The Need For A Dynamic Element
Our age is particularly "special" given that it is hard for people to find things that matter in their lives and that is what makes our modern society very different from others in the past. We have lost meaning and meaning refers to what is scared. Although there are individuals whose religion may provide them with what is sacred, the sacred does not play a big role in society as it once did, given that society as a whole has lost a general agreement on what is sacred which grounds meaning in our lives.
Sean Durrance Kelly tells us that the way in which you can find meaning in big sporting events is that you can experience for a moment along with others the great event that happens on the field or arena by raising together on the couch or stadium seats.
Furthermore, big sporting events such as soccer, baseball, and gymnastics serve as today's "sacred." I think of the gold medal given out to those who achieve sporting excellence. Gold is the symbol of excellence. The idea is that what is at the top of the hierarchy is incorruptible, noble, and shines like the sun; therefore, gold is associated with the hierarchy. Gold is awarded to those at the top position, as they are manifestations of the ideal. You watch a gymnastic performance in which a contestant flawlessly goes about their routine. You will see everyone clapping at the end because we are there the see what I human being can do. Then the next contestant comes out who has to beat the bar that has already been raised high by the previous contestant. The contestant will put themselves right on the edge of chaos to push themselves further towards their perfection than they have ever done before. At the end of their routine, they present themselves, and there is a gesture of triumph that goes along with that. This is when everyone jumps up from the audience and claps like mad. We have to ask why do we do that? I would say, it grabs the very core of our being, and standing is an act of worship of the person or of the idea that someone has gone beyond their own perfection into the domain of chaos to establish order right in front of your eyes. In that moment, you are happy to be alive and life itself is to be experienced by celebration, and everyone expects you to celebrate.
In these ways, football and big event sports like gymnastics become a version of the scared in how it is a shared experienced which has "meaning" that everyone can agree on as being significant, both as a collective and to the individual. Big sporting events are a part of a "religion" to the extent of how they encourage rituals not uncommon to religious rituals. Religious rituals are behaviors or practices that are either required or expected of the members of a particular group. Big sporting events are a part of a "religion" also to the extent that they have religious experiences. Religious experiences refers to the conviction or sensation that one is connected to "the divine." In our case, a religious experience refers to the conviction or sensation that one is connected to the ideal which has been manifested before oneself.
Christians often describe God through three manifestations that we call the Holy Trinity or the God Head (the father [God], the Son [Jesus], and the Holy Spirit). "Holy Spirit" is a sometimes used as a term that Christians use to describe a religious experience and the sacred within lives. Religion has historically been an impetus to social change, and what is sacred (or religious experience) does not play a big role in society as it once did given the understanding that society as a whole has lost a general agreement on what is sacred which "grounds" meaning in our lives. We are left to wonder where the Holy Spirit of western Christianity may be able to create change in society as a whole where American society has grown static. We are now wondering what the potential role of the Holy Spirit (what is sacred) plays in society, and how should the Holy Spirit manifest itself in society to make American society innovative again, not static.
If power/tyranny is absolute in a society, the state becomes static, and when the underlying environment changes (which it will) there is no force to enable innovation, so the state collapses. In reflection to this, the question that should be posed, in a sense, is “Isn’t the case that order can prevail in such a circumstance?” The answer is “Yes, 'order' is necessary, but once order becomes absolute order, which is essentially absolute tyranny, the state becomes so rigid that it cannot withstand any environmental changes.” The experience the world has undergone has been sufficient enough so that the stories point to the same thing, which is that there is a dynamic element that has to be preserved in the order, or the order will collapse. One of the arguments I am putting forth with the Biblical perspective is that the dynamic element that has to be preserved in the "order" is the Logos or the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, or Logos, is the dynamic element that revitalizes the state. In Christianity, that is represented and manifested in the figure of Christ.
Orthodox Christianity places stress on the acting out of the Holy Spirit, whereas Western Christianity (post-reformation) places little emphasis. From a sociological perspective, one might say this was perhaps a mechanism devised to unify an increasingly large and diverse amount of people, uniting many city-states under the rubric of a Holy Roman Catholic empire, when before you had traditions that were more tribal. Although probably true in a certain sense, I would recommend further research. Part of Friedrich Nietzsche’s criticism of Western Christianity was that there was not enough stress on the acting out of Christ’s example (the manifestation of the Logos or the Holy Spirit) and too much justification on salvation by spoken accent. Faith by words only did not constitute a meta-narrative by which population was unified in, as did faith which had the manifested scared (the acting out of religious experience). In view of this, I believe that if Western Christianity adopted the Holy Spirit as the sacred which has to be manifested by physical actions, I believe it would revitalize the Holy Spirit as the sacred, that dynamic element or mechanism arising to unify an increasingly large and diverse amount of people in America.