Join us as we see where God is present in our lives. We most definitely aren't walking with Him in the Garden of Eden despite the fact that so many are shedding clothes instead of covering themselves up. However I am willing to bet that God is closer to us than we think and that He has genuinely planted truth in the flesh of our hearts.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Soul Surfer

I recently saw this movie, Soul Surfer, a true and quite inspiring story about a promising young surfer (Bethany Hamilton) who loses her arm in a shark attack. It is a very emotional film, portraying Beth's journey from being one of the best surfers in Hawaii, to her near death experience with the shark, to her attempts to relearn how to do so many basic tasks with just one arm, to her getting back in the water and surfing again. Even more incredible is that this is a true story.

This is the type of movie that doesn't need a written analysis...it stands on its own as a beautiful Nugget of Truth. Beth's amazing journey and personal growth, coupled with the centrality of her Christian faith in her life, make for a truly inspiring story. It is a movie I would recommend to anyone. However, there was one quote that Beth offers during her struggle to relearn how to surf with only one arm that struck me in a special way. As Beth is committing herself to get back in the water and learn to surf again, her family of course reminds her how difficult a task this will be with only one arm. At this point Beth beautifully tells her parents...

"I don't need easy, I just need possible."

Keeping in mind the fact that Beth literally almost died, and is now forced to go through the rest of her life with just one arm, I am absolutely amazed that she can find the determination to utter this statement. Nobody would have blamed Beth for rolling over and given up, but she says very clearly that she doesn't care how difficult it is, she will not give up surfing, something which brings her so much joy. It doesn't need to be easy, just possible. Sounds almost like a very famous scripture passage..."I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13).

If I truly believe that God loves me, that He loves me enough to help and guide me along every step of my life...I really don't need to be afraid. Beth knew that even though the road towards surfing again seemed incredibly difficult, God would be walking right alongside her. Do I believe that? Do I believe that God loves me so much that He is not only watching over me and listening to me, but that He is walking alongside me....no...that He lives within me? When I receive Jesus' body and blood in the Eucharist, God actually lives within me. If Jesus loves me so much that He would actually enter into my heart, what is there to fear?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jim Thome's 600th Home Run

Last night Jim Thome became just the 8th person in baseball history to hit 600 career home runs. From now on Thome's name will forever be listed alongside some of the greatest players in baseball history, including Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Willie Mays.

Thome accomplishes this great feat in the midst of one of the darkest time periods in professional baseball - the steroids era. It is a time period where we have been let down by so many of our favorite stars, finding out that some of the greatest players in the game are nothing but cheaters. This has led us to believe that no home run hitter can be trusted. Every home run that's hit makes us wonder if it was done as a result of real hard work and sweat or simply with the aid of performance enhancing drugs. It is an era of baseball that has been crying out for a beacon of hope, for someone who can prove to the fans that great home run hitters who aren't cheaters, still exist. I believe that person could very well be Jim Thome.

Unlike Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and so many others, Tim Thome has never tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. He is a man who throughout his career has been nothing but a class act. He is a genuinely good person, a great ballplayer and a positive influence for his teammates in the clubhouse. No, he will never hit the 762 home runs Barry Bonds, and he never dominated the media like A-Rod, but that doesn't matter. Jim Thome is a man that fans can believe in, a beacon of light during very dark times.

Obviously this historic home run excites me because I am an avid baseball fan, but I think there is also a clear connection between Jim Thome's baseball career and our lives as Christians. I referred to Thome as "a beacon of light during very dark times" (a phrase which I admit I took from Sportscenter)...isn't that exactly what we are called to be as Christians? Jesus tells us very clearly in Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world". Thome didn't get the recognition that he deserved throughout his career, just as you and I probably won't be noticed for the good things we do with out lives. However, it's not the fame or the glory that's important...but rather being the best person you can be, the best and brightest light to the world you can be.