Before the whistle blows for the first time this year and the football goes tumbling through the air, there will be an act dripping with political significance.
It will come even before the singer takes the field and thousands stand with hand over heart, keeping one eye on the flag and one eye on the field, scanning for players who might be kneeling or raising their fist.
And it will probably come during and after, too.
That act is prayer. The participants may not think of it as political; they may be praying only for safety or inner peace or to draw near to their God. But when prayer and football intersect in highly visible ways, those moments—and the conversation around those moments—go beyond personal devotion, revealing and reflecting ongoing battles over the direction of American society and the meaning of American life.
Jake Meador is the editor-in-chief of Mere Orthodoxy. He is a 2010 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he studied English and History. He lives in Lincoln, NE with his wife Joie, their daughter Davy Joy, and sons Wendell, Austin, and Ambrose. Jake's writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Commonweal, Christianity Today, Fare Forward, the University Bookman, Books & Culture, First Things, National Review, Front Porch Republic, and The Run of Play and he has written or contributed to several books, including "In Search of the Common Good," "What Are Christians For?" (both with InterVarsity Press), "A Protestant Christendom?" (with Davenant Press), and "Telling the Stories Right" (with the Front Porch Republic Press).