Posts tagged ‘perfection’

October 1, 2012

Chipper

by pastortimfowler

This may be my least read blog ever, because it is about baseball. Baseball is not as popular as it use to be and most women could care less about it, so some may tune out before the end. Okay, but its your loss. You know you want to read it anyway.
I grew a block from a minor league baseball stadium in my town and my dad was a big baseball fan and took me to every home game. I got hooked early and because there was not a major league team in my area, Atlanta was the closest and I adopted them as my team. Although they did not have great teams when I was little, they had many great players. I saw Hank Aaron hit home runs # 714, 715, and his last 755. I saw pitcher Phil Niekro get ejected from games for scuffing the ball and saw him through knuckle balls that needed no scuffing. I saw Dale Murphy play and was glued to the TV when Sid Breem slid into home plate to complete the worst to first season that started decade of domination in baseball. There have been a lot of great people play for the Braves but few who will ever match Chipper Jones, #10.
I saw Chipper play in the minor leagues in Greenville SC in 1992 and followed his career in the major leagues. He did what few ever do anymore and that is stay with the same team for his whole career. So when I heard that he was retiring this year, I bought tickets to see the last regular season home game he would play in Atlanta and yesterday I got to see him play one last time. It was really cool to be there and see the amount of admiration for this guy from fans, his teammates, and other players from other teams. He is a class act.
Not only is he a great baseball player, he lived his public life with few embarrassing moments. For someone who always has a camera and a microphone around you, that can be tough. With the exception of an incident of infidelity, there were no moments of meltdowns or public humiliation of self and team or the game. I will address that one incident in a minute, but in an age of steroid use and gambling problems and egotistical superstars who say stupid things to get attention, Chipper is a class act.
He put team first. I never heard an interview, including the one yesterday after the game, when he did not give credit to his teammates, coaches, and fans. It was never about how awesome he was or how great he played, it was about the team winning and the fans getting to enjoy it. I never saw him hit a home run, and there we plenty, and have him put on a show or do a dance or point a gotcha finger at the other team. When he was taunted be opposing team’s fans he never lashed out at them, but rather smiled and let his actions on the field do the talking. I never saw him talk down about his coach and blame someone else when he was not performing well. He just played the sport and let things happen as they may. He did not shop around with other teams every year to get the highest pay. He was well paid and rightfully so, but he remained loyal to one team his entire career.
And then there was that one incident that made you realize that he was just as human as the rest of us. Several years ago the report came out that he was caught in an extra marital affair. Usually these have the tendency to become huge stories for public figures. There are normally denials, cover ups, and then, admissions to try to calm down the firestorms. But Chipper handled things differently. He admitted it publicly, handled it privately, apologized immediately, and played baseball without mixing his private life with his profession. Not a bad example of how to handle a major screw up from a celebrity.
So I like Chipper Jones as a baseball player. I like Chipper Jones a public figure. He was humble. I like Chipper Jones as a person. He was real. So I thought I would blog about him today because too many celebrities are none of the above and the example they give to our younger generation leaves a lot to be desired. I think that we can learn about loyalty and humility and passion, and work ethic and even how to get back up when you fall down from his career as a major league baseball player.
The number 10 often represents a perfect score. In reality, no one can achieve perfection. Some celebrities live like they think they are perfect and then there are those like Chipper, who wore #10 on his jersey, who knew that he was not perfect but worked as though he was trying to get there. I think he was a class act. Thanks Chipper! Good luck in retirement.

July 12, 2012

It IS About Me

by pastortimfowler

Most of them are good attitudes, but from time to time, some attitudes get negative, including my own. This is the third line from yesterday’s blog. Why did I start with it today? Because I have been blasted from people telling me that it was inappropriate to talk about other people like that. DUH…It IS about me. I was saying that even a beloved pastor can get self-centered and if I can do it, I bet you can too. (Not a good thing)
I consider myself to be the most blessed pastor in the world. My church is full of people who “get it”. They love everyone that walks through the doors regardless of how the look, color, age, or any other descriptive characteristics. They make our church a great place for people to come and feel loved and relaxed and that leads to many people coming to know Jesus. That is the most important thing in the world, not how you or I feel. And that was the purpose of the whole blog yesterday.
It is so easy to get our feelings hurt or feel like someone is stepping on our toes. As a very confident pastor, I have a vision and a direction for my church that I truly believe God gave to me. The reason I believe this is because people come to our church and then come to know Jesus every Sunday. We don’t do a show of wealth or fluffy, feel good sermons. We are modern and our band is awesome and yes, we use some lights while they are playing, but other than that, things rely on God using us to love others. For those of us who have been in church a long time, we can often get our feelings hurt if we feel like we are being neglected or our territory is being invaded or our leadership is being questioned. That is often the time of the much-needed attitude check. And so, I had to check mine.
Sometimes we need to trust that the leaders that God has put in our lives are not only thinking about themselves when they have to put their foot down about a situation. Just like CEO of a company, the pastor is overseeing the big picture and every day is thinking about how to stay heading in the right direction. Sometimes those who work in a specific area, miss how the big picture is effected by what they do. Sometimes the pastor must be firm in staying a course and when that happens, this pastor, can be less than tactful. The old saying, “It’s not what you say but how you say it” comes to mind in this case. I don’t feel like I said anything wrong, but I sure wish I had checked the attitude sooner and said it better.
God loves His people, even those who screw up. He knows that we will never be perfect and therefore, He gives us grace. I love that and need that and I try to model that. But God also does not put up with our inappropriate behavior and will be blunt and to point in correcting us. It is at that time that we can either check our attitude and learn or we can continue to be self-centered and lose sight of the big picture. I am far from being God, but I am sure of the vision, this big picture, that God has given me and the direction our church is going. Too many people are coming to know Jesus for us to be doing too much that He does not like from His church.
It is about me though. I love me and you know it. I am one of my favorite people. But I am not perfect and I admit it. For those who just had your bubble burst, I am sorry. Perfection was Jesus, I am only His servant. If someone took yesterday’s blog to be about you, then maybe you should look in the mirror. If your mirror is foggy, it is not my fault. I am looking in mine and trying to find the Windex to clean it off; ’cause when I look in my mirror and its dirty, it IS about me.