Archive for July, 2006

Trade Snoozer

Well, the deadline for non-waiver trades has come and gone. Among the names rumored to be heading to the Sox were: Jake Peavey, Cory Lidle, Julio Lugo, Kip Wells, Jon Leiber, Andruw Jones, and so many more. Supposedly hung as trade bait include, Lowell, Hansen, Mily Mo Pena, Coco Crisp and a few guys we perhaps wouldn’t mind saying ‘good-bye’ to.

Some thoughts. Trading for Lugo didn’t make any sense to me. Gonzalez has proven (at least to me) that he can provide more than enough offense. He’s not Lugo, but he is light years better than Lugo defensively. Last year defense was our big weakness. Not this year. Perhaps that is why we have our best record after 100 games in over a quarter century.


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The Red Sox made a trade today for some help in the bullpen.  That is important since Manny Delcarmen is having some issues with his thumb, and Foulke was pulled from playing today.  Some say it is his back, some speculate on a trade.  No one knows.  But the trade! 

The picked up right hander Bryan Corey from the Rangers (yes, the picture is from his days as a Cub).  He was designated for assignment, though I don’t know why.  In 17 innings he’s 1-1, with an ERA of 2.60, a WHIP of 1.33, and BAA of .231.  Sounds like a decent pick-up.  They got him for Luis Mendoza.  Mr. Mendoza isn’t even mentioned on the Red Sox Prospects website.

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Their first round rookie running back is signed up for the next 5 years barring an injury (Edwards) or the nearly obligatory holdout before the last year of one’s contract (Seymour, Branch….).  Hey, the NFL players don’t usually have guaranteed contracts like in other sports.  Of course, other sports aren’t as dangerous.  When is the last time a baseball player got crippled?  But you’ve got to assign responsibility to the NFLPA.  But Maroney is just a rookie, so we’ve got a few years to figure out if he’s worth keeping.  It looks like he is from rookie camps.  He could add a great new tool for Brady to use.

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Celticsblog linked to the Boston Sports Review article on Telfair and Rondo.  It talks about why they didn’t succeed with their respective teams, and why things might be different in Boston.  One can hope.

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NFL Training Camps Open

Yes, people like the JollyBlogger and the CavIntern can wake up and shake off their depressions.  The NFL season draws neigh.

I am a man for all (sport) seasons, though not all sports.  If you ever meet R.C. Jr. ask him to explain what makes a sport a sport.  It is entertaining.  I have no great layoff periods where I’m not following an active sport.  This is much to the CavWife’s dismay, sadly.

But, now is the time for Deion Branch to honor his contract and show up to camp.  It is time for Maroney to sign a contract.  It is time to see if Rodney Harrison has recovered.  It is time to see who will take Adam’s place as placekicker.  It is time to see if the 2 wide receiver sets confound the opponents and lead us back to the Super Bowl.  So we can stop blabbing about the Coach’s divorce and all that non-football stuff.  Time to get in shape!

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“Well, let Luther call me a devil, call me what he will, yet I will acknowledge Luther to be the servant of Jesus Christ, and one whom Christ doth use as an instrument of a great deal of good.”  John Calvin, as noted in Sermon XIII of Jeremiah Burroughs, The Saints’ Happiness.

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From Between Two Worlds:

“New Testament scholar Leon Morris died on Monday afternoon in Melbourne after hip surgery, aged 92. His funeral will be at Holy Trinity Doncaster, Melbourne, on July 31 at 10.30 am.”
Sadly, like most scholars, we know little to nothing about his life and family.  I have benefitted greatly from his scholarship and books.  I think his best book was The Cross in the New Testament, which was a longer treatment of the cross than his Apostolic Preaching of the Cross.  His New Testament Theology is also a very fine book.  I am currently using The Gospel According to Matthew in the Pillar New Testament Commentary Series.  The church is much better off for having had this servant of Christ in its midst.  You heard of no scandal associated with Dr. Morris.

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“A meek and quiet Christian must needs live very comfortably, for he enjoys himself, he enjoys his friends, he enjoys his God, and he puts it out of the reach of his enemies to disturb him in these enjoyments.”  Matthew Henry from The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit.

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The Boston Globe reports that Mike Timlin is helping the young pitchers in the bullpen.  He wants to pass on what he has learned, to help them have longer, more productive careers.  I think he’s a coach in the making.

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Harold Reynolds was suddenly released by ESPN this week.  He was a regular on Baseball Tonight.  I learned tons about baseball by listening to him.  He was THE MAN.  Gammons is THE MAN with the connections about trades & inside stories.  But in terms of how the game is played, I really appreciated Harold.  And I’ll miss hearing his input.  Kruk, not so insightful.

Why?  There are two main theories on Deadspin.  The prevailing theory is sexual harassment.  The less prominent theory was a series of clashes with producers & suits, particularly on the way they pushed the A-Fraud stories lately.  I don’t know & ESPN isn’t talking.  Neither is Harold.  If it is the former, I am deeply saddened for him.  He’s got some serious character issues.  Unfortunately, he wouldn’t be the only one over at ESPN to allegedly have that problem.  If it is the latter, I can understand his complaint but not how he raised it.  The A-Fraud story has been quite overblown by all concerned.  This is what happens when the trading deadline appears and there are no exciting trade rumors.  The sharks MUST be fed, and A-Fraud is this month’s meal.  But having a meltdown, as one person alleges, isn’t the way to handle it.  I learned that the hard way.  Hopefully he will too if this is true.

Reynolds confirms that it was sexual harassment, claiming a misunderstood hug at the Outback.  I’m sad.

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Nancy Grace spent most of her interview with Elizabeth Smart about a bill trying to get her to talk about how difficult it was being held captive.  She wanted to bring out her anguish.  Elizabeth was clearly uncomfortable, expressed it and yet Nancy Grace pressed on. 

Sadly this is the new form of journalism.  Her show and the MSNBC knockoff (blonde haired host with a bad case of laryngitis).  Why do we want to see people re-live the most painful moments of their lives on national TV?  Has Headline News mistakenly thought that Montel or Oprah were good TV?

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“Finding the strength to say No (to temptation) comes from believing in, banking on, drawing and drinking from God’s promise of a superior pleasure found only in the arms of Jesus.  Neither threats nor fear can break the cycle of sin in which so many of us daily live.  Neither shame nor the prospects of painful retribution are adequate to stifle th inward surge of sinful desire.”  from Pleasures Evermore

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If you are a pastor, or church leader, you may be getting mailings from Wake Up Call: Battlecry Leadership Summit.  This comes endorsed by people like Kay Arthur, Chuck Colson, Jerry Falwell, Joyce Meyer, John Maxwell, Josh McDowell, Pat Robertson & Ted Haggard.  Here’s some of the flyer-

“A Call to Arms: This generation of teens is the largest in history- and current trends show that only 4% will be evangelical believers by the time they become adults.  Compare this with 34% of adults today who are evangelicals.  We are on the verge of a catastrophe.

“Imagine an America at 4%:


“We can’t let this happen!…..” 

The point they want you to get? “Christianity in America won’t survive another decade.”  Unless we do something about it now.  I didn’t see anything about revealing the glory of God in & through culture to save the lost.  I didn’t see anything about how 96% of this generation of youth will be hell-bound by the time they become adults.  They come across caring more about the institutional church (their jobs) than the lost.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but I see 2 things.  First, Jesus will build His church.  The visible church in America may shrink, but I think that is because we’ve been unfaithful and presented a false understanding of Christianity.  Second, this sounds motivated by fear of losing our “place” on the pecking order of society.  We don’t want to be marginalized like the early church.  We’ve known what it is like to be ‘important’, ‘respected’ and build big buildings.  We don’t want to lose that.

I think they are unwilling to accept Church 3.0, as described by Mark Driscoll.  Rather than embracing the changes, and adapting ministry to fit this new context, I hear them trying to rally the troops (their imagery, not mine) to maintain our place in society and live in the past.  The reason that the next generation is not being reached is because we are using old methods, and they see through the hypocrisy or irrelevance found in many churches.  They aren’t seeing the real faith for the real world lived by real people believing in the real Jesus. The churches that do this, will thrive AND reach the next generation.  Those who don’t……. won’t.

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The Jollyblogger has a summary of the many and numerous blogs concerning feminization of the church.  Some point to the masculine words we use to refer to God, to claim that the church has not been feminized.  It is hard for men to hear about us as the Bride of Christ and not lose interest.  They think Jesus calls them to be wimps, and, frankly, many pastors are wimpy kinds of guys.  They seem very much in touch with their feminine side.

I understand that humanity as the imago dei is both male and female together.  It seems pretty hard to escape that from the text of Genesis 1.  But we tend to err to one or the other extreme.  In the Middle Ages the churches were built by men, and revealed the power and stability of God.  They were not very ‘welcoming’ but conveyed that you could trust God.  He was a Stronghold!  Now, we tend to have women decorate churches.  There are flowers and pretty banners.  It seems decidedly not masculine.  That and the focus on relationships… and men are not too excited.  It is like going to a tea room- leave your man card at the door.

Church buildings and sanctuaries should reflect both masculinity and femininity.  They should reveal strength and tenderness.  No, not a deer head hanging over the flower arrangement.  Both sexes should feel welcome and comfortable (as comfortable as sinners can be) in our congregations.  We should speak to the heart of both.

Men are primarily (not exclusively) called to “subdue and rule the earth.”  We need to provide opportunities for them to exercise this creation-drive in & through the church.

Women are primarily (not exclusively) called to “fill the earth”.  We need to provide them opportunites to nurture others in the faith in & through the church.

Faithful churches will call forth true masculinity from men and true femininity in women.  They will recognize that each will approach mission differently, and will be excited about different things rather flatten the gender distinctions to create a gender neutral church.  Or just as bad, either a masculine or a feminine church.

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This is another of the Desiring God 2006 conference promos.  This one is by Mark Driscoll.  Driscoll contrasts theology and methodology.  In liberal Christianity, both are open and can change with the needs or interests of culture.  In fundamentalist Christianity, neither change but are locked in space and time, so to speak.

We are called to be closed about our theology.  The message of the Gospel does not change.  Our theology is not driven by the culture.  Our methodology is a function of culture.  We bring our theology to address the culture.  A faithful Christianity avoids the errors of both liberalism and fundamentalism.  It is faithful to the truth, and faithful to bring it to the culture in which we live.

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Often those in conservative circles (which I run in) tend to emphasize the giving of glory to God in worship.  We react to how some chase the warm fuzzy.  We are afraid of using God and making worship all about us.

I can agree.  But when we come with a mind to avoid a subjective experience of God, are we glorifying Him?  Have we moved to the opposite extreme of being so objective that we actually dishonor Him?

Piper has written on this.  And something I read by Samuel Storms brought this back to mind this past weekend.

“But God is most honored not when we strive to bolster what we mistakenly think is His diminishing supply, but when we come to Him humbly to receive from His mercy and goodness what only He can provide.”

God is most glorified when we come to worship seeking mercy and grace from Him in Jesus Christ!  If we come to say how great He is without also seeking to be delighted & satisfied in Him, seeking to be blessed by Him because we are “poor in spirit”, we do not honor Him.  This is why we are often bored and uninvolved in worship.  We do not see ourselves as spiritual beggars coming to the fountain of grace, or to use the biblical image from Hebrews 4, the throne of grace.  It is only when we understand that we are spiritual beggars, and each Sunday is a time of need, that we will seek Him at that throne of grace and receive the grace and mercy He offers in Himself.

So, worship is for both God and us.  We both benefit as we seek to glorify Him as the God who delights in bestowing grace upon His grace-needy adopted kids.  God gets much glory, and we get much grace.

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In the June CT there is an interesting article, “On the Edge of Famine.”  The basic premise is in keeping with what I’ve said elsewhere on this blog, the reason we can’t eliminate poverty is largely a matter of politics. 

Here is where I disagree with Bono.  The politics that is problematic is not the West, but the oppressive, exploitative governments in the Third World.  Western governments are not blameless.  They contribute to the lack of free trade that helps keep some poor countries poor.  But the West can fix that and there will still be poverty.  Food is power in poverty-stricken areas.  And gov’ts hoard the food that comes in, or requires bribes to allow humanitarian agencies to disburse the food.

Jesus said that we will have the poor with us always.  That does not mean we are to be hard-hearted toward the poor.  But they will always need our help, and we should be willing to help.  I don’t believe it is possible to eliminate poverty.  This is a sin-wracked world, and people will always experience tragedy, famine and oppression.  We will always have opportunities to reveal the mercy and compassion of the Father.

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Review: Shopgirl

Shopgirl was billed as a romantic comedy.  It was not much of either.  It is a dark, occasionally funny story about the avoidance of intimacy while seeking the pleasure of sex in modern America.  It is based on a novella by Steve Martin.  Given his history, I’m wondering how much of this is culled from personal experience.

Clare Danes plays a depressed artist from Vermont trying to make it in LA.  To pay the bills she works at Saks, and pines away with loneliness.  A glimpse of family life in the middle of the movie shows a family that doesn’t relate- there is no intimacy, sharing of the heart.

First she meets a clueless man her age.  He is going nowhere fast.  Dying to feel loved, she settles for meaningless sex.  But she comes alive when she meets Ray Parker, an older businessman who takes in interest in her.  He essentially wants steady sex when he is in town.  She is looking for a long-term relationship.  Each lies to themselves about the other’s intentions and goals.

I don’t want to give too much away.  But the movie is profoundly sad.  They pursue what they think will bring happiness, but it only leads to despair (see my Pensee for the Day from Edwards).  Ironically, Ray ends up missing the very person he tried so desperately not to miss by keeping her at arm’s length.  Such is the misery sin brings.

The Cavwife says I owe her a romantic comedy.  This may be difficult, for it seems to be a lost art these days. 

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Well, not actually.  I have seen a few of the Nooma DVDs.  But this was the first sermon of his I’d heard.  Enough Dirt for My Mule was a very good sermon.  It was faithful to the biblical text, contextualized and applicible to the circumstances of the people.  I will have to listen to more of his sermons.  You may want to get there before it gets shuffled off.

Update: I’ve since read Velvet Elvis and find it unfaithful to the biblical text and misleading in many ways.  If you search this sight for the book title, you can find my interaction with the book.  Dude be dangerous.

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Crazy Trade Rumors

I was on Boston.com’s Buzz looking at trade rumors.  I saw a blurb about San Diego inquiring about Mike Lowell since they cut Vinny Castillo.  Why trade Lowell?  He’s doing great for us, offensively and defensively.  Eric Wilbur had more on the Buster Olney rumor.

The reported rumor was the Sox getting Jake Peavy in return.  Sign me up!  A great young pitcher, making about $5 million for each of the next 2 years.  What an awesome rotation.

Yet, Wilbur notes some members of Sox Nation think this trade would be horrible.  Yeah, Jake is having a rough year.  But, his arm is bothering him.  And the Padres play horrible defense.  In Boston, he’d be doing much better, not much worse as one mindless person claimed.  Note to fans- ERA is a function of BOTH a pitcher’s ability and the defense behind him.  Just as W-L is a function of your ERA and the # of runs your team scores for you (I endured many seasons watching the Sox score nothing for Roger, only to have Dave Stinkin’ Stewart look good because the Bash Brothers were scoring lots of runs.  His ERA couldn’t touch Roger’s.).

As Wilbur notes, welcome to July in MLB.  Lot’s of crazy rumors will fly around.  So few become reality.  I seriously doubt this would become reality.  But I’d like to see Jake on our side.

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