I’m a terrible fan. I just don’t get the whole idea of fan-hood. I ‘became a fan’ of exactly nothing on facebook (though I’m a little better at ‘liking’ stuff). I did have a poster of the Broncos’ 3 Amigos when I was a kid (Can you name them?) and a hat that was autographed by Sammy Winder… but they’re long gone now. For the most part, my life has been free of any ‘fan’ related paraphernalia. No giant foam fingers, no cheese or corn heads, no crazy colored body paint… I guess I’m just not a good fan.
Don’t get me wrong – I love sports. Almost all of them. I do have issues with basketball, but I can sit for hours watching cars turn left, Franco-Italian guys roll around on the pitch as if that beautifully executed slide tackle actually hurt them, grown men throw each other around like my boys do (minus the giggling), huge hulks of men in pads slamming into each other trying to move a weird shaped ball down the field, & even an occasional puck and ice related clash… But I’m just not a good fan.
But I don’t want to be. A football game a couple years back between the Huskers & Aggies really reinforced that. To put it quickly enough to make both sides hate me… the Huskers lost, their fans were bitter about missing out on a last little stab at A&M before they take their ball and go play in the Big 10, the Aggies were saved by Cyrus Gray and Black, White, & Yellow, and their fans are left trying to defend a win that was not as completely earned as they would have liked. I have good friends in both camps. If I were a good fan… I’d be outraged by the poorly timed calls and the ‘how could you not see that’ no calls and the pinching of the nether regions. But I’m not a good enough fan to be outraged (except the pinching stuff… that’s just wrong in any context).
My favorite teams have always been the Broncos and Rapids (Colorado’s other football team!) and the Cowboys (of Laramie, not Dallas). That’s not likely to change, but I’m also not sculpting my bushes into Cowboy Joe, and I’m not spray painting the rocks in my yard orange (although, that one does sound kind of fun, now that I think about it).
Here’s the thing: I don’t want to be identified by a mass of face painted wackos, I don’t want my day ruined when my favorite teams lose (I remember being baffled when I saw the depression, seriously, of Husker fans when they lost one game one special season long ago), and I don’t want to be forced to defend an outcome I had no hand in determining. I don’t want to kick the dog because what I’m seeing on tv is driving me crazy. I don’t want to sit in the stands and scream – I want to be on the field, pouring out everything I can to make sure my team comes out on top when the clock hits 90:00 (+3 or whatever) or zero if you’re more into the kind of football where you can’t use your feet. I know I’ve just wandered away from the realm of sport… but I think Jesus has too many fans in the church.
What if you got off your couch and stopped telling the church what to do to be better… and DID something to BE a better church?
What if more of us stepped out of the crowd cheering for the King as He rides in on a donkey (a fickle crowd that incidentally screamed for His death just a few days later) and joined Him in His work to win back the hearts of His people?
What if we stopped patting the preacher on the back for a job well done and actually did what the Word he’s sharing says we should do?
Jesus doesn’t need us to rabidly abandon all logic to defend Him. He doesn’t need us to buy the latest and greatest Jesus junk, or to hold up our foam prayer fingers at all the right times…
He wants us to step onto the field with Him.
Abandon the bleachers.
(Read Kyle Idleman’s Not A Fan for a great look at what it means to get out of the stands.)