Even with the modern emphasis on statistics (“sabermetrics”), attempts to speed up the game, and scientific measurements, baseball is one of the most pastoral of sports.* It is also one of the most traditional.
“Keeping score” is a core baseball tradition — a way of taking notes during the game. Like taking notes in class, the main purpose is to help you slow down and concentrate on the event. It pushes you to process the event and condense it into a few marks of lead or ink. It may later serve as an aid to memory, but that is not the sole purpose.
Here’s a primer on keeping score, though I am going to give you an alternative blank scorecard that I designed and that I think works better than the traditional format:
Here’s a full size .pdf you can download: [Scorecard 2018 full]
Continue reading Keeping Score
Lyman Stone, writing for Vox, adds* his voice to others suggesting that we are having too few children in the United States.
He looks at polling data to show that while the Total Fertility Rate is now only about 1.8, the number of children desired is much higher. He explains why this shortfall is bad for our society, and proposes some fixes (all interesting) but this paragraph brought a grin to my face:
If getting ahead in your industry requires happy-hour drinks three nights a week, that’s unfriendly to families and may be preventing your female colleagues from having the family they want. Check your childlessness privilege. If you never volunteer to babysit your friends’ kids, but expect to benefit from their Social Security taxes, you’re a societal free-rider.
I would have never thought to say this, honestly.** There are many other rewards to having larger-than-replacement families, but this Vox article does raise some points we don’t often hear. Lyman Stone, “The US needs more babies, more immigrants, and more integration,” Vox (Nov. 10, 2017) [link].
*I guess he “added his voice,” but I did not see the article at the time.
**He also proposed special parking privileges for minivans, but that proposal is way too late for us.
I just had the experience of reading a novel written by one of my professors at Vanderbilt University.
Walter Sullivan (1924-2006) introduced me to many of my favorite books, including Brideshead Revisited, The End of the Affair, War in Heaven, and “The Four Quartets” in a class he called “Angelic and Demonic Themes in 20th Century Literature.” We also read The Spire and, I feel certain, some Flannery O’Connor. He was a marvelous teacher who started by teaching the basics of the Bible so that the class had a common language to discuss the modern works. I have often wished I had spent more time working on “The Four Quartets” while I had opportunity to draw on his wisdom.*
It turns out he wrote three novels and last night I read The Long, Long Love [link].**
It is the story of Horatio Adams, a man strangely incapable of accepting what happiness comes his way because of the pain and fear which distracts him.
It is a moving and lyrical book:
“I wondered about that, Horatio. What happened to us? Why did things work out the way they did?”
“Why?” I said. “Nobody ever really knows why. There are a thousand reasons for every turn of every day.” I pondered this a while, knowing it was true. Thinking that not only did God know about the fall of the sparrow, but that only the mind of God could know all the reasons why the sparrow fell.
Recommended (don’t expect any tank battles).
*Thomas Howard’s The Dove Descending (2006) [link] is the best substitute I know of.
**Sullivan had written it about twenty years before I met him. How sad that I did not read it until more than twenty years after he died. It is still in print.
The same moral as always: Live the life given to you that you may not be ashamed when you stand before the Judge of all lives.
A striking, contrarian view of a war and a movie, by the clearly outspoken (and apparently curmudgeonly) Peter Hitchens.* “Not Their Finest Hour,” First Things (Feb. 16, 2018) [link]:
[Churchill knew that if] Britain wanted American help, we must accept American desires. To stay in the war, Britain must cease forever to be an empire and independent world power. Of course this prospect was far better than the alternative. Churchill had the global and historical understanding to grasp this fact, and enough American in him to reckon that America’s chilly mercy would be better than Germany’s smiling triumph.
This story is largely unknown to this day in Britain, where a childish fable of brotherhood and love is widely believed. I would welcome a motion picture that finally dispelled this twaddle and introduced British public opinion to the grown-up world. In this world, the Finest and Darkest Hours were in fact reluctant but necessary steps down the crumbling staircase of national decline.
*Peter Hitchens’ brother was Christopher Hitchens. One of the things that the brothers disagreed about was Jesus. (This fact makes it slightly less surprising that this article is published in the eminent Catholic periodical First Things.)
NOTE: I have not seen the movie, so I am not endorsing the review, just interested in the view of history which it represents.
From @Yankees (because Stanton and Judge are going to get enough attention as it is)
Rachael Denhollander was interviewed by Christianity Today in the aftermath of her statement to the Court in the Nassar sentencing. (If you have not yet read “No True Grace Without Real Judgment” and her statement, please do that now.)
She talks bluntly about the tendency — which she feels is universal — for church leadership to protect the “the perceived reputation of the gospel of Christ” rather than the victims of sexual abuse, when the abuse occurs in the church. It is an uncomfortable indictment.
Here is her conclusion:
“[T]he gospel of Jesus Christ does not need your protection. It defies the gospel of Christ when we do not call out abuse and enable abuse in our own church. Jesus Christ does not need your protection; he needs your obedience. Obedience means that you pursue justice and you stand up for the oppressed and you stand up for the victimized, and you tell the truth about the evil of sexual assault and the evil of covering it up.
[And] that obedience costs. It means that you will have to speak out against your own community. It will cost to stand up for the oppressed, and it should. If we’re not speaking out when it costs, then it doesn’t matter to us enough.
As usual, I urge you to read the whole interview. Morgan Lee, “Interview with Rachael Denhollander,”* Christianity Today (Jan. 31, 2018) [link].
Ms. Denhollander has thought deeply, theologically, and prayerfully about these things.
*The actual title is “My Larry Nassar Testimony Went Viral. But There’s More to the Gospel Than Forgiveness.”
Rachael Denhollander to Larry Nassar:
“In our early hearings, you brought your Bible into the courtroom and you have spoken of praying for forgiveness. And so it is on that basis that I appeal to you. If you have read the Bible you carry, you know the definition of sacrificial love portrayed is of God himself loving so sacrificially that he gave up everything to pay a penalty for the sin he did not commit. By his grace, I, too, choose to love this way.
You spoke of praying for forgiveness. But Larry, if you have read the Bible you carry, you know forgiveness does not come from doing good things, as if good deeds can erase what you have done. It comes from repentance which requires facing and acknowledging the truth about what you have done in all of its utter depravity and horror without mitigation, without excuse, without acting as if good deeds can erase what you have seen this courtroom today.
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Continue reading No true grace without real judgment