Take Me Out to the Ballgame
When I launched out into the big, harsh world as an adult, the sweetest couple in the world drafted me as their surrogate daughter. Through my friendship with them, I have learned more about minor league baseball than I ever thought I needed to know. They are fans…and experts. They have visited nearly every minor league ballpark, own more paraphernalia of minor league teams than is healthy, and are on a first-name basis with the execs of their local team.
Personally, I don’t get too emotionally involved in minor league teams, though I enjoy attending games. They’re cheaper, after all, than major league games and often more family-friendly. However, I don’t understand putting all that emotional energy into a team of players that just. aren’t. good enough.
That’s why it’s the minor league.
Take Me Out of the Ballgame
A friend of mine recently stated:
“The whole time that I have been alive, the Church has been a subculture in America. If the world has movies, we have Christian movies. If the world has rock, we have Christian rock. If the world has yoga, we have Christian yoga or whatever the latest thing is. The Church is changing. The Church is becoming a counterculture. We will no longer be a subculture of what we see around us, we will be counter.”
As a subculture, we almost never get out of the minor leagues. Mainly because we don’t always value excellence. This could be my life’s thesis, but since I’m writing a blog post, I’ll try to keep it short.
As believers who believe in a Creator, we must create.
We must create well.
Christians should hold themselves to a higher standard than the world when it comes to our creative output. We are commanded that whatever we find to do, we are to do it to our utmost effort (Ecc. 9:10, Col 3:17, 23). We should be ashamed if we’re content just to slap the adjective “Christian” on music, movies, or books and expect them to sell. [Aside: God has gifted each of us children uniquely, so as long as I am striving for excellence, I should not worry if my best and another’s best are not the same.]
Often, however, just putting the name “Christian” in front of something, we think believers will flock to it because they see it as a cleaner version of what the world offers. I mean, if the cost of a ticket to the big leagues is too much…
However, what the Church provides is not a family friendly version of the world. We are the antithesis of the world. We worship the Creator; those outside the Church worship “self.” Often, more humanistic philosophy comes into homes through animated movies and “clean” music than it does in some R-rated violent movies. The labels we create aren’t always helpful.
We can’t beat the world at entertainment. If we’re trying to compete with it, we won’t be in the same league.
Maybe we shouldn’t even be playing the same game.
Root. Root. Root for the Home Team
What does the church do at a Major League level?
Again, I’m going to use the words of my friend, Jonathan:
“I read enough Church history to know the Church thrives as a counterculture. The Church struggles when it is a subculture and the Church is just another option, just a cleaner option of the world the Church struggles. That is what we have seen here. Now it is a counterculture.”
Until recently, it’s been more difficult to be counter-cultural while living in a nation that, in many ways, elevated Judeo-Christian values. And we should never stop wanting to see those values play out in the public sphere – even as the Church continues to become unfavorable to society. Soon, we will no longer be tolerated as a minor league team. We’ll be considered repulsive.
The Church in many parts of the world already understands this. In the West, we raise funds for larger Church stadiums – er, I mean, buildings – but there are persecuted Christians in the Middle East who are building graveyards because they know following Jesus could cost them everything.
Because Christians around the world have already been deemed repulsive by the predominant culture that they find themselves in, they’ve had to focus only on what’s worthy. Like them, let’s be known for following Jesus at a Major League level.
Jesus is worthy.
The message of the gospel is worth it. Redemption. Justice. Mercy. Truth. Righteousness.
This is the message that we bring to those that don’t want it. That the redemption, justice, mercy, truth, and righteousness is found in the Son of God. He gave His life for us, and, in turn, we should give our lives to Him. It’s worth it.
He is the Person we worship, and that is the message we must tell.
Let’s tell it well.