We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Monday, April 29, 2013

Slowly Drifting Toward the Kingdom

It is, admittedly, a painfully slow drift toward a more peaceful world, but there is evidence (as I've written before here) that the human race is evolving in that direction.  It is not clear if it is actually another piece of that evidence or not, but a recent opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune entitled, "American football industry is on its deathbed," by John Kass has certainly gotten its share of attention. Kass argues that a combination of factors related to the inherent violence of the sport will lead to its extinction.  One factor is the many lawsuits against schools, colleges, and professional teams.  Former players and their families are suing for the physical pain and hurt caused by the game.  The other main factor is parents.  Kass argues that more and more parents are keeping their kids out of football because they know how dangerous it is for them.  He writes, "In cultural terms, parents who send their 10-year-olds to play football might as well hold up signs saying they'd like to give their children cigarettes and whiskey."  Lawsuits will "overwhelm" the game even as there are fewer and fewer young athletes taking part in it.

OK, maybe Kass is overstating the case.  In the absence of a good deal of research, who is to say?  But, if you do a Google search on the question, "Is football in decline?", you come up with a good deal of opinions out there supporting the idea that it is either in decline or about to change radically because of the findings of medical science about the physical consequences involved in playing football. One of the first hits on my search list was, "The Coming Decline of American Football," which makes some of the same points Kass makes.

The Kingdom is not going to come in some great cataclysmic event, whatever the rapture crowd believes.  It is coming, in fact, through the quiet work of the Spirit working through many ways and means in concert with humanity itself.  As this debate over American rules football suggests, we no longer value violence in the way our race once did, or at least we no longer value it to the degree we once did.  And in spite of the headlines, nations and individuals are less given to resorting to violence to get what we want.  We have a long, long, very long way to go, but slowly we are drifting toward the Kingdom.  Amen.