Saturday, August 2, 2008


So, some lovely church members have season tickets to the Braves. They were kind to us this week, and gave us their seats and parking pass for Friday night. Yesterday was the kind of day where I was... in charge. I made decisions. Things happened as I expected. This feels like a rare sort of day for me, and it was nice to see things going as planned.

I also took a bonus mama day with the boys. It was like old times. We woke up early, watched Little Einsteins, ate cereal and various fruits, and went to The Dancing Goat with Matt before dropping him off at Columbia for the day. Then, we headed to McKoy Pool, which is Mecca for parents with children under 5 and a need to dominate their aquatic activity at their own rate. I managed to keep both of my children happy, engaged, active, and alive. We had lunch. We had naps (ah, blissful naps!), navigated the Farmer's Market, and picked up Matt to head to the Braves game. We got there - despite all attempts to the contrary - an hour early. This is unprecedented in the Flemming Family. We have tiny people, and we're late. To everything.

We got to the game so early that we started making jokes about it. "Well, maybe we'll actually get a decent parking spot." (We have a tendency to park on the moon, even when it's not necessary.) We pulled into the Blue lot, and the attendant pointed us to the left (towards the stadium), not the right. Bliss! Parking Karma! We found a spot that was - literally - on the sidewalk. As we chucked at our good fortune, packed up the boys (Cooper spent the entire day in totally dry underpants; I can't even speak of how great this is!), I ventured: "Wow. A day like this... maybe they'll be handing out free food, too!"

About 100 feet later, we passed the Bubba's Burgers trailer. Where Bubba himself (I'm guessing) was handing out free food.

Free food.

At a baseball game.

It was all too good! Until...

We passed a street preacher. A guy in a white t-shirt with some verse from Revelation on it yelling out, "This is the devil's hold on you! He's trying to snatch your life away from Jesus! By being here, you're avoiding your purpose in life. By walking through those gates you are STOKING THE FLAMES OF HELL!"

By going to a baseball game?

We looked at our smiling guys, our free hamburgers, our ample time to spend in Tooner Field, our free tickets, our great parking, our lovely day filled with swimming, naps and delicious organic produce. Stoking the flames of hell, eh? I thought I was to be in the world, but not of it. And to be in the world means to savor the joy that comes in small and big ways. The signs of God's grace and love that come shining through the smiles of my children, their delight in creation as they chase butterflies and centipedes with reverence, the love that poured over us all in abundance as we shared in life together. Today was a day that I was glad to be in this world, but not of it.

So if that's the case, then I'm stoked.


Cheryl Thompson said...

This was a great blog. I loved your expressions of joy and your delight in the "small things" (dry underpants!).
Many of us have enountered "street preachers" (using the word "preacher" liberally) and have not come away with a good feeling. Your comments and example show us that the love of God isn't with them, it's in our attitude, our ability to see what God has given us and be thankful for it.
Amen, Reverend Sistah! (er, "Mama")

Geoff said...


I've seen those people at the game before. Drives me up the wall as well. Ignoring the ridiculous claim that a baseball game distracts us from God, it sure does offer a poor witness to the nature of the God-spiel that Jesus proclaimed. You know, something about love, mercy, forgiveness, grace. But that's just me.

I remember one particular time, my best friend Josh, a very devout Catholic, turned to me as we were leaving the game and asked, "Hey Geoff, want to try and convert a fundamentalist?"

And I'll resist making the baseball-in-Genesis-bad-pun-joke and save us all a lot of groaning.

Heather said...

You have to check out the Nooma video Bullhorn...perfect fit to this blog. One of our favorites :)

Monica said...

Great blog! I've had my share of street preachers while working in NYC--especially the one who always seemed to be on my subway car! But at a baseball game??? Hmm, odd!