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Why prayer gets preempted

Yogi Berra played a game in which the score was tied with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. The batter from the opposing team stepped up and made the sign of the cross on home plate with his bat. Berra was a Catholic, too, but he wiped out the plate with his glove and said to the pious batter, "Why don't we let God just watch this game?"

Letting God just watch. That's good theology when applied to the outcome of a baseball game. It's terrible theology when applied to the way we live our lives and carry out the work of the church.

But too often that's precisely the outlook we bring to our vocation as pastors. God attends the game, but only as an honored spectator. Our prayers are merely ceremonial functions, like asking the President of the United States to throw out the first baseball at the beginning of baseball season.

Our work in the church calls for practical things: committees, not prayer calls; talking, writing, telephoning, ...

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