Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Super Bowls and Satellites

It wasn’t enough that Jerry Jones built the largest domed stadium in the world to host the Super Bowl. He wants to host the largest attended Super Bowl in history. In order to help him do that, people can pay upwards of $350 to stand in the stadium or its immediate vicinity and watch the game on TV. The ethical question this opportunity raises is: could you do that and then tell people that you had been to the Super Bowl? The obvious question is something more along the lines of: how many suckers are there in football fandom these days?

The ideal viewing experience for football fans has to be in a home with people you like watching the game on a large television. With all the bells and whistles the TV broadcast provides, you simply get a better viewing experience. Of course, the Super Bowl is a spectator sport for all save around 90 men every year.

The immediate parallel that jumps to mind in religious circles these days is the satellite campus church. In the west, church has become a spectator activity, and a celebrity culture just like everything else. Instead of being church, people go to church. Instead of impacting a community, people drive from miles around to the specially constructed facility where they are entertained, fed and generally made to feel better about themselves. It is hard to be church sitting in a room with thousands of people listening to a speaker you never speak to personally, but now some have decided there is not much difference between that and listening to someone piped in on close circuit television.

Remember your reaction when you first heard about Jerry Jones’ latest scheme to pay for that stadium of his? It is very similar to the one many communities of faith have when they hear about the satellite trend. You might do as well to stay home and watch a service on your television. Either way it is hard to be a community interacting with a personality on a screen.

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