Politics and the Parish - a Parable
You are the rector of a parish full of families and their high school kids (yeah, we’re already in fantasy land if you’re Episcopalian).
About half the teens attend Matt Kennedy High School, and several of them play on its football team. The team is just about to play for your city’s berth in the state championship playoff.
The other half of the teens attend Sarah Hey High (you don’t know how long I’ve wanted to type that). Lo and behold, several of them play for their football team, which is set to play Kennedy high for that playoff birth and a year of major bragging rights.
Matt Kennedy High sits in an affluent neighborhood. The students are mostly white, rich, academically proficient and headed for promising futures. They have case upon case of trophies for both athletic and academic triumphs. College scouts frequent their games. They’ve also beaten Hey High for fifteen straight years.
Sarah Hey High sits on the edge of your crumbling downtown. Its students are a mix of poor whites and third world immigrants. Many of their families are on some form of public assistance and few of the families have both parents together in the home. Their graduation rate is among the lowest in the state. Although they have a couple of promising players this year, college scouts seldom come to their games. Did I mention they’ve lost to Kennedy High in the big football season ender for the last fifteen years?
So, here we are on the Sunday before the game. Parishioners are sporting school colors and have tributes to their player kids painted on their cars. The parish is a microcosm of your city - everybody’s thinking about the game.
So, does God care who wins? How do you acknowledge the upcoming game during the liturgy, if at all? What behaviors will you consider appropriate and inappropriate for your parishioners, whether during the liturgy, announcements or coffee hour?
Do you go to the game? If so, do you sit with the families in the Kennedy bleachers or the Hey bleachers?
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