Time Is Short

the world is a stage
it's said, all will play their part,
then exit on cue

"And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9: 27-28)

"Since his (man's) days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass, . . ." (Job 14:5)

"Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them." (Psalm 139:16)


He Put A Number On His Back

The movie '42' opens today. It will tell us what happened. It will tell us that Jackie Robinson became the first black man to play major league baseball in 1947 in spite of racism that showed itself in the forms of verbal abuse and threats of physical harm.

It will tell us that Branch Rickey, the white general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, signed Robinson to a contract with the intent of his breaking the 'color barrier' and becoming a pioneer - a pioneer that is honored by every MLB franchise today. That's what happened.

I hope it tells us why it happened.

Because why it happened is for the glory of God.

As a young man, Branch Rickey coached the baseball team at Ohio Wesleyan University and it was there that:

". . . his Christian conviction collided head on with his love for the great game. Charles Thomas was recruited by Rickey to play catcher and was the only black player on the team. OWU traveled to South Bend, Indiana for a game against Notre Dame. When they arrived the hotel clerk refused to allow Thomas to stay because of a whites-only policy. Rickey persuaded the hotel to allow Thomas to go to his (Rickey's) room and later requested a cot. That evening Rickey found his catcher sobbing and rubbing his hands and arms convulsively while muttering, 'It's my skin. If only I could wipe off the color they could see I am a man like everybody else.' Rickey told him to, 'Buck up!' and said, 'We will beat this one day!' but later noted he never felt so helpless and vowed at that time that he would do whatever he could to end such humiliation." (from The ferocious Christian gentleman behind Jackie Robinson's famous moment)

Author Eric Metaxas, from his book Seven Men: And The Secret Of Their Greatness, records the kind of faith that animated Robinson and Rickey:

"Robinson was a Christian and his Christian faith was at the very center of his decision to accept Branch Rickey's invitation to play for the all-white Brooklyn Dodgers . . . Branch Rickey himself was a Bible-thumping Methodist whose faith led him to find an African American ballplayer to break the color barrier . . . At the center of one of the most important civil rights stories in America lies two men of passionate Christian faith." (from Jackie Robinson and the Pattern of Jesus)

Both men were men of abiding Christian faith and that faith was at the heart of, what Rickey called, 'the great experiement'.

Oh, it would be a great story had they been Hindu, or Jewish, or Buddhist, or some other faith. Or of no faith at all. Righting this wrong was, well, right, and most of us rejoice at those kinds of stories. However, if the faith of the two men was a key factor (and it seems to have been), then to leave it out would not be right and we would not rejoice, for we would have been told only a partial truth.

As I said, I hope they tell us why.


New York, New York. And New York.

I have visited New York City on two occasions, briefly. From what little I've seen, I love the place. My notions are probably mostly romantic, but still, I am ready to go back any time.

The other night, while my lovely bride and I were enjoying some TV, I noted that the three programs that are appointment television for me are all based in, you guessed it, New York City. That is probably not really too much of a stretch, as many shows are produced in the Big Apple.

Here are links to the shows, if you want.


Person of Interest

Blue Bloods


Of Dystopian Novels

I just finished reading That Hideous Strength written by C. S. Lewis. It is the third in what is commonly called The Space Trilogy, though any of the three books could be read on its own. The first two books, Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, are fine in their own right, but Strength outdoes them both, handily, in my view.

I noticed this time through That Hideous Strength themes that resonate with the debates we are having today about how much government we want, who do we trust for information, and so on. Lewis was spot on in framing, in particular, the tack that progressive types will take in advancing their cause.

But don't take my word for it, here's Powerline blog contributor Steven Hayward :

"Dare I incur the wrath of (Ayn Rand fans) everywhere if I suggest that Lewis' dystopian novel is the best of the entire genre of mid-20th century group that includes 1984 and Darkness at Noon. Which means it is also far superior to Atlas Shrugged, not only in style but in content as well. Whittaker Chambers had it right that Atlas Shrugged is a "strenuously sterile world" filled with "operatic caricatures." By contrast, Lewis' portrait of the academic bureaucrat Withers holds up along side Randall Jarrell's Pictures from an Institution. (It has some other relevant wit: the National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments-or N.I.C.E.-is dead-on for the kind of authoritarian bodies and processes-sensitivity training anyone?-the therapeutic Left imposes on all of us today.)"

All of Hayward's post is here.


Opening Day 2013

I have, from time to time, gotten into 'arguments' over the virtues of baseball vs. football. And I have come to realize that these 'discussions' are of little merit. In the end each man usually remains convinced in his own mind as to the qualities of his favorite game.

The argument in favor of baseball goes something like, "beauty, timelessness, green grass, sun-splashed bleachers, pastoral, poetry, hot dogs, Babe Ruth, historical, fathers and sons" and so on. The case in favor of football goes something like, "most popular".

It goes without saying that I am in the baseball camp.

And happily, I am not alone. Pastor Kevin DeYoung had a post on his blog about why you should love our national pastime. Here's a taste:

"This week marks the beginning of baseball, for 150 years, our national pastime. Football may be the king of revenue and ratings, March Madness may be the most enjoyable three weeks of sports, the NHL may be the obsession north of the border, and the NBA may have bigger star power, but there is still no sport in this country better than baseball."

That is a very bold statement at the end there and DeYoung knows what you are thinking:

"I know the many knocks on baseball: The games are too slow. The season is too long. The contracts are too big. I know about steroids and strike-shortened seasons. I know the players chew and spit and adjust themselves too much. I know every pitcher except for Mark Buerhle takes too much time in between pitches. I know that purists hate the DH rule and almost everyone hates the Yankees. I understand if baseball is not your thing. You don't have to like our national pastime.

But you should."

DeYoung continues to make the argument for baseball in the paragraphs that follow. The whole article is worth reading if you like sports, especially baseball.

His conclusion:

"It's a long season. It's a slow season. It's a game of strategy and finely-honed skill more than brute force and raw athleticism. It's everything fans aren't supposed to want in their sports anymore.

Which makes it just perfect."

Indeed. The perfect game.