Asking Why We Don’t Cheer For Jesus

It’s nearing that time of year when fundamentalist pastors dust off their extra-long Super Bowl Sunday sermon and prepare to castigate their congregations for loving sports more than they love Jesus. “Can somebody tell me why,” the preacher will bellow, “that people can get all excited and cheer and scream for a football game and yet they can’t get excited and cheer for Jesus?” Paradoxically, this line will generally produce quite a bit of cheering indeed.

The real question here is that if the behavior at church is going to be held to the standards of a sporting event, exactly how far is too far? Should we wear our team colors to church? Do we even have team colors? (Red, White, and Blue?). Would it be appropriate for brother “Big Jim” Smith to paint them on his naked torso?

What about concessions? Peanuts? Hot Dogs? Locusts and wild honey? Is it appropriate to do “the wave” when the preacher makes a great point and should the preacher in turn be expected to do an end zone dance at the end of the sermon?

I’ve certainly wondered if the pastor who chides his people for ‘not cheering’ really knows what he’s asking for. I trust you have too.

37 thoughts on “Asking Why We Don’t Cheer For Jesus”

  1. We already do the body-paint thing at our church. Sister Bertha Covereddish is truly a walking “billboard for the Lord.” After each baby dedication, it is expected that the father spikes the kid and high-fives the pastor.

  2. Well, if they actually meant people should be as excited about Jesus as about football, they’d have to become Pentecostal…which excitement no IFB church really wants present in their services (unfortunately!).

  3. Great post.
    About “cheering for Jesus” In 1 John it states that we show our love for God through obedience. I suppose cheering works too. I obeyed my mom and dad, whom I love, but I don’t every remember cheering and clapping at them just because I love them.

  4. We already do the body-paint thing at our church. Sister Bertha Covereddish is truly a walking “billboard for the Lord.” After each baby dedication, it is expected that the father spikes the kid and high-fives the pastor.

    That’s hysterical.

  5. Awesome. At some point as a kid I began to wonder why the preacher always came down so hard on Super Bowl Sunday night but never looked twice at men who would take entire Sundays off to go hunting. Stuff Fundies Like: Attacking the Most Noticeable Target.

  6. Stuff Fundies Like: Attacking all cultural events, thereby making themselves irrelevant to those around them.

    Neighbor: “We’re having a super-bowl party at our house Sunday night. Would you like to come?” (That’s really making a huge assumption that the Fundy in question is actually on speaking terms with their heathen neighbor.)

    Fundy: “No, we always go to church Sunday nights.”


  7. what about cheerleaders? Don’t forget cheerleaders!! Of course wearing modest coulottes….. and no jumping….. jumping makes certain lady parts more um… noticable… 🙂

  8. not sure why it is wrong for a christian to go to church on a sunday night, rather than watch the super bowl. there is not a bigger football fan in the world than me, but christ and his church takes priority.

  9. not sure why it is wrong for a christian to go to church on a sunday night, rather than watch the super bowl.

    I’m not sure where anybody said that it was…

  10. oh yes without a doubt…much of what is posted is on target. I guess that is why I find much of it funny. However the sin and abuse that is found in the underbelly of “fundamentalism” is not found in most churchs I have been in over the last 16 years…maybe I do not relize how different our church is from many others in the “movement”…I fear many of the”exfundies” are as judgmental and negative as those they have been hurt by.

  11. What is cringe inducing to me is when the pastor singles out certain people in the congregation and addresses them by name in the sermon as an example of this or that. Or when he “teases” his wife publically. hahaha….. not.

  12. My former pastor asked God to divinely break everyone’s TV that did not show up for Sunday night service. He really did. God answers prayer as my TV was perfect the whole game.

  13. I meant the “results predictable” in the sense that in the example I gave, it would tend to turn the “neighbor” off towards Christianity. If someone chooses to go to church rather than watch the superbowl, that’s fine. On the other hand, it’s not as if there’s some Divine mandate that we have to be “in church whenever the doors are open.” Is someone who went to Sunday morning church and doesn’t go Sunday evening in order to spend time w/ their families less “Godly” than someone who goes to Sunday nights each week?

    1. From the Fundy perspective, a hearty “Yes!.” My father-in-law (a Fundy pastor) even insisted on having the regular Wednesday night service on the 25th of December, 2013…Christmas Day! Of course, the church members were expected to attend and being family (and visiting with them), I really had no choice but to go.

      I remarked that I wouldn’t blame anyone who decided not to come…I got the hairy eyebrow… 😀

  14. i believe there is a divine mandate “not to forsake the assembling of yourselves”, but i know you will not agree and fuss about all us fundies using heb 10:25….sunday night service is not a “do over”…it is a fresh new service or atleast it should be.

    1. Tom, if you take the time to discover the context of Hebrews 10:25, you will find that this passage was written at a time when many congregations were deciding not to meet together AT ALL because of the intense persecution at that time. The verse teaches us not to “forsake” assembling together, but to risk it for the good of the church.

      Missing a Sunday night service can hardly be counted as “forsaking” the assembly. Comments?

  15. also i hope my faithfulness to my Lord and his church is predictable, because He has been faithful to me. I understand if it is said with an holier than thou attitude, it will be a turn off, but the mere statement about going to church on on sunday eve itself would not be.

  16. Yes, I’ve often wondered about preachers who talk about how we get so excited over sports games or other similar events, but we aren’t excited about Jesus (this is coming from pastors where the congregation isn’t supposed to clap but say “amen” after the special music or at most other times). Each church has its own personality, and each person shows his or her excitement a different way– some are vocal, some are active, and some simply don’t show much outward emotion though they truly are excited.

  17. applause is what most are talking about when they say clapping. i personally don’t care for applause for man in church, for the preacher or singers. I know good men disagree on this.

  18. As a born and bred Eagles fan, I do too — I was just in a hurry and it was the first picture I found.

  19. It’s because, if there’s on thing that fundies respond to more than church, it’s homoerotica and American style football might be the most homo erotic of all major sports, excepting professional wrestling.

  20. “Forsake not the assembling together”

    Someone who has more language expertise than me can chime in, but what exactly do “forsake not” and “assembling” mean in the original Greek in this passage?

    And, Tom, is there a Biblical mandate to meet on Sun. AM, Sun. PM, and Wed. PM? Please point to the Scripture passage that states so. TIA.

  21. no i guess the mandate for the time of assembling is whatever the local church decides..however we ought be assembling more as we see that day approaching, not less. ….”forsake not”…in the the original greek.. means “not to lay out” “assembling” means ..come together…man i am glad i did not forsake my greek classes when they assembled..

    1. Actually Tom, the Greek word translated “forsake” in this verse means “to abandon, desert, leave surviving, etc…”. It cannot be legitimately used to say, “Don’t ever miss a service!”

      I beg you to do some research instead of simply posting YOUR interpretation.

  22. I have heard it explained that “forsake” means to really forsake. I really doubt it’s forsaking your church if you’re there every Sunday morning, you’re involved, etc. .but you don’t go on Sunday nights. That is *not* forsaking anything, IMO. But, I know that some people will disagree.

  23. one would be forsaking that service (that assembling of believers)…but let everyman be persauded in his own heart..

  24. Just to thrown in my own tidbit on this, but if we are truly not to forsake the assembling of believers (which I do believe), then in the broadest sense possible, this would then require that we meet with every single possible believer at every single possible time of every single possible moment of every single day of…you get the point. What I’m saying, if one holds to this literally, without making exceptions, then it pretty much leaves no time to much else. (Which I guess wouldn’t be a bad thing if it were possible!) I know it’s a stretch, but that’s just a point I thought I might as well throw in there…
    (But also, I’m not against meeting as many times as possible [.e. Sunday AM, PM, Wed PM] and whenever else. The early Church met DAILY [Acts 2:46-47], as it so seems if I’m correct here. If the early Church did it, so shouldn’t we? But seeing as today’s culture would not provide for it, Christians meet on a convenient time as it seems. Namely Sunday. Were these days ever mandated? No. But it’s something we can do as believers to meet as much as possible.)

  25. I always found it interesting that many Fundies condemn clapping/praise in a church service. However, quiet reverence isn’t Biblical.

    David danced with all his might before the Lord out of sheer joy of the arrival of the Ark. He apparently caused quite a ruckus with all that dancing and shouting and blowing of trumpets (II Samuel 6).

    David went on to write Psalm 150 where he describes exactly HOW the Lord was to be worshiped. The proper methods included: “with the timbrel and dance,” “high sounding cymbals,” loud cymbals” and “with stringed instruments and organs.”

    Certainly doesn’t sound like sitting quietly watching someone sing “properly” and then moving on to me. Sounds more like something those Pentecostal people would do…

  26. My pastor, whom I otherwise love, nevertheless irritates me periodically when he starts chastising those of us who don’t come on Sunday nights. He says, with a sneer, “Oh, so you want to be with your “families”–you mean sitting around watching the boob-tube together, don’t you?” Then he’ll talk about how 50 years ago EVERYBODY went to church on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights, and there was no complaining about missing out on family time. Well that’s just dandy. Fifty years ago, this culture was very different. People went to work for one company and tended to stay with them forever, and they weren’t tied in to their jobs 24-7 the way we are now. Back then, the saying “24/7” wouldn’t even have made sense, because society just wasn’t that way then. But it is now, and sometimes the best time you can have with your family is on a Sunday night, just sitting around and relaxing.

  27. why do churches spend the whole rest of the year making sure people conduct themselves in a dignified and quiet manner in church and then suddenly not understand why people don’t explode with excitement at the name of jesus?

  28. It used to wear on me hearing the “preacher” say this tripe about comparing cheering and getting excited at a sporting event and not a church service. He would then contradict himself in other “sermons” when he would rant on women and “modesty”. He would say “why would you wear a bikini at the beach, you wouldn’t wear a bikini to church!” – thats a paraphrase but that is exactly the message he was espousing. Completely ignoring situational appropriateness – the cognitive dissonance was maddening.

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