keepers of the faith

25933600114_a937ba1c49_zphoto credit: Peter Miller, Creative Commons

I play baseball every summer.

I’m being rather loose with the term baseball. It’s softball. And I’m using the term softball loosely here because we pitch to our own team.

I play three pitch softball that was undoubtedly designed for children but I love it.

We say it’s competitive because we are in the competitive division but we’re being as loose with the term competitive here as we are with the term baseball.

Yes people take it serious and want to win, but we can’t get away from the fact that it’s three pitch baseball. There is a threshold on how serious this can be taken. There is a point where you actually miss what we’re doing if you take it too seriously.

Winning is a part of it, but far more it’s about being with friends, being outside, pretending to be good at something because with super powerful bats and a good friend pitching to me even I can hit a grand slam every now and again.

It’s not about baseball.

But you can absolutely see when someone misses that.

For years I played with my younger brother and every year he doesn’t play I miss him. It’s just not the same. He was so good at drawing out the absurdity of those who took it a little too serious, or a lot to serious. He played in skater shoes, wearing jeans and a flannel jacket. He would put his long hair in a ponytail on the top of his head, swing it around and gleefully shout “I’m a fountain!”

He would yell at me from across the diamond while he played 3rd base and I played 1st

“Hey Phil, do you want touch my chest hair? It’s soft like a bunny” Then he’d pull up his shirt to show me.

“Hey Phil, do you remember that time we played Mario Sunshine until like 2 in the morning? When it was prime time for rhyme time? This time is a prime time for rhyme time” then would processed to rhyme words with himself for 20 minutes.

“Hey Phil, nice play, plus 3 to your speed stats.”

“Hey Phil, you should try and catch the next ball with your teeth.”

It was great.

But the keepers of the game HATED it.

“Can you get him to shut up?” — Nope.

“Is he gonna talk the entire game” — Absolutely.

There is a right way to play baseball. It’s obvious. You need to respect the history of it. You just don’t do those things. At least that’s was how they saw it. But James understood what was happening in a different way. He was there to have fun because, and I cannot stress this point enough, it was pitch to your own team 3 pitch.

Were the other people doing it wrong when they took this as serious as the World Series? No, not technically, but you have to wonder if they were just missing something. Just didn’t really get what was happening or why this was going on. They latched on to a part of the activity, the competition, and blew it out to ridiculous portions. Far beyond what was probably the intent.

Again, it isn’t wrong, but I was a strange response every time and one that often said more about the person frustrated than it did James.

I was talking with a friend about his experience the other day and heard the same sort of keeper of the game ideas come pouring out in his story.

“So you don’t care about the Bible anymore then?”

“Oh, so truth isn’t important?”

“What about the 2000 years of history, were they all wrong?”

“Its sad God isn’t important to you anymore”

And all I can think it just get over yourself.

You have so missed the point I don’t know even know where to start.

You have taken ideas and parts and blown them up to be so much bigger than they were probably intended to be.

You are not the keeper of THE faith. You live and experience and keep A faith. You live and preach a type of Christianity, but it’s not THE Christianity. You are not the authority. It’s not your choice to make or your place to judge if someone doesn’t care about the bible or if truth matters or how they hold history. A different way of seeing it isn’t a wrong way of seeing it.

But that’s the problem layered in all of those comments. It is a smug arrogance and implied superiority. The passive aggressive condemnation. You’ve got it, the direct word of God and how it is to be interpreted and lived and applied for all of time.

We all care about the bible. We all care about truth and history and Jesus. Some care more about one part than another. Some centre the Bible, others Jesus, and others church history or the structure of the church.

But the direct unassailable interpretation? None of us have that.

And to me, like those keepers of the game yell at James, I can’t help but think the issue your raising is so much more to do with you than with the person you’re condemning.

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2 thoughts on “keepers of the faith

    • Yeah, I love that memory. James playing baseball was James at his best in so many ways. He was quirky, brazen, confident, so much fun and never anyone but himself.

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