Matthew 7:13-14

Enter in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. Because narrow is the gate and straight is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. ~ Matthew 7:13-14

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Alex Rodriguez Please Come Home

Jan 29, 2015   Alex Rodriguez Please Come Home

(Originally published on the The LoHud Yankees Blog) (AP photo)

 Alex Rodriguez is coming back to major league baseball. In my view there is a kind of pragmatic “let’s all get back to normal as best we can” with regard to Alex’s return. Justice was fulfilled? He paid with the 162 game suspension. He works out with Barry Bonds now.

All is forgiven! Is it?

My issue with Rodriguez is not that “we” should harp upon his crimes, but that he should be forgiven! I mean, really forgiven. The question I propose is, how?

 When he was the only one implicated in the 2003 not-to-be-made-known-to-the-public PED testing, I thought that so unjust. He was one of several users, but the only one implicated. His return and ensuing play that season 2009 was admirable and victorious. It was great for Yankee fans like me.

His apology in 2009, however, was not sincere. His implication in Biogenesis showed he was still a PED user. Unfortunately, what happened after Biogenesis was worse than his use of PED’s. A-Rod, as is publicly known, initiated law suits, lied over and again by claiming his innocence, and he insinuated others’ wrongdoings in his attempt to lie his way out of trouble. He did not seem to care who it hurt either, certainly not his team or baseball.

 As in the Shakespearian tragedy “Macbeth,” we saw in A-Rod an artistic/athletic fall of majesty, a moral fall that shatters common complacency that a fall from good character does not matter anymore. Shakespeare’s tragedies always show a moral fall of character.

 There is something of the boy in this boy’s game of baseball. I speak of something greater than an ideal. I speak of something very real. This “real” needs to play out. A-Rod can step up to the plate and do something great. He can be very sorry.

If A-Rod’s moral crime is not dealt with directly — i.e. he gives a public relations apology — then A-Rod will get a public relations forgiveness. There will be an unspoken cover-up by teammates, media, the public in general, all insinuating that lies do not matter. There will be a new cover-up, to cover up the lack of guilt and remorse by A- Rod.

The chance for real remorse will have come and gone, and A-Rod’s most important at bat will be a no show. The non-spoken will be the elephant in the room. Cynicism will have its way reminding us that the boy’s game is business… bad business too. It’s not good for the team to be compromised, not good for baseball, and not good for Alex Rodriguez.

Forgiveness has a standard that says there is a right way and a wrong way. If there is no right and wrong, why forgive or be forgiven? Forgiveness brings a perfect finish to an imperfect person and people. Right now, pre-season spring training, is A-Rod’s time and place for his biggest game.

In the “Lord of the Rings,” Mount Doom is the place of victory. I would love to see A-Rod’s moment of shame become his greatest win, a forever humility. I want for all to truly forgive, but for this to happen, he needs to be truly sorrowful. Real forgiveness is unconditional. What we normally give in forgiveness is conditional and partial at best. Victory for A-Rod depends on his sincere sorrow. If not one person forgave him, his victory would remain. The sign of his victory would be his heart’s desire. The joy of playing a boys game will return to him.

 My prayer is this…
Take us home Alex. Be victorious by admitting “I was wrong and am so sorry.” That’s the way to win. The only way to win. If you win this one, you will see your greatest victory ever. To be truly free is better than the Hall of Fame.

Baseball is all about coming home. The team that does this most always wins. Come home, Alex. It would be your greatest home run. I for one am rooting for you. Do it for the team and for the game of life. You have lots of teammates here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

It's Child's Play

February 23, 2015   

Early this afternoon I walked into the new Hobby Lobby location where I live in Albuquerque. I did not know that they had moved until just recently. I was just looking for a kind of old school accounting book [for computer challenged people] with regard to our ministry. I bought one from them several years ago.

The first thing I noticed was the beautiful instrumentation playing to familiar hymns. The next thing I noticed was the size of the place compared to their previous size. It’s much bigger now. Spacious is the best way to describe its impression on me. I started singing aloud not trying to make a statement that hymns are better than elevator music, but more to the delight that this was a safe place to make a purchase. I was relaxing and enjoying the moment.

This place is for artists. I have purchased art supplies for Wendy's paintings here. When I needed some papyrus type paper to depict the apostle Paul writing in a Roman prison I went to Hobby Lobby. This place is for artists! I am an artist too.

Hobby Lobby is the organization that was willing to close its doors rather than support abortion through Obama Care. They won their Supreme Court case and that's why I could walk into their beautifully expanded store.

Some say Hobby Lobby opposes "woman's rights. That's "hateful " they say. No longer art but now "religion". Remember I speak of saving the life of a child and lobbying [no pun intended] for a woman's choice to change and be more child-like. To be pro-child or as they say pro-life. What we grownups so often miss is that art and play is for children. In theater, it’s called play.

Ask a child if he is glad he was born or if he had the right to "choose" if he could live or die in the womb - would he choose to be butchered? Children are artists by their nature of being children. True art is close to heaven and to the very heart of God.

Hobby Lobby are true artists, yet when they took a stand against abortion they were no longer an art store but a "religious" organization. Suddenly the powers that be put Hobby Lobby and these types of people under the category of haters and warned that they all belong to "Westboro Church." Of course not literally but in a figurative way the implication is "they are all the same."

Just for the record, when was the last time someone from the Westboro Baptist Church chopped the head off a non-believer. Time and again the work of the Islamic terrorist is compared to the Christian. It makes Christians afraid to be Christian. That's not good because "if the salt loses its saltiness how can it be made salty again?"

So here I am an artist finding some neat writing supplies, getting a 40% discount and feeling happy and content. Happy just to be.

I do not know who won the Academy Awards last night. I do not know who or what was nominated , and nothing personal here, I don't care. Does that make me less an artist because I don't care, or more child-like because I did not go to the experts to do for me what only God could do through me?

Children are too busy making play to bother with watching someone else or to support someone who is trying to do .......what they do without trying.

If the poet Wordsworth could say in the 19th century "the world is too much with us," then how much more are Wordsworth words worth today [try saying that 10 times really fast.] Ask yourself does the complication of your relationships make you trust your fellowman or woman more than when you were more child-like? Do you believe that having no standard for morality has made your life happier or that of your children or other loved ones. Do you hate a person because his standard is better than his own because it comes from God. Do you resent one who invites you to a better G-rated life. A God one. Do you simply resent a person because he seeks something better than himself.  Who do you want your child to marry? What mindset do you want him or her to have? Do you believe men should marry women and vice versa, and if you do, do you ever share this Truth in Love or are you afraid to associate with the Child man, the Son of Man - The Son of God who you know is right?

The choices we make show what we believe no matter what we say. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. The most common mistake today, yes the most common sin, is the non-act act of "one who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it." A child's play is for real life....only "children enter the kingdom of God.”

"It’s never too late to start a new childhood." If you enter into His art work you will find Him in child's play waiting for you to join up or to simply return. Take a break as the poet said... the world is too much with us.  It’s Time for child's play, God’s Play, His Art .... real life.