Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Clubhouse or Chapel

This article in Tuesday's NY Times goes into detail about how a former minor league umpire was put in uncomfortable conditions when, on Sunday's, his "office" would be turned into a chapel service.

“They preach to you,” Miller said in a telephone interview. “Some are more overbearing than others. At the end they ask if you have anything ‘you want me to pray for.’ The other guys would say ‘our families, safe travel.’ I’d say nothing. Then they would pray. It was very uncomfortable. They’d say Jesus this and Jesus that. At the end they’d say ‘in Jesus’ name.’ ”

Josh Miller, a Jewish man, says he didn't like the situation and that he felt like he was left with no other choice but to stay

“You don’t want to be rude to them because it might get back to somebody and it could affect your chances,” he said. Citing one umpire evaluator as an example, he added: “He’s a very religious guy, so I was really uncomfortable leaving. He’d ask, ‘Why are you leaving?’ I’d tell him I’m Jewish, and who knows what that would do. It was something I didn’t want to have to deal with.”

After reading this article I was kind of shocked that this was even the case. Let me first say that I am a Bible believing Christian. I do however, find this practice of trapping people in their office and preaching to them to be a little bit intimidating. I find that for Christians to be a good testimony, we need to be sharing the gospel by our actions - not just our words. For Mr. Miller to respond like this suggests that the chaplains were maybe sending him the wrong signals. In fact, he goes on to say

“Half the time they’d forget and pray in Jesus’ name and pray to Jesus,” he recalled. “One time this guy found out I was Jewish, and he started talking about nonbelievers and looking at me.”

It surprises me that they don't have a separate room setup where the umpires that do desire to be in the chapel can go. Or why not just let the umpires go into the players chapel - that might actually encourage less arguments during the game. I don't think it's fair - and if I were a Christian umpire and a man walked in to read from the Koran, or the book of Mormon, or any other book that I didn't agree with - I'd probably be a little unconfortable as well.

The organization who is responsible for the chapels is knows as Their site is currently down for annual maintenance. I commend the baseball chapel for what they are doing, but I think they need to change their approach on how they share the Gospel during this upcoming season.

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