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08 February 2013

The Good Word - 2.8.12: (True) Outcomes

Remember your leaders who spoke the Word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.  
Hebrews 13: 7-8

There is a developing statistical theory in baseball that there are only certain outcomes that are "true," in the sense that they are ultimate, irreversible and are not affected by randomness.  They are, in short order, strikeouts, walks and home runs (and hit by pitches too).  

Statistical theory has shown that the frequency at which balls put in play fall in for hits remains fairly constant.  A very high average of hits on balls put in play (calculated as BABIP - batting average on balls in play), will usually not remain so over the course of several seasons.  This is why a player would be more successful if he maximized both his home runs and walks, while minimizing strike outs.  The reason for this is simple: these outcomes take away the "chance" of a great play by a fielder or of lining a ball directly at the third baseman.  At the same time, when a batter strikes out, there is no chance of randomness playing a factor in allowing him to reach base safely.

I bring all this up because of the above captioned verses from today's first reading.  I found myself reflecting upon the "outcome" of the way of life of the former leaders of the recipients of the letter. Of what is the author of the Letter to the Hebrews speaking?  Was their "outcome" death?  Eternal life?  Something else?  

Upon further thought, there seems to be a distinct connection between what one's outcome may be and his or her connection to the Christ of God who remains the same, distinct, whole and undefiled throughout all of history.  In a sense, I'd propose that the "true outcome" of the human project is either life with God or not, a home run or strikeout.  Certainly the individual decisions of one's life are paramount.  Yet at the same time, they are so bound up in weakness and sin, the true picture of the curvatus in se, we are left to not necessarily achieve a true outcome, but rather to seek the outcome which we know is, was and will be true in all its fundamental glory: the outcome of Jesus the Christ, the man in whom the Kingdom of God resides.

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