I have to be honest: I have never been to a UK Basketball Game. It is not because I am not a fan of UK Basketball -- everyone knows the WILDCATS rule! The excitement of the fans, the precision of the players, the passion of the coach are just a part of the "game" experience.
Anyone that knows me knows that I love excitement, that I believe in precision and have a passion for the Gospel as none other; HOWEVER, I know NOTHING about the game of basketball. I have no idea how many quarters? innings? this game has. I do not know what penalties are assessed to players, nor could I point out the various positions that players play. And to publicly state my ignorance of the game of basketball in a State where KENTUCKY BASKETBALL is a way of life and being, I am sure I am setting myself up for much ridicule and possibly isolation from fans.
Part of this "basketball issue" lies soley with me. If I truly had the desire, I could learn this game of basketball through reading, watching, seeking out guidance and (God help us) through actually playing or learning it through personal experience.
Not once have I been invited to partake of a UK BASKETBALL game, or any other basketball game for that matter. Partially because I am sure that whoever would offer the invitation would not want to put me in a place of embarrassment or discomfort. I am sure one of the other reasons is that true basketball fans do not want to be distracted by an individual (i.e., me) who would be totally out of his element, distracting others from the tension and focus of the game, by saying: "What just happened?" or "What's the score?" or better yet, "Is that Ashley Judd?"
There are many like me, not so much in dealing with basketball as with Church. There are many, more than anyone can imagine, individuals who have no concept of what Church truly means or what Church is about. Individuals who have no understanding of the passion of the WORD of God, nor the precision of a good preacher. There are those who have no insight to the amount of energy and focus needed for one to celebrate and preside at Liturgy in a prayerful, meaningful way, or the importance and dedication of parishioners who form a team in being messengers of the message.
When was the last time YOU invited someone to your Church? When was the last time you reached out to someone whom you would least expect would even be interested in attending Church on Sunday?
Many of us do not offer an invitation to another, especially those we know who are unchurched, because we, ourselves, do not wish for our invitation to be declined. But even above that, many of us don't want to even get into the discussion/conversation of Religion (or politics) with those who are friends, let alone acquaintances.
Another reason why we don't ask others to join us for Church is because we may not be able to answer nor do we wish to be bothered by the questions posed to us by those we invite. "Why do you mark yourself with that water?" "Can I go to communion?" "Why not?" "What exactly do you believe?" "Up, down, kneel, what's that about?" "Is that Fr. Jim?"
Wouldn't it be great if the same passion, excitement, and energy that we invest in our favorite basketball/sport team or favorite celebrity band/artist could be equaled or even superseded in our relationships with God? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?