Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Corinthians 15 - Gonzo and A-Rod, and how bad company corrupts good character

Vs. 32-33 gives this down-to-earth application of the impact of the resurrection:

If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

I am sitting in JFK Airport in New York, waiting for my delayed flight to Burlington. I'm coming home from my annual DC training week. Coming home from this trip last summer, I was waiting in the airport and ran into Bishop Salvatore Matano. We had great fellowship. Just minutes ago, I was sitting in the airport sports bar drinking my non-alcoholic beer watching the Red Sox game, and the guy next to me has a Red Sox hat on. Long story short - he is a close childhood friend of Adrian Gonzalez. (I saw the pictures on his I-Phone to prove it.) He talked about how happy Gonzo is playing and living in Boston, and how his wife is expecting their first child after many years of trying. If all goes well on both fronts, the Red Sox will be celebrating a World Series victory a day before the child is born!

Not wanting to miss the opportunity to witness and learn, I mentioned to Gonzo's friend that I had heard he is a Christian. Yes, the friend told me. When AGonz was on long road trips in the minor leagues, the young Roman Catholic married to his high school sweetheart faced a choice: he could go out and party with half of the team, or have a good dinner, Bible Study, and early bedtime with the other half of the time. Wisely, he chose not to take the "eat, drink and tomorrow we die" approach and went with the Bible study. One thing led to another, and now he is a committed believer, leading mountain retreats in the offseason for other ballplayers and their families and being very active in a San Diego church called The Rock. By God's grace he did not led "bad company corrupt good character." As AGonz's friend was telling me this, ESPN was reporting on the news of Yankee superstar Alex Rodriquez participating in illegal poker games, a serious violation of baseball policy for which he could be fined and suspended. Talk about bad company corrupting!

For baseball nuts like me, it's very interesting to hear about the lives of the guys with the .300 batting averages. But really - the soul of the fellow on the stool next to me is just as worth saving as Gonzo's. I asked the guy to tell Gonzo that there's a brother in Vermont that is praying for him and his family, and not just because the Sox need him. The guy said, "yeah, there is life after baseball." And I thought, yeah, ETERNAL life after baseball - ain't it the truth!

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