James Bailey, the former Examiner Offensive Football Player of the Year and a two-time state champion in the discus from William Chrisman High School, is studying a new playbook – the Bible.

“I grew up a Christian. In fact, my father is a Baptist minister,” Bailey explained. “But I had so many questions. I wanted to find a way to get closer to God.”

After graduating from Chrisman is 2017, Bailey spent a year at Western Illinois, then returned to Missouri and became a part of the Missouri Western State University football team in St. Joseph.

“At first, I thought I went to Missouri Western to play football,” Bailey said, “I thought I went to Missouri Western to be closer to home, but I soon discovered that I was called to Missouri Western to begin my journey to being closer to God.”

It all happened one evening when Bailey – an accomplished barber who has cut the hair of his teammates in high school and the collegiate ranks for many years – was giving his Griffin teammate Jordan Dixon a haircut.

“God used Jordan to talk to me, to preach to me about God. He told me things I had never heard before,” said Bailey, one of the top rushers in the MIAA last season with 673 yards and a team-best 11 touchdowns while earning All-MIAA honorable mention honors. “He invited me to his church, the World Mission Society Church of God, and it changed my life.

“That’s when I realized that God had called back to Missouri, and now, I am studying to be a minister. I want everyone to have the peace of mind and the blessings I have received.”

Bailey then pours over his well-used Bible, talking about various passages that he says go hand-in-hand with the truth of his church.

His church believes in the triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – but also in God the Father and God the Mother.

“God the Father and God the Mother are testified throughout the Bible, which God has given us for our salvation (Genesis 1:26-27, Revelation 19:7 and 21:9-10 and Galatians 4:26),” Bailey explains, pointing to the verses. “We follow God the Father and God the Mother’s example of Love, serving and sacrifice.”

Bailey goes on to talk about the Elohim, a word in the Hebrew Bible which means plural deities.

“It may be hard for some people to understand, but this all makes so much sense to me,” he added. “In reading the Bible I have found that God the Mother will give us eternal life. I have found the path to my salvation, and even though I have walked away from football, I am the happiest I have ever been.”