Bring It On!

Switching Teams: It’s Not What You Think It Is

May 12th, 2007 | by Daniel DiRito |

The episode was called “The Beard”…and it aired during the sixth season of the popular television show Seinfeld. The following dialogue takes place between Jerry and Elaine and it is a testament to good writing, good humor, and the ability to say more with less.

Jerry: Oh no. Don’t tell me. You like him?

Elaine: He’s incredible.

Jerry: Yeah, but?

Elaine: Yeah, I know.

Jerry: So?

Elaine: What?

Jerry: Not conversion. You’re thinking conversion?

Elaine: Well it did occur to me.

Jerry: You think you can get him to just change teams? He’s not going to suddenly switch sides. Forget about it.

Elaine: Why? Is it irrevocable?

Jerry: Because when you join that team it’s not a whim. He likes his team. He’s set with that team.

Elaine: We’ve got a good team.

Jerry: Yeah, we do. We do have a good team.

Elaine: Why can’t he play for us?

Jerry: They’re only comfortable with *their* equipment.

Elaine: We just got along *so* great.

Jerry: Of course you did. Everyone gets along great when there’s no possibility of sex.

Elaine: No, no, no, I sensed something. I did sense something. I perceived a possibility Jerry.
Jerry: You realize you’re venturing into uncharted waters.

Elaine: I realize that.

Jerry: Are you that desperate?

Elaine: Yes I am.

In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Is such the case with the conversion of a well known Evangelical leader to Catholicism?

The president of the Evangelical Theological Society, an association of 4,300 Protestant theologians, resigned this month because he has joined the Roman Catholic Church.
The May 5 announcement by Francis J. Beckwith, a tenured associate professor at Baptist-affiliated Baylor University in Waco, Tex., has left colleagues gasping for breath and commentators grasping for analogies.

One blogger likened it to Hulk Hogan’s defection from the World Wrestling Federation to the rival World Championship Wrestling league.

“This is a sad day for all true sons and daughters of the Protestant Reformation, for all who lived and died for its truths,” Douglas Groothuis, a professor at the evangelical Denver Seminary, said in a posting on Beckwith’s own blog, adding sternly: “…you are embracing serious theological error.”

Beckwith said his decision reflects how dramatically the divisions between evangelicals and Catholics have narrowed in recent decades, as they have stood shoulder to shoulder on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and school vouchers.

On his blog last week, he said he wrestled with whether to inform the Evangelical Theological Society immediately of his intention to return to Catholicism, or to wait until the end of his term in November. He said he and his wife prayed for guidance and received an answer when a 16-year-old nephew asked him to take part in his Catholic confirmation ceremony tomorrow. “I could not do that unless I was in full communion with the church,” Beckwith said.

And there you have it. Which episode is reality and which one is sharp witted comical genius? I guess I’ve concluded that art and life are one and the same…only sometimes it’s difficult to decide which is funnier.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with Mr. Beckwith’s conversion. However, I do find it humorous that in the world of religion the switching of teams would warrant such debate and discussion. I guess it’s akin to the Yankees and Red Sox battling for the services of a key player…a classic battle of good versus evil as both sides jockey to find that one last ingredient to assure everlasting victory.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but if religion is about the worship of God, why do we need so many different teams? I’ve decided that the only solution is to write the sequel…the one where God lines up all the teams on judgment day and while fighting back a bad case of the giggles, he announces that he has decided to open the gates of heaven to the atheists…because, like him, they at least have a sense of humor.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

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