I live in Kentucky, but I am not a native of this state. I am a born and bred Arkansan. I make it known to anyone who will listen. When I bring it up to Kentucky basketball fans, I am often mocked. For good reason. We won our championship back in 1994. Kentucky has won a billion.
I even got punked out by Cameron Mills one time in Rupp Arena about Arkansas’ lack of titles.
I’m just happy that we have a banner to hang. Things are looking up.
I say that to say this: There’ a huge game this weekend. University of Louisville vs. University of Kentucky. I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now. It’s the Final Four.
These teams have been battling the war of Armageddon since time began. They hate one another. Worse, the fans hate each other more. Rumor has it that the sports bars in downtown Louisville are only allowing either UK or UL fans in the door. They don’t want fights on game night. They know the score. Smart move.
Now, for my rant. I’ve lived in the blessed Bluegrass since 1995. I had no idea how much the people in Kentucky love their Wildcats. It took me a few years to understand it, but it goes beyond reason. Seriously.
Here’s a question I like to ask Kentucky fans while I’m watching a game with them. I’ll see a Kentucky player commit an awful foul. Or he’ll walk. Or he’ll lose his temper. Everyone in the country sees it. He’s guilty as sin. But the Kentucky fan says, “He’s getting ripped off by some biased officials!”
I’ll say, “Seriously? Did you see what happened? He was wrong?” Then my follow up question that I ask of every Kentucky fan. “Does living in Kentucky make you a basketball official? Does living in Kentucky make you smarter than every other basketball fan in the country?
I wish their answers were different every time I asked. It’s not. They answer the same way. They say, “Yes. It does.”
So, living in Kentucky makes them a better basketball fan, off court referee, game caller, recliner coach and observer of the game than any other human being on the face of the planet. Great.
For a while, this sentiment caused me some great distress. Then, I started thinking. UK fans aren’t alone in that type of thinking.
When I was in seminary, it was hard to find a church to attend in Louisville. Most churches had developed “seminary classes.” They didn’t like having seminary students in their “regular classes.” Know why? Because seminary students are know-it-alls. They tear down the teacher, tell him why he’s wrong, and challenge his every statement. It got pretty pitiful. It was hard to find a teacher for those classes.
When I was pastoring, I thought I was smarter than everyone in my congregation. I felt superior. Boy, was I wrong. I should have been submitting to them. Instead, I got proud, high and mighty. I should have been their servant, but instead I placed myself over them as their superior.
Kentucky fans think they know everything about basketball because they were born in the blessed Bluegrass. Not so. There’s not much humility in most Kentucky fans. Similarly, there’s not much humility in a man with a Master of Divinity. Or a pastor. Or a church member who relies on his education.
Christ calls us to be weak people. He wants us weak. He desires us to cast ourselves upon him while we are weak so that we might glorify His strength.
Wish I’d seen it coming years ago. Christ, our broken, bleeding Savior, is our role model. Let it always be.
“Why Seminary Can Never Qualify Anyone For Ministry” by Hershael York
Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.
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