My husband loves to watch basketball. And the other day (while largely ignoring the game on the TV), I asked him why the players on the home court were wearing boring white uniforms and the away teams wore the “pretty” colorful ones. I’d think the home team should be more fabulous looking, since they are on their own turf. He said, “That’s just the way it is.” Obviously, sports fashion choices matter a little more to me than they do to him. But I expect that most men don’t pay much attention to the jersey color, only enough to figure out which team they’re cheering for that game.
Bear with me on this analogy, because I’m still working out the kinks, but it seems like I wear different jerseys for different occasions too. I wear my fancy, pretty colored jersey to church and with fellow Christians. I boldly proclaim the team colors and show my allegiance.
But then when I’m away, at the workplace and hanging out with non-Christians, I wear the white uniform, the one that doesn’t show my team so clearly. The team colors aren’t as easy to see, and I blend in with the crowd a lot better. And I’m not sure sure that’s a good thing.
In both cases, I’m still playing for my team (God’s team), but I’m a different type of player. When I’m playing away games (with unbelievers), I’m less of a team player, harder to spot by my fellow teammates and more prone to hang out on the sidelines. Basically, my whole heart is not really in the game.
I’m going to take this one step further and say that when I’m outside the church, and sadly, sometimes when I’m in it, I’ll swap that team logo for my own logo. Instead of playing for Christ’s team, I’ll go for my own wins. So, speaking to an unbeliever, I’d represent myself, instead of representing Christ. I might even put on another team’s logo, some idol that I’m fixated on and serving. Instead of God’s team logo, I’ll stick a dollar sign or a chocolate bar in its place.
I realize that when I’m hanging out with Christians and when I’m hanging out with non-believers, I might behave a little differently. You can still have integrity and learn to meet non-Christians where they are. But I need to learn how to stay in the game, to boldly wear my team’s colors, even when my team is the underdog and is grossly unpopular. Being in Seattle, with our long suffering home teams, this analogy is particularly applicable.
And the NBA really needs to rethink the white home team jerseys. They are really boring!