What Julie Beck, the Chicago Cubs, and The Book of Mormon Taught Me about the 2016 Elections
I try not to be a judgmental person, but when I saw a picture of Julie Beck giving the opening prayer at a Trump/Pence rally in Utah, my first thought was, “What in the world is she doing aligning herself with him?”
To me, Julie Beck embodies everything I value: mature grace, conscientious mothering, integrity, intelligence, strong, beautiful womanhood. To me, Trump embodies everything I loathe about male chauvinism, sexism, racism, bigotry, bullying, egotism, callowness. You can imagine my dismay at seeing one of my heroins affiliated with one of my scourged nemesis. And here’s where I got judgmental. “If I had been in Julie Beck’s shoes,” I thought, “and had been asked to pray at a Trump rally, I would have said ‘No.’ She should have said, ‘No.’”
Then I realized that I had misunderstood.
Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel, tells the following story:
One day a just man—young, vibrant, dynamic—decided that he must save the city of Sodom, the epitome of sin and deceit. So he began going from street to street, from marketplace to marketplace. “Men and women,” he said, “do not steal. Men and women, do not lie, do not sin.”
In the beginning people stopped to listen because he was amusing. But after a while he repeated himself so much that they stopped listening.
After many years, he was so old that he could hardly walk, yet he was walking every morning, going from street to street, from marketplace to marketplace, and saying, “People, you are destroying yourselves. Repent. Remember God.”
Nobody listened. Then one little child stopped the man and said, “Poor stranger, poor teacher, why do you do all that? Don’t you see that it’s useless?”
“Yes,” said the old man.
“Then why do you continue?”
And the old teacher said, “I will tell you why, my son. In the beginning when I came here, I was convinced that I would manage to change them. Now I know I will never change them. But if I continue and I shout louder and louder and I scream more and more, it is because I don’t want them to change me.”
Thank you Julie Beck for teaching me to be who I am, to not let political or social environments change me. I am a person who prays. I pray for myself, my family, my community, my country, my world. I pray for myself, not because I am worthy, but because I need help.
I pray at home, not because my family is worthy, but because my family needs help.
I pray in my community, not because we are worthy, but because we need help.
Thank you Julie Beck for helping me to understand that if I am asked to pray at a community or political event, I will pray. Because how arrogant would it be of me to refuse, thinking my own values, opinions, and prayers too superior for the occasion (even if the host is, in my opinion, a social bane).
I will pray with and for my country, not because our politics are worthy, but because we need help.
C.S. Lewis said, “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.”
Thank you Julie Beck for reminding me not to walk away when political situations aren’t exactly what I want.
Julie Beck taught me, whenever you have the chance, stand up and pray.
Heading into the final game of the World Series, the Chicago Clubs had a BIG problem: their starting pitcher, Jon Lester, struggles to make accurate throws to first base. I’m not a baseball expert, but even I know that throwing accurately to first is an expected, elementary skill for a pitcher. The Cleveland Indians must know this as well, because they took advantage of Lester’s weakness by hitting slow rollers in front of home plate and maximizing opportunities for runners to steal second base.
The genius in this situation is how Lester didn’t hid from his weakness and how the Cub’s team embraced and compensated for their lead pitcher’s vulnerability. The catcher rushed to pick up balls normally retrieved by the pitcher and Lester didn’t budge to throw out pickoff attempts.
And it worked. The Cubs won their first World Series since 1908 and taught me two valuable lessons. Jon Lester taught me that you can have a major weakness and still be the lead pitcher in the World Series and, possibly, lead your team to victory.
The Chicago Cubs taught me that even if your lead pitcher has a major flaw, you can channel enough skill from across the field to pull the team to victory.
In Sunday School this week, my class studied the book of Mormon, not to be confused with The Book of Mormon. We studied the writings of Mormon that are compiled into one section under his name within an entire book with his same name.
At age 15, Mormon became the military leader of his people during a time of hostile wars where both sides engaged in horrific acts of rape, torture, murder, and cannibalism. Mormon himself concedes that neither side is worthy of salvation. If I were Mormon, my tendency would be to not align myself with either side of the war, but to run and hide and bury my value for human life and peaceable living deep in the ground where no stain of war would tarnish them. But Mormon stays and continues to work the best way he can.
In a letter to his son, Mormon describes his people’s loss of love towards one another and their insatiable thirst for blood and revenge. He says, “Notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for is we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay.”
There have been a lot of jokes about moving to Canada or South American. I have decided to stay put.
Mormon taught me to stay, to work, to perform my labor while I breathe.
Thank you Julie Beck, the Chicago Cubs, and Mormon for the lesson. No matter who is put in to pitch, I will wake up Wednesday, November 9, 2016 and continue playing my position (which is usually out in left field) on this American team.