Church softball can be a dangerous contact sport. I saw a church member the other day with a black eye, and I teased him, asking if he had talked back to his wife. He said, “No, I got it playing softball.”
I remember an experience that I had refereeing a church softball game many years ago. They asked somebody more knowledgeable to be the umpire behind home plate. All I had to do was call batters safe or out as they ran the bases.
Everything was going fine for several innings. Then a ball was hit, and the runner who was on first base ran toward second. The first baseman fielded the ball, and threw it to the second baseman, who was standing on second. The ball landed in his glove before the runner touched second base, so I immediately lifted my thumb and shouted “You’re out!” Then the ball fell out of the second baseman’s glove. So I changed my call, crossing my arms in front of me and saying, “He’s safe!”
You would have thought that I had just denied the Trinity. The coach from the team in the field came rushing out at me, screaming obscenities and demanding to know why I changed my call. I tried to explain, but he didn’t want to hear it. All he wanted to do was shout and scream.
Finally, the coach stormed off, and the umpire came out to where I was. He said, “Preacher, let’s move you to third base and let the other ref call first and second. Maybe you won’t have too many people mad at you over there.” Boy, was I glad to get out of there when that game was over.
Unfortunately, sometimes church people can forget their religion when it comes to softball, business meetings and other contact sports. That’s why Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9), and the apostle Paul says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18, NIV).
Christian, remember that the next time you get hot under the collar. Others are watching how you play the game, and you don’t want to get tossed out by the Head Umpire.
By the way, I found out later that my church member didn’t get into a fight in a church softball game. He was playing on his family team, not the church team. And it was the ball that hit him, not somebody’s fist. So maybe it is safe for me to go back to a church softball game, after all. Nevertheless, I think I’ll sit in the stands next time.
Copyright 2008 by Bob Rogers. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday for a mix of religion and humor. You can read more “Holy Humor” on the Web page of First Baptist Church of Rincon at www.fbcrincon.com.