A Little Thursday Afternoon Theology
In life there are two topics one should never discuss in polite company: Politics and religion. Well, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone willing to refer to the blogosphere (god I hate that word) as polite company so it seems kind of odd that this is the first time that RSBS has managed to stray into such contentious territory. Apparently there are quite a few baseball loving Catholics out there.
Now, I don’t think that either Jeff or myself have attempted to hide our obvious political and religious leanings. Even our nonstop chatter during last year’s election season didn’t bring about quite the same amount of vehement commentary as did my friend’s entry yesterday.
But, despite the risk involved with wading back into that fray, I have to say that I think he hit it right on the head. Why should the Tigers not play their home opener on Good Friday at 1:05? As one commenter noted, there’s basketball on Christmas Day and some sort of sporting event pretty much every other day of the year. Why not Good Friday, too?
Here’s how it breaks down. I used to live in New York City and on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, half the city didn’t show up for work. But you know what, they all took personal days. The hundreds of thousands of Muslims who live in this country receive no preferential treatment during Ramadan when they are fasting from sun-up to sun-down. Have you gone 12 hours without eating or drinking while trying to work a full day? For a month? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Why should it matter if the Tigers play their game at noon or 7PM? If you want to go to church, do like the millions of people in this country who aren’t Christian and make that choice and the accompanying sacrifice.
Here’s the theology part of it. The Jesus of the Bible took almost sinful delight in ridiculing the Pharisees and their incredibly strict interpretation of Abrahamic law. At every possible opportunity he poked holes in their ostentatious piety and continuously pointed out that he had come to show a new way to god. It was no longer about rigid doctrine and observance of the law. Instead, Jesus focused on a personal relationship that also prescribed personal choice. It wasn’t about showing up for services. It was about showing who you were in your daily life. The freedom from orthodoxy meant that religion became a personal choice and free will took over from blind observance of laws and traditions.
And that leads us right back to the decision that Tigers fans will have to make in a little over a week. Do they go to Good Friday services or go to the game? For some people, that might be a really tough choice. But you know what, you’re going to have to make that decision for yourself. And that probably also means you’re going to have to make a sacrifice. But when you think about it, that should sound kind of familiar.