Pass the…Pigskin

Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win (1 Corinthians 9:24, Common English Bible).

This is part 12 in the November Thanksgiving series, “Pass the…” for a listing on the other posts please see the index.

I guess I should say first of all, please note that I said, “Pass the pigskin,” not “Pass the Pork Skins.” It is an important distinction for me. I enjoy both.

For about as long as I can remember football has been an important part of the Thanksgiving tradition for my family. We aren’t like some families who, as part of the tradition go out and have a family football game at some point during the day. Nor did I marry into a family where such was a part of the tradition.

Still, football, as much as the parades, as much as the turkey and dressing, has always been a part of the family tradition. One of my earliest Thanksgiving memories was being at my maternal grandparent’s home. As preparation for the meal that would come later was well underway, my grandparents were listening to the Texas-Texas A&M football game. I feel pretty certain that I am not the only one who has a memory such as this. Until Texas A&M left the Big XII Conference a few years ago, that game was part of many people’s family Thanksgiving tradition. Though I still get to watch the Aggies play on Thanksgiving night, playing LSU just isn’t the same as the annual match-up with the Longhorns used to be. Times do change.

For at least most of my adult life, the Thanksgiving tradition has gone, go to the location of the Thanksgiving meal, watch the Houston Thanksgiving parade, watch at least part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, eat, watch the Detroit Lions football game, eat, watch the Dallas Cowboys football game, eat, watch the Aggie football game and eat. The Lion’s and Cowboy’s games might get flipped by NFL scheduling. Oh, and did I mention, we eat?

The one thing I guess I left out above is, there is always a prayer of Thanksgiving that precedes at least one of those times we eat. We really do believe in being thankful and returning thanks, not just at Thanksgiving but at pretty well anytime we sit down to eat.

In our lesson for today Paul says we should, “run to win.” The Bible doesn’t talk about football. This is an analogy about running on the track and translating it over to life itself. Many analogies can be made using athletic endeavors. But, what I really wanted to say here is, I am thankful for football and those other pursuits. They provide a distraction, at least for a couple of hours from so much that is wrong in the world. And friends, after a week like we have had this past week, I am really thankful I can have a momentary distraction. I think we could all use it.

Much like the race for Paul was analogous to living the life in faith, the Thanksgiving football tradition, for me, is analogous to the many distractions we all face. Another Thanksgiving tradition with Cindy’s family are those who gather with the latest addition of the Houston Chronicle to look through all the many “Black Friday” ads and to plan out their Friday. I know, it is consumerism, but for me, at least for this blog, it is another Thanksgiving tradition that provides distraction for a little while, from the very real issues that are all around us.

I believe we all need those distractions. I am thankful for those distractions. So, whether your distraction, your tradition on Thanksgiving is to watch the parades or the football games (watching or playing) or flip through the numerous “Black Friday” ads, or playing a game of cards or dominoes with family or friends, or watching a movie or just curling up with a good book, take a moment to say thank you to God. You need that distraction and it is God who provides it for you.

We can never thank God enough for what we have.

Someone pass me the pigskin. Thank you God for providing us with distractions.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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