For the Love of the Game

We took a trip this weekend to watch a minor league baseball team.

Biloxi Shuckers
No Better Place to Be

We have a family friend playing, a sweet boy who is living out his dream, a dream that my thirteen-year-old son also has hidden in his heart.

Many boys and girls dream of the one day when they will…

Play ball.

Dance professionally.

Run a company.

Write a book.

What dreams did you dream when you were young?

I thought about my own childhood dreams on the way home today. The five hour drive left me with plenty of time to reminisce on days gone by.

There was the street we passed that reminded me of the weekend I stayed there at fourteen, just a year or so older than my son is now.

Barely knowing the young woman who owned the house, a friend and I spent that weekend with her getting drunk and kissing older boys, making decisions that someone as young as I was should not have been allowed to make.

There were times that choices like that were placed on my shoulders, and, not understanding future consequences, I will admit to making the wrong decision almost every time.

Where does blame get placed when there’s nowhere for it to go?

Does responsibility disappear with forgiveness?

Can bad choices eventually be seen as God’s Providence?

Does God’s Providence erase horrific hurt?

I don’t know.

I’ve found myself saying I don’t know a lot lately.

I don’t know the answer to your question about Creation.

I don’t know the reason why things happen the way they do.

I don’t know what I think about certainty when it comes to a mysterious God.

I don’t know.

I don’t.

What I’m seeing is that the I don’t knows of life drive many to say, “I don’t believe.”

They give up on any kind of something because their answers turn up nothing.

That kind of despair is not only disheartening, it’s terrifying.

Where there is disillusionment, there is trouble…right?

Except…

What if there’s not?

What if it’s not only okay, but completely normal, to question God?

What if He’s big enough to handle my human concern?

What if He’s already built within the framework of humanity, the capacity to seek and find?

And when finding doesn’t come easily, to lie in wait–and, even with that discomfort–to be okay? Content, even?

What if He really is love? What if He really is joy and peace and blessing and all those many things we so desperately need Him to be?

Track with me here, but what if our faith-walk was like the baseball game I watched last night?

Seven innings, some slow, some flying. Some confusing and some perfectly clear.

Some innings filled with monotony, and some filled with action.

The fans are cheering and jeering. The players are succeeding and failing.

The umpires, ruling the game, make some good calls and some bad ones. They are human, after all.

But the overall game is sweet. There is joy in the journey from first inning to seven.

And in the end, the players are okay. Some are battered and bruised, some have lost that particular game.

But deep down, they’re all winning because they have a love for the game.

What matters more than anything in those hours they play is that they all work together. If one stumbles, the others lift that one up. No one takes too much credit, even if in one particular game, some do more work than others.

They love each other because they love the game.

Milwaukee Brewers Double-A team Biloxi Shuckers ready to embark on 55-game  road trip
espn.com

The last few days I’ve been listening to “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill,” a podcast by Christianity Today.

For me, it’s one more link to the chain I’ve been wrapping around my heart when it comes to blocking out Evangelical Christianity.

I’ve known the fruit is rotten on the dying tree for some time, but I haven’t been able to fully understand why I thought that or what was causing me to all of a sudden speak out about it.

As I’ve said in a previous post, when I saw the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol, I saw every belief I’d known was wrong my whole life crumble before my eyes.

It was then that I realized it was time to stand up and speak up for what I knew to be true about my Creator.

He’s either loves what He created or not. It doesn’t go both ways.

He either forgives fully on the cross or He doesn’t forgive at all. It doesn’t go both ways.

He’s either a Creator or a Destroyer. But I’ve never known a Perfect Creator find a need to Destroy what He’s created. There’s something about that belief that all of us know inherently just can’t be right.

At some point in humanity, the “He gets to do what He wants” answer stopped working. We either had to start coming up with excuses about God, or we had to start questioning why we thought what we thought about Him in the first place.

My own questioning grew deeper as I began to teach medieval history. I’ll share more about that at a later date.

Father, I am seeking: I am hesitant and uncertain, but will you, O God, watch over each step of mine and guide me. - Saint Augustine
azquote

But suffice it to say, my faith blew up. And much like the people at Mars Hill, my deconversion from Evangelicalism was swift and slow, all at the same time.

Like a baseball game, my faith journey has had highs and lows. I’ve both screamed at God and begged Him to choose me. I’ve thought of myself as a Vessel of Truth and a Vessel of Wrath. I’ve hated myself and loved myself.

I’ve hit home runs and struck out.

The best action I’ve ever taken in my life was to stay in the game. To change some positions (my thoughts about God and who He is), to give up some things that were holding me back (drinking, judging, and distracting), and to commit to finishing.

It’s a privilege we have to be able to choose to love the game.

I won’t take that privilege lightly. I won’t fake my beliefs, stop asking questions, or refuse to love the earth and all that is in it.

I won’t give up believing.

Like the players on the field, I have important people watching.

And they need to see that it’s okay to not have all the answers…

And to still love the game just the same.

Have you listened to The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

monmil goods signature

1 thought on “For the Love of the Game

  1. Pingback: Is Mark Driscoll the Problem with Christianity? | Month to Milestones

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.