Daily Archives: June 15, 2009

The Art of Balance, Baseball and living as a Passionate Moderate

I subscribe to the philosophy that balance is essential in life.  This is probably because my kindergarten teacher took the pencil from my lf and made me write with my right hand which I believe made me amphibious.  I think that is one reason that God speaks to me through baseball.  It’s kind of like those mythical Chinese kids, Yin and Yang, who as I understand whose properties were fused by the Deity Herself into the perfect form of a baseball several millennia ago becoming the symbol of perfect balance in the world.  In baseball there is a certain balance and symmetry that transcends sports played on rectangular fields.    Baseball is the one team sport where no fat lady gets to sing before the last out, unless of course she is singing God Bless America during the 7th Inning Stretch. Time in baseball is measured in multiples of three: Three Strikes to an out, three outs in an inning, and nine innings of three outs each.  Likewise there are 90 feet between each base and 60 feet six inches between the pitcher’s rubber and home plate, again, multiples of three. There are 108 stitches in a baseball, again a multiple of three. Since we in the Christian Church understand God as a Trinity in Unity, One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it is apparent to me that baseball, being a game made up of “threes” is something that flows from God to us.  As George Will once said “Baseball is Heaven’s gift to mortals.”

This is why I am a moderate which to me an integral part of balance.  Moderation to the chagrin of many actually takes work, hard work.  Moderates are often mischaracterized, maligned or derided by people who don’t understand the difference between a principled moderate and waffling follower.  I don’t believe that lazy and unimaginative people who can’t make up their minds about which cola is better, much less examine a serious issue can be truly described as moderates.  They may be wishy-washy but they are not true moderates.  People who take a position so strongly that they can only see their particular view as the only way, be it political, social or religious often cannot understand a true moderate and because moderates don’t fit in their dualistic world view have to malign them.  Unfortunately moderates tend to have big targets on them which draw the fire of extremists on any side of an issue.  Moderates are often compared the Biblical church of Laodicea which the Lord says he will spew out of his mouth like a cheap beer.  I once heard a fiery preacher in Texas say that the only thing defining a moderate was “the tire track down his back as he was run over by people who really believed in something.”  Rush Limbaugh and others on the right treat moderates like traitors, and Limbaugh’s left wing counterparts pretty much see moderates in the same way.  It is much like the way conservative Catholics and Protestant Fundamentalists view the via media or middle way of Anglicanism.  Moderation does not go over well with people who live in a dualistic, black and white world.  Moderation is like baseball where there is no replay for a called third strike, where umpires can make a bad call and where decisions can go either way.  Football and other sports which depend on replays when a call is controversial seek to evade a key part of the human condition, they have removed as much as possible the judgment call and the gray area and unwittingly played into the dualism.

My understanding of being a moderate however is far from being wishy-washy spit coming from the mouth of God….oops, splurt.  I believe that real moderates seek truth, and far from being wishy-washy or milquetoasty are pretty tenacious, diplomatic and able to see the finer points of argument and debate.  Moderates occupy the crucial center ground on which the safety and stability of nations, governemnts and churches depend. As such true moderates must be principled and passionate in both seeking and defending truth.  They also must be willing to defend themselves from both the left and the right.  This is not simply pragmatism, though moderates tend to be pragmatic, it is necessity.  Likewise true moderates are passionate about life and truth, there is no waffling, as a moderate though moderates know that thye don’t have all the answers, and that somethimes there are no answers.  Thus for me I am according to my website title a “passionate moderate.”  This is far from being an oxymoron, or for that matter any kind of moron.  Being a passionate moderate entails holding a tension between opposing points of view, its the synergy of old Yin and Yang.   Passionate moderates have to be able to engage anyone in meaningful dialogue from both the right and the left. Passionate moderates also must be able to confront individuals or groups which have moved to extremist positions that are ultimately detrimental to them and others.  Being a moderate does not mean being a wimp, milquetoast or wishy-washy.  It means having the courage of conviction to pursue truth and do what is right even if it deviates from a political, religious or ideological point s of view which believes it to be the only correct reflection of what is good right and holy in the world.

Thus there is a wide gap between real moderates and lazy people who can’t make a decision to fart towards their left or right buttocks much less to take a position that may be contrary to those comfortably and immutably ensconced in their ideological, religious or political beliefs. Passionate moderates are the center which must hold in order for a pluralistic and multicultural society to survive political, military or economic crisis; natural disaster or other catastrophes such as the Leisure Suits, Disco, Chevy Chevettes, Ford Pintos, the Purpose Driven Church, artificial turf and multi-purpose stadiums which house baseball teams.

Moderation, like baseball takes both patience and balance and is not for the faint of heart.  Being a moderate means that you assume, like baseball that every pitch is a new game.  With each pitch there is a different situation with numerous, if not infinite possibilities.  A true moderate looks to the future and uses the past as a guide, not a place to remain.  Christian moderation involves holding to the truth of the Scriptures, the Tradition of the Faith and to Reason as a basis of moving forward in the grace, mercy and peace of God.  This requires balance, patience and fortitude, because the task is not easy.  It is like those mythical Chinese kids Yin and Yang who were fused into the perfect sphere which became the prototypical baseball; everything in balance.

Peace, Steve+

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Filed under Baseball, Loose thoughts and musings, philosophy, Religion