Thursday, January 2, 2014

When We Quit.

I started writing this up several months ago. I let it sit out of fear, if I'm honest. Today, a friend shared an excellent blog post on this subject. Now, I'm mad I didn't post mine earlier.

Good on both of them for their guts! So, go ahead, let's get the discussion started.
Several years ago, our oldest daughter put in that she wanted to participate in Little League Cheer. We had put her off for a while because it is a heavy commitment, but this particular year, we decided to give it a try. I was struggling with the "Cheer Mom" title, but let me tell you: this kid was adorable in her little cheer uniform. I mean it. The stinkin' cutest little curly-Q'd, ribboned pony tail ever!

Seriously. The cutest.

I anticipated one conflict and talked to every person I could to be sure this wouldn't be an issue. Her coach, a friend and volunteer mom, was a first-time coach and was giving it all she had. I didn't want our issue to be a problem for a volunteer coach, so I was very transparent about it from the beginning and she was gracious. We started the season and a few weeks and several hundred dollars later, it became obvious to us that our issue was going to be one. Still, everyone was gracious as I stood our ground, but they had to do what they had to do and so did we. She cheered two games and we walked away. I wrote a letter to the Board thanking them for their volunteer hours, explaining our position, and apologizing for any extra paperwork they had to do on our account. My 8 year-old wrote a little note, too.

Our issue: Cheer Competitions on Sundays.
To be clear, they weren't every Sunday. Three over the season, if I remember correctly. 

As Christians, this was really a no-brainer to us. We value the local church's place in the Body of Christ. We believe we have a place in the Body. We genuinely enjoy church. But, this isn't even the crux of it.

Who and What my girls worship on Sundays is.

We just couldn't do it. We knew we were not going set the precedence for recreation over Sunday worship. This is, as we celebrate, the Sabbath. The one that is to be kept holy. As in the 4th Commandment. Now, Lord knows we have not kept all the commandments all the time, but this. This we could.
<Note: I'm talking Sundays. Sunday morning worship. Wednesday night church is not a commandment. Smiling. Now, if you have Saturday night church or if your church has Sunday evening services, I don't know. Some would argue that Sunday should still be a day of complete rest. I'm not getting into all that, that's between you and Jesus. > 

Maybe you've seen it:
Parents who sang "Jesus Loves Me" and read Bible stories to their babies. They taught their toddlers that "God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do." Loving parents took their little ones to Sunday School and choir and Christmas programs. Parents that could see the benefit of team sports and even used that as a way to build relationships in the community and lead people to Christ. Eventually, the athletic tournaments and competitions have become fun, family events and they are all weekend, every weekend for a season or seven. Fantastic, Jesus-loving parents wake up one day and they can't remember the last time they went to church and worshipped as a family with the Body of Believers in which they claim "membership".  Instead, they have worshipped at the altar of a trophy.

Ok. This is a made up scenario, but you get it, right? This is what we wanted to guard against. It's a slippery slope. Yes, I understand we were looking at three Sundays. No, I don't think my salvation or that of my child's would be in jeopardy over three missed Sundays. For us, it came down to teaching her to impact the world as a Christ follower.

Listen. We are at war. We are battling a culture for the hearts of our children. We've got to take this seriously. 

I know you've heard the statistics. Something like upwards of 90% of professed Christians are graduating high school, going away to college and walking away from church, and often, the Lord. They are going to college and living quite hedonistic little lives, leaving their parents devastated and worried. Rightly so.

We aren't hoping for our kids to just "stay in church", I'm raising women who ARE the church. That means equipping them to GO out and be the light. That means they need to know what they believe and act like they believe it.

There is definitely not one answer. But, I do believe this is [one] battle in the Culture War. Keeping the Sabbath holy and making a (loving, favorable) statement to the community may be something you could do to change the culture of sports-worship in your community. 

1 comment:

  1. So, I love this post for many reasons. I remember the day I took my highly athletic daughter (the one who joined our family in 6th grade and when said coach of insert-your-sport-here watched her, they were recruiting ME for her to be on the team!) to one of the public high schools to sign up for volleyball. The question appeared on the sign-up form: "does your child play club ball?" & 'if so, what club?". Seriously! For her to be considered for the varsity team at this PUBLIC high school (that at the time held the state record), she apparently had to be on a club ball team. That whole club ball, travel all over creation on your weekends was unappealing for many reasons. Thanks for this post!