The lead news story here in Alabama has to do with Harvey Updike, Jr., a Dadeville, AL resident charged with poisoning the 130-year-old trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn. It seems that Updike, a Bama fan, was fed up with Auburn’s Heisman-winning, national championship season and decided to take matters in his own hands by striking at the heart of the most iconic locale on campus. No less than 12 minutes of last night’s local half-hour news broadcast focused on this “tragedy”. (Seriously, the words “tragedy”, “grieving”, and “mourning” were used. Perspective, people.)
The national sports media has been focusing on Albert Pujols’ self-imposed deadline for a contract extension with my beloved St. Louis Cardinals, a deadline that passed without a new deal for the slugger commonly acknowledged as the best player in the game today. The Cardinals still have an exclusive negotiating window with Pujols after the season, but this increases the probability that Albert will hit the open market as a free agent this fall, making him available to any club with pockets deep enough to sign him. The Yankees, the Red Sox, the Angels, the Dodgers and (gasp!) even the Cubs are rumored to have interest. Cardinal Nation is understandably distraught.
But the same dose of perspective is necessary here. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted reading all about these contract negotiations, hoping that news would break that the Cards and Pujols had agreed to a long term deal. It’s just hard to get worked up over a ball player turning down a $200 million contract to play a game, even if he is your son’s favorite player and the face of your favorite ball team. It won’t be “tragic” or a “travesty” if Pujols decides to don pinstripes next year when the Yanks offer him a boatload of cash. (Now, Pujols in a Cub jersey? THAT would be tragic. Just kidding.)
In the mail yesterday, I received a free copy of Rich Stearns’ The Hole In Our Gospel. Stearns, a former corporate CEO and current President of World Vision, argues for a holistic gospel that most evangelical Christians fail to emphasize, a gospel of good news for the poor, the orphaned, and the forgotten. By asking the question “What does God expect of us?”, Stearns presents a whole gospel that moves us beyond altar call “pie in the sky by and by” forms of Christianity to a vibrant engagement with the world to live the Kingdom of God in the present.
If you want to know what “tragic” means, read The Hole In Our Gospel.
- Children die each day because they don’t have access to clean drinking water.
- An entire generation in Africa is being orphaned because of the HIV / AIDS pandemic sweeping across the continent.
- Young girls and women continue to be exploited, forced into the sex trafficking industry by false promises of security and provision.
Now, that’s tragic.
Sorry for being all “preachy” here, but I’m just convicted that a dose of perspective goes a long, long way sometimes.