Archive for October, 2014


5 Things the Kansas City Royals Can Teach Us About the Christian Faith

OK… I will have to start out by apologizing in advance to all of the non-sports fans who might be reading this: Sorry, folks.Moustakas being congratulated

But only a little sorry. Because right now in the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area, we are solidly in the grip of baseball fever with our unlikely heroes the Kansas City Royals playing in the post-season for the first time since 1985! And winning games!! So I am just a little bit enthused… to put it mildly.

But never fear! There is actually a connection – believe it or not – between the games being played out there on the baseball diamond and our life in the Christian faith. Who would have thought? So quite possibly today’s E-Note might not be a total waste of time for the non-sports fan after all.

So here… without further ado… I am pleased to present:


  • Everyone matters. Everyone has a part to play.
    Those who have watched this team closely have noticed that there are no superstars on it. Every person has a part to play and there seems to be a widespread understanding that every part is just as important as every other. They win as one and they lose as one. When someone falters, another person is right there to pick them up.

    Our faith teaches us that this is exactly the way it is in God’s view of the world. Every person matters. Utterly. No person – because of wealth or education or race or gender or any circumstantial factor of any kind – matters more to God than any other.

  • Power isn’t everything.
    The Kansas City Royals ended the year having hit the fewest home runs of any team in Major League Baseball. All teams. Both leagues. They won their games with a skillful blend of great pitching, ironclad defense and blazing speed on the base paths. And making the right moves at the right time.

    The Roman Empire was built on power and naked aggression. And it was defeated by a man who brought the Good News of a gospel of love and who willingly submitted to death on a Roman cross. He taught the world a lesson that somehow has to be taught and re-taught and re-taught in every generation: when power and love go head-to-head, love wins. Every. Single. Time.

  • Your past doesn’t determine your present or future.
    Nowhere was this truth more evident than in Tuesday night’s Wild Card game in which the Royals defeated the Oakland A’s 9-8 in 12 innings. Salvador Perez, the Royals’ catcher, came to bat five times during the game and did not get a hit in any of those appearances. He struck out a couple of times – with runners in scoring position incidentally – and really looked clumsy doing so. But then, in the bottom of the 12th inning with the winning run on second base, Salvy reached out to a pitch that was NOT a strike and stroked it into left field for the game-winning hit.

    In a similar way God NEVER gives up on you or me. We err. We mess up. We hurt people, either intentionally or unintentionally, and God continues to believe in us, sends us back to the plate and says, “Try again.” As the psalmist reminds us, “His steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 118:2).

    Oh… and did I mention that the English translation for the name “Salvador” is “Savior”?

  • Discipline and practice are critical.
    Every day these Royals players get out and practice the same things over and over again. They work on hitting. They work on catching. They work on running the bases. Even though they have done it every day since the middle of February they still do it every single day.

    In our life of faith there is also a very important place for discipline and practice. John Wesley could almost have been called OCD because of his rigorous and relentless attention to the disciplines of prayer, Bible study, fasting, meditation and worship. Somewhere he discovered the truth that our behaviors often shape our attitudes at least as much as the other way around.

  • Have faith even when things are their darkest.
    At different times during this past baseball season, things looked very bleak for the Royals. They had good pitching and defense, but just could not hit when they needed to. Some (and sadly, I have to admit to being one of those) wrote off their chances of making it into the post-season playoffs. But you could tell that THEY never lost hope. They always believed. They had faith.

    And really, when you think about it, isn’t the message of FAITH right at the core of the Christian gospel? We have faith in a God we cannot see. We commit our hearts and lives to the hands of that God even when it seems not to make a bit of sense and we walk forward with confidence into God’s preferred future.

29 years is a LONG darned time to wait for something resembling respectable baseball to be played in your home town. Especially for someone who arrived here in 1974 and knew nothing except perennial Royals excellence and playoff contention for the first 10 years of his residency here.

But the boys in blue are BACK. And it is incredibly glorious and cool and distracting and fun. And I can’t wait to see what loony, improbably thing happens next.


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