Last Saturday evening was remarkable. Julie and I sat in our regular seats waiting for the football game to begin. We had taken the shuttle bus to the stadium and just happened to ride with some folks from Chattanooga whose son plays linebacker. They were nice people and we promised to cheer for their boy now and then. I believe everyone expected a tough game and the stats were leaning towards Tennessee because most of our boys were considered walking wounded and the loss to Wofford was heartbreaking.
When our eagle, Freedom, flew across the field to Steve Hein, it was like magic, and when the band marched in precision and played flawlessly, we knew this was to be a special night, win or lose.
For three quarters, it was touch and go, up and down and occasionally sideways. Something happened!
For the first time in my 25 years of attending Paulson Stadium, the marching band was nearly penalized. Come on now, how can the referees — even those in the SoCon — penalize the band? A whistle was blown, the ref looked at our side of the stadium like we were the culprits and said in a stern voice, "The band played while the opposing team was lining up. This is a warning!" He had his hand on his yellow flag for emphasis. The band was being warned?
I know Dr. Colin McKenzie and his band is one of the most disciplined and practiced that anyone can imagine. Colin would never allow his band to be criticized for inappropriate behavior on or off the field, and he would have been embarrassed to be called out in public for an infraction that would bring any negativity to Georgia Southern. Something happened!
After the crowd gave their opinion — and it was hardly subtle — the stadium began to rumble and roar.
I wanted to shout out, "Thanks, ref. Try this one on for size!"
We always hear about the twelfth man on the field. I want to believe that, at that moment, 16,000 men and women were on the field, suited up with the team, and ready to play knuckle down, smash mouth, in your face football. The noise level was so great and so sustained that the opposing team was at a loss. I have been to some enthusiastic ball games in my life, but this one surpassed them all!
It was at that moment that we all knew, not that we might just win, but that we were going to win! I'd like to believe that every Eagle player knew the outcome. Don't tell me that the fans just sit and watch. We played, too!
Folks, I would like to believe that the church can have the same effect on the world. Too often, we allow ourselves to be divided into small but energetic groups who blow their horns and squabble over this issue and that issue but have no real energy and no sustainability because there is simply too much diversity without direction. Of course, each issue has merit, but fragmentation just leads to exhaustion and confusion.
Please don't confuse what I propose to be only political in nature. However, there seem to be so many policies, statements, stances and agendas on the table that nothing gets done, and if it does, it has no teeth or enforceability. If the church could get together — and I call on denominations as well as independents — then we could as one voice — and I mean one loud raucous voice — make changes in government and society.
Do we want prayer in the public arena? We must speak with one voice. Do we want meaningful education? We must speak with one voice. Do we want well, you make the choice. We must speak with one voice.
We are not the squeaky wheel that needs a shot of grease to keep it quiet! We are the voice of the church and it will take more than a drop of WD-40 to make us go away when we speak as one and we will be heard!
Throw the flag, threaten us with a penalty. The church will not go away!