Saturday, March 3, 2012

Opportunity Missed

Cody was telling me about an article he read about a Jewish school's basketball team. The school realized at the beginning of the season that because of the league they were in, it was possible that games might be scheduled on Friday nights or Saturdays, times that Sabbath law would forbid them from playing. And the school determined that if that happened, they would forfeit the game instead of play. I think that's a mature decision to make.

But, the team ended up doing remarkably well. In fact, they got to some important play-off games and uh-oh, the bad situation happened. A play-off game was scheduled for 9 PM on a Friday night. The school did not protest. Their stance had been outlined clearly from the beginning. But, a few of the team parents got together and sued the league in order to get the game rescheduled to a time when the Sabbath would not prevent them from playing. They won, the game was rescheduled for 2PM Friday (before sundown), and the kids missed an opportunity for a beautiful (but very hard) lesson.

Well, I guess the kids did learn a lesson, but it's not the one I would have wanted my own kids to learn. They learned to put themselves first, demand their "rights", and sue over any perceived religious persecution. They could have learned that basketball is fun, and winning is even more fun, but humbly submitting to our first commitment of serving and obeying God is the most important thing in our lives. Sometimes our commitment to God involves sacrifice. Not everyone in the world is going to tailor their schedules to fit our religious beliefs, and I don't think we should expect them to do so.

I'm sure lots of people might see it differently. I can definitely see both sides of the matter, and I do think it's a shame to miss out on a play-off game. But I don't think we can expect the world to fit our lives as God-followers like a glove on a hand. The ways of the world and the ways of God are vastly different. This type of conflict is going to arise in the lives of Christians, too. It boils down to a choice to fulfill our religious commitments even when it costs us something in the eyes of the world instead of demanding that the world let us have both.


Becky said...

I realize it would have been a very hard lesson, but I agree with you. They should have forfeit the game.

Carol said...

I have been following this story on tv news as well. Ironically they will be playing Abilene Christian in the championship game tonight! I knew ACHS was in the playoffs through Alexandra and Mary Kate (both cheerleaders) and Anthony posting as well. They will be at that game as well as many others we know I am sure. Our alma mater as well--and Don played bb for and I was a cheerleader. What did the parents' actions teach those kids? Yes, hard lesson.

belinda said...

i have to wonder what would have happened if the same thing had happened to a christian school if a game was scheduled on Wednesday night? or a Sunday morning? years and years ago, my husband was playing in a softball tournament. torrential rains delayed the games and this round had to be finished this weekend because the next round would be starting. they played all thru Saturday night and finished up early Sunday evening, probably around 7 p.m. this would have required people to miss both Sunday worship services. if this had been at the high school level, how would the students, and most importantly, the parents (since they were the ones that sued) react? Jewish observances are taken so lightly. no one thinks anything about scheduling over Jewish worship services or holidays. i've been on both sides. it really is an issue. maybe the school should have learned this hard lesson, but i believe the other school would have had the same reaction if the game had been scheduled during a christian worship time.

BECKY said...

I think you may have missed my point, Belinda. I, as a Christian, plan to choose the hard lesson as a parent when this issue does come up in the life of my family. I want my kids to learn that the world isn't going to operate according to our religious beliefs and that we are going to choose our religious commitments over secular ones.
(Which may not be as hard for us as it is for observant Jews because of the freedom I feel to miss a Sunday service vs. the absoluteness of the Sabbath- but it may come up more pointedly for me in ways other than schedule conflicts.)
It is true that scheduling is often avoided on Christian days of worship (Sunday) and not on Jewish days of worship (Friday night/Saturday), which I'm sure is a real hardship for observant Jews and I don't claim to have a good answer for that since the world can't just schedule nothing all weekend long in order to please every religious group out there.
but my point in this post was that in the grand scheme of things humbly following my religious convictions is what is important and valuable to me.

BECKY said...

You know, a much easier way to say what I tried to say earlier is: no doubt many Christian parents would respond the same way the Jewish parents did, and they would also be missing the opportunity for an important lesson. It doesn't matter which group does it, the result is the same, and it isn't what I would want to do with my family.

Lindsay said...

I have not followed this story, but it makes me wonder if they even tried to ask if they would change the game schedule before starting a lawsuit. It is amazing, sometimes when we ask people say yes. But of course, if the request was denied they were definitely in a position to decide what message will my kid receive based on the action we take. I don't think the kids got the right message here. There is nothing more important than honoring God. When we honor God - things have a way of working out in the most unlikely ways.

belinda said...

well said. by all of us. varying viewpoints, but we all seem to stress the importance of having our family put G-d first.