SUPER BOWL MIRROR
By PASTOR JOHN ANDERSON
"Every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6 and 21:25).
One columnist tagged it "Toilet Bowl XXXVIII," referring to the recent half-time show at the Super Bowl. Certainly that fits. Yet it might be referred to as the "Mirror Bowl," a jarring look into our nation's soul.
It took Justin Timberlake ripping a piece of Janet Jackson's bustier costume and baring her body to do it. Suddenly 90 million viewers, many of them children, were hit with an in-your-face display of porn.
Outrage ensued. Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said the FCC has received more than 200,000 complaints. One congresswoman said her fourth grade son saw the show and later told his mother that it was the talk of the schoolyard; Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) said we are a "toxic entertainment environment." Hearings have begun in the Senate and House.
That indecent moment culminated a show that featured crotch grabbing, suggestive, gyrating dancing, lewd lyrics, and the American flag worn as a poncho. Plus there were the commercials: One played on bestiality, with a monkey making a move on a young woman; another had a juvenile exclaiming a profanity and getting a bar of soap in his mouth; another featured the flatulence of a horse.
There it was. The sewer in our national soul on display at the Super Bowl, generally each year's most watched event, right before our children.
A few days later Janet Jackson gave a lame apology, "If I offended anyone… " Using "if" is not an apology; it's a cop-out. We can only be saddened if Miss Jackson has so descended into the tawdry foulness of pop music and is so out of touch with everyday decency that she doesn't know that what she did offended people and was inappropriate for children.
The whole thing could become a wake-up call. Dr. James Dobson says that due to the half-time show the FCC may take action on pollution on the airwaves. (However, this is the same FCC that decided some months ago that the f-word could be used live and in prime time if it was used as an adjective; but it could not be used to describe a sexual act.) Dr. Dobson said, "…[t]he television industry itself seems to be grasping the notion that lewdness and vulgarity may not be the best way to win viewers after all."
We can be hopeful if what Dr. Dobson sees comes about. However, any wake-up call needs to go further, much further. It needs to extend into our pulpits — an awakening of the prophetic voice. The ultimate answer after all is not more government action or the TV industry tidying up a bit. No, the answer is repentance.
That message must come from the pulpit.
Broadcaster Bill O'Reilly, commenting on what must be done, stated, "I'd like to see the churches do it, but churches are asleep at the wheel."
Prophets are not to come from politicians, bureaucrats or TV executives. They are to come from preachers. The soul of our nation is at stake; right now our nation needs clear, candid prophetic voices speaking into our national soul calling it to return to the Lord.
This is urgent. It puts into focus a question with which we ended our last visit, "Why are we not judged?" Our society is sinning boldly. With abandon — look at the brazenness of the half-time show. We will face the consequences eventually.
The reason we are not judged, the reason we are still here, the reason there is still an America, is because of God's mercy, and only because of God's mercy.
We must not trifle with such God-given mercy, not presume on it, and feel we can sin with impunity. No, such mercy is intended graciously to give us opportunity to repent.
May we in the pulpit biblically address our nation's soul. Confront it with tears. It is treachery if we do not. Let us re-insert the gravity of sin and the terror of judgment back into our message.
The effect of that message could be profound: It could be a catalyst for a spiritual awakening, starting with revival in the Church.
Let us pray: Our gracious, Heavenly Father, the Super Bowl show revealed how brazen the sin in our nation's soul has become. In anguish we repent. Truly, Father, You have been so merciful. We pray that every pulpit will awaken to Your call to raise the prophetic voice. May we in the pulpit lead the way in repentance. May revival be birthed in our churches and spiritual awakening in our beloved nation. In Jesus' name, Amen.