Take me out to the church house,
Take me out with the saints;
Buy me some crackers and “communion” wine,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the Lord’s team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old church house.
Another day, another opportunity to be less a**-y. Lord, have mercy. (Online source)
Can’t you just see the wisdom that churches, who follow Scripture and do not allow women to be pastors, are missing. And as Warrengate slowly simmers because of Dr. John Piper‘s ill-advised decision to bring Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren into the Desiring God Conference 2010 as the keynote speaker. Apprising Ministries points you to Daniel Burke: The opening of the `Church of Baseball’, a piece today in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune online.
MEGACHURCH pastor Rick Warren stood on the mound at Angel Stadium on Easter Sunday and delivered his pitch. “Baseball is a game of numbers in which every player falls short of perfection,” said the best-selling author and evangelical powerhouse. “Similarly, in life, while we have all had a few hits or scored a few runs, we strike out a lot.” Whether we’re superstars or benchwarmers, God’s our biggest fan, Warren concluded.
To the 50,000 people who watched Warren’s “Sermon on the Mound,” the striking similarities between baseball and religious life were clear as a summer Sunday. But, as a sprint around the bases shows, Warren is just one of a number of preachers, scholars, players and fans who hears echoes of the ethereal when the umpire cries “Play Ball!”… (Online source)
In my opinion, Rick Warren is indeed a PDL pitchman with his man-centered, warmed-over Robert Schueller-isms like “God’s our biggest fan”; and the lie in the video below, where Warren tells an audience containing many unbelievers: God smiles when you be you.  Burke continues telling us that to some people the game of baseball “is revered as a religion in itself.” In addition, says Burke, baseball:
follows a seasonal calendar – begun this year on Easter Sunday – and builds toward a crowning moment. Its players perform priestly rituals, its history abounds with tales of mythic heroes, and its fans study and argue arcana with the intensity of Talmudic scholars. (Online source)
Actually, the truth be told, the same things could be said about virtually any area of life; but remember, this Easter America’s megapastor Rick Warren has delivered “the sermon of the mound.” Burke goes on:
“Like a church, with its orthodoxy and heresies, its canonical myths and professions of faith, its rites of communion and excommunication, baseball appears in these terms as the functional religion of America,” writes religion scholar David Chidester of the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
Or, as Annie Savoy poetically puts it in the 1988 film “Bull Durham,” “The only church that feeds the soul, day in, and day out, is the church of baseball.” America’s pre-eminent theologian, Stanley Hauerwas, a fellow fan of the Durham Bulls, has written that “there are few things better that Christians can do in and for America than play and watch baseball.” (Online source)
Well, it happens that my dad is in the New Hampshire Coaches Hall of Fame; he coached Baseball Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk in high school, and taught him that the way to the Major Leagues for him would be as a catcher. In other words, as a former baseball and football coach myself, sports in general play a large part in my life. That said, all of the above also represents well how the “missional” focus of mainstream evangelicalism is further degenerating into a sappy sentimentalism passing itself off as the Christian faith.
1. Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough does a good job refuting this idea here: http://www.extremetheology.com/2006/12/did_rick_warren.html, accessed 4/14/10.