A lot of money and many balls

Posted: September 22, 2011 by Emilio Garofalo Neto in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

This Friday will see the release of a rather interesting movie, Moneyball. Sporting the leading role is international man of mystery Brad Pitt. He plays Billy Beane, a baseball manager in Oakland that has to compete without the advantage of deep pockets. He has to figure out ways of challenging the established order. Billy decides to use unorthodox methods, ideas that seem foolish and rather out there for the rest of the sports world, but that are impressively efficient. He tinkers with players who have good but not great qualities, gathering “an island of misfit toys” as Jonah Hill says in the trailer. Another great actor in the movie is the chameleon Philip Seymour Hoffman. Here is the trailer:

So, what about such movie prompted this blogger to write here? Basically because it is one more of the dozens of sports movies that are out there. As such, it combines two of mankind’s favorite things: sports and movies. Those two things exist under the heading of play or entertainment, an intercultural phenomenon that is observed in every culture of the Earth throughout time and space. In tomorrow’s post we will briefly consider how the Biblical categories of Creation-Fall-Redemption help us understand our love for sports.

Today we will discuss a little about the whole idea of misfits coming together to achieve greatness.It is interesting how often weak teams will simply accommodate and not look for alternative ways of facing the giants (inside joke). There is a very interesting article by Malcolm Gladwell dealing precisely with this, underdogs “breaking the rules”; go, knock yourself out.

Curiously, the church is also a gathering of misfits; people who are indebted with sin, embittered by life, distressed by the weight of a fallen world. The church is by no means a collection of superstars who soar through life without much difficulty. There is an episode in the book of 1 Samuel 22 that illustrates this well. When David was fleeing for his life, he ended up hiding in a cave for a while. There he was, God’s anointed, but having to hide. And suddenly a band of misfits, an army of losers begins to join him, a band of people who were distressed, in debt and bitter in soul, and David became captain over them. By being united with God’s anointed one, that bunch of losers became something rather special; many of them later would be called David’s “mighty men. ” Similarly, the church is made up of broken people who can become a different bunch by being united with God’s anointed (Jesus Christ, of whom David was only a shadow). See what Paul has to say about the church: “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Cor 1: 26-31).

Like in the movie, the church is also gathered through a means that the world would consider foolishness and a message men consider to be silly: “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe”(1 Cor. 1:21). Preaching is not the method the giants would use to win; the gospel is not the message they would proclaim to hope for victory in the diamond or the gridiron.

I will not reveal whether in the movie they win or lose or at what point – I think you will enjoy the film regardless. But in the cast of misfits that God’s anointed one is gathering of all nations, we can be sure that we will ultimately triumph with Him, even though we are not much more than a bunch of losers without him.

  1. […] continue to look at the movie Moneyball. Yesterday we talked about the movie in general and some interesting themes for discussion. Today we will deal […]

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