Simple Sabbath: Anthems, Cheeleaders and Downs…and Ups


What a great opportunity! You must be doing something right in your career if you are asked to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

February 6, 2011
Sunday –I put away the book I have been reading as my wife pulls the home-made pizza out of the oven. It’s Super Bowl Sunday at my house. It is getting close to pregame hype and kickoff. After a brief panic — “Ahggg, where’s the remote?” — I go old-school and turn the television on MANually.

Christina Aguilera singing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLV.

Nestling into my spot on the couch I am good to go. I have pizza, drink and smugly think, I don’t need no stinking remote, I’m watching all the commercials. (Yes, I have bad grammar in my thought life.)

And now singing our National Anthem,” I hear the public address announcer’s voice, “Christina Aguilera.” Two things go through my mind:
1. Hey, they shoulda got that Youtube, homeless guy to introduce her, that would be cool;
2. Oh, so that’s Christina Aguilera.

She starts singing and I quickly conclude, oh yes, she’s waaay better than me. This pizza is good.

“Don’t get any of that on the couch,” I hear a familiar voice from the kitchen say.

And then, whoops! What? Did she just… I think she messed up. FUMBLE! Another bite of pizza — nice recovery Christi, I muse, and for a brief second or two I feel badly for her. Bless her heart, thats gotta be tough. You know she feels just terrible.

As I reach for another piece of pizza I see the Facebook notice lighting up on my Blackberry. People seem to have opinions about our Anthem and Aguilera. Since I am viewing remote-less, I juggle my pizza and phone to read the comments. The early opinions seem to be that she is now the worst person on the planet. Ouch, tough crowd.

“Are you using a napkin?” that same lady in the kitchen asks.

Two more thoughts flash through my mind:
1. I’ll bet the beer commercials are the best, they always are;
2. I hope Aguilera has a good friend to pick her up, she’s gonna be kinda down after this.


I’ve been down before. I’ve been way down. There are people who are down on their luck and others who are down and out. A guy once told me he had been down in the dumps. We all understand the euphemism, “to kick a guy when he is down.”

I have noticed that there is something satisfying, or even cathartic about throwing tomatoes. “Look! He messed up!!! Boo, booooooooooooooooo.” It’s important that we point out mistakes and bring such things to attention. You have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. Do I have to cite that last sentence?

While I didn’t criticize Aguilera for her little gaff in front of about a billion people, I did text a few snide remarks to my brother-in-law after a certain Green Bay receiver dropped a pass. I don’t mind doing a bit of kicking myself.

Boo Birds

I attend most all of the Oklahoma Sooners home football games. We love to cheer when the boys do good things. But if you play at OU, it’s not good to make mistakes; it’s also not good to be the offensive coordinator when back-to-back plays don’t work – the Boo Birds come out.

In life there are three kinds of people – the apathetic, boo birds and cheerleaders. For some reason, I prefer the cheerleaders, especially when it comes to ME.

The boo-birds have a specialty – criticism, condemnation and complaining. I know a fellow who says there are boo birds in his church, but I’m sure he meant blue birds.

I looked through the Bible to see what it had to say about boo birds and cheerleaders. I couldn’t find either in my concordance. There were a lot of verses about murmuring, scoffers and mockers though. And I found many verses about merry hearts, words of life, and even thinking on whatever is good, true, lovely, of virtue and praise – but not a thing on boo birds, go figure.

Down and Up

Surely you’ve heard that the stock market has been down, employment is down, the economy is down, the housing market is down, venture capital is down, the auto industry is down, commercial real estate is down, the President’s approval rating is down, employment is down, and so on …

Is Anything Going UP?

The opportunity to serve people in need is up; the opportunity to trust God is up; the opportunity to create and grow our Christian community is up; the opportunity to pray for others is up. The need for encouraging, life affirming words is UP! The opportunity to celebrate hope in the Kingdom of God is UP, UP, UP!!!

How do we know?

We know that the power of God still sustains His Kingdom~

We know that the death of Jesus is still sufficient to save us
We know the Holy Spirit still guides and comforts;
We know that the Bible still endures;
We know prayer still matters and is still answered;
We know the Gospel still changes lives;
We know love still overcomes bigotry, anger and bitterness;
We know that faith still confronts despair;
We know that the Tomb is still empty;
We know that the eternal church of Jesus still marches;
We know Jesus is still Lord;
We know that the promise of Heaven is our only ultimate hope
and that we are closer today than yesterday;
We know the Kingdom of God is doing well and will never
need a stimulus package to bail it out.

The last part I borrowed from John Ortberg of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. Let me recommend subscribing to his podcast.

I’ll finish with this line by Matthew Taylor, “If you want to be a happy person, don’t read a self-help book, just have happier friends.”