The folks at WordPress (or the systems at WordPress) tell me that there are some people actually reading this blog. So, if you’re a reader, I truly appreciate it. That being said, it appears that no one is clicking the links and checking out the picks any further. A good friend, who I forced to check out the blog, hearing my whining about such neglect, let me know that he didn’t even know there were links on the page. So, in case you didn’t realize it, all of the underlined and emboldened titles are actually links to the genuine artifacts themselves. In the kindness of your heart, check out some of the links, make some comments, subscribe, and all of that good stuff. I know it’s selfish, but it is simply so much easier to write if I know at least a few folks are reading, and I seriously need to write. If you ever have a question, especially in the fields of theology or maybe even sports, shoot it my way and I’ll post my thoughts on it.
#1 “Tales from the Dugout” with Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Barry Zito – Baseball season is upon us. Spring training is in full force. Fantasy League invites are popping up everywhere. The WBC (World Baseball Classic) has begun. And even our local high school team can be seen running down fly balls on their makeshift parking lot diamond. It is right, then, that the top spot would be filled, not with a book (and many cheered), but with an interesting video interview of three Christian ballplayers. The highlight of this video for me is definitely the interaction between these guys and their clear encouragement and support of one another. Professional sports, though the dream of many, is a field rife with temptation and hardship. To see these guys be the church to one another is both exciting and inspiring. A couple cautions as you watch: 1) Some of us, as we watch, must remember what Tim Keller often notes, all religions & worldviews offer advice on how to live, but the heart of the Christian faith is good “news” that gives life. This good news – who Christ is and what He has done (His life, death, and resurrection) – is rarely mentioned and can almost seem as if it is a backdrop to the Christian life, not the center of it. Instead, we get a lot about a “relationship with Christ” (significant for sure) and how as Christians we must live good lives (also true). I think it could be easy, though, to listen and miss the true heart of Christianity. 2) Others, myself included, need to be careful of being too critical. Keeping in mind the caution above (and ignoring some of the frustrating “Christian culture” aspects), I was truly encouraged by the work of God in the hearts and lives of these guys. As a
athlete former athlete and coach, it is always helpful to hear from players who are at the very top of their games and truly seek to honor Christ in all they do. To see evidence of competitiveness, hard work, and toughness coupled with humility, service, and peace in these guys is truly a blessing. Enjoy!
#2 “Tell the World” and “PBS Interview” with Lecrae – This dude is the real deal. I grew up on the East Coast loving hip hop, but often struggling with much of its message. It wasn’t until recently, with labels like Reach Records, Humble Beast, and Lamp Mode, that the music and the message really lined up for me. Listening to true believers, who know their craft and their theology well, just flat out excites me. Here’s a taste of the lyrics Lecrae brings on “Tell the World”: A slave to myself but you let me go, I tried gettin high but it left me low / You did, what they could never do, You cleaned up my soul and gave me life, I’m so brand new / And that’s all that matters, I aint love you first, but you first loved me / In my heart I cursed ya, but you set me free / I gave you no reason to give me new seasons, to give me new life, new breathin / But you hung there bleedin
And you died for my lies, and my cheatin, my lust, and my greedin / What is a man? That you’re mindful of em? And what do I have to deserve this lovin?
#3 “If You’re Busy, You’re Doing Something Wrong: The Surprising Relaxed Lives of Elite Achievers” – In our current culture, it seems like everyone is ridiculously busy. And many, especially guys, wear this busyness as a badge of honor. I love the all too common playground battles between guys of who is the busiest and the somewhat mocking tone towards the few whose lives aren’t hectic. I think the problem lies in the fact that we think working hard equals busy and hectic lives. The busier your life, the harder you work and thankfully we still see the value in hard work. So for most of us, busyness, not effectiveness, becomes the goal. The problem, which this article thoughtfully points out, is that this assumption just doesn’t seem to be true. It’s the old coaching adage, “practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.” I would rather have players who put in 10 hours of hard, focused practice, than players who put in 30 hours of decent work. As I read, I was again reminded of the need for a change in mindset. Busyness cannot be the mark of achievement. Especially when we blame our lack of involvement with our spouses, kids, church, God, etc. on such busyness. Maybe in addition to valuing hard work, we need to value and encourage those who are relaxed while doing it. For myself, I’m thinking a reread of Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People might be in order. (Note: I think this article brings out a helpful point, but I recognize that sometimes life is hectic, crazy busy, for a season. And I certainly don’t want to encourage laziness. So please don’t try to read too deeply between the lines here.)