Monday, January 24, 2011

The Circumstances of Allegiance

I would not be a Dallas Cowboys fan today if I hadn't become one when I was six years old. Jerry Jones would make me absolutely sick (because he turns my stomach fairly frequently as it is) if it weren't for Mel Renfro, Bob Hayes, Bob Lilly, Chuck Howley, Cornell Green, Don Perkins, Lee Roy Jordan, and so on. Jerry world, with its enormous grandiosity, second only to Jerry's own overgrown sense of himself, should make me root for the Redskins. But Don Meredith and Craig Morton and Jerry Rhome...

I teased my Auburn friends that they only won the national championship over my Ducks by using "professional" players. But truth be told, any team that benefitted from Nike's largesse as much as the Ducks do would put them automatically on my root against list, except for the fact that they are the Ducks. And that means Dan Fouts, Bobby Moore (aka, Ahmad Rashad), Russ Francis, Bobby Newland, and the memories of the afternoon sunshine on my face as I sat in the endzone at Autzen stadium as a boy. So, I'm hoping that Nike continues to pump massive amounts of money into the program that produced Dave Wilcox and Norm Van Brocklin.

So, this might be an essay on how loyal I am, the facts be damned. I will admit to believing bandwagon fans to be a lower species of human life. As a sports fan, I mate for life. But what really got me thinking about this was the way the word missional gets thrown around these days. It's almost like Jerry Jones owns the word now. But I've been down with missional long before it became the buzz word. I wish I could separate the word from its use, get the Cowboys a different owner, make the Ducks respectable without the Nike money printing press. Given that I can be a grumpy purist, its possible that I might be one of those guys fighting against the word (gasp) if it weren't for the fact that I found it when I did.

I've tried to learn to live constructively with my new circumstances. I've adapted the way I talk about things over time. I try not to use the term "missional church" so much now. And I try not to use it as a catch-all adjective meaning "good." "This lunch is so missional." I try to use it these days to talk about a new missional era. And I'm convinced that its use is still worth all the trouble. It refers to something that is with us, and will be for the unforeseeable future. More, change comes through new language, and the irritating aspects of the word can serve processes of transformation.  Still, its become harder to be a fan. So I guess what you want is that when you think of missional and me, think Tom Landry, not Jimmy Johnson.

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