Are you ready for some football? Oh yes! As I am writing this the sure signs of another NFL season are everywhere, and the Dallas Cowboys have already been in trouble — in the preseason! It seems that the new Cowboy mega, colossally-salaried star receiver would not come to practice. Do you remember how it all began?
Someone once told me that on the eighth day God said, "Let there be football," and it was good. Later that day, according to my source, God said, "Let there be one team to rule the others, to set the standard for excellence." And with that he plucked a star from the heavens and placed it on a helmet of silver and blue. "Let them be called the Dallas Cowboys" (this is the revised, agnostic, Da Vinci Code translation).
Somebody else told me that John Madden was at a Denver Broncos game and noticed a guarded red phone beside the head coach. He asked the coach about the phone, and the coach responded, "That's the phone that connects to God." Madden said, "God? Can I use it?" The coach said, "It will cost you $1,000." Madden paid the $1,000 and called God. After talking to Him, he was able to predict the scores of the upcoming games. He was 100 percent accurate. The next week he was in Green Bay and saw another red phone. Again, he received the same response and paid the $1,000. Madden used the phone and was able to predict the games for the next week. On the third week, he was in Dallas and there it was — the red phone. He asked if he could use the phone, and the coach responded that it would cost a quarter. Madden couldn't believe it. At Green Bay and Denver he had paid $1,000 each. The Dallas coach reassured him that yes, it was only a quarter — because it's a local call.
I heard one about Coach Bill Walsh arriving in heaven where St. Peter took him to a little two-room house with a faded 49ers banner hanging from the front porch. St. Peter told him that this was his house and that most people don't even get houses. Walsh looked at his house and then saw a huge three-story mansion with white marble columns and patios under all of the windows. Dallas Cowboys flags lined the sidewalk and a huge blue star banner hung between the marble columns. He thanked St. Peter for the house but asked him about the mansion on the hill. He couldn't understand why Tom Landry had such a mansion. St. Peter replied that the mansion wasn't Tom Landry's — it was his.
Many people didn't like the Cowboys because they were winners. There were five good reasons not to like the Cowboys — Super Bowl 6, 12, 27, 28, and 30. Lately, though, there have been other reasons people don't like the Cowboys. Here are a few of the newer jokes.
• A Dallas woman hysterically called 911 telling them that there was a robbery in progress in her home. The 911 operator told her that they were extremely busy at the moment and to just get his jersey number.
• What do you call a drug ring in Dallas? A huddle.
• Four Dallas Cowboys in a car. Who's driving? The police.
• The Cowboys had a twelve and five season this year, twelve arrests and five convictions.
• The Cowboys knew they had to do something for their defense, so they hired a new defensive coordinator. He graduates from law school in the fall.
• A sign: Will the lady who left her eleven kids at Texas Stadium please pick them up — they're beating Dallas 14-0.
• Why did Jerry Jones become the new owner of the Dallas Cowboys? He has a degree in criminology.
• How do you keep the Cowboys from catching a pass? You yell "Stop. Police. Drop it." And they will.
Sometimes you can discover the truth by following the money trail. You can also discover the truth by following the joke trail. Jokes are funny because they contain a kernel of truth. The joke trail leads to the conclusion that America's team — once thought of as God's boys — is now sometimes thought of as America's toys. Football is more about egos than about being little boys' heroes. Now, too often, it is more about "me" than about "we." The players can act as if they are the only team instead of a great team.
Is there a point to this? Maybe there is. Some of us may become arrogant, thinking we are members of an exalted church — even "America's church" — or worse, America's denomination. Let's end with one more joke.
A man arrived in heaven, and St. Peter showed him around. As they talked, St. Peter started to whisper. The new arrival asked why St. Peter was talking so softly. "Oh," he replied, "this is where the Baptists live and they think they are the only ones here."
Are you laughing? I'm not. Let's make it our "goal" this fall to change the "me" to "we" so we can draft more of America to God's team!
P.S. Since football is on my mind, here is one more observation. In football terms, God is the coach of the team and the pastor is the quarterback. All great teams protect the quarterback. Too many are getting sacked. As an ex-quarterback with more than my share of concussions, this season, let's create plays to protect the quarterback.
Charles Lowery is founder and president of LIFE, Inc. and is in a fulltime speaking ministry. You may contact LIFE, Inc. at 903-881-9422 or www.charleslowery.com.