March Newsletter

On February 6, the Burke (Nebraska) Girls’ Basketball team held its “Pink Out” game. “Pink Out” games are games that the schools designate as fund-raisers for a charitable cause. Both Harlan and IKM-Manning have held “Pink Out” games in the past, which has raised 1,000’s of dollars for cancer awareness. In their “Pink Out” game, Burke was raising funds for the “Make-a-Wish Foundation”. They wore pink uniforms that were to be auctioned off for additional funds. Although this was technically against the rules, since home teams are to wear “predominantly white” uniforms; things were going fine, until half time. That was when officials from the opposing team brought the pink uniforms to the attention of the officials. The officials called a technical foul on Burke, and gave the opposing team two free throws. The Nebraska High School Athletic Association backed the opposing team and the officials for enforcing this technical rule. "It was an obvious uniform violation by Burke,'' the NSAA's Jon Dolliver said, ”Unfortunately, there's not a lot of wiggle room in the rule book for that.'' If it was so obvious, then why was it not noticed until half time? And to say, there was not a lot of wiggle room is to say, there is some wiggle room. Why was it not used here? Yes, it was technically a violation of the rules. But it was not affecting the game in any way. The opposing team, their coaches, and their administrators could have ignored it (which would have been the honorable thing to do). The officials could have given a warning (which would have been the sensible thing to do). The NSAA could have apologized to Burke for this ridiculous ruling and incident (which would have been the right thing to do). In my opinion, the Burke girls were penalized for doing a good and charitable thing. They may have lost the game, but they were the real winners; and the opposing team, the officials, and the Nebraska High School Athletic Association were the losers.

Now, anyone who knows me; knows that I am a strong believer in the law and rules, especially God’s laws and rules. But those laws and rules must be applied with compassion and a little common sense. God’s laws are holy and just and good. God gave them to us, out of love for us. They are meant to protect us and teach us the difference between right and wrong.

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2: 27) In other words, the laws were made to benefit people, not the other way around. Martin Luther teaches us, there are two uses for the law. The law is to restrain evil in the world; and the law is to show us our imperfection and sin, thereby bringing us to Christ for forgiveness. We can never ignore God’s laws and rules; but we must always apply them out of love, to benefit our neighbors. For the rules and laws were made for us, not the other way around.

Your friend in Christ,

Pastor Ron