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The Law Can't Set Us Free to Play

Imagine you are twelve years old again, and you love baseball. All your heroes are baseball players, all your extracurricular time is spent either with a ball glove in hand or watching a game on television, and, regardless of the season, it's been that way as long as you can remember. It's not that you're particularly good or particularly bad at baseball, you just love the game—the smack of the bat after a line drive, the smell of the grass, the feel of sliding headlong into second base. You've never had to defend it or describe it that way, but that's what you feel. And you can imagine one day having a jersey with your name on the back.

Things have begun to feel a little different this season, though, because twelve-year-olds have to try out for JV teams at the end of the year, and you get the feeling that not everyone makes the cut. You suddenly find yourself comparing your fielding skills with the other infielders and with players from other teams, and you start to count the number of times you miss balls that are hit to you. You keep track of how many strikeouts you get in each game.

Your coach has a way of calling you out, too. In one particularly bad stretch of the season, your coach calls across the field after you make yet another missed fielding play, "That's four times this game! Keep your head down!" You don't keep your head down, though, and after the fifth ground ball makes its way between your legs, your coach demotes you to the outfield. You replay his voice in your head. At your next at-bat, you strike out quickly, and you wonder if baseball is your sport after all.

Possible Preaching Angles: The authors note: "The Law is shorthand here for an accusing standard of performance. As we have noted, whenever the Law is coming, condemnation follows close behind. Whenever an expectation stands before us—from our coach, from ourselves, from God himself—we are either condemned by our failure before it, or made to be condemners in our fulfillment of it. The Law is the unfeeling voice of The Coach—it tolerates no excuses, it accepts no shortcuts. The Law is good, in that it proffers good fundamentals ('Keep your head down when fielding a groundball,' 'You shouldn't smoke,' 'Spend only the money you have,' etc.), but the failure which pursues it always creates a reaction. When we are criticized, we must defend."

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