Last month, Hannah, wrote to The Gazette in a child's handwriting asking if God cares about who wins the Super Bowl, Olympics and other sporting events. These columns are our response to her letter, which can be seen by clicking here.
Mom was stunned.
She had just listened in the late 1970s to a Bible-school teacher offer parking advice. Pray as you approach a busy mall, the teacher said, and The Creator of the World will provide a choice parking space.
Mom and dad often pondered how to make what was important to God important to them and their five children. It never occurred to mom and dad to try to make what was important to them important to God.
A parking space?
A football game?
No, Hannah. God does not care who wins the Super Bowl, or the World Series, or the Stanley Cup, or the World Cup, or the NCAA Tournament, or the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, or the NBA Finals, or the 4A girls' basketball state title.
God wants us to embrace the crusades The Creator embraces. God despises violence and intolerance and arrogance and greed. God wonders why so many remain hungry while so many squander so much food and wealth.
God is not wondering if LeBron James will win a third straight NBA title or if Colorado's Tad Boyle can return his shattered team to the NCAA Tournament or if Peyton Manning can crown his career with a Super Bowl victory.
These are earthly concerns, and God, as you might expect, places concerns on heavenly things. The Creator has far bigger concerns than mere games.
Mom was baffled by a trend that continues to gain momentum. This trend seeks to put God's stamp where it fails to belong.
God, we're told by mega-wealthy ministers, wants us to be rich.
John the Baptist, God's man if ever there was one, wandered the wilderness wearing a loin cloth while munching on locusts.
God, we're told, wants us to be winners.
Elijah, God's prophet, ranks among the Old Testament's grandest losers. He proclaimed God's will during an era when few listened. He followed God with a rare intensity yet found virtually none of what the world would define as success.
I did not - and this will come as no great surprise - earn a doctorate in biblical studies, but my brother did. The Rev. Paul Leon Ramsey serves as minister at a century-old congregation on the outskirts of Denver.
He's a Broncos fan, as in fanatic. He's ready, at any time, to argue just about any Broncos-related topic. He will, for instance, argue about the merits of Josh McDaniels. I call Josh "The Boy Blunder." Paul believes, perhaps correctly, McDaniels played a crucial role in building the current Broncos.
Paul loves the Broncos, but he doesn't believe God cares one way or the other about his Broncos. He separates, as we all should, his faith from his fandom.
Paul shares my mother's disdain for creating a God in our image, instead of the other way around. He talks about a "remote-control God," a God who is at our beck and call, a God who just happens to believe everything we believe.
Hannah, I awaken every day troubled and challenged and enlivened and inspired by the same quest that seized the heart of my mother.
Yes, she sat beside me on many a Sunday afternoon, cheering for the Broncos, as lost as anyone in the fun and silliness of immersion in our state's secular religion.
But she realized this was a mere game.
She spent each Sunday morning in a church pew, seeking to embrace what was important to her God.
Don't ever reverse the order.
- Twitter: @davidlukeramsey