Monday, October 13, 2008

Athletics and Everyday Injustice

My wife coaches volleyball. I'm a youth minister. The two of us go to a lot of High School and Middle School athletic events. Believe me when I say that I've seen my fair share of irate fans. I remember in Van Alstyne, Texas a group of men who crowded close to the fence and screamed unmentionable obscenities at their sons, coaches, and referees. I went in and stood in their midst for a short moment. Smiling ear to ear, in silent protest of their idiocy. My wife rolled her eyes. I also remember the time my dad screamed, "You Turkey" at the top of his lungs at a ref who made a bad call in relation to my sister Kara. My mom was horrified. I thought it was pretty tame. And I remember just a couple of days ago, hearing a mom tear a referee to pieces under her breathe to the mom beside her at a Ninth B volleyball game.
Ninth. B. Volleyball. Astounding.
Now I would be the first to admit that I can get pretty competitive, but I think I might be on to something with all this hooping and hollering. I think people have a keen sense for detecting everyday injustice, especially in relation to themselves. No I'm not talking about starvation, or forced labor, or the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer and poorer and poorer. I would say that many of us have little of no sense of real injustice, including me, but I'm talking about everyday injustice. Like when a son or daughter gets fouled and nobody calls it. Like when somebody cuts us off in traffic, but they don't get a ticket. Like when a coworker isn't carrying his or her load and they're getting away with it. We're acutely aware of the small injustices that occur to us, those we know and those people we know know. And I really think that its a pretty good thing. I mean picking up on the fact that things have gone awry or that everyday injustice is happening is a good thing. After all, God told us to "seek justice" right? And we do. But I'm not sure we do it correctly. We yell at a ref, asking him to find his head and pull it out. Is verbal abuse really the way to deal with everyday injustice? Cause in abusing aren't we becoming the unjust. Couldn't the second half of the verse in Micah six be employed. "Seek justice. Love mercy. Walk Humbly before your God." Why? Because all us need to pull our heads out from time to time, and we all need mercy to get us through when we do. (Which doesn't mean that we shouldn't have to deal with the repercussions of our actions.) See, we should be bothered by everyday injustice. But we've got to find a civil and loving way to deal with it. Cause I really think it breaks the heart of God when his children make someone else's life miserable over a lousy call or a dropped ball. Who knows, maybe if we handle this well, God might let us seek some real justice in our broken world?