25 October 2007

Baseball and Religion

With the World Series underway, here's a fascinating article over at "Get Religion" on the Christianity and the character of the Colorado Rockies team. I must say that I appreciate this kind of a distinction. The owners are not looking for "Christian baseball players," per se, but rather for players with good character and values (and they just happen to be Christians). In such a setting - a business setting, a secular setting, an entertainment venue etc. (and let's face it, professional sports is all three!) - that's how Christians shine best. Just do the job to the best of one's ability and with character informed and shaped by the Love of God in Christ Jesus, and, hey, some pretty amazing things can happen. Although I do wonder if we'll see similar articles about how the Christian character of a team or its individual players helps them and sustains them during the rough times, such as times of losing the World Series, or being less than successful (or even, as my favorite football team is now experiencing, a winless season)!


Rev. Timothy D. May said...

Watch both sides. Religion can become entertaining like baseball. Baseball teams (or teams of any sport) can take on divine significance such as what happened in the mid-1990s when the Packers won the Super Bowl. A book was published with the title, "God's Team." (for real! This raises a theological question about where God is residing during any athletic season or during any given play. Also, it raises some publishing questions. :-))

To echo your point, the Christian character of the team does not guarantee success (pax Calvin) but it may help to add integrity to the game/sport when young fans see how the players on the field react to both winning and losing (character).

Finally, baseball is an intriguing sport in that it is one of the slowest sports, it has a clear pattern and direction, and it is a sport that is dependent on and highlights both individuals and the team. It is a game that tries and teaches patience (ie, only patient fans can fully enjoy it and keep coming back). Finally, it offers time for reflection between innings, outs and sometimes even between pitches. At the end of the game there is clear resolution.

Except that baseball is purely secular (and, in my opinion, should stay that way), it has much in common with and reminds one of the liturgy . . .

Randy Asburry said...

Ah, yes, the "liturgy" of baseball! :-) I've always liked the analogy - I believe it was by Senkbeil - of the "liturgy" of football. There is the ritual of the four downs, there is the ritual of the huddle, the lining up at the line, the call and cadence, the snap, and finally running the play. As I recall, the point was that we don't change such a ritual just because some fans may not comprehend it, but rather we teach them what it all does and means.

Some noteworthy connections to be sure!