I wrote an article for Western Friend:  https://westernfriend.org/article/prophets-field-play

It's about my experiences as a sporting official and what I've learned from them.  Before you figure that sport and competition aren't part of your life, check out these passages: 

....printed rules are just a starting point. Each sport has its own web of tradition and culture that undergirds those rules.....Friends hang together, accept grace and share meals, worship, discuss, dispute, and resolve issues. Through these processes – more than by having and reading certain books – we grow together into a religious society.

....As important as calm awareness of all that is happening .... may be, I have also discovered a hindrance for me in that mindset. I can get so caught up in noticing all things that I lose the decisive attitude I need ....The need for decisiveness challenges me, even as I know it is required.  Without a proactive official, players learn they can take advantage of the situation.

....wherever we face adversity – effort and commitment typically draw out our best selves. Adversity can also help us to realize the presence of Christ within us as a motivating force for good. Just as the spirit of the game needs officials to defend it, the spirit of our time needs prophets and prayer leaders.

For what they're worth, read some more words through the link.  I'll be interested in supportive and intelligible comments.  

Views: 188

Comment by Kirby Urner on 2nd mo. 17, 2017 at 6:16pm

Excellent article, very apropos. I admire Quakers of the late 1700s, big in business, steel especially, and we always associate "competition" with the evils of capitalism, ala "survival of the fittest" and the economics of selfishness (preached as gospel). Why not give "competition" a positive spin for a change? New meme?: Lamb's Game.

Comment by Jay Thatcher on 2nd mo. 18, 2017 at 2:04am

Lamb's Game....I like it!

Comment by James C Schultz on 2nd mo. 18, 2017 at 8:40am

It's important to test the spirits for many false prophets shall come.  Chapter 13 of the first book of K1ngs tells a story of one prophet deciding to test another prophet.

In verse 32 the 2nd prophet acknowledges the other prophet was from God:   For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.

However, the method used to test the spirit shows the perils that God's true prophets face.  Based on this narrative Jonah had it easy.

Comment by Jay Thatcher on 2nd mo. 18, 2017 at 12:08pm

Both my Friends meeting and the officials' associations I belong to have education programs.  These are the means by which our people discover, raise and train prophets.  I hope this is in the tradition of Jesus and Paul, who provide examples of solid teaching and positive character development for the people around them. 

The way I read it just now, the test in I Kings 13 is coming from a lying prophet rather than a true one.  (My reading has been quick, so I lack context.  Correct me, if I'm missing something.) There are plenty of tests for referees as we encounter careless, wily and sometimes cheating competitors.  When I've traveled in ministry I've found some tests as well.  Loneliness, inattention, self-aggrandizement and temptation come to mind. 

James, I think you might be suggesting that religious fellowships should test the spirits of our prophets and ministers.  Can you give me an example--short of lying to tempt them into disobedience, then sending them out alone on a road with lions on patrol? 

Comment by Kirby Urner on 2nd mo. 18, 2017 at 2:32pm

Hard to know what to make of I Kings 13 and yes I've been surfing the commentaries. As usual, the Old Testament God seems eager to get down in the muck with his humans and play an almost corporeal role, which is confusing to everyone, even prophets. I feel like saying "Hey God, why not send your only son as a mortal or something, maybe a better way to mix it up with us?" but then I have the benefit of hindsight.

Comment by James C Schultz on 2nd mo. 18, 2017 at 3:37pm

The old Testament shows us what God requires and what we have to thank Grace for.  If you look ahead to the Book of Revelation (9/23/17 anyone?  definitely worth a google especially if you are into astronomy) you see what happens when Grace takes a vacation.  Maybe that's why Amazing Grace is the most recorded song in history (at least that's what I have heard - could be an alternative fact accepted by Christians without checking Wikipedia).

Comment by Kirby Urner on 2nd mo. 18, 2017 at 4:07pm

I'm only recently learning how Eastern Orthodox Christianity is less familiar with the Book of Revelation, somewhat by design (as in "lets keep our distance"):


(that being said, it's considered part of the canon). Our Quaker Mens Group is using onions domes these days, a gesture of peace to our Russian Friends maybe:


Comment by James C Schultz on 2nd mo. 19, 2017 at 5:04pm

Jay: Knowing the prophet and his history helps.  The problem is the gift or call can rest on anyone.  The Old Testament Prophets, even Jesus himself, were not pleasing to the natural eye.  They were not big on dressing in the latest fashions and they were normally blunt and not concerned with hurting someone's feelings.  Personally I don't think prophets have to operate from within the established religious communities.  In fact loyalty to a religious community is a problem for a prophet.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 2nd mo. 20, 2017 at 11:48am

Couple things about that story in Kings:

Differing political loyalties divide the two prophets involved. They are not apolitical; they are fully human beings with a strong disagreement between them. The prophet who tells his opponent that (contrary to his Instructions) it will be okay for him to stay and eat with him is not 'testing' him; his motive is unclear but he is presumably acting under Instructions of his own.

When his opponent from the Jerusalem regime falls to the lions, the Israelite prophet goes out to retrieve his body, treats it honorably, buries it in the tomb where his own will someday lie, saying "He is my brother."

If you want a clear example of prophets undergoing a test, the story of Micaiah later in 1 Kings is much clearer. King Ahab is negotiating an alliance with the King of Judah and wants a good prognosis for their coming battle with the Syrians. All the house-prophets are cheering him on. Micaiah (after a little initial sarcasm) says that God has sent them a deceitful spirit to mislead Ahab, but that (essentially) Ahab is going to die and leave his troops leaderless in the battle to come. Ahab has Micaiah locked up and promises to come decide what to do with him on his return, but (of course) this never happens. 

Either the provision in the Torah about stoning a false prophet hasn't been written in yet, or no one wants to invoke it when the whole stable turns out to have been mistaken & misled.

Comment by James C Schultz on 2nd mo. 20, 2017 at 2:53pm

I do like that story but ending up in prison is pretty common for God's prophets.  Unfortunately for some like John the Baptist it doesn't end there.


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