What it was was football

Published 9:47am Thursday, September 19, 2013

By Rev. Jonathan Yarboro
Greetings from the corner of Bridge and Bridge! Football season is here. Last week, a radio morning show played an old clip in honor of the beginning of college football season. The clip is one that put a relatively unknown comedian / actor on the map. The clip is entitled “What it was was football” and it came from the mind and mouth of Andy Griffith.
If you have never heard it, or if it has been a while since you heard it, you owe it yourself to give it a listen. Within seconds, it is easy to see why Andy went on to become one of the most beloved characters in the arena of family entertainment. His dramatic and hilarious account of his first encounter with the sport of football is priceless.
After having a good laugh thanks to the late Mr. Griffith, I found myself wondering about the premise of the routine. I began to wonder about all of the “fly on the wall” situations I would love to have. What would it be like to truly experience something entrenched in a given culture for the very first time?
Given what I do for a living, my thoughts naturally turned to the church. I wondered what a person with no experience of corporate worship would think if they walked in the door of our church, or any church for that matter, and observed what was going on. What would we learn about ourselves as a result?
One thing I do know is that conventional wisdom suggests that if a particular church wants to really know how their church comes across to others, visitors are the ones to ask. Those of us who attend a particular church week in and week out tend to overlook things others might see. It is always helpful to obtain a fresh perspective on the familiar.
In a culture so enmeshed with unhealthy manners of wondering what others think of us, I believe there is actually some merit to considering what an “outsider” might think of our “insides.” If a complete stranger came and observed your household for an hour, for instance, what conclusions might they draw about your general character?
In other words, it could actually be a beneficial thing for any of us to consider that how we act says something about who we are. Gee, that certainly sounds familiar. The word of God has a lot to say about it, as a matter of fact. The main lesson is that others will remember us by our actions more than they will by our words.
I love to watch football with friends and family, but in all honesty I can take it or leave it. My disinterest is fueled by media hype, boorish behavior from players and fans and the incredible financial machine college football continues to grow into. Still, there is always the potential to learn something.
During the Alabama game Saturday, one of Alabama’s players scored a touchdown and subsequently mocked one of “Johnny Football’s” juvenile gestures. Alabama received a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. When asked about the penalty, Nick Saban simply said, “I don’t know what he (his player) was thinking. That is not who we are as a team.
I am not an Alabama fan, nor am I a Nick Saban disciple. I am a fan of integrity and honesty. In the midst of the circus surrounding Saturday’s game, a very powerful man shared a very powerful witness. What you do says something about who you are. Think about it.

The Rev. Jonathan Yarboro is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Wetumpka.

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