He Gets Us, Travis Kelce, and Christians During the Super Bowl

Peter Englert
4 min readFeb 13, 2024

Wes Smith, one of the most significant influences on my life, used to say, "Make Jesus visible, beautiful, and believable to every person you meet."

I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday with my phone in my hand, engaging on social media. In between trying to corral my kids, the He Gets Us commercial showed multiple images of people washing each other’s feet. Then, Travis Kelce shoved Andy Reid, which I did not see live but would later see on the internet.

Both of these situations had differences to them but shared a similarity. Christians felt the opportunity to offer commentary. Social media is an open forum for discourses like these live events. I left thinking Sunday night about the words of Wes Smith — Did the engagement online leave people thinking Jesus and the Gospel was more visible, beautiful, and believable to others?

First, let's start with the Travis Kelce incident. Let's be clear: shoving an individual crosses a massive boundary. That issue needs to be addressed. On the other hand, I want you to imagine Travis Kelce was your brother or son. Would you have responded the same way if that was the case? Especially if you felt it was out of character of him?

I don't know personally Andy Reid or Travis Kelce. Perhaps they have an unhealthy, enmeshed relationship. They may have a healthy, differentiated relationship. Individuals in sports have a different perspective, especially those who have played football.

This situation highlights something all too real on social media — making positive or negative judgments on someone's worst moment on camera. We can hold in tension that Kelce crossed a line and that, as visible as he is in the livestream media, we probably don't know him. I would caution us to hold him accountable for the action while not making a character assessment based on what happened. There seems to be a quick response on social media.

Secondly, He Gets Us shared a commercial depicting people washing others' feet. Some responses critique using $7 million for a commercial about Jesus. Other responses indicated that the scenes of foot washing condoned values opposite of the Christian faith.

Ironically, He Gets Us is paying $7 million for commercials because they recognize the culture sees Christians as judgemental and closed-minded. It's a fair question about the best use of that money. On the other hand, I wonder how people who don't attend church interpret the responses of Christians who commented on the theology of people Jesus would wash feet for.

I have a friend who recently said to me, "Jesus is strong enough to defend Himself. He doesn't need our help."

Acts 5:34–39 tells a story about a religious leader named Gamaliel. The religious leaders wanted to stop the Apostles from preaching the Good News. Gamaliel says — that if you try to prevent them and God is behind it, they will be more successful, but if you leave them alone and it's of human origin, it will fail (Acts 5:38–39).

If you're concerned about the theology of the commercial, have you talked with someone who doesn't attend church? How did this commercial affect them or cause them to question Christianity?

You don't have to agree with He Gets Us. Still, this organization desires to make a positive difference in the world and is responding to actual criticism people have about Christianity. In many ways, the response to this commercial might have confirmed these very same critiques.

I left Sunday disappointed. A world that feels like Christians have more things they are against than they are for seems confirmed from my perspective. The world is watching how we respond. We're not only talking to Christians but also to people doubting, deconstructing, and potentially interested in Jesus.

My wife likes to ask in these situations, "What's happening inside of you?" I invite followers of Jesus to start with ourselves. When we feel the need to engage in these moments online, do we feel anger, anxiety, fear, or some other emotion? Then, is social media the right place and even the right time to engage someone with these issues?

I realize I have more of a pastoral heart than a prophetic (forth-telling) perspective. As someone who has conversations with a range of individuals within different stages of their spiritual journey, everyone agrees that we can engage social media better. I'm wondering how our responses online represented the Gospel.

I return to Wes Smith's statement, " Make Jesus visible, beautiful, and believable to every person you meet." That matters when we're online. It matters how we engage people who think differently than us.

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Peter Englert

Adult Ministries Director @Browncroft . Host on @WGWPodcast. Married to @RobynEnglert | Subscribe to my blog ➡️ http://eepurl.com