By Rev. Dr. Brian Gigee
My early years from infancy to high school were in NE Ohio. The community was just outside of Youngstown and goes by name of Austintown, a place much like the Pearland I’ve known all these years as land was cleared, homes built, stores sprung up along with a whole bunch of schools. I loved living there and I love living here more! I tell people that’s where I was born and raised. I also tell them I grew up in Texas! And still am, I suppose. Moving here at age 18, to play college basketball at Texas Lutheran University (then College), was one of the most important things I’ve ever done. In retrospect, living in Texas and working in Texas has given me a life, at age 18, I would never have imagined.
Making that claim comes with a cost, however. It falls under the category of ‘important things have a price.’ Faith matters and choices do, too.
Take baseball, for instance. My grandson was amazed to learn that I was an all-star centerfielder way back in the 20th century. “YOU WERE AN ALL-STAR?” So, far, he’s not been told I struck out four of the six times I batted in those two all-star game appearances.
So, as baseball goes, I’ve been a player and a fan. My brother’s not happy with me now that I don an Astro’s shirt instead of the Cleveland Indians garb, I’ve worn for so many years! But I can also take it or leave it. Same with the NFL or the NBA. Truth be told, our daily emotionality runs high or low more often on the outcome of our team’s game results than our faith in God or the acts of service we offer as holy labor. How do I know that? Well, when was the last time you were in a traffic jam on Sunday morning on your way to worship? Or even Saturday night? C’mon. America has to own that with less than 23% of the country’s population in a house of worship each weekend. If that statistic were measles, the Surgeon General would call it an epidemic. But I’ve been wrong. Yet, I have a lot of faith in the American way for if MLB or the NFL or NBA were to go out of business most of us would quickly find something else to occupy our time for the 3 hour windows we spend on Sunday afternoon or Sunday night or Monday night or Thursday night, etc. It’s like that great 21st century prophet from New Braunfels said a few years ago when asked, “Does God care about baseball?” Lance Berkman’s answer was, “No, God doesn’t care about baseball… but God does care about baseball players and their families.” Good answer! And I might add… God cares about the fans, too! God really does! An important thing!
This past October 16 was World Food Day. It’s been a global event since 1949 with a goal to end world hunger in our lifetime. It’s way more important than baseball. And it’s working. Between the years 2003 and 2018 the world’s hunger quotient has decreased by 150 million people. Decreased! That’s about half the population of the USA and astounding data when lined up with the 4.1% decrease (compared to 2018 even with MLB’s 2019 best record) in Houston Astro’s attendance. And do you know how many people can be fed around the world for the same price of six cans of beer at Minute Maid Park? A lot. You do the math.
We are all involved in things that are important… at least important to each of us… and seemingly more worthy than others. So, if this short message causes you to think about the truly important things in your life, then we’re good! Make a list! Feed the hungry! Go Astros!
Brian Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland and the lead pastor at New Life Lutheran Church at 3521 E. Orange St. in Olde Pearland. You can follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Friend2theRabbi. Comments and questions can be sent to [email protected]