Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Losing a Bet; Gaining God Knows What

During my few months as a blogger, I've decided that certain topics are inappropriate. Fecal humor, as you all know, is completely allowed and encouraged. Deep personal issues, on the other hand, are not. Those topics must be brought into light and discussed, but with close friends via face time, telephone, e-mail, or some other intimate interaction. Community with close friends is vital. Thus, I hesitate to bring up what I am bring up today. I do it because the information was brought to me via blog and newspaper article, so the subject has already put it out there in the open. Plus, I believe much is at stake.

One of the best parts about living in Charlotte is the availability of the city newspaper, the "Charlotte Observor." A lot of people don't like the Observor, especially conservatives. They claim it leans left, contains bias, the usual. I disagree, as I think it's generally fair to both sides of the political spectrum. What's more, I find it very fair to and even respectful of faith. What I like the most about the Observor, though, is the sports section. They write about teams I care about, and I really enjoy reading their columnists. I think they are calm in their opinions, entertaining to read, and really good writers.

One of the columnists is Tom Sorenson. I've read him for years, dating back to early high school. This past weekend, he made his NFL playoff predictions in his column, gandering a wager with his readers (or maybe himself). If he didn't win 3 out of 4 games, he said, he would attend church. Here's the article, if interested.

This fascinated me, as he created the bet. No one imposed terms on him. What an odd losing obligation, to go to church. People just don't bet that kind of thing unless they wouldn't mind going to church. It creates a no-lose situation. Looking back on it, the bet makes some sense. Sorenson, who calls himself "more spiritual than religious," has noticeably softened his bitter comments against his ex-wife in recent years and has written a lot more about sports not being the end-all be-all of life. This is an unpopular stance for sportswriters, and fans, to take. Judging by his writing, something in life seems to be changing.

Then I open today's paper and he concludes his article on Muhammad Ali's 65th birthday with this: "When Ali was in Charlotte three years ago, I was told I could ask him one question, one-on-one. I considered at least 10, none of them good. Finally I asked, 'What's the secret of life?' He paused, bent down and whispered in my ear, 'Believe in God.' If I could tell Ali one thing on this, his 65th birthday, it would be, thanks for everything."

It's just a hunch but it seems like Sorenson is searching for something. Just a hunch. And Sunday, he goes to church. Here's his blog post about that.

To make this really crazy and personal for me, he came into Borders this week. I got called to the registers to check someone out and wouldn't you know it, it was him. This was a big deal to me, as he's probably my strongest literary influence right now, given that he writes concise articles and I read him all the time - and love it. In the store, he was patient, pleasant, and thankful. Mad props for that. The line was empty by the time our transaction was completed. He was the only person I helped.

I don't know why I was fortunate enough to get to meet him, but I've learned long ago not to believe in coincidence. Maybe it was for prayer purposes. Or maybe meeting another celebrity was just a bit of grace to get me through the day. Or maybe I just don't understand.

Regardless, he is going to church Sunday, and I am praying for him. I'm writing here to ask any of you all out there who do that kind of thing to pray as well. I feel intrusive writing about this, but he put all of this information out there for the world to read. I'm not revealing anything he hasn't already written about publically (except me meeting him, of course). If you talk about going to church, you're going to get prayed for. Sorry.

If you've read me long enough, you know that I believe life is hard in this broken world and that I believe in eternity. Thus, I think a lot could be at stake this weekend. If Tom is searching for something Sunday, I'm praying that he finds it. I hope ya'll will too.

1 comment:

Oakley said...

That's such an awesome series of events that led this guy to church, and I'm so thankful thatn I can see it as for God's purpose and not just a coincidence. Don't ever feel bad asking for prayer for anyone. On another note, Chapel Hill is gorgeous today with all the new snow (even though i had to come to work). Be safe if you guys get any winter weather there in the QC and hope your turd sandwich days are lessening.