Let’s go ahead and get one thing straight: The St. Louis Cardinals are God’s team. Sure, they may have had that wee scandal “hacking” the Astros… But at the end of the day, we all make mistakes, don’t we? I grew up watching Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire play against each other on the same field. It was amazing. It was breath taking. It was good baseball. And after all these years, like every good Cards fan, I’ve grown to thoroughly enjoy being better than the Cubs. Until this year… And now everything has changed.
So because of this season, we’ve made the decision to ban all Chicago Cubs fans from our church. It wasn’t an easy decision… But if you root for the better of the two Chicago teams, you’re out! Pack your bags and find another church home! I’m sure the Conway Nazarene Church would be glad to have you. I hear their pastor is a Cubs sympathizer.
No… Of course not. That would be absurd.
The title was a lie. It was a clickbait title to get you here, and if you’re reading this, then it worked!
The fact is, as much as we would like to, our church board doesn’t let us kick people out who are Chicago Cubs fans. We let Cubs fans in our doors, Yankee fans in our doors (*sigh*), and even… Royals fans in. I know… an all-time low.
(If the baseball thing isn’t registering for you. Try reading the title: “If You’re an Alabama fan, You Aren’t Welcome Here” or “If You’re a Packers Fan, You Aren’t Welcome Here.” The title isn’t the point… But stay with me, I’m getting to the point as soon as I stop rambling about sports teams that I don’t like.)
Here’s the deal. If you are a Cubs fan, you were probably a little upset with the title. “That’s ridiculous! I’m outraged!” You may have said. And you would be completely correct. That would be ridiculous. Because you see, as a church, we can’t turn away people that have a different view point than the rest of us. That’s not what Jesus was about. People may have different opinions than us about things, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to hear what God has for them.
Let me remind you what the most well-known verse of The Bible says about this. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It doesn’t say “God gave his only son so that Cardinals fans that believe in him will get eternal life.” It doesn’t say “God gave his only son so that only people like you will get eternal life.” It says WHOEVER. In fact, we are called to reach out to those different than us. We are called to love them, to witness to them, and to accept them into the doors of the church.
Jesus says in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The love and salvation of Jesus is for everyone, not just those who are like us. And it is ESPECIALLY for sinners… Those that some may feel don’t belong in church because of their past or current mistakes. I’ve heard it said that at church “it’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay that way.” I hope that our church lives that out. When you walk into our doors, it’s okay to be struggling with something. We will never turn our backs on you because of a sin that you are dealing with. But once you commit your life to Christ and begin to walk with The Lord, it’s not okay to stay that way… You have to lay your struggles at the feet of Jesus and let Him help you take care of them. But until you are ready to do that, Greenbrier Nazarene will accept you with open, loving arms.
If nothing else, our church will love sinners.
We will love those who are different from us.
And we will even love Chicago Cubs fans… Especially when your team chokes in the postseason, because that’s when you will need our love the most.
Hunter, Creative Arts Director