Aye Chihuahua!

Long time minor league slugger Brandon Allen woke up to the news that he would soon become a “Chihuahua”. Brandon has played for the Chicago White Sox, the Oakland A’s and the Arizona Diamondbacks and now the El Paso Chihuahuas. Without doubt chasing a baseball career can lead a player on a strange adventure.

When Mountain Star Sports announced this week the new mascot for El Paso’s new baseball team I must confessed I was a bit surprised, but as a Baptist minister the change from the “Diablo” to “Chihuahua” at least is moving in the right direction! The reactions from the city were mixed from smiles, excitement, and laughter and yes a possible law suit. You have to love living in El Paso.

I like the spin General Manager Brad Taylor put on the name saying of a Chihuahua saying they “represent fun and fiercely loyal.” Can you picture a pack of snarling Chihuahua barking and running straight at you? I think I am starting to get the point I just hope the Isotopes, 51’s, Zephyrs, Express and Red Hawks get the points. However in the big scheme of things it’s not the name of the jersey but the quality on the field that counts. Go Chihuahuas!

In a strange twist of fate the followers of Jesus were tagged with a name by the people of Antioch. Jesus called His earliest followers “disciples.” Other spoke of the early followers as “people of the Way.” The people of Antioch called the followers of Jesus “Christians.” Soon the name took and now it is the most common name for those who follow Jesus.

In a real sense the name could be taken as a complement because it suggests that the early followers of Jesus lived like their Lord, thus they were “Christians” or “Christ-like.” I hope this could be said about all of us. However, the name Christian does not capture the essence of our spiritual journeys. The name “disciple” does a much better job, and Jesus chose well.

A “disciple” is a learner, student, and apprentice. In a real sense we are called to be “lifelong learners.” In addition, the name indicated the vital relationship between rabbi and disciple, teacher and pupil, and master and apprentice. A disciple without a rabbi is a lost soul. We are nothing without Jesus.

“Disciple” also submits to and acknowledges the need for a teacher. Disciples are not self made men and women. No, disciples have the finger prints and marks of their masters all over them. Could this be way the people of Antioch called the disciples “Christians”?

During my days in Canyon, we spoke of “fully devoted followers of Jesus.” In many ways this statement captures the essence of discipleship. Discipleship starts in the heart and demands obedience. Jesus simply said to his earliest disciples “Come, follow me.”

Os Guinness, in his classic book “The Call” posed this penetrating question:

“Do you want to accept a challenge that will be the integrating dynamic of your whole life? One that will engage your loftiest thoughts, your most dedicated exertions, your deepest emotions, all your abilities and resources, to the last step you take and the last breath you breathe? Listen to Jesus of Nazareth; answer his call.”

My answer is YES!

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