Feb 5, 2006

heart of the super bowl

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. In honor of the day when we eat really bad food with smiles on our faces, I thought it’d be fun to mention a few unknown facts about the Super Bowl.

  • To begin with, the game wasn’t originally meant to be called the Super Bowl but the “AFL-NFL World Championship Game.” AFL founder and Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt jokingly called the proposed interleague championship as the "Super Bowl." Hunt thought of the name after seeing his daughter playing with a toy called a Super Ball (the ball is now on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio). After he used this title during press coverage, the media ran with it and the name has stuck.

  • The ads of the Super Bowl are often what people tend to watch. Because a game can be anything from tense to boring, the most successful ads are typically the ones that cause laughter or inspiration. In recent years, advertisers have found many moms are watching the game with their husbands and so some ads are targeted for women. On the other end, many groups are denied the chance to run Super Bowl ads on various grounds. Las Vegas is the only city, though, to be denied in such a fashion - the NFL has stated that it does not want the Super Bowl to be associated with the perception of Las Vegas as a gambling mecca and so any ads associated with the city are banned.

  • Also, the Super Bowl has a profound impact on the whole country.
    • Violent and property crimes go down at least 15%.
    • Movie attendance plummets 40% compared with an average Sunday.
    • Traffic is down, affecting gasoline and sit down restaurant sales at least 20%.
    • Takeout is up 20%, though, with pizza being the favorite food of choice. Top choices include pepperoni, followed by sausage.
    • Toilet use is up, too, especially during halftime. In 1984 a Utah neighborhood busted a 16-inch water main because of it.

Today in our church service I taught on how just as the Super Bowl can affect a whole country, so can our hearts affect areas of our lives we may not even be aware of. Doctors who work with the heart – or “cardiologists” - would agree with this. Here are a few heart facts:

  • The heart is the strongest muscle in the body and about the size of a clenched fist.
  • It beats 70-80 times a minute in order to pump blood and oxygen to over 300 trillion cells.
  • During an average lifetime, the heart will pump about one million barrels of blood – enough to fill four super tankers.
  • A heart starts beating in a pre-birth baby 21 days after conception.

An unhealthy heart isn't always easy to spot, yet ironically the symptoms are:

  • Chest or shoulder discomfort.
  • Unusual shortness of breath.
  • Cold sweats.
  • Dizziness.
  • Unexpected nausea unaffected by antacids.
  • Swelling of legs or feet.

I share all of this simply to highlight the fact that what happens in the heart affects the entire body. Often the symptoms we might feel in our toes, noses, or heads are actually related to the condition of our hearts. It becomes this way from a number of sources, from the food we eat to the level of exercise we maintain. However, the dominant factor in all things in related to our family. Genetically, we get this... and yet in many other ways our families form the condition of our hearts, too.

The Bible tells us a number of outstanding things about our hearts. Here are two:

“A sound heart is the life of the flesh…” (Proverbs 14:30a)

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

That creates an interesting tension for each of us, doesn’t it? We want a healthy heart, and yet the problem is that our very own hearts can stand in the way of telling what it takes to have one.

In Marcus Borg's book, “The Heart of Christianity,” the heart is identified as a metaphor for the self:

"In our usage the heart is most commonly associated with love, as in Valentine hearts; courage, as in brave hearts; and grief, as in broken hearts. But in the Bible, the 'heart' includes these and more: it is a metaphor for the inner self as a whole."

So just as a matter of digesting it all... how's your heart? What symptoms are showing up in your life now as a result of the way your family formed your heart back in the day?

  • Think about your name… your family's name. What affect did they have on you?
  • Think about the choices you made growing up…what was one that went against the value your parents taught you? What did you learn? Were your parents right or wrong?
  • Think about how your view of the opposite sex was shaped growing up.
  • Think about the way you handled anger… swearing.
  • Think about your family's view of alcohol… eating… smoking.
  • Think about the way you were told to feel about people who were different than you.
  • Think about what you were told success looked like… or failure.
  • Think about rules your parents had that influenced you the most.
  • Think about the things you and your family laughed about.
  • Think about how criticism was either constructive or destructive in you.
  • Think about how you were affirmed… and the way you were affirmed.
  • Think about how your family related to God… about spiritual discussions.
  • Think about when you at meals together.
  • Think about the way you and your family killed time together.
  • Think about the TV shows or movies you watched together.
  • Think about when you felt thankful for your family… and when you didn’t.

There's some good news for all of us... regardless of our past God longs to give us a fresh start. I don't know what's happened in your heart, not to mention how it may be coming out these days. But I do know this - God promises us a fresh start.

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26)


Kristi said...

That is a wonderful analogy. I love how there is hope for a fresh start. God can give us a clean, new heart when we've messed ours all up. What Love!

Katie said...

and what an amazing new heart it is, love the verse from ezekiel, not a heart of stone but a heart of flesh, beating, living

thanks tony, you never cease to make an impact with each post

josh said...

Good thoughts, Tony. I linked this at my site.

Michael said...

I know this should have gone in the mega church thing earlier but I thought it was a good article and very interesting


Logan Bennett said...

dude I loved this post, it was good to see the facts of the super bowl, and even tie it in to us as humans. thanks for that man