But on the day when co-fans of my "favorite" baseball team are praising the ownership for committing $142 million to a guy who's darn good at baseball, my mind is again going in different directions. I remember being a student at Eastern Nazarene College when the Red Sox signed Manny Ramirez to what turned out to be a $200 million contract. I had his picture all over my dorm room door, with made-up balloon quotes mocking the Yankees. We Sox fans were ecstatic. And Manny delivered, being one of the greatest hitters ever in Red Sox history, winning one World Series MVP, and two World Series rings.
Now I wholeheartedly admit that the following has a profound impact on my feelings on all this (I wrote this elsewhere):
I have gone to Fenway since May 2, 2006, but only a few times. Before that, if I was living in New England, I was at Fenway at least 10 times a year. And now that I actually have a clergy pass that gets me in rather cheaply (in comparison, at least), I still don't go. Time isn't so much a factor as the games are in the evening, and my wife often says that I should go. But I don't. When I went to watch the Red Sox and Yankees on that day (May 2, 2006), my friend and I were waiting for the rain delay to subside (it never did) when my phone rang. I answered and my mother told me that my "foster" brother, Bobby Moscillo was killed in Iraq. What was normally one of the happiest places on earth for me quickly turned into a Hell hole. Everyone's antics in that place just seemed so stupid to me at that point. I'm sure people wondered why this guy was sitting there bawling his eyes out (my friend who was with me was very gracious). But the few times I've gone since then, it just seems stupid: the money involved (in so many ways), the chants, the wave (which I've actually never been such a big fan of), and so much more.
The last time I went to Foxboro was with Bobby. We sat in the second row from the top in very cold weather and watched the Jets beat the Patriots (2002...second to last or last game of the season). I've not been back to Foxboro for a game since. I've had my chances.Today I'm reminded of the money aspect. I can't get over it. If I decry the notion that a bank executive can make this much money, why would I stop short for an athlete?
I found this video a while ago, but I've re-visited it numerous times. The pastor in it (Chris Seay) puts his time and money where his mouth is.
So...have at it:
How should those who call for the compassion and incarnation of Christ respond to such exorbitant amounts of money?
(To be clear, I have no issue with baseball, or football, or banking. I think each can play an important and integral part of society. Note that Chris also calls out the make-up industry, etc. in the video.)
And also, remember that I have questioned the possibility of money being the primary factor in solving problems, preferring compassion and incarnation over charity and money, but at this level, something's surely amiss.