Sunday's big contest

I guess that with the big showdown coming on Sunday, I should at least give a nod to popular culture and let the readers of my journal know that I am not completely oblivious to the events that capture the attention of so many.

Sometimes between 8 and 9 pm on Sunday, we should know who he winners and losers are.

I’ve tried to walk a fine line and not show any particular loyalty to one side verses the other. For at least a decade, a member of our congregation who loved to watch football would sign up to be the lay reader on the day of the big game and then ask me to write a script that included a few biblical references and mentioned the teams that were lining up against each other. I tried to carefully avoid saying that God, or even our particular congregation, takes sides in such events. I tried to leave it open that while we could pray for safety and a lack of injury, praying for one side to win or the other side to lose was probably not the kind of prayer that was appropriate.

In addition to the theological considerations, it is simply the case that our congregation is incredibly diverse and there would always be people on both sides of every issue that might come before the congregation. I have no urge to split the church and as pastor, I definitely do not want to be seen as one who takes sides.

Nonetheless I do have my opinions. I try to keep them to myself for the most part, but my biases do show from time to time. I am, after all, human and I do have loyalties that are steeped in family story and tradition.

Rather than tell you who I wan to win, however, I’ll just offer a bit of information that might show a bit of both sides of how the contest might come out.

If we take this in alphabetical order, to avoid any appearance of favoritism, I guess that the place to start is with Fabricio Alvarado. When he left the Catholic Church, he cast his lot with a really Evangelical group. I’m a Protestant, but my loyalties don’t drift to the king of gee whiz, rock band, screening and crying mega church where people get baptized so many times that they get wrinkles on their souls. But that’s where Alvarado landed when he became a preacher.

Oh, did you think that this journal entry was going to be about a football game?

Alvarado joins Antonio Desanti, Juan Castro, and Rodolfo Piza as the leading four candidates in a field of 13 vying for the role of President of Costa Rica. Voting takes place on Sunday and if no candidate achieves 40% of the vote, which is not expected to happen, then the two who get the most votes will face an runoff election. Most of the time Costa Rican Presidential elections end in a runoff. I’m thinking that two of these four will be facing off, but I’m not sure which two.

Normally, I’d say that Alvarado, the Pentecostal preacher with no particular political experience or talent, who represents the National Restoration Party, wouldn’t be in the running. But that was before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) issued a ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. That is a binding decision for Costa Rica. All of the other candidates, including others who disagree with the decision, are saying that, Costa Rica is bound to its commitments to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Alvarado says if elected. he’ll withdraw Costa Rica from the court. The announcement boosted him from about 14% on 17% in just a few days. Now he’s in the running. Desanti is the most experienced of the candidates and is the candidate of the National Liberation Party (PLN). Castro is a criminal lawyer with a very combative style and engaging speaking style and is the candidate of the National Integration Party (PIN). Piza is also a lawyer and the son of a Supreme Court justice. He has raised the hopes of the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC). He ran in 2014, when Rodolfo Hernandez dropped out of the race. He didn’t make it to the second round in that race, but he has a shot this year.

I don’t have a vote in the race and while I’ll probably check the Internet for the results on Sunday Evening, I think I’ll watch football on television instead. There is, after all, a pretty well recognized game on that day. Kickoff is at 4:30 in our time zone in the face-off between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. I’m sort of glad that I don’t have to write a script for our lay reader this year. While the word Patriot doesn’t actually appear in the Bible, and New England isn’t a biblical region, either, it is the zone of the country where our particular denomination is strongest. We are, after all, partly made up of the church that founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony. We’re pretty big in New England. So Boston vs Philadelphia should be an easy choice. On the other hand, the reading of the Hebrew Scriptures for Sunday mentions Eagles directly: ‘Those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like EAGLES, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

I hope you can see why I thought it might be safer to discuss the elections in Costa Rica instead of trying to make some kind of prediction about which football team will win the Super Bowl.

Costa Ricans love of the pageantry of elections. There’ll be taxis running around the city honking their horns in rhythm with the theme songs of the different parties, so that those wanting a ride to the polls can pick a driver whose political affiliations align with their own. Despite that, however, I’m betting that if you were to walk through downtown San Jose after the kickoff of the Super Bowl, there’ll be at least a half dozen bars and restaurants where the game is being shown on big screen televisions. They pay attention to USA Culture and to USA sport.

Here’s hoping your side wins!

Copyright (c) 2018 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!