Illinois Baptist 11 02 2015 E Edition Page 2

Cubs and Cardinals NATE ADAMS 2 IBSA.org Illinois Baptist Snapshots from the world of Illinois Baptists culture: Religious liberty at risk 41% of American adults say religious freedom in the U.S. has frown worse in the past 10 years, up from 33% in 2012. the cooperative program Gving by IBSA churches as of 10/23/15 $4,815,208 Budget Goal: $5,169,231 Recieved to date in 2014: $4,876,235 2015 Goal: $6.2 Million s I visit churches from one end of the state to the other, Ive learned that there is one question that can divide a congre- fation into camps faster than any question of theology or worship style or even politics. Are you all Cardinals fans or Cubs fans? Now I owe a nod of respect to White Sox fans too. But while the Cubs and the Sox are constant cross-town ri- vals, the competitive focus this year has definitely been the division race between the Cardinals, the Cubs, and yes, the Pirates, as these NL Central teams ended the regular season with the three best records in baseball. And once the Cubs dispensed with the Pirates in their one- fame, wildcard playoff, the stage was set for something that, unbelievably, had never hap- pened before, a Cardinals/Cubs playoff series. Who was I cheering for? Well, Im one of those unusual guys that likes both teams. Dur- ing my baseball-card-collecting boyhood years in Southern Illinois, Cardinal stars like Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, and Orlando Cepeda were my heroes. When we later moved to the north- west suburbs of Chicago, WGN drew me in to the wonderful Wrigley world of Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, and Harry Caray. We have two great National League teams to cheer for here in Illinois! But when it came to the historic 2015 Division Series, I had to pull for the Cubs. You see, the Cardinals win a lot. Over the past twenty years, the Cards have only missed the postseason seven times. The Cubs have only made it to the postseason four times. The Cubs havent been in a World Series since 1945, and havent won it since 1908. Thats the longest championship drought of any North American professional sports team. IBSA was a year old when the Cubs last won the World Series. Call them lovable losers if you must, but I simply call the Cubs peren- nial underdogs, that I believe one day will win. While I enjoy the Cardinals success, theres this part of me that iden- tifies strongly with the underdog Cubbies. You see, as a Christian in todays culture, and even as a Baptist in Illinois, I often feel like an underdog. I often feel that my message, the Gospel, and my lifes values, anchored in the Bible, are not winning in the culture these days, no matter how hard I try or how deeply I believe. I often feel like Im playing on a team for whom winning is always post- poned into the future. Now let me hasten to say that feeling that way doesnt discourage me, really. And it doesnt ever truly threaten my commitment to God, to His Kingdom, to the fulfillment of the Great Com- mission, and yes, to the Baptist family. It doesnt matter if the world or the culture considers me a winner. But every now and then, when a worship service is especially powerful, or a mission trip is especially helpful, or I see someone respond to the Gospel and enter eternityI realize that we are winning. And I remember that being true to the team, the Kingdom, that ultimately wins is so much more important than any measure of temporal success. I guess thats why I enjoyed seeing the Cubs win a postseason series, even over the Cardinals, and even though they were dismissed by the Mets in four straight games shortly thereafter. It gave me just a taste of the victory that has always been promised for next year. And it encouraged me to keep playing hard and staying faithful to teams that sometimes get labeled lovable losers, but that one day will be truly and eternally victorious. Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond to his column at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org. ...as a Christian in today's culture, I often feel like an underdog. CHURCH: Christians feeling the pressure The Illinois Baptist staff Editor - Eric Reed Contributing Editor - Lisa Sergent Graphic Designer - Kris Kell Editorial Contributor - Meredith Flynn Administrative Assistant - Andrea Hammond Intern - Morgan Jackson For questions about subscriptions, articles, or upcoming events, contact the Illinois Baptist at (217) 391-3110 or IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org. The Illinois Baptist is seeking news from IBSA churches. E-mail us at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org to tell us about special events and new ministry staff. POSTMASTER: The Illinois Baptist is owned and published every three weeks by the Illinois Baptist State Association, 3085 Stevenson Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62703-4440. Subscriptions are free to Illinois Baptists. Subscribe online at IBSA.org . A CONVENTIONAL WISDOM Younger Christians are recognizing the implications for their futurewhat perhaps once felt like something that would only affect clergy and Christian leaders, now feels like it could have a bearing on life for ordinary citizens. - Dave Kinnaman, Barna Group, on endangered religious freedoms 2012 - Barna.org, 2015 Barna asked practicing Christians if they are very concerned about religious freedoms becoming more restricted in the next ive years. Percentage answering yes: 1+9 41% Millenials 2015 2012 Gen-Xers 2015 2012 Boomers 2015 56% 19% 51% 43% 48%

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