Hey Sports fans, I know it’s December, but I wanted to share some thoughts about what I witnessed this year in baseball, other than one of the best seasons for Houston I’ve ever seen in my life.
When baseball season begins, so does the singing season for Americans. People will stand during the seventh-inning stretch and belt “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” They will feel the pleasure of singing a bouncy, easy song with thousands of other fans while holding a hot dog and a beverage that costs somewhere between $80-$100. Despite the financial investment, they will be cheered by the sunny lyrics, even if their team is down (look at Detroit). They will lose themselves in a bond stretching around the stadium, a few minutes of carefree unity.
And when the season’s over, that’s it until next spring.
It’s no secret in this church, but adults need the outlet of singing (check out a karaoke bar sometime), but as civic engagement declined, our store of true folk songs evaporated. You can blame all the usual causes for withering “social capital,” from dependence on electronic entertainment, to reduced free time. Personally, I feel the elevation of American Idol, The Voice, and America’s Got Talent have really stabbed into our outlook of singing – emphasizing talent, unique stories, and the choice of famous people over others.
Let’s say a dozen people gather in a park and they all know the words to classics like “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “This Land is Your Land,” and “Down By the Riverside”. Would they want to sing? Or would a combination of self-consciousness on the one hand, and diverging ethnic, political and religious backgrounds on the other, prevent them from sharing in all three tunes? Stadium singing succeeds because of numbers, because the songs are fun and uncontroversial, but also because those participating aren’t shackled by their own worries of self-doubt. Belting at baseball games is an example of something essential and no one there is worried about whether they’re good enough.
That’s a wonderful feeling—that’s what I think we need to restore in our community—not necessarily this church. The sense that: I’m good enough. I’m a happy amateur singer. I’m just going to let it out.”
If you know someone in your life that needs the outlet, please invite them to be a part of our huge music ministry. It’s a great way for those who aren’t sure of where God is in their life to be involved, feel welcomed, and build our community. Let’s take them out to the ballgame.
~Garrett Artman, Director of Music Ministries