Something to Read…

In addition to being a rabbi, I am also an avid baseball fan.   While I generally prefer to separate my spiritual life and my love of baseball, occasionally something comes to my attention that perfectly integrates the two.    Currently, I am reading a book by John Sexton, the current president of New York University, entitled Baseball as a Road to God, which is based on a class that Sexton teaches to NYU students.   Neither a course in theology nor athletics, Sexton uses baseball as a lens by which students might think about the language of the sacred.    In the introduction, he writes:

“Today, as for thousands of years, it is possible to find meaning beyond words everywhere— and in this domain beyond words, the religious or spiritual resides. In an age of gigabytes and picoseconds, we tend to live too quickly and to miss much that we might see. Baseball, as it turns out, can help us develop the capacity to see through to another, sacred space. Indeed, the more we come to appreciate the sport’s intricacies and evocative power, the clearer it is that it shares much with what we traditionally have called religion” (John Sexton, Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game).

As I read this book, I remain fascinated by the way Sexton articulates how important moments in sports and religion cannot be captured through ordinary language, and instead enter the realm of the ineffable.   Using Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel as his guide, Sexton argues that when a person watches their favorite player hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth, or feels God’s presence in a moment of great joy or pain, they often find themselves experiencing a feeling that goes beyond normal expression.   In reading Baseball as a Road to God, I find myself finding new ways to articulate a language for what it means to have faith in a modern context.   If you read this book, I am sure you will too…