Three Strikes And You Are Out, Like It Or Not

When Ed and I talked yesterday, I asked Ed if he thought baseball was a hard game to understand. I read him the quote of Leo Durocher who said of baseball; “Like church, many attend, few understand.”

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, summed up baseball as a simple game to his way of thinking. “If you are playing baseball you can win, or lose, or hope for rain. If you are a batter never mind a base hit, the coach always wants a home run over the fence. If you are a pitcher, strike the batters out. Last of all, no errors on the field anywhere. The only thing that cannot be controlled is the umpire who decides balls and strikes to the satisfaction of only himself! The game is no more complicated than, three strikes and you are out, like it or not.”  We did decide as a professional baseball player, manager and coach Leo Durocher experienced a side of baseball that Ed and me, would never understand fully.  

Leo Durocher was a manager of big name teams like the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros when I was growing up. He was nicknamed Leo the Lip, or Lippy. He clashed with authority and umpires. He had 95 career ejections as a manager. I saw only a part of his fame as a baseball manager, not his great success as a baseball player during his major league career. That is the way it is with us we only see part of another person’s life, and we do not understand their whole life story.

Perhaps we do not want the whole story when it comes to professional athletes. Often, we only want to see their passion, skill, competitiveness, and confidence. Their wins are ours, but, not their errors. We like to see them at their best and nothing less. We want their super-human performance no matter what it might cost them.

Many do not want the whole story when it comes to God. The Bible reveals God in both a simplicity and a complexity of character. Often, we speak of God as love that blesses everyone. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God’s love for everyone as sinners is clear in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus his Son.

The relationship between God the Father, and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit gets complex. As Christians, we speak of God as the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons in one divine being or essence. The Holy Trinity is a balance between the unity and diversity of God. The Father is God, the Son is God, and Holy Spirit is God. They are equally God yet distinct in that the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Holy Spirit etc. The work of creation is ascribed to God the Father, redemption to God the Son, sanctification to God the Holy Spirit. God’s complexity is a mystery but not his love.

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