God vs. Football

Sometimes it is oh so hard to live in Texas. I was dismayed to hear that some of our legislators were proposing we stop observing Daylight Savings Time. And even more dismayed (yet not surprised) to see my next-door cube mate had posted a difficult-to-interpret poster advocating dropping it.

It’s not that I’m in love with Daylight Savings Time. I’m not sure I care one way or the other, really. I love gaining an hour in the Fall and I hate losing one in the Spring. I don’t find it cumbersome to change the handful of clocks I have that don’t already do it automatically. Yet I don’t think I’d particularly notice or mind if we stopped.

What I do have a problem with, though, is being different from the rest of the country. Right now, I’m in the same time zone as the rest of my family, save a handful that are in Mountain Time. It’s simple. But if Texas drops out of DST, then I have to think about whether the rest of the country is in it and adjust my understanding of what time it is there accordingly.

Now, Texans seem to like to be fairly insular so maybe a lot of them don’t interact with people from other states – I don’t know. I, for one, would find it a much heavier burden to remember the temporary time shift between Texas and Oklahoma for part of the year than I do taking a few minutes two days out of the year to change my clocks.

I had hoped the measure would fail, but suspected it would succeed. Texas politicians do crazy things all the time. I was elated to find out a couple of months ago that the measure had collapsed. But shocked and deeply embarrassed about why.

Proponents for the change had argued about the (in my opinion faulty) burden of changing the clocks. They had also made a slightly more reasonable argument about the safety issue that had children walking to school in the dark. The opponents’ response to the risk of children getting hit by cars that can’t see them?

“I don’t want to have to choose between whether to go to church or whether to watch the Dallas Cowboys. I don’t want to miss either one.”

That’s right. Church start times wouldn’t change if we no longer went to DST. But the NFL schedule would stick to the national concept of time, not Texas’s. The result? For a handful of Sundays in the Fall, people without DVRs and/or without the ability to avoid media until they got home would have to choose between God and Football.

And that choice is apparently a difficult one to make. And not just a difficult one, but one best avoided.

This reminded me of conversations I’ve had with (typically older) fellow Christians who bemoan the loss of blue laws or other evidence that we are a “Christian Nation”. They’ll shake their heads that sports leagues schedule games on Sundays, that schools schedule events on Wednesday nights. They laud Chick-fil-a for being closed on Sundays.

Yet they go out to eat on Sundays at other restaurants. They take care of their grocery shopping. They maybe even catch their grandchild’s game. Because, well, they don’t want to miss it. Or they don’t feel like fixing lunch. Or they really need to pick up some bread and milk.

Part of the angst about the loss of a Christian face to our society is fear that the country as a whole is moving away from God. But I think another part – quite possibly a bigger, but not thought about part – is that it exposes how far we are from how we’d like to be. How we think we should be. How we think God wants us to be.

Consider this. If sports leagues never schedule games on Sundays, then there is no conflict. There is no choice to be made. You never have to decide between church and your kid’s baseball game. You can live your wholesome Christian life without ever being challenged. Without sacrifice.

In today’s environment, however, you have to make that choice. You paid all that money for your child to play in the select league. The team is depending on her. Do you tell the coach she won’t play in any Sunday tournaments?

You see, Seventh Day Adventists and Jewish worshipers have been making these difficult decisions for decades. Why shouldn’t we share the burden? Why shouldn’t we take the opportunity to examine our faith and our priorities and how we live out our life? Why do we want society to enforce it for us so we don’t have to sacrifice? What does that say about us?

Seriously. It’s a standing joke that football is as big as God in Texas. But it’s just a joke. Or, at least… it’s supposed to be.