Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Color Commentary

If you are a fan of Clemson football and have listened, in recent years, to a Clemson football game on the radio, then you have no doubt heard my good friend, Will Merritt. Will was an offensive lineman for Clemson, and now provides the color commentary alongside Pete Yanity’s play-by-play. Will adds a new dimension to the term “color commentary”, with his incredibly hilarious comments.

I’m not really sure whether he means for them to be funny or not, but he is quite entertaining to listen to. For example, a few seasons ago, he was talking about the Clemson defense swarming the other team. He said, “They came down on them like a bunch of banshee Indians.” Now, a banshee is a screaming Irish ghost, and I assume he was referring to Native Americans. I wasn’t aware, until Will told us, that the two had ever mingled.

Sportscasters have a difficult job. We criticize them many times, but who among us could talk extemporaneously for several hours about a sports event? They are special people. For all the crazy things they say from time to time, they have the ability to inspire us, educate us and entertain us, all at the same time.

On Monday night, Josh Hamilton hit 28 home runs in the opening round, to break Bobby Abreu's record of 24 set in 2005. This is a great feat in itself, but the story behind Josh’s achievement was the talk of the night.

Josh was a drug addict. He was hooked on both alcohol and several kinds of drugs. He became drug free in 2005 and after a dream in which he saw Jesus helping him fight the devil with him, he realized he didn’t just need to quit the drugs, but he also needed Christ in his life. He accepted Christ back in 2006, and is very vocal about his faith.

After Josh Hamilton's feat on Monday night, it was Rick Reilly, a sportscaster for ESPN, who made quite a statement. He simply said, "It's a lousy night to be an atheist". With all of the crazy things these airtime professionals occasionally say, sometimes they get it right. Indeed it was a testament to the power of God, to see a changed man accomplish something like that.

Mr. Reilly has been criticized for his words by some. However, what he said was true. Why? Because God was not putting on a show Monday night through Josh Hamilton’s home runs. (If He had been, then Justin Morneau wouldn’t have won the whole Derby.) No, the testament to God’s power wasn’t in the bat, but in the man standing at the plate. The new Josh Hamilton, who God changed with His love, grace and power, was there for the devil, the atheists, and all the world to see.

Our lives are a living breathing testimony to God’s all powerful love for us. His power is not shown in our blessings, accomplishments, achievements, awards, and accolades. It is shown in the fact that we have been given eternal life in heaven with Him, and life “more abundant”, here on earth. If we have Jesus Christ in our lives, then we are not just a changed person, but an entirely new creature.

Thanks for the reminder, Josh!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)


60feet6inches said...

Sadly, you don't seem to understand anything about theologies (or lack of theology) which differs from your own.

As an atheist myself, and an ex-professional ball player, I was in awe of what Josh has done with his life, and what he can do on the field. An I am happy for him that he has found something worth living for so that he can share his remarkable talents.

However, it was in no way, shape, or form a bad night to be an athiest. Certainly not because a ex-drug using born-again Christian went on a tear and hit a shocking quantity of absurdly long homeruns.

If it would have been an Atheist hitting bombs, would that have been a bad night to be Christian? Would it have rendered the Christian belief system worthless? I'm pretty sure that in your eyes, it would have made zero impact.

And such was the theological value of the HR derby on the mind of an atheist. Incredible performance? Yes. Inspirational? Absolutely. But did it make me question my own beliefs and rational constructs? Get real.

Stacy Williams said...

60feet, perhaps you should read the blog again. I was very clear in it that the true testimony was not in the accomplishment, but in the changed man. Josh's athleticism did not suddely appear because he accepted Christ. Josh was gifted before that. He has just chosen to take a stand in his faith just as he takes a stand at home plate as the man he has become.
I also thought the comment from the announcer was off the mark, and your point is well taken that we would not say that it is a bad night to be a Christian if a self proclaimed athiest like yourself performed a similar feat.
You are, however, off the mark when you say I am incapable of understanding any theologies besides my own. As a person who has not always been a pastor, and at times not been far from where Josh was, I know what is on the other side from where I am today. My brother, I appreciate your words, and thank you for commenting on the blog.

Stacy Williams said...

Just for clarification, when I say I thought the announcer was off the mark, I mean I think he was making the mistake of attributing Josh's feat Monday night with some showyness from God. My point in both the blog and my comments is that Josh is a changed man through the power of the Holy Spirit, not a more powerful hitter.