Thursday, September 29, 2011

Love is like a Pitching Machine

If you have ever had children and you live in Suburbia, you have probably
been exposed to youth Baseball, played by thousands of youngsters in ball
parks all over the country. A central object at baseball practice (and in
games, until the kids are old enough for real pitching) is the good ol'
Pitching Machine.

It's a pretty simple device, really: A large, rubber
wheel spins constantly, and a short section
of plastic tubing "feeds" baseballs
onto the wheel at just the right speed
and angle (and the wheel can be angled
up or down, left and right), in order to deliver
"perfect pitches" to the small Batter at the plate...
Electricity feeds the rubber wheel, keeping it in constant motion,
whether the coach is putting baseballs (from the bucket nearby) onto the wheel
or not; in this sense, the wheel is continuously ready, willing and able
to serve up pitches because it is always in motion; it never stops.

Well, True Love is an Attitude that is just like that: If LOVE is
in our hearts, if it is always already in motion, if we are continuously
ready to act on its momentum, then when opportunities to demonstrate
LOVE (in hundreds of ways that show Grace and Compassion and Kindness and
Courtesy and Respect and Deference and Generosity and Caring), we won't have to
"switch it on" or suddenly "change tracks in our mind" to now "focus" on
Loving someone; we will be already moving in that direction, indeed,
"primed" for whatever opportunities to practice and demonstrate True Love may
present themselves, all around us, every day...

And the more we practice our "swing", well, the greater our chances are for
hitting those home runs, or at least advancing the runner -- our Neighbor --
to the next base...

So where does this "constant Attitude of True Love" come from?

Attitudes are EFFECTS, not Causes; it follows, then, to examine Causes:
It begins with Thinking: "Seek wisdom, seek Understanding", Proverbs tells us;
How we THINK (and WHAT we Think) lays the groundwork for, and begins to set
in stone, what we BELIEVE. Then, our Beliefs -- reviewed, supported, grown,
and erected -- begin to produce in us certain ATTITUDES about the nature of
the thing being Believed, and very often, about the World in general.
The last bit is that it is most often our Attitudes which drive our BEHAVIORS.

Put simply, it looks like this:
    THINKING establishes (or "causes") BELIEFS
    BELIEFS foster (or "cause") ATTITUDES
    ATTITUDES determine (or "cause") BEHAVIORS

So, logically, the first place to focus when we want to create an Attitude
of True Love inside ourselves (and this should be our constant prayer...
"God change me, fill me with Your Love and make me a conduit of Your Love
to those around me") is to go back to how we THINK, about God, about ourselves,
and about those around us...

Indeed, is this not the main purpose of going to church, of reading
the scriptures, of reading good Christian literature, and of surrounding
ourselves with mature, humble, spiritual Christian companionship? To bring us
back, again and again, to the TRUTH of God (Thinking), which can then buttress
or change) our Beliefs, and which then can change our ATTITUDES, resulting in
more mature, God-like Behaviors? " being made complete..."

So ponder the Pitching Wheel today. Ask yourself if, right now, in your Heart,
you have this "Attitude of Love", already in motion to imitate Christ,
by "taking the very nature of a servant" and by "washing one another's feet"...
If we don't find that Attitude pervading our hearts, it's time to Think,
deeply, about whether or not the Christ-life is alive in us.

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