The brouhaha in the aftermath of MNF’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks is still brou-haha-ing. People are steamed about the replacement referees and are “demanding” that an agreement be reached between the NFL and the regular refs who have so far refused to step on the field.
I think I am the ONLY person on the planet who doesn’t understand this animosity toward the replacement refs. Whether the zebras on the field are regulars or replacements—hello?!—they’re still REFEREES! They will always be targets for fan abuse. As such, most games will always have disputed calls, coaches that get fined for their comments about the refs, and so on. It’s this way every season. People complain about the refs. It’s what we do.
For those of you who think that having the regulars back will stop the whining, let me just share one word with you: Hochuli.
Okay, it’s a name. Ed Hochuli, a regular ref. Need I say more? And by the by, guess who’s prepping the regular refs so that they can come back to the game immediately when a deal is signed? That’s right. Hochuli. Should be interesting.
The number of flags thrown in games so far is roughly the same as in previous years. It’s a media thing. Announcers tend to look for story lines, and replacement refs are a story line, and it’s being pummeled to death. I’m tired of it. I’d like to see the regulars get back to work, so we can beat up the regular refs per usual, and stop talking about how bad the replacement refs are. They’re referees!! We’re supposed to boo the referees. We always have and always will.
I say, “Props to the replacement refs” for the guts to go out there and officiate NFL games, so that Americans can have their football fix in the fall. Can you imagine what domestic life would be like if there wasn’t Sunday afternoon football? I hate to think…. Haha.
Anyway, while musing about the replacement refs, it occurred to me that a big problem in the church is the number of replacement Christians we have walking around. People who wear the shirt that says Christian, or a cross, or a WWJD wrist band, and so on, people who even show up on Sundays, throw a check in the offering plate, but during the week, it’s like: “Hey, who are you, and want did you do to the regular, authentic Christian I knew?”
The “regular” Christian is someone who loves justice, takes care of the widow and orphan, who is considerate of others, show patience and understanding, works for peace, and holds his or her tongue.
These “replacement” Christians—not so much. They tend to toot their own horns, blow the whistle and throw a flag at the offenses of others too often, they often have bad judgment and they don’t accept responsibility for their mistakes too readily. They play the blame game. They talk a good game, but don’t play it very well. And in the end, people are wise to their hypocrisy, and they give the “regular” Christians a bad name.
It’s easy to be a “replacement” Christian. Sort of comes naturally. But to be a “regular” or authentic Christian—or I suppose an authentic adherent of any faith—takes courage, strength, time, and a willingness at time to stand apart and alone. To be an authentic Christian requires a commitment to one’s core values and ethics, a commitment to be a person of utter and absolute integrity, and a commitment to stand against conventional wisdom if necessary and to stand up for what is true and right.
As with the referees who are getting prepped right now for their return to the football field, stepping out on the field of play for Christians is also something for which we need preparation and training … but that’s another blog.