In all things related to Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys, and Arlington Stadium, I’m a big time Scrooge. Football fever and the joy of victory make me want to shutter the windows, turn off all mass media devices, and sit in a corner listening to opera. (I’m not a big opera fan, either, but as an entertainment form, it seems about as far removed from pro football as you can get. Do you feel my desperation?).
Then I read a quote that put it all into perspective. Robert Jeffress, pastor of Dallas’ First Baptist Church, recently referenced Arlington Stadium while discussing his church’s plans to build a $130 million “church campus” in downtown Dallas. (Guess he finally figured out that the word “mega-church” is scary to a whole lot of people). The blueprints include a 3,000 seat worship center, a 500 space parking garage, and a “towering stone waterfall topped with a luminescent cross.” Of his “spiritual oasis,” Jeffress said: “I think if Jerry Jones can build a $1.3 billion temple to the god of sports out there in Arlington, we can spend [a tenth of that] to build a facility for the glory of the one and only God.”
How does one begin to address this startlingly clueless statement from a major Christian pastor? Visions of rich men, eyes of needles, and camels danced in my mind, accompanied by a new (and very mild, and very conditional) appreciation for Jerry Jones. He’s out to score gobs of money and ego points from his Arlington temple to the God of Sports, and he’s not pretending otherwise. At the very least, Jones understands the gospel of professional sports a lot better than Jeffress understands what Jesus taught.