Play Ball!

There was an old baseball coach at Pepperdine University named John Scolinos who when he addressed an audience of baseball coaches had a standard size home plate hung around his neck. He began by asking in succession if there were any Little League, Babe Ruth, high school, college, Minor League, and finally Major League coaches present. Pausing between each, he asked what was the size of your home plate. Reservedly, thinking it was a trick question, each slowly answered, “17 inches.”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES,” he confirmed.

Then he questioned, “What do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?”

Someone shouted, “They send him to Pocatello!”

Coach Scolinos remarked, “They don’t say, ‘That is OK. If you can’t hit a seventeen inch target we will make it eighteen or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you will have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”

Then he asked, “What do we do if the best player consistently shows up late for practice? Or, when the rules forbid facial hair and he shows up unshaven? Do we change the rules for him?”

Next he drove home his point noting that is the problem in our country. “We have changed the rules in government, in marriage, in church, and in education.” 

Regarding each of these disciplines, he made his point as he did in this way regarding government: “Our so called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves. They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate! We see our country falling into a dark abyss and we just watch.”

(Author’s Note: I want to interject that though this is true in general, there are some very good leaders who serve us well.)

In a discipline dear to me there have been dramatic changes of standards.

There is a new theological school of thought going around in some churches known as Liberation Theology. Proponents say the church has alienated society by holding standards no longer acceptable by the world. The church must change to be more acceptable by the world. It must become more compatible with the world.

You fill in the blanks noting where standards have been changed by the church.

Historically the objective has been to love the world, but not the things of the world and endeavor to lead the world to upgrade its standards. That is now being reversed in the name of popularity.

Scolinos made his final point. “If we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standard, if we are unwilling and unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools & churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to…”

At that point he turns over the home plate he has around his neck to show the reverse side. Showing it to be black he warns, “We have dark days ahead!” Then this appeal, to keep “Your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”  Use the Bible as your ruler.