The sports bubble is a fascinating idea. In order to get professional sports up and going, some leagues are creating safe bubbles. The idea is to sequester all the athletes, coaches, trainers, media, and all crucial people connected to the sport into one invisible bubble. If they can ensure nobody inside the bubble has COVID-19, then the league will be a success. Besides discovering that they forgot to include a Starbucks inside the National Women’s Soccer League bubble, these bubbles seem to be working.
My hunch is that overall, this plan will work. Humans are good at creating bubbles. We’ve masterfully spent years and years creating bubbles to keep some people in and some people out. These bubbles are so inconspicuous that we often don’t even realize we’re in them.
I grew up with only white teachers, coaches, mentors, and role models. It wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I had a teacher who was not white. She was a Spanish teacher. My second professor of color forever changed my life. He taught “Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement.” He was the best lecturer I had ever experienced. He preached at our campus’ student Bible study and his preaching knocked me off my feet each time. He inspired me to be a better human and a better Christian. I was 21 when I took his course.
I attended top-ranked public schools my whole life and went to a well-respected state university. By all measures, I’ve had access to a phenomenal education, but I lament the fact I didn’t have a positive black role model in my life until I was 21. I am grateful for my education, but the lack of diversity in teachers and mentors in my childhood left me with a limited perspective on the world, something that an AP calculus class just can’t fill.
The more I learn about U.S. history and the history in Dallas, I’m left to wonder if the lack of diversity in my life was not an accident. Years and years of racist systems went into crafting a bubble that would keep me removed from other races, cultures, and perspectives. These bubbles are so well crafted that well-intentioned, caring people move to them. I am one of those people. When I had the opportunity to move back to the area where I grew up, I moved to the bubble next door for the sake of “safety, good schools, and strong property values.” (To learn more about systemic racism, visit the website Dismantling Racism or for a quick example, read The American Dream While Black: ‘Locked in a Vicious Cycle’.)
So often we don’t even realize we are in one of these bubbles and I’ve often found that one’s default is to deny the bubble exists once someone else points it out. It’s certainly no fault of our own if we grew up in a bubble and, for the most part, people in the bubble are great and loving people. But what do we do once we admit the bubble exists and that some people, because of their race, do not have access to our bubble? While the bubble has the benefits we are told matter most, I wonder if it has some very unhealthy effects. So what do we do?
We must look for a vaccine. The sports worlds will exist in their bubbles until doctors create a vaccine. Jesus Christ offers the church and the world a vaccine. We call this salvation. This is freedom from injustice, racism (individual and systemic), greed, and selfishness. It’s freedom from the crippling effects of poverty in our society. It’s freedom for the captives, recovery of sight for the blind and a release from oppression (Luke 4:18-19). Christ came to bring salvation, not just in an afterlife type of way, but as an opportunity to find and share freedom for all people. It’s the freedom to pop our bubbles and look to Christ for security rather than property values or politics.
The Kingdom of God that Christ calls us to spread is not one of creating bubbles, but instead one of creating a world with all the benefits of a bubble that are accessible to all. Let’s do our part of noticing the bubbles in which we exist, popping the bubbles that need to be popped, and then spreading the vision of the Kingdom of God which is much better than any manufactured bubble.
We can’t live into the vision of the Kingdom of God and not work toward addressing the faults inside our bubble. We have a team of people at Vista Ridge UMC working together to learn and move toward action. To stay informed about upcoming opportunities, email [email protected] to be added to our email group. On Wednesday at 7 p.m., we’ll have discussions based on the video, “Church: Based on the Beloved Community.” Watch it ahead of time and then join our Zoom call. Let’s get out of our bubble together.
Meeting ID: 873 7482 5071, password: vrumc