Home > Lessons I've Learned > Don’t Bother Me, I’m Dying

Don’t Bother Me, I’m Dying

My 11-year-old son, Josh, is in Little League and his baseball season just started. In his two games so far he has been eager to hit a home run, too eager. In fact, he has three strike outs in four at-bats and his coach had to pull me aside to tell me “Your son won’t be hitting any home runs this year and the sooner he gets that in his head, the sooner he’ll start getting hits.” So, yesterday I took Josh and his little sister to a nearby field to do some hitting. My goal was to get Josh to swing for base hits, not home runs. So I made it a contest. I showed him two $5 bills and told him that he could have both if he could hit two home runs. I then threw him ~50 pitches, most of which he hit. But only one of his hits came within even thirty feet of being a home run. Then I changed the rules. I pointed out where he had been hitting the balls and I gave him a new challenge: Get five consecutive good hits and you’ll earn one of the $5 bills. Twenty pitches later, he had earned the money.

While all this was going on yesterday, my daughter was nearby riding her scooter, kicking a soccer ball, or hitting a tennis ball. She’s very active. Needless to say, between pitches to Josh, I looked around a lot. At some point early on I noticed that there were clusters of well-dressed folk, of all ages and colors, walking around. They seemed out of place considering we were in a sports park. They were wearing skirts, dresses, ties, etc. Eventually, it hit me. They were religious people, out to share some message.

My past experiences with “religious people” have been mostly negative. In my old town, people from one particular church often gathered on a particular street corner with a megaphone and shouted Bible verses about wrath and condemnation. More recently, I was telling a “religious person” about how I helped get a prostitute off the streets and reintroduced to his parents when the religious person abruptly stopped me and demanded, “So when are you going to repent of your sins?” I’ve got more stories like this but I think you’ve got the point by now.

The “religious people” at the park never approached us, but as I was playing with my kids I ran through in my head what I would say if they approached, perhaps in the middle of a pitch or while gathering balls from the outfield. I thought to myself that I would blow them off. I would tell them about how I already went to church that morning, how I read my Bible and pray regularly, how I already… Basically I would tell them that I didn’t need to be bothered no matter how great they thought their message was.

Then I got to thinking about what I do nearly every Thursday night. On Thursday nights, I am one of the religious people. I and other members of the Broken Hearts ministry team walk up and down Santa Monica Blvd striking up conversations with whoever we meet with the ultimate intention of sharing the love of a man named Jesus Christ with them. Sometimes the people we meet are working, others are heading home from work, some are looking for a sexual partner, some are looking for multiple partners, some are buying porn, and some are just there to get high with their friends. In any case, they are all already doing something. Regardless of what I think about orgies and hording porn, the people we meet on the streets are just as busy as I was yesterday at the baseball field. Yet, most weeks, a handful of these people stop and cheerfully talk with us. Some even join us for pizza and a parking lot church service.

When I got back to my car yesterday I found a couple of pamphlets stuck to my windshield. I think it’s safe to assume that they were placed there by the religious people. I read through one of them. In a nutshell, I was offered a free “Recovery Version” of the Bible. The brochure suggested that “The Holy Bible Recovery Version” was unlike all other Bibles in that it contains the recovered Truth of old, made possible through advanced translation techniques and such. Personally, I am ultra skeptical of ANY organization that claims to hold the ONLY Truth. Following this thought all the way through naturally presents a problem: But don’t I believe that MY organization holds the ONLY Truth?! Without going into too much argument here, for the record, I don’t actually believe that my team or any other organization I associate with actually holds the only Truth. I do believe that the Bible, however, does hold the ultimate Truth. Truth is found outside the Bible too, of course. …BUT the claim of the pamphlet was that this was a better Bible! So who is right? What if the various translations of the Bible that I have been reading all these years have all missed it? What if I have, throughout my entire life, missed some all-important Truth that is only available in “The Holy Bible Recovery Version”?

Again, I have to reference back to Santa Monica Blvd and put myself in the shoes of the people I encounter there. What the ministry team and I basically suggest each week is that the Bible we base our lives on does contain certain all-important Truths that are fundamental to salvation here on earth as well as in the after-life. When you really think about it, that is a very bold statement, almost arrogant even.

I could probably go on and on about all this, but here is my conclusion on the matter. In hindsight, I should have, at the very least, been open to talking with the “religious people” at the park. I am a finite creature with finite intellectual powers that could not possibly know, let alone understand, all that is true about this Universe. I have been wrong about many things in my lifetime and I expect I have not seen the last of it. I have resolved therefore that next time I will at least listen to what the “religious people” have to say, even if I later reject it.

“Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.” ~Blaise Pascal

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