I’m a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan. This means, for as long as I can remember, I have rooted for the greatest sports franchise in the history of the universe. That’s why my son gifted me with a plaque which reads: Every Day I Thank God for Making Me a CARDS FAN.
Now, being a lifelong Redbirds devotee also means something else. For as long as I can remember I have been despised and hated by an entire tribe of people known as Cubs fans—a perennially disappointed, yet fiercely proud, folk.
Naturally over these many years I have gleefully responded in like kind. I simply cannot pass a Cubs bumper sticker without reflexively rolling my eyes or see a kid in Cubbie gear without knowing deep down: This grubby little twerp doesn’t stand a chance. (I blame the parents. Sometimes grandparents.)
But have you ever wondered why we have fan-based rivalries?
While such allegiances are certainly not formed on the bases of reason or logic, they are entirely natural. That is, humans are instinctively tribal. Thus, so-called “in” and “out” groups are unavoidable.
Sports alliances (to most of us) are all in good fun—but not so with other in/out groups. Think of the animosity between Black, Brown, and White; the vitriol between Democrats and Republicans; the hatred between religious groups, etc. etc…
The in/out groups in America are innumerable.
I wonder if the things which divide us rival the things which unite us. Are we coming apart at the seams? Many believe the fracturing is by design. Some of it certainly seems orchestrated, doesn’t it?
Even so, is there a cure for our brokenness? I believe there is.
Jesus, in my estimation, is the only sufficient integration point for our fractured humanity. He alone transcends the fragmentation. In Him we find the capacity for wholeness and holiness. There is hope and healing and unity within His kingdom.
The spiritual unity we find in the kingdom of Jesus is greater than the ethnic, economic, political, and religious disunity we find in the kingdoms of man.
But we have to live it. We have to model it. We have to show a disarrayed world another Way—a Way which recognizes our differences but harbors no hostilities because of them (the Way of unity, not uniformity).
Can we do it? I think so. I worship with Cubs fans every week and we hardly ever fight.