What Judgmental People Say on Sunday Part 1

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“All those players for that team are criminals!”

“They wouldn’t play for my team!” “I would cut him!”

Now, let’s take the average case that the NFL looks into. Not Aaron Hernandez murder trial and also not Joseph Randle stealing underwear. Without looking at serious evidence, I would imagine that the average case the NFL investigates regarding player discipline would be in the range of DUI (driving under the influence), substance abuse or possession (narcotics or PEDs), or domestic violence.

1st thing that must be clarified is that I am not condoning any of these actions. The emotional, relational, and even financial stakes when it comes to abuse of substances or persons are devastating. I don’t need stats to back this up, I have seen it.

Back to the blog:

Using these examples, is the reaction justified?

Let’s do a hypothetical situation:

28 year old man, money in his pocket, and time on his hands. Buddies want to go out. Party lasts too long. Bad decisions get made. This guy tries to drive home but eventually wrecks his vehicle and proceeds to get arrested for DUI and because of testosterone and alcohol; he puts his hands on his officer adding resisting arrest or even assaulting an officer.

Now if this guy is on a NFL roster he would probably get a 4 – 8 game suspension on top of any legal penalties. But, the fan base would be calling radio stations claiming that he is a thug and needs to be released.

What if the 28 year old man works in Detroit for an automobile manufacturer or on a pipeline in Texas? He posts bail and pays his fine and court fees, goes to all the hearings, and if it is a first time offense probably results in no jail time.

Nobody is claiming he should lose his job and when he does return to work, the same fan who might have called into the local sports shows or blasted him on social media if he was an athlete, but is instead cutting up with him during lunch break.

I have gotten to work in various work environments with guys who have felony criminal history, vulgar prison tats, have battled or battling serious drug addiction, violent backgrounds, etc. Want to know the strange part about that? They were some of my most dependable, productive, cooperative coworkers. Sure, some times it didn’t work out, they got fired, quit, or had to move.

You know what else happened to me? A couple of years ago, my employment was terminated due to a layoff due to oil prices.

When you have to file for unemployment, it changes the way you speak about somebody’s livelihood.

We want to fire athletes for things that some of my favorite coworkers, and closest friends and family have dealt with?

What if that was your coworker, cousin, or best friend?

I understand the other side too. I have had to decide to terminate employment of dozens of workers, based on attendance, job performance, or other business reasons.

I understand there are consequences, and I understand that there are more severe consequences the higher the stakes. And the NFL deals with a lot of money…. I mean stakes.

Main point: I am not expecting us to treat a professional athlete like our best friend when they make a mistake, but I know you wouldn’t say the same things to your best friend that you would about the professional athlete.

The reason why? You have seen them as a person, you have seen them as a unique individual.

C.S. Lewis said,

“There are no ordinary people.

You have never talked to a mere mortal.

Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.

But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

Think about that. Every person you have ever seen was made in the image of God. Whether he works for the NFL or for General Motors.

Those Judgmental People on Sunday

You know what people I am talking about.

The people that look forward all week for Sunday morning, so that they can get out of bed and put their overpriced clothes on and stick their noses up at people who may not wear the same attire.

The people that love to sit next to one another that dress the same and poke at those who think differently.

The people that love going to watch someone else do the work on Sundays but don’t ever actually do it themselves.

The people that get really excited when something on Sunday happens but you don’t hear a peep from the rest of the week.

After their Sunday ritual they go off to eat too much and take a nap.

These people….they are the worst.

It used to be you just had to put up with them on Sunday, but now it is constantly through their phone, it’s all they want to talk about at parties; they have secret get-togethers to plan out their year.

I’m telling you, these judgmental people are ruining America.

You know which judgmental people I’m talking about! Football fans! They are the most judgmental, hyper-critical, overbearing people.

So…..yeah all this is meant to be in good humor. But I will be doing a blog series comparing what we expect out of our football players, coaches, owners, franchises, league, and etc. through a Christian worldview. It should be fun, but hopefully there will be some self-examination as well.

The overall point is to be cautious of what we expect from other people.

What do we expect from our wives, husbands, kids, friends, family, church family, co-workers? NFL teams and players?

Could we stand under our own expectations of others?

This will be worked out under a series of topics that we hear throughout NFL fan bases.

What would happen if those expectations got turned around on us?

It should be fun, but hopefully encourages myself and others to extend grace.

In a parable (Luke 19:22) Jesus teaches, “I will condemn you with your own words…”

Now, sin is anything not of faith, sin results in separation from God. Jesus does not need our own words to condemn us. God’s holiness is much higher than our standards. What a great tool however; to show us the harshness of our hearts, that not only would we be crushed by God’s holiness, but we crush ourselves with our expectations of others that we cannot hold up to.

God knows that we crush ourselves and that we choose to separate ourselves from him, bringing judgement upon us.

That is why Jesus came down, bringing perfect obedience from Heaven, to absorb the wrath of judgement on the cross and remove condemnation; there is salvation from judgement to be received by grace through faith.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

So I am definitely not condemning believers or football fans, of which I am both. The aim is to enjoy some humor and honesty while we examine what might be going through our minds while our eyes are on the bible, or the game.

Resolution:

  1. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. (Dec. 19, 1722)

Common Grace:

Sitting down. Better yet, how about sitting down in a good chair, or even “your” chair. A friend recently came over and I insisted him sit in the best chair, that I may or may not sit in most of the time. But it is also a symbol of: your work is done. You have the privilege of sitting down; you have the seat of honor to rest.

Beeline:

Hebrews 1:3b After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…

Speaking of Jesus, who died on the cross for the removal of our sins and after defeating death, resurrected and ascended back to heaven and “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty”

Hometown:

Brazos Cinema III, the Mineral Wells movie theater.

Now the temptation is to drive 30 minutes east, to a newer theater that has some extra amenities.

But if you live in Mineral Wells, I would encourage you to stay in our town and save the gas. It’s the same movie and a very good experience. I have taken my kids several times this summer and have never had a problem. It is really simple. Go to the movies. Get your snacks. Find your seat. Watch a movie. You really need to drive 30 minutes to do that for a chicken leg or beer while you watch the movie? Go to dinner afterwards! Stay in your city!

Recommendation:

Hey while you are at the movies, especially in Mineral Wells, skip the popcorn and go straight for the pretzel. Man those pretzels are so good. Hot, check. Salted, check. Buttered, check. Extra cheese sauce to dip in?! Check. It is my new “go to” movie snack. Buy you a pretzel the next time you are at the movies. Because they are really good and it would be really awkward to see you pull a pretzel out of your bag. I see you sneaking candy into the theaters.

 

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 

Enjoy.

pretzelreclinerreferee

My Love / Hate with Baseball

I grew up playing “catch” with dad. “Home-run derby” with friends. Little League. All of that.

I like baseball as a sport and game.

But I have a real love / hate relationship with Major League Baseball.

Take for instance, the recent wonderful Opening Day Game. As soon as the first players report to practices the hardcore baseball fans get real excited and the baseball buzz gets stronger as the first game approaches. Some people think it should be a national holiday!

It is an amazing event. The new teams take the field with 30-40K+ fans cheering on a sunny spring day with beer and hot dogs and all the new crazy stadium foods. At this point, the fan is only concerned with the next 9 innings. The “Ace” starting pitcher is on the mound, most players are healthy, and every team has a fair shot for playoff success.

Opening Day is great. But then as that game is completed, I realize that there are 161 more games to go!

Here in lies my love / hate.

In fact why I am including this, is not to be a post listing some of the things that I love and then listing some of the things that I hate.

I HATE that the baseball season takes 6 months and there are 10x more baseball games than football games. I hate that the baseball teams go through so many injuries, call ups, position changes, trades, etc.

But….

I LOVE that the baseball season forces teams to become – what sports guys call – “galvanized.”

I am not sure if most sports guys on sports radio or ESPN are familiar with what galvanization is.

At my place of work, we will cut steel, form it, maybe weld it, whatever to make the part and then send it to a vendor to be “galvanized”.

Galvanizing is a process where an item is dipped into molten zinc. The item then has a thick layer of coating.

This can serve both ways, to keep things from outside contaminating what is inside and to keep the desired elements that are inside from corroding or escaping.

Sports metaphors like “galvanize” can become so over used that they lose their meaning.

At the season in my life, I am learning to not value the things in life that haven’t been galvanized in my life and to really only hold on to things that I am willing to go through a process of refining and coating of hot metal.

In life, the process of galvanizing comes through suffering of sickness, loss, mistakes, disagreements, etc.

In the past years I have lost relationships, places, activities, objects and even a job.

Baseball and what is required to succeed in it does not show us how to succeed in life. Baseball is an imitation and expression of the process of life that shows us what is valuable.

It is tempting to believe the lie that gratification comes easy. What book, movie, or song was ever written about the slacker kid getting a CEO position and feeling completely satisfied?

No, stories are written about the long journeys of heroes overcoming obstacles and rising up from defeat to earn victory.

Whether it is the turmoil of liking a baseball game or not having the patience of 162 game season, or maybe you are in a situation of life where something is being galvanized, or you don’t know if you have the courage or strength to be the hero, let me tell you something…….

You don’t. You shouldn’t, it is too tough, you can’t, it is bigger than you.

But it can be given to you.

Jesus said that “in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Baseball is a game that shadows endurance, galvanizing, and the possibility of success.

In life, we have the real opportunities but ultimately the incompletion and failure of.

In the gospel, we have all the accomplishments of Jesus in Him.

We can watch Kirk Gibson, hobbling around the bases after the epic home run.

We can watch the Red Sox come back from down 0-3 in the playoffs.

But we can’t live in it. We can even buy their championship rings, but we don’t have their attributes.

In Jesus, we were crucified with him, we were buried, we were baptized with him, we will be raised with him. We are given his attributes. We are given his faithfulness, his righteousness, his obedience.

Resolution:

  1. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

Common Grace:

Rain. I ran my sprinklers consistently but nothing can replace what the rain can do for our lawn. Just a couple weeks ago, my backyard was crunchy and yellow. Just a few showers later I see the strong healthy grass taking over and now I need to mow every week. My wife’s garden is sprouting and growing and looking good with flowers and smells good with different herbs.

Beeline:

Just like my efforts with grass and my wife’s with gardening; we can work and toil and sweat but on our own we are not only limited but in futility. Jesus tells us that, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”….”As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”

Hometown:

Center of Life. I have seen their fight against poverty around our town of Mineral Wells, TX. They offer  ministry, classes, assistance, and other programs aiming to help people out of the cycle of poverty. They were also crucial in assisting the town when we had a main water line bust and over 90% of the town had ZERO running water, the Center of Life became a hub to distribute bottled water to the town.

Recommendation:

“Salsa Dogs”. Something my wife and I have eaten for years. Can’t remember how or where we came up with these. But is basically a hot dog with melted shredded cheese and topped with salsa.

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Enjoy.