Does ‘turn the other cheek’ apply to a baseball brawl?

Does ‘turn the other cheek’ apply to a baseball brawl?

After Rougned Odor’s now-famous punch of Jose Bautista, ministers and other church members debate whether a Christian can — or should — cheer for on-field violence.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

ARLINGTON, Texas — “Turn the other cheek” sounds so simple in Sunday morning Bible class.

The concept becomes a little more difficult when you’re a rabid Texas Rangers fan, sitting in the stands with 41,000 other cheering spectators, as a big-time baseball brawl breaks out.

That was the case Sunday afternoon for Travis Akins, young adults minister for the Memorial Road Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.

Akins, his wife, Laura, and their four children were enjoying the Rangers’ dramatic, come-from-behind win over the Toronto Blue Jays when a hit batter, a hard slide and the now-famous “Baseball Punch to End All Baseball Punches” occurred.

“I was into it,” Travis Akins said of Texas second baseman Rougned Odor’s pummeling of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. “Not the punch necessarily, but the whole atmosphere and the emotion of the moments. My kids … were wondering what was going on and why Dad was screaming.”

A few Christian Chronicle readers may recall that your friendly correspondent is a longtime Rangers fan. I first wrote about my love of God, family and baseball for the Chronicle a decade ago. And I’ve mentioned it a time or two since.

I was in the stands for the Texas-Toronto games on Friday and Saturday nights, but when the benches cleared Sunday afternoon, I was at the Keller Church of Christ for my nephew Nick’s graduating senior celebration.

However, when I heard about what happened, my Rangers fan adrenaline certainly surged.

Read the full column.

This story appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.