July 30, 2007
Aug. 1, 2007

July 31, 2007

THE PILGRIMS COME TO PAY HOMAGE

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- They came, some 70,000 of them, to the shrine here to honor the gods of baseball on Sunday.

Roch0736_3They were here at the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame mostly to offer their veneration to the two official new gods, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Tony Gwynn, each of whom had spent a couple of decades collecting adoring worshipers by playing the national pastime with grace and skill and determination.

I was here, by contrast, to honor my friend Denny Matthews, who for almost four decades has described on radio (and sometimes TV) the ups (not many) and downs of the Kansas City Royals and who was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, too. (That's Denny giving his acceptance speech in the photo below.)

But it was hard not to see this whole show as permeated by theological overtones.

One man wore a T-shirt bearing this headline about Ripken: "Immortal Cal." It was the headline used by The Sun newspaper in Baltimore the day after Ripken, the Orioles' shortstop, had broken Lou Gehrig's consecutive-game playing streak of 2,130 games. (Eventually Cal played in 2,632 straight games.)

Nearby I saw another man holding this sign: "Holy Cal!"

Roch0739Oh, yes, I know such headlines and signs are light-hearted, but isn't it interesting that when we want to pay homage to our cultural heroes, we often do so in religious language?

And yet these gods are mortal. Only 63 of the 280 players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame still are alive. An astonishing 53 of them were at the ceremony here Sunday, including some of the younger members, such as Kansas City's George Brett and Milwaukee's Robin Yount. But there sat Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Duke Snyder. Nearby was Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford. Johnny Bench was there, along with Gaylord Perry and Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Billy Williams and even George Kell. And Monte Irvin using a cane.

None of them, of course, could take the field now and duplicate anything like what they did to earn their way into the hall of fame. Time is exacting its price on them, and fans know deep in their hearts that these men aren't either immortal or holy. They are, rather, practitioners of a game we care about because of its grace and beauty, its insistence on timing and distance, its requirements that the players pay close attention even when nothing seems to be happening.

All sin, ultimately, is idolatry. And I think most fans understand that their fanaticism (where do you think the word fan comes from?) for the game is not the same thing as worship. But now and then it's good to be reminded of that -- even here where baseball is next to godliness.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.

Comments

Patricia

So a couple of days ago the big question was whether or not art "connoisseurs" were building great shrines to art with ensuing idolatry. I'd say the sports fans have us beat! : ) HOLY Cal?

More on the word "fan"........
It comes from Modern Latin fanaticus, meaning "insanely but divinely inspired". The word originally pertained to a temple or sacred place [Latin fanum, poetic English fane].

Dolores Lear

As Bill says, sports figures become immortal.
Another version of Immortal is Having unending existance, deathless.

I accept today with High Tech Reproduction and 'regeneration' that Humans can have Deathless Eternal Physical Life Forever.

Thorndike-Barnhart Dictionary.
Immortals - one of the gods of anicent Greek and Roman mythology.
This does not say which God.

On the web.
Comparing the Greek and Roman Gods. Greek God Zeus and Roman God Jupiter: Head god/keeper of gate.
12 other Gods and Goddesses are listed comparing Greek to Rome.
Most of these Gods have Human form.

I accept that these Roman Gods and Goddesses influenced the Roman religion at Jesus' time, along with the Orsirus/Isis/Horus Trinity religion of Egypt, to change the Jewish Christian One God Religion into a Trinity Religion, using the Nicene Creed as their proof basis for this teaching.

The GOD I accept now is not Human. How can the Source Of Life, that made the Atom and the Electro-Magnetic Force, be a Human made from these elements?

Jesus is with the Father of Life on Earth, is the God in Human Form, of the Christian religion. The Father of Life on Earth is not GOD of the elements.
The Man Gods and Angels, walked and talked and looked like a Humans. We 'are' made in their Human Image by Mis-bred Body Birth reproduction; so do not have Eternal Life.
The Adam and Eve Colony were not reproduced by Body Birth, they had no Body Birth parents, and had Eternal Physical Life.

When they reproduced Cain and Abel by Body Birth, the Colony Genetically Inbred/Mis-bred Humans began on Earth, and Killing, Genetic and Physical Human defects began that caused Inequality, Killing, Divisions, Diseases, Inhumanity, War and Death. The Adam and Eve Pure-bred Colony also died physically, without the High Tech 'regeneration' process.

This Fall of Humans, was not done by Satan or the Devil, but by Pure-bred Human Beings. Eve and females have been blamed what the male penis did to make Mis-bred Human Beings ever since. The female is considered second rate to the male.
With High Tech Knowledge we can now prove, by re-reading Genesis with a High Tech understanding, that Adam and Eve were made supernaturally, as Pure-bred Genetic male and female Clones.
With High Tech 'regeneration' like Jesus received after his cruxifiction, he did go out into Space with the Father of Life on Earth, our High Tech Ancestors that Colonized Life on Earth.

The rest of Genesis and the Christian Bible and all Myth, is the History of the wars and the killing of Fallen Mis-bred Humans up to the Judgement Day Fire.

Dolores Lear

Any statement or picture in religion, that GOD is in Human form, is a False Religion.
This is a statement that is repeated over and over.

GOD does not dwell in temples made by Human Hands, GOD makes Human Hands and Bodies, and all Life as we know it.

Dolores Lear

I should have said:
, and all Life as we know it is the Temple of GOD.

Why Is This So Difficult

Dolores,

How did Patricia beat you to the punch today? I was surprised to see her as the first poste-er :-)

"All sin, ultimately, is idolatry."

An interesting statement. I would be interested in hearing what people think about that statement. I haven't figured out if I agree or not - or whether my disagreement is purely semantic.

Also, it would be great if someone could make the link for me between Old Testament idolatry (literal worship of idols) and 21st century idolatry. Are they one in the same? I have never bowed down to my TV set and given it worship, but is making a particular show a priority in my life idolatry?

I've always had a tough time with this comparison and think, sometimes, that preachers go too far with the comparison.

Dolores Lear

WITSD.
Because I was hoping someone would post before me, I waited until almost 8:30. Patricia's remarks worked right in for me, on the Temples built by Human Hands, by Fallen Humans.

Hope we will finally see that the Temple of GOD is LIFE, and that we have almost destroyed the Temple of God, our Planet and all LIFE on it, while we built all the pagan temples.

Idolatry.
I think Idolatry, is anything we make more important than being Equal Caretakers of LIFE and Sharing Equally all 'things' with our Brothers/Sisters of LIFE. This is how Humans were Created Equally in the beginning.
Pure-bred male and female Clone Caretakers are the Highest form of Human, and they 'do' take Care of all Life on their Planets and in spaceships with Balanced elements.

Just as there are rules for all phases of Physical Life, there are rules to keep the Elements in Balance on a planet, and Body Birth makes an Imbalance that causes Humans to kill our Eco System, Each Other and All Life, on a Planetary basis. We are experiencing this today because of Idol worship of many things, instead of being Equal Caretakers.

So do we worship 'things', probably not, but the conflict of getting more 'things' than another is idolatry, is 'possessions' that leads to Idolatry and physical death.
On a High Tech Equal Clone Human Planet, everyone has all 'thing's and all the extras that they want, as long as it does not affect the Balanced Elements on the planet or in their spaceship.
But with the bliss of Eternal Life After Birth, LIFE is more important than 'things' or flesh lusts, or pagan temples of all kinds, as it is on Planet Earth.

The Temple of GOD is LIFE Eternal.
This is my impression of
Eternal Pure-bred Human Physical Life After Birth, with High Tech Knowledge.

Ruth from Tucson

Please please please Bill - tell me it is not true - that I saw advertisements among the ivy on the Cub's bleacher walls.

I lived thru their trading off my baseball heros and then putting up night lights - but ads in the ivy is just more than this old lady can bear.

rhs

PreacherDJ

WITSD,

I think Jesus made that link for us, when he said that we cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:19-24). How much could we tell about a person by looking at his checkbook?

We do what we want to do. Can we enjoy stuff that is not directly related to God? Sure, God created us with different tastes in food, in entertainment, etc. But, when faced with a choice that pits that thing against God, for example from our topic for today - a sporting event going on at the same time as church, what do we WANT to do? That's where our heart is at, just as surely as if it were at the foot of some carved idol.

PreacherDJ

Is all sin ultimately idolatry?

I'm having to think about that one. Sin is going against God. Idolatry is serving something/someone besides God. When we sin, we are either following someone else or following our own decision, but either way, we are following, being ruled, by someone who is not God.

So, maybe I could go along with that statement. Have you had any more thoughts on it, WITSD?

Why Is This So Difficult

PreacherDJ,

I like what you said about Jesus' statement and its relationship to idolatry. I had not thought of that passage in that way before. Very helpful.

I really haven't come to any clarification on the other question. Like you, I tumble it around in my head a bit and come away unsure. My initial reaction is to think that all sin is NOT idolatry - only because semantically sin is the broad term and idolatry is a specific sin. But again, that's just wording.

To think about the meaning like you did - that idolatry is serving/worshipping someone or something other than God - I suppose I could go along with the statement. Any time we are engaged in sin we are not serving God and usually at the foot of something else. A lot of times it is ourselves who we are serving.

Of course, that raises the issue of whether or not we can be idols unto ourselves.

Just Thinking

WITSD,

You asked about whether or not all sin is idolatry.

First, sin is the transgression of God's law. It's not about our laws or our beliefs of right or wrong, but about God's law. God is good, and anything that opposes His will is sin. The ten commandments are divided into two distinctly different categories: commandments dealing with ours relationships with God, and commandments dealing with our relationships with each other. That's why Jesus said that the greatest commands are:
1. Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and all your mind.
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22
36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."


Idolatry is a violation of the part of the law that deals with our relationship with God, and is absolutely critical--it is the greatest commandment to love God first. It makes sense, because if you turn to other gods, then nothing else matters--discussions after that are irrelevant. Pushing God away, denying God access to your life for your entire life is unpardonable. (We know that this is unpardonable, and we know there is only one unpardonable sin--so this is it!).

All other sins can be forgiven, all except this purest form of idolatry. This is just one distinction between idolatry and other sins.

Dolores Lear

Instead of thinking of God as a Human He, we need to think of GOD as LIFE. And this GOD/LIFE is not a 'Be'ing, and needs to be Served with Balanced Elements by Humans that are 'Be'ings, or we Die. Worshipping any 'Being',
fallen Human Being or Higher Human Being, is Pagan religion.

Body Birth is the Unpardonable Sin. All other sins are a result, and are pardonable. Because of Mis-bred Genetics and Environment, which is not the fault of the Mis-bred Humans, the root cause is Body Birth, the Original Sin of Pure-bred Adam and Eve and all Humans since.

The only Way to have Eternal Physical LIFE made from Elements, is to Serve the Source of LIFE as we know it, with Balanced Elements. We should stop calling the 'Source of LIFE' as God. I use GOD to show the difference from the Gods on Earth. I used to call GOD the SOL, in the past.
Our Science today does know All LIFE seen and unseen, in a Universe, do collapse into a Black Hole, but then reburst into a New Universe, so there is always somewhere for High Tech Pure-bred Humans to escape to. LIFE is Eternal, and Human Life can also be Eternal, and Humans with High Tech Knowledge of Balanced and Unbalanced Elements, can have Eternal Physical Life After Birth, with Asexual male and female Clone Helpmeets, the Perfect pair that cannot be reproduced by Body Birth.
The Gods of the Bible that walked and talked were Asexual Clone Helpmeets, and were mis-called Gods and Goddesses, because of their High Tech vehicles.

Visible Human Eternal Life is for the Living Humans, not for Dead Humans. All 'seen' Physical Life After Death returns to the 'unseen' elements, to be used again for seen Physical Life as we know it. This lost High Tech Knowledge is called reincarnation teachings of some religions. There is 'seen' Eternal High Tech Knowledge Physical Human Life After Birth, that Fallen Humans call God the Father, He, Him, Goddesses, Angels, Jesus, and All High Tech Pure-bred Humans of other religions.

All religions that look forward for the return of their God in Human form, are Pure-bred Asexual Clone Humans with Eternal Physical Life After Birth, that fly in spaceships in the Universe and Colonize Planets with their type of Human Life.
We also today, look forward to Colonizing other Planets, but we have almost destroyed our Eco System with Unbalanced Elements, and then Life as we know it cannot continue on Earth, and the Planetary Judgement Day Fire will destroy all signs of our existence. I do not think Fallen Humans can make it to another Planet, before they destroy their own planet with Unbalanced Elements.

So much for Fallen Human Life on a planet. It has built-in death wish protection, so they cannot succeed in Universe Space Travel.
At least I hope for the sake of our Universe that Mis-bred Humans do not succeed in Space travel like our Science Fiction movies do. We see all the Killing that keeps going on if that Happens, and that is not the Heaven of Bliss, of our High Tech Ancestors.

Patricia

Great question about idolatry vs. sin. I tried to think of an instance of sin where there was not a form of idolatry involved - or putting another "god" before God - and could not. Stealing is normally an act of putting money or objects or drugs before God. Judging another is normally an act of elevating oneself to God level and thereby putting oneself before God.......

Then I remembered a PBS POV offering a week or so ago.

A man had been traveling for a couple of weeks across CA, essentially homeless, and looking for work from town to town. He was with his pregnant wife and 2 young children. His children were hungry and had been hungry for a day or so, crying and complaining. There was no food and no money and no work. So he and his wife made a conscious decision to steal/shoplift food from a convenience store.

They were caught and he was sent to prison - and I mean PRISON - for 16 months for attempting to steal $23 worth of food. Then, when he was let out, he was put on probation, the terms of which required he stay in the town for several months.......where he could not find work. So he ended up again trying to figure out how to feed his children.

Anyway, I cannot see this as being an instance of any kind of idolatry. At the same time, I'm not sure I can fully see it as a full blown sin, although stealing under any circumstances is certainly not right.

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