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9.18.2005    |    "God is not a Yankees fan"
Well, I used to think He was, growing up in the Bronx. When I first became a baseball fan, the hometown Yankees were not only the team to beat; they were almost a sure bet to get into the World Series. It was easy, far too easy, to fall into the trap of confusing human success with God's plan for the universe. Of course, last fall, when those so-and-sos from Boston usurped the Bronx Bombers' throne, then I knew that God was no longer in his heaven. Leastwise insofar as He actually might care about baseball.

The full quotation in the title is from a Washington Post story about Baseball Chapel. Baseball Chapel's stated mission, from their website, is "To bring encouragement to people in the world of professional baseball through the Gospel so that some become discipled followers of Jesus Christ." The Post story is a nice survey of how that is working for some players and others in the Bigs and in the minors.

The full quotation is from Wayne Beilgard, a chapel leader for the Milwaukee Brewers:
"I get a ton of people saying, 'Hey, Wayne, you gotta pray harder for the Brewers,' " said Wayne Beilgard, chapel leader for the Milwaukee Brewers. "I tell them, 'God doesn't choose sides in baseball. God is not a Yankees fan.'"
Wayne Beilgard's got it exactly right. Not only is God not a Yankees fan, he's not even a Boston Red Sox fan (sorry, John Kerry...). Which brings into question the entire notion of invoking the Deity in a prayer for the victory of any team over another.

God might prefer one group of sinners (any team; any grouping of mere humans) over another. But He will offer His love in the way that best suits His purposes. The hardest truth of all? Sometimes that means your team should lose, in order that they may be better open to God's healing power.

God is not human; He does not respond to threats or bribery or cajolery. No amount of praise (or other alternatives to burnt offerings) was going to get Him to let the Yankees win last year over the Red Sox. It simply wasn't in His cards.

And you'd best believe that the Yankees, and their fans, including yours truly, sorely needed an industrial-sized helping of vitamin "H" for humility.
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Blogger maverick mindset said...

I don't follow baseball. In fact here in Australia it's profile doesn't seem to rise much beyond the local neighbourhood teams. My game is Rugby League football, and I have just watched my team bow very unceremoniously out of the finals series, and yes - I prayed for their victory. We do need to keep a perspective on how this all fits into God's big picture because I doubt that he's a fan of Rugby League either. A great Post. Thanks.

5:22 PM, September 19, 2005  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.