Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why Do Baseball Players Practice?

Last night, we took our second son to his first T-ball practice. It's remarkable to watch kindergardeners demonstrate real life "comedy of errors." In fact, everything they do is an error at this age. Then I got to thinking about how experienced players play the game a baseball and how the same is true there. Every play, every pitch, every swing, every act contains some aspect of a mistake. If the batter hits the ball, it's usually due to a mistake on the pitcher's part. Most of the time, the batter does not hit the ball, which means that to be a good hitter, you are going to make lots of mistakes. The fact is that a professional baseball player will get into the hall of fame if he is successful 1/3 of the time. This means that even the best hitters fail at least 66% of the time.

Baseball is full of mistakes. But that's why players practice. They aim to get good enough to overcome those mistakes because they know that they cannot be eliminated.

Life is full of mistakes. The same it true about church, about community, about our life on mission in this world and our personal walk with God. Maturity in Christ is not about living up to some kind of "do's and don'ts based moral norm exhibited in Jesus so that we can say "Look at me. Today, I did what Jesus did." We are not trying to eliminate our mistakes. Because the more we focus on eliminating mistakes the more we will make. Instead we are called to practice our life in Christ so that our practices of prayer become our life, so that our practices of submitting to other in humility become our life, so that our practices of hospitable conversation with our neighbors becomes our life.

Growing up in Christ is not about eliminating our errors. It's about investing in practices that shape our love for God and others. Of course the bi-product will be the errors become fewer, but life is still life. There are very few "perfect games" in baseball, and even fewer in life. That's ok because we are practicing the ways of the Spirit who empowers us to live in communion with God in the midst of a far from perfect life.


Anonymous said...

I immediately think of the emphasis on sin I grew up with in a semi-fundamentalist church. They talked about sin all the time, so much that by the time I was an adult I legitimately believed avoiding sin was the point of a Christian life. When I was shown it was about love it was a paradigm shift for me. I don't think the church realized the messages it was implicitly teaching. Great post - love this subject (put it in a book soon?)

Scott Boren said...

You are right on. It's sad that so many in the church are scared to think this way. They are more interested in sin management than empowering people with love.