The Ministry of Amiable Nicks
- Friday, September 08, 2006
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The other evening, we headed north to Milwaukee to take in a Cubs game at Miller Park, and something strange happened: The Cubs won. I was wearing an old Cubs jersey, bought for $2 at a thrift shop, and I wondered if I might be assaulted by inebriated, bratwurst-engorged Brewers fans. But the evening was a joy - in a beautiful park with friendly people.
One experience stands out - hearing the intro music for Brewers outfielder Gabe Gross. Apparently the players can pick the theme song they want played over the P.A. system when they walk up to plate. Most of it was pop, rock, R&B, and rap (no opera, jazz, madrigal, new age or country, so far as I could tell). But Gross’ choice was both familiar and arresting: it was “Blessed Be Your Name” by Beth and Matt Redman. As in “Blessed be the name of the Lord ...” No kidding.
When I got back to Evanston, I checked this out on the Internet. Sure enough, Gross was an outspoken Christian from Auburn University. And, of course, he was taking his hits in the blogosphere. For instance, somebody calling himself “Smoove D” wrote the following:
"I was at the game tonight, and I couldn't believe what I was hearing when Gabe Gross came up to bat. It sounded like some kind of Christian rock [mess]. Does anyone know what it is? I couldn't make out any of the words other than what I thought sounded like 'Jesus.' I know the players pick their own music, meaning I like Gross a little less now."
Smoove D was taken aback by the response he got from folks pleased with Gross’ choice. For example, apostrophe-challenged “MBrewCrewOnWinTrack” wrote back:
"Praise the Lord! I love that in [Gross]... Get over it. I respect him and like him more now if that is what it was! He has his convictions and you have yours. If it motivates him... fine. I would pick the same thing if it inspired me and is what I chose for my introduction just like closers come in the game to heavy metal, rock and some gangsta rap bands! Good for him!"
The music segment was a little thing, perhaps 10 seconds long, but it made a difference. You might say it was a slight razor nick on the prevailing secularity. Not a full-framed apologetic for the Christian faith but a good word for the Lord where many have forgotten the Lord, and where many of those who know the Lord have forgotten to say so.
The next morning in our hotel room, I was reminded of the devil’s program of nicks. Sharon and I were sharing the Gideon Bible when we discovered stickers pasted therein by some vandal. One read, “No Gods. No Masters;” the other, “Keep State & Church Separate.” They were small stuff, but they could nick the spirit. Of course, given our background, they only stirred our resolve and provided material for preaching, teaching and writing, but imagine the impressionable non-believer turning to this copy of the Word, hoping to find direction or solace. Maybe the stickers would cause him to wince and close the book.
The devil does this sort of thing all the time: little digs in movies, tiny slices on magazine covers, wounding words in conversation, all meant to diminish the honor and influence of biblical Christianity.
It got me to thinking about our own spiritual warfare. We often frame it in terms of wielding the sword of truth, slaying the dragon of mendacity, and charging the gates of hell. Amen! But we shouldn’t discount the toll that paper cuts and pin pricks can have on the morale of those serving or enabling the enemy. If a 10-second music clip can send Smoove D huffing and puffing to his keyboard, so can a bowed head and brief prayer before a restaurant meal, a church T-shirt on a movie patron, and a reference to the mercies of Jesus in a television or newspaper interview.
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