the latter.
Because even though I’m far from being a Biblical scholar, I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. And based on everything I’ve read and been taught, being a Christian means believing and following the teachings of Christ.
But there seem to be a lot of people who think that being a Christian doesn’t have as much to do with what you do, but instead has everything to do with what you profess to believe. On top of that, these same people seem to think that calling themselves Christian means God will give them what they want based on this “badge of honor” they proudly wear.
While this seems completely off base to me, there are a lot of people who believe the concept.
Just watch reality TV or sports competitions.
I’m not particularly proud of the fact, but being the dork that I am, I’m a fan of the television shows “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race.”
(As a disclaimer, I watch these shows because I’m fascinated by the personal dynamics and contestant interactions. In other words I’m simply doing research for the book I’m going to write someday. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
But in watching these shows, I’ve also noticed a trend: every season, there are contestants who not only proclaim that they are Christian, but believe that because of this, they’ve got some kind of upper hand in the competition. In subsequent episodes, they continue to pray and claim that God is on their side and, therefore, they have the advantage.
Call me a cynic, but I’m pretty sure God’s top priorities have nothing to do with who wins a reality TV show.
I’m beginning to wonder if I’m in the minority, though, since a lot of people are buying into this whole “Christians have the upper hand in pretty much pointless competitions” theory.
I’ve seen it time and time again in sports. Athletes describe themselves as “a Christian,” and because of that, they claim God is on their side.
For some reason, I seriously doubt that God is spending precious time ensuring that the team that prays the most or has the most self-proclaimed Christians is THE team that wins a championship.
Instead, I’m thinking that God’s top priorities have something to do with how we treat and care for each other.
But then again, maybe I’m interpreting Jesus’ message differently. Because I completely buy into the simplified version shared by a friend the other day: “Love God and love each other.”
I don’t think that winning a competition for money or fame falls under either of these commands. I also don’t think prayers are intended to be wish lists for everything we want in life.
As my mother once told me “Don’t pray for what you want. Pray that God gives you the strength, the skills and the direction to deal with the situations you are handed.”
Makes perfect sense to me.
But then, I’m not trying to win a reality TV show or a major sports competition.
I’m just stumbling through life trying to figure out how to spend less time irritated with people and more time doing what I think Jesus meant by “being Christian.”
It’s hard, but on those days when I feel like I’ve made a bit of progress, I feel like a winner.
And that’s the kind of winner I think God is hoping we strive to be.