Heaven and the Hall of Fame

26 Jan


I was thinking about baseball and heaven yesterday…

A question that I used to ask my students, usually depending on the occasion and reading material we were discussing, was “Do you believe in heaven?” Most students if not all would raise their hands.

Then I would follow up with, “Who thinks they will someday go there?” And all who had first raised their hands would always  keep them raised. I never thought that unusual. In fact I think it would be unusual to believe in heaven and then not think you were going there. That student would probably be a candidate for the child study team.

But I digress…here’s where the baseball part comes in.

Is heaven like the Baseball Hall of Fame? Must we have and have lived with exceptional moral skills to get in? Do we have to have lived a life with the moral skill set equivalent of a Willy Mays or Babe Ruth Or will Bill Mazeroski skills get us in there? What if we live a decent life but our moral batting average is more like Mario Mendoza’s baseball batting average? (It wasn’t very good and he is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame)

Or do we have to hang out in Purgatory (Do we still have that?) for a while and wait for the Heaven Veteran’s committee to vote us in?

The reason I ask is because it seems to me that whenever one of our loved one’s die those of us who knew them in life form a veteran’s committee of sorts and automatically vote them in…don’t we?

I mean you never hear Jonathan Edward say, “Hey, I’ve got a spirit coming in and it’s a hot one! Anybody out there have a loved one whose gone to hell?”

Anyway, I’m just asking. What do you think? Is getting into Heaven like getting into the Hall of fame?

21 Responses to “Heaven and the Hall of Fame”

  1. John January 26, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    Saved by faith through His grace. By no other means can a man enter His kingdom. 🙂

  2. Tracy January 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    Interesting thoughts here. I have deceased family members who I did not vote to get into the Hall of Fame (I refused to attend their funeral too). It was a long time ago but the individuals concerned were not nice people. I was obliged to see them as a child – as an adult I was able to make my own mind up so I stopped seeing them and did not mark their passing. Probably sounds harsh but to me this was one of the biggest stands I’d ever taken in terms of acting on my moral beliefs instead of doing what society expected.

  3. brucethomasw January 26, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    Recntly I read an obituary in the small independent Island Catholic Newspaper about a wonderful man I had been acquainted with.. . . it began “After a lengthy battle with cancer that went extra innings, our beloved Lockie, husband and dad, hit a grand slam and slid safely into home.” The baseball metaphor is powerful indeed. To quote further “(loch)spent the majority of his career advocating for the rights of all students to access full and appropriate educational services in inclusionary environments.” Your posts and stance on “education” and as a retired teacher, seems to me have a similiar quality. Thanks. http://islandcatholicnews.ca/news/2012/12/lachlan-lock-mawhinney-co-founder-larche-comox-valley-passes

    • alesiablogs January 26, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

      excellent slide into heaven commentary!

  4. Monica January 26, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    This is so good. Heaven, baseball, and a field of dreams.

  5. Maurice A. Barry January 26, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    Hah–Dad always told me that if you didn’t have anything good to say about someone then say nothing. Strange how some people find me ‘quiet,’ …but not everyone :>)

  6. alesiablogs January 26, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    Wow! This is serious stuff. I grew up where heaven was real and hell is too! I can remember as a child sitting in on the preacher screaming his F&$# head off. Now that kind of thing turns me off. I do not need you preacher man…Just yell at yourself…
    I will say recently (and I still do go to church), but not that kind haha—our pastor wrote a beautiful book on grace. It reminds us all that this earthly walk is not an easy one, but there is ONE much bigger than ourselves that does meet us at the end if you so choose to believe in Him… But could someone stop tellling Ray Lewis that NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST WILL PROSPER after every game the Ravens win… I wonder if he would like that said to him when the 49ers put a ass whoopin’ on his team next weekend..Oh sorry had to put in a plug for the 49ers…haha since this post is sports related!!!

  7. A Voice January 26, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    It’s not about the Hall of Fame and it’s not about Heaven, it’s about playing the game well and doing it with real class.

    From a Christian perspective, there is precious little information about Heaven in the Bible and a wealth of information about how to live a good life. If we reflect a lot of this information against the Pauline letters it seems to me that what is legitimately considered ‘living a good life’ is in some real way relative to a given society. We can see this by taking a hard look at the Old Testament and looking at the competing moral codes for different and legitimate Jewish societies. This, of course, doesn’t mean that any sort of strong ethical relativism is supported by critical Biblical study, merely that some forms of ethical relativism are supported.

    So, what does this mean? Much like people that end up in the Hall of Fame because they play with class, dignity and skill, so too will people enter into whatever is considered to be Heaven. There are various ways to get into Heaven and get into the Hall of Fame but there is no strictly outlined path, not in the Bible and not in the Game. It would be a morally impoverish person, indeed, who was so caught up in getting into Heaven/the Hall of Fame that they did what they did specifically to get in there. That wouldn’t speak of class or dignity at all, just a remarkable selfishness.

    God wouldn’t approve and neither would the Hall.

  8. heavenhappens January 26, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    Well I guess with a blog name like mine I just have to put in my view!! I really think that this is Heaven ~ having life and being in this beautiful world is Heaven ~ Jesus came, taught us how to live, died and we were therefore saved from a life of shallow misery or decadent selfish pleasure. Either is equally unfulfilling ultimately. So live well, do no harm, do good if you can, and enjoy what this world has to offer ~ simple, natural beauty, alone or in the company of other good people. Avoid anyone who distresses you or disturbs your peace.
    Stand up for what is right and honest, for justice and peace.

  9. StepdadAgain January 27, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    How do we know that we aren’t in heaven already? Or hell?

    Why do we think there ‘must’ be a life after this? Is it because if we didn’t believe in a life after we might just sit down and refuse to spend most of our adult lives working for a few dollars? Would we question war? If we knew this was it. One shot and then dust?

    No heaven, no hell?

    Would all humans demand personal freedom and just say “no” to dictators, or those who control us, or the substances we allow to control our little lives – if we knew there was nothing after the few years we spend here?

    I was raised Christian, for the record, but then I started to think. Now I know thinking is really a no no in the Christian world. We’re all condemned because Eve ate from the tree of knowledge. We aren’t supposed to think. We’re only supposed to believe and have faith.

    Still… I can’t help thinking about a few things. Like, if God really loves us like his own children, would he really let us go to hell? Listen, I get really pissed off at my kids but nothing they’ve done warrants sending them to hell. Even if they didn’t believe in me. I’d still not condemn them to eternal damnation.

    Frankly, my kids have done much worse then refusing to believe in me. I usually take away their computer or cell phone. Can’t God just take away our cell phones if we slip and stop having faith for awhile? I know I’d run right back into church and start praying fervently if God showed up and took my cell phone away. Do we really need hell?

    It’s kind of interesting that Jesus taught tolerance but his own father seems to have very little of it. I mean there’s the flood thing, turing an entire city into stone, and HELL where you’ll burn FOREVER. Jesus man. It makes God look kinda bad. Maybe Heaven’s not a place we want to go after all. Sounds like it might be pretty strict up there.

    Before you raise hell on me… I’ll concede that anything is possible. So maybe there is a heaven and hell. Still, I think I’m not going to bank on it. I’m going to relish every moment I have here – just in case this is all we’ve got.

    God bless you all.

  10. brandeesbest.com January 27, 2013 at 2:36 am #

    Well we could all get in if Babe Ruth’s morals were the bar….but Willy Mays is a tall order . Something tells me the latter is true

  11. kaprise January 27, 2013 at 5:42 am #

    i hope heaven is nothing like the hall of fame… i hope you get forgiven for everything and you turn into a better person when you cross the threshold.

  12. TamrahJo January 27, 2013 at 5:43 am #

    “Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
    Mark Twain

    As for baseball, after watching Ken Burn’s full documentary, Baseball, like everything else, has it’s saints, it’s sinners and those with a beautiful combination of both – in other words – the human condition. All I personally hope for is to leave behind a trail of enough compassion and grace, that if a committee is needed, there will be some who are willing to speak up for me :>)

  13. argentumvulgaris January 27, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    An interesting and powerful analogy, not that I understand the game of baseball, but I’ve got the gist of it, enough to understand the analogy. A comment above about the preacher shouting his head off… I was passing an evangelical church a few months back, the preacher was at full scream, when I was invited to enter; I simply replied that Jesus never needed to shout, so why should a preacher? Then walked on, I would have done anyway because I’m an atheist, but it stopped the girl in her tracks.

    I defy any person on this planet, saint or sinner, to say he has the morals to get into ‘heaven.’ We’re here now in purgatory.


  14. rickwilliamspga.com January 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    Long time Pirate fan, nice Maz reference. I’m mixed on the Heaven/Hell thing. I’d like to think we all will get to our own “heaven” whatever that may be. And yes, I’ve been on those veteran’s committees before. Everyone to my knowledge has been admitted!

  15. Rev Dani Lynn January 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    This is from the Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Gospel of Thomas: NHC II,2: (3) Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the kingdom is in heaven,’ then the birds of heaven will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside you and it is outside you.” — There are a few quotes I’ve come across with this same concept, that heaven is not a separate place outside of us, but a state of mind, once achieved through inner peace, acceptance, stillness, etc., allows us to see as Jesus saw, and consciously become one with all that surrounds us, the beauty and love. Many of the poets we admire today, in particular, those from the mid and far east of centuries ago, also spoke of this concept. — I do think your baseball analogy is clever. I read all the comments before mine. So, so many different concepts! 🙂

  16. happyzinny January 27, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

    I love your analogy! But I just don’t believe in baseball.

  17. elizjamison January 28, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    I love this post because it addresses doubts I have. I HATE it when super religious people make it so black and white: You’re going to hell if you don’t believe….
    I don’t think it’s like the hall of fame. I think it’s like little league: they all get to play.

  18. Neon Fish January 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    I’m just glad Jesus hit the homerun and all I have to do is run the bases until I reach homeplae. I love metaphor, thanks for using it and a pretty good one at that:)

    • Neon Fish January 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

      oops, homeplate

  19. jordandispatch February 1, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    Very good stuff!! I think the first thing any typical Christian will tell you is that once you ask Jesus into your heart, then you are saved ads going to Heaven. Works (good or bad) are not what gets you to Heaven. Grace is there to protect you from any sins that may occur.

    That works out on paper, but gets qwerky when you start thinking that Grace allows you to do anything you want or to do just nothing. I don’t know how Heaven is going to work when we get there. I do believe that what we do down here is going to make Heaven a better experience for us. I don’t think that our works technically matter to God because he loves us no matter whatI. I think that this isn’t supposed to be something that is preached to everyone though. It needs to be something that is”found out”by the individual and a certain amount or balance be determined between God and the individual.

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