Barb comes to church almost every week and sits with her family. She smiles but behind the smile — Barb’s life is a mess. Her drinking problem is out of control, and her husband Ken refuses to cover for her anymore. Those close to Barb know her problem, but they all pretend like everything’s just fine, a classic case of denial. Every Sunday Barb and her family dress in their Sunday best and go to church as the perfect family. Everyone at church looks at Barb and her family as the model family…they look so…perfect. Everything is about to unravel and she feels so lonely -
Sitting in the row behind Barb at church each Sunday morning is Joe. Everyone likes Joe, especially all the guys, because he’s a man’s man. Joe played football in college, and he’s filled with stories of athletic conquest. When people don’t know what to say to Joe they talk about football. Yet when Joe’s all alone, his heart is filled with emptiness, because of his inability to sustain long-term relationships. His marriage only lasted six months, and over the years, he’s driven away everyone close to him with his short fuse. When a friend asks Joe how things are going he quickly says, “Great…never been better .”
Joe and Barb have both learned by body language that church is a place for plastic people, a place for perfect people. So Barb’s become Barbie, complete with her husband Ken and her perfect plastic children. Joe’s become Mean Joe Green, a plastic action hero everyone admires but no one really knows. Inside Barb and Joe are dying, because they’re not made of plastic.
As a sports chaplain, you deal with athletes that are also trying to fit a plastic mold. A mold fashioned in their minds of what others expect, what fits their dreams, and is ultimately unfulfilling. Many fall into believing they are as valuable as they are good at their sport. They have learned the body language of our culture. Our Biblical chaplain, the Apostle John, wants to help you and me, as well as the athletes we work with to be authentic. This week we will look at his call to authenticity from I John.