Today, I continue using spring training, and other ideas from baseball to spark insights on how to behave in the public forum as an educated person who brings value to the conversation on Christian belief.

 

THE BATTLE AXE:  Spring-training (04/11/2014)—For full Christian belief, there is only one message; and so, the process of acquiring perfected belief is simple, yet, profound (we say, deep; far-reaching in application, consequences, and effect).  Using familiar language, that of baseball, we can make an analogy to the Christian work of salvation, and to generate parables to convey various points.  For example, just as everyone who is fit to own a season ticket, or watch the game from the bleachers is not fit to play shortstop or center field, everyone who reads a book or has an opinion in a public forum is not fit to speak as a person having correct knowledge and a right relationship with GOD, or is a believer having place in the church of Jesus Christ.  There will always be those who neither “know the game,” nor play it, yet, who show no respect to those who can, and do.  Also, making the roster for a Series-bound team will require more than athleticism, physical strength, and stamina; there must be “chemistry”, and a good fit.  While homerun hitters and sluggers are important, those who master the automatic outs—laying down a bunt to advance the men on base, countless foul balls to work a pitcher’s arm before granting him the strike, and willingness to deliver the in-field fly (some say, a pop-up, a sacrifice) that allows a runner to sprint to the next base—are often the true heroes of a game.  To reach ones highest level of value, repetition of the fundamentals such as control of power, stance, and timing can never be regarded as “boring.”  The player who insists upon breaking bats, destroying the dugout, having locker-room hissy fits, throwing the punch that causes a brawl, and going nuke in anger or frustration, is quickly understood to be a distraction from the mission, a candidate for trade or release from contract, a liability to the owner and his teammates.  Just as the box scores, standings, overall stats and win/loss record all must be used together to describe a team’s performance, believers must master using the language, precepts, principles, proclamations, and prophecies contained within the Scriptures for the most correct appreciation of salvation for mankind through the operations of GOD, of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth:  so is every one that is born of the Spirit.  Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?  Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?  (John 3:  7-12, KJV)

 

There is a lot more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, there are many rules that govern play in baseball, and disputes frequently arise regarding their correct application.  In addition, there are recurring situations that demand input by a neutral, third-party having a privileged and intimate view of all action and exchange on the field (we say, umpires).  Unlike team coaches and managers, the officials tend to remain unknown, having no trading cards, celebrity or popularity among baseball fans.  Despite the continuing malice toward officials (Kill the ump!) with accusations of incompetence and cheating, umpires must fearlessly hold to their commission as guardians for the game, and as the caretakers who further establish its full integrity, and value.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to the measure of divine faith that resides in you.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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