Pastor Don Wolan

Pastor Donald Wolan
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Thursday, August 11, 2011

You're Killing Me, Smalls!

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Ham Porter: Hey, Smalls, you wanna s'more?
Smalls: Some more of what? 
Ham Porter: No, do you wanna s'more? 
Smalls: I haven't had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?
Ham Porter: You're killing me, Smalls!

"You're killing me, Smalls!" - This line from the movie The Sandlot is meant to show extreme frustration toward someone's ineptitude or cluelessness - sometimes both!

One of my all-time favorite movies is the movie The Sandlot. It is about a young group of boys who are rejected by all of the local little league baseball teams because they are not good enough to make the more prestigious teams. These boys get together every day, like we did when I was a kid, and go down to the local "sandlot" field for a pickup game of baseball. The movie highlights their mischief and adventures during the course of a summertime vacation and the enjoyment they have while playing sandlot baseball.

One of the main characters in the movie is a young boy by the name of Scotty Smalls. He has just moved into the neighborhood and does not know anyone. The only thing Smalls is good at is school work. He once tells his new found friends that he once got an A- in a class, but it should have been a B! I used to use the same type of strategy on my father, but I had to grade up instead of down. Nevertheless, Smalls tries to make friends with all the kids in his new neighborhood, but is only accepted by the local group of misfits. Though they tease and ridicule him mercilessly throughout the movie, he is eventually accepted by them as one of their own. Smalls learns the ins and outs of trying to fit in, and it is through the other boys' love of baseball that their friendship is cultivated. Because Smalls knows nothing about the game of baseball, his new friends try to teach him about it and become exasperated by his lack of baseball skill and knowledge. Whenever he says something so incredibly stupid, the group comic, Ham Porter, yells at him, "You're killing me, Smalls!"

The other day, I had one of those, "You're killing me Smalls" moments! I was listening to one of the local sports talk show programs when I heard something so funny and shocking, I had to write and comment about it. My sister dates one of the sports talk show hosts, and I have had the pleasure of meeting him on a couple of occasions. We have talked about sports in general, and I have even shown him a couple of my "world famous" card tricks. We have also played a couple of games of chess together, which did not go well for him.

While talking to him one day, the topic of religion came up, and he informed me that he was an "agnostic." We had a very good-natured conversation about the subject, and I was impressed with his questions about the possible existence or non-existence of a God. What caught my attention while listening to him on the radio the other day was a statement he made while talking about the Detroit Lions. He challenged the audience to call in and tell him the "swear-on-the-Bible truth" about their feelings concerning some unfortunate injuries some Lion players had just suffered! Here we had a self-professed "agnostic" asking his audience to use the Bible as a standard for swearing to the veracity of their words!

As I thought about this rather humorous use of this particular metaphor by this sports talk show host, it dawned on me that this talk show host REALLY wanted to know the "truth" about how people felt about the subject they were discussing. Why would it or should it really matter what the "truth" was unless there is in fact a thing called "truth," and he could determine if he was really being told the "truth" by his callers! What standard would he use to determine if his callers were in fact telling him the truth? Would he just take their comments to be true by "faith," would he test the truthfulness of his callers by making them pass lie detector tests, or did he have some self-evident reference point for discerning truthful comments, which everyone intuitively knows somehow? Asking for the truth is one thing. Being able to determine what really is true is another!

We are constantly told in our multicultural society that "truth" is relative to a society's beliefs and that a "universal truth" is non-existent! (Except for the universal truth that there are no universal truths, which would mean that there really is universal truth thus proving the statement "there are no universal truths" false!) This type of thinking is expressed and played out every day in our culture on every issue we face. Topics, ranging anywhere from abortion to politics and everywhere in between are affected by our "belief" about what is really true. The subject of "truth" is an "inescapable concept" we must all wrestle with and face in ALL aspects of life! The problem is how do we start in our evaluation to really determine what is true or not?

As Christians, the Bible is our ultimate source for determining truth! God has revealed to us in scripture what reality consists of, His nature and creative purposes, His expectations and requirements for our lives, the genesis and end of all things, as well as a host of all-important, life-answering questions. We are told in Isaiah 8:20: "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn." Without this proper understanding, we would be left guessing and imposing our own ideas on others as to what is true about life with one idea just as valid as any other. Determining the ultimate truth of something would be an exercise in futility and frustration! Therefore, when an agnostic or any other person who wants "truth" denies Biblical truth as the ultimate reference point yet asks for the "swear-on-the-Bible truth," I can only say tongue-in-cheek like Ham Porter - "You're killing me Smalls!"

Stay Holy, My Friends!
Pastor Don


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