Archive for October, 2007

Considering Mike Huckabee

There is plenty of confusion out there regarding Gov. Mike Huckabee.  It seems to be the Tale of Two Huckabees.  A number of conservative evangelicals are beginning to support Huckabee, viewing him as a strong conservative.  Joe Carter has been supportiveJustin Taylor has a bunch of Huckabee links, and endorses him along with Joe Carter and Matthew Anderson including a link to support his campaign.  They think he will appeal to social, defense and fiscal conservatives.

John Fund, in a WSJ Opinion Piece, disagrees with the portrayal of Huckabee as a conservative. 

I really wish I knew which Mike Huckabee was the real Huckabee.  Or, will the real Mike Huckabee please stand up, before the primary please.

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Go West, Old Yankees!

Joe Torre is hasta la vista from the Yankees.  The one year contract was pretty insulting if you ask me.  And now a chain of events is unfolding that may drastically shape two teams.

The Yankees went with another guy names Joe, Girardi, who used to play catcher too, and has a Manager of the Year award under his belt.

For the last few years the Dodgers have been Red Sox West, owned by Frank McCourt a Boston businessman who failed in his bid to buy the Red Sox, managed by the senile one, Grady Little, and composed of a number of former Red Sox like Lowe, Nomar & Mueller (now in the front office).

But word has it that McCourt sees a great opportunity to toss Grady to the curb and bring in Joe Torre.  Apparently he wanted the other Joe.  But it gets more fun.  Don Mattingly, spurned for the the Yankees job due to a lack of managerial experience, will follow Joe T. to LA.  The Dodgers drafted his son in 2006 (hey Cashman, what gives?).

What no one else has put together yet (publicly) far as I can see, is how many Yankee free agents may follow Joe west.  I heard talk that Girardi and Posada didn’t quite jell when they platooned together.  Posada is a free agent.  Rivera is too, and clearly Joe continuing as manager was important to Mariano.  Andy Pettite may have to choose which Joe he wants to play for (Girardi was his personal catcher for a few years), and the NL may be easier on his aging arm.

You could end up with a Dodger team, one year removed from the playoffs, getting a boost from some older, experienced by still very good players departing from the Yankees.  This would transition them from Red Sox West to Yankees West.  Maybe they will do better than Red Sox West did.  At least they will have a much better manager!

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Some people have said the Patriots ran up the score on the Redskins on Sunday.  ESPN’s John Clayton says many in the league are upset with the Patriots.

PTI’s Tony Kornheiser had the best theory.  “If you injected Bill Belichick with truth serum, he might say something like this.”  I can’t remember the actual phrase, but that since people were saying camera-gate ‘tainted’ the Patriots past success, Belichik has decided to just play all out and show everyone just how good a coach he is, and a team the Patriots are.  Tainted?  No mercy!

You had to figure Bill would use it this way.  He’s done this with every slight the Patriots ever received.  It was a given that he would use this, not for a game, but an entire season (or more).  He’s got something to prove, and no one has stopped him yet.  The Colts get the opportunity next week in a ‘rematch’.  I use that term lightly since the Patriots offense is greatly improved, and the defense is better too after some key acquisitions.  The Patriots want home field advantage this year.  And saw that the Colts don’t have their number.  Should be an exciting contest.

What I don’t find acceptable is the suggestion that someone should take a cheap shot as ‘payback’.   People complain that Brady was playing late in the game.  But Cassell was the QB on their final drive.  If you back players off, you increase the odds of them getting hurt. 

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Considering Iron Man

Not sure what to make of Iron Man.  I didn’t think Michael Keaton would work as Batman, and was wrong.  Robert Downey Jr. as a smart alec Iron Man?  We’ll see.

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24 Trailer

Just in case you happened to miss it somehow.  A shocking turn of events in what could be a great season of 24 as Jack is back.

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Reformation Specials

Ligonier is offering The Reformation Study Bible for only $15.17 on Reformation Day (Wed. the 31st).  It is for the hardback copy, in the ESV.

Yes, I used to work for Ligonier.  No, I don’t get any kickbacks.

Yes, I use the ESV as my devotional Bible (and may soon preach from it regularly).  No, I don’t get any kickbacks.

In this day of more translations and more obscure study Bibles you get a solid translation and a solid study Bible (good Reformed doctrine- historic Protestantism).  There is no limit on quantities if you or your church want to give them as gifts.  Hmmmm, ministry…. what a concept!

Westminster Theological Seminary Bookstore is having their last planned sale of the year.  50% off Staff Picks this week (yes, I get benefits if you visit them through my site).  Some great books are available.  Be a good steward- buy great books on sale, not when you think you’ll need them. 

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I listened to Tim Keller on Being the Church in Our Culture from the 2006 Reform & Resurge Conference this weekend.  It was the second time through, and caught some excellent things.

Contextualization: God’s answers to the questions they’re asking in a form they can understand.”

We don’t ignore the questions of our audience or culture.  Those are the doors into ministry to them.  But the answer is two-fold.  First, it must be God’s answers, not our own or that of another culture.  Second, it must be understandable to them.  Obviously, Satan & unbelief blind people, but we must be careful to watch the form the answer takes so it is understandable to that culture.

In discussing 1 Corinthians 1 & 2, he focused on how Paul contextualized the message of the cross.  Jews wanted power/signs, and Greeks wanted wisdom.  Paul preached Christ crucified (God’s answer) to reveal God’s power to Jews, and God’s wisdom to Gentiles.  He expressed God’s answer to our condition in terms of the questions they asked, and a form they could understand.  But it remained God’s answer in Christ.

In discussing 1 Corinthians 9: “You can’t be all things to all people at the same time.  Ministry choices move us toward some people and away from others.”  Paul was of that particular culture- not a generic man.  He walked the line of contextualization between destructive enculturation (assimilation/apostasy) and protective enculturation (legalism/apostasy).

“Ministry is not adapting too much or too little to the people around you.  Adapting too much is to buy into their cultural idols.  Too little is buying into the idols of another culture.”

With regard to missions, if we have too much humility we become too much like the culture.  If we have too much pride we are too much like our culture of origin.  We need to remain in gospel humility & boast in Christ so we will disenculturate the gospel, and know we have something to say that a particular culture needs to hear.

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It was a tense ending as the Rockies threatened in late innings.  Papi and Manny had been replaced- so I’m not wanting the Rockies to tie it or take the lead.  But they encountered the Intimidator, Jonathan Papelbon.  It was a great game, highlighted by Jon Lester’s great pitching performance after not starting a game in a month.  A great way to cap off his recovery from cancer (and its treatment) as has often been noted today.

I marveled at grace.  Bobby Kielty hits a pinch hit home run which ends up being the deciding run.  This was a guy who was in baseball purgatory, released by the struggling A’s.  He went from jobless to hitting a key homerun in the clinching game of the World Series- a glimpse of glory.

I marveled at the exuberance of young guys like Ellsbury.  He and Pedroia were not intimidated by the big stage, but performed fearlessly- a glimpse of glory.

Mike Lowell may not get the AL MVP this year, but he was the World Series MVP (something I get the feeling A-Fraud will never be).  I’m not sure I would have picked him in this series (much like ’04, I was like Manny?).  He had a great series, with some key plays.  I might have picked Ellsbury or Papelbon.  But I must give Lowell his due on a career year.  Hopefully the Sox will offer him a deal with performance criteria to guarantee additional years.  I want Lowell, not the “attention whore” (a term used by Bruce Springsteen’s son) known as A-Fraud, who inexplicably picks yesterday to let the world know he’s opting out of his mega-deal, and not accepting the mega-extension offered by the Yankees.  His ‘concerns’ about the future of the Yankees may have been addressed in the next 10 days.  But no, he had to announce it now- which doesn’t make sense in light of Boras’ comments.  Judging by how the Yankees treated Joe Torre (shameless), they will NOT negotiate with him.

Oh, Peter Gammons just slammed A-Fraud on ESPN.  That leaves the Red Sox, Angels and Cubs.  I can’t see the Red Sox going for him at this point.  I really hope they don’t- he’s not about team, but self.  They need a guy like Lowell.  I think A-Fraud is about to lose a whole lot of money.  The Angels are my bet to sign him.  They have the greatest need for a bat- as evidenced by how easy the Red Sox whipped them in the ALDS.

This Red Sox team is not like the ’04 team in the number of young players who look like they will have great careers, and have the competitive drive to get back to the World Series.  This team is like the ’04 team in the number of veterans who are now free agents.  This places lots of work on Theo’s shoulders to balance present and future as he debates offers to Lowell and Schilling.  These are key club house guys as well as great competitors.  Glad I’m not Theo!

Yeah, I cried with joy.  It was not like ’04.  There was so much anticipation and previous disappointment built up for that one.  But it was still a very exciting moment.

Marriage has been very, very good to me.  Since being married in December of 2001- my teams have won 3 Superbowls and 2 World Series (could have been 3 if not for Grady Little, boy do I appreciate Francona).  And we have a shot at a 4th Superbowl this year, and the Celtics are poised to make a legitimate run for the first time in nearly 20 years.

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Being in transition means spending more time with the daughter.  I’ve noticed a few changes lately.  I suspect she’s been replaced by a pod.  She was not a very affectionate child.  She resisted being kissed much of the time, and getting a kiss from her was about as frequent as Congress cutting spending.  Suddenly, she’s a kissing machine.  Some light went on and now she loves to give us kisses- face, arm.

She is mostly potty trained.  She’s still not too keen on pooping in the potty.  She waits until she has a diaper on for her nap or to sleep.  The other day when I took her to pee she told me to leave the room, and then closed the door.  Suddenly she modest.  I thought it was just me, but she’s done the same with CavWife. 

Tonight was the first time she climbed out of her crib.  She was mad about something, and we were sick of going in there.  Actually of leaving, only to have to go back in.  So we occupied ourselves for a few minutes.  I came out of our room to watch the World Series, and there she was coming to get her mom.  We are amazed she didn’t get hurt.  But this is the reason we haven’t gotten a toddler bed yet.  She’s not ready to stay put.

Today we had some fun carving pumpkins.  Okay, I did.  The girl touched the innards and pulled a few seeds out, but she soon lost interest.  I carved a happy face, CavWife did some odd design requiring me to break out the drill to put holes in it.  I found a roast pumpkin seed recipe, and baked them up.  I haven’t done that in years.  $3 and we had some good family fun and got some food out of it.  Now we just have to figure out what she’s going to wear to the Reformation Festival.  I’ll be Luther in monk’s garb, and doing a dramatic presentation explaining the Reformation.

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As I watch celebrity “Christians” I’ve noticed a few patterns that may help you if you want to have a TV ministry too.

Rabbit Trail… during my interview with the session of the church I eventually began to pastor in 1998, the interim asked me if I have any desire to be on TV.  I laughed.

1. Call yourself a “life coach”.  This the popular new tag used by Paula White and Joel Osteen (see his 60 Minutes interview).  This relieves you from actually talking about the gospel and focusing on how you can help people make their lives “better”.  This is not to be confused with godly.  It is about being happy and successful.  Nothing wrong with those, but God has some bigger plans for His people.

2. Lift lots of weight.  In the 60 Minutes interview I discovered Joel can bench press 300 pounds, double his weight.  Pat Robertson claims to be able to leg press 2,000 pounds.  I’ve seen Paula on TV interviewing her personal trainer while she was in tight gym garb, so she pumps some iron too.  Never hurts to have big muscles to pad your resume and impress your viewers.

3. Don’t talk about anything negative.  Who cares if the Bible consistently addresses sin issues!  Apparently we are not self-deceived like Jeremiah says, and already know where we err.  Don’t bore people with talk about repentance- remind them how good they are and how successful they can be.  This way… when people criticize the fact you don’t speak honestly about who we are, they come off as being mean people, like Michael Horton.

4. Please, don’t ever mention that we need Jesus to make us holy and righteous.  If you really have to talk about Jesus, and Joel has shown you really don’t have to if you don’t want to, focus on how he died to make you healthy and prosperous.  Remember, that’s American religion.

5. Use lots of hair spray.  You have to, those lights make you sweat and your hair has to stay in place.

6. Don’t really answer any tough questions.  Deflect and talk about how judgmental the other person is.  Or, just demonize them and wish you had Benny Hinn’s holy spirit machine gun.

7. Hire most of your family to work for you.  Blood AND money creates a tight bond.

8. You must be willing to buy a multi-million dollar home and numerous expensive cars.  If you want to really hit it big- you gotta buy a jet.  Remember, this is what Jesus would do.  He wants you to live well, off room service.

9. Don’t, repeat, don’t go to a reputable seminary.

10. Produce lots of ‘feel-good’ tapes & books about what people must do to be successful.  No traditional theological categories- we’re talking self-help.

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Game 3- Keep on Rolling

The Red Sox are in the midst of a big inning.  6 runs in the 3rd, as the Rockies finally pull the Fogg with 2 outs.  There was a close play at the plate which could have gone the other way for 7-0, 1 out.  Ellsbury is already 3-3 with 2 doubles, a run scored and an RBI.  Dice-K has a 2 RBI single to help himself out.  The Red Sox are trying to win their 7th consecutive World Series game.

It’s now the 4th inning, and Ortiz has made 2 nice plays thus far.  No, he’s not a Gold Glove caliber guy- Youkilis should get one though- but he’s not the disaster some people think he’d be.

No ‘dancing’ boys tonight.  Just girls with snuggle toys and screaming boys.  Let’s hope it stays that way.

Dice-K was pitching well through 5.  In the 6th things got a bit dicey and the Rockies put together a rally until Timlin came in.  6-2 Red Sox after 6.

After that 3-run homerun by Holliday, I was nervous.  But…

My father-in-law often says “these kids today”.  Ellsbury (4-5) and Pedroia (3-5) came up with 2 big hits to push the lead up to 9-5 and create some breathing room.  May have taken the steam out of the crowd and the Rockies.  These 2 guys are fearless competitors.  Gotta love our ‘kids’.

Papelbon entered the 8th with 2 on and 2 out.  Holliday almost hits anouther one out.  After a 2-out triple in the 9th, Papelbon closes the door on a VERY long game and the Red Sox do make it 3-0, with Lester on the hill tomorrow.

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No… not me.  The congregation we are worshipping in during our transition is going through a rough spot themselves.  A number of people have asked the former pastor to plant a new church in town.  I won’t get into details, but this community has a long history of ‘splants’.  A guy considering planting a new church that isn’t a ‘splant’ did some research.  He found that only about 2 of the numerous church plants in town since 1965 (the year I was born) have been plants, not ‘splants’ (splits resulting in plants, meaning lots of baggage and broken relationships).

Joe Thorn has some advice from Mark Dever if you are considering changing churches.

Before You Decide to Leave

1. Pray.

2. Let your current pastor know about your thinking before you move to another church or make your decision to relocate to another city. Ask for his counsel.

3. Weigh your motives. Is your desire to leave because of sinful, personal conflict or disappointment? If it’s because of doctrinal reasons, are these doctrinal issues significant?

4. Do everything within your power to reconcile any broken relationships.

5. Be sure to consider all the “evidences of grace” you’ve seen in the church’s life – places where God’s work is evident. If you cannot see any evidences of God’s grace, you might want to examine your own heart once more (Matt. 7:3-5).

6. Be humble. Recognize you don’t have all the facts and assess people and circumstances charitably (give them the benefit of the doubt).

If You Go

1. Don’t divide the body.

2. Take the utmost care not to sow discontent even among your closest friends. Remember, you don’t want anything to hinder their growth in grace in this church. Deny any desire to gossip (sometimes referred t as “venting” or “saying how you feel”).

3. Pray for and bless the congregation and its leadership. Look for ways of doing this practically.

4. If there has been hurt, then forgive – even as you have been forgiven.

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Steve McCoy has a bunch of links, many regarding Tim Keller.  Those include 3 recent sermons on Gospel Realization, Communication and Incarnation.  Probably much wanted expansions of this Desiring God sermon from last year.

Update (8/08)– these sermons bear many listens.  I find myself returning to them often, and recommend them highly.

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I figured that if the Sports Guy can do it…. so can I.

Yesterday: Figure that since the CavCurse kept the Sox from winning for so long (as a friend used to say, if it wasn’t for CavLuck, I’d have no luck at all), Theo should pay for my parents to remain in Italy until the World Series is over.  He wouldn’t accept my collect call though.

7 am.  Realized that if I moved to the west coast, the game would start at 5:40 and end at a reasonable hour.  Unfortunately, both dinner and the CavDaughter’s bedtime routine would interrupt the game.  You give, you take.  Fox added 20 minutes to the pre-game show since this is the World Series.  I guess the figure the bigger the event, the longer the pregame.  Or is it the other way around.  A sweep would only produce a 160 minute pregame show so it is not as important than a Super Bowl.  But a 7 game series, at 280 minutes would be a bigger sports event than the Super Bowl.  Personally, I don’t understand the pre-game show concept.  They must be for the occasional fan (an oxymoron) who hasn’t followed the playoffs up to now.  It shouldn’t take but 2 minutes to mention important injuries and line-up changes.  Another 2 minutes to mention what pitches the starters throw best- done!  What can you do for 40 minutes except play lots of commercials or burden us with meaningless banter (as if the 3-4 hour game itself didn’t included enough of that and mispronounciations, factual errors and bad stategical types to drive the average person with a brain insane).  I want the game… so I will be back about the time that Yaz throws out the first pitch. 

Yes, I grew up watching Yaz- one of the forgotten greats outside of Boston.  He is the last man to win the Triple Crown, and his September Surge put the Impossible Dream team into the World Series against the Cards.  It’s worth checking out the video, Impossible to Forget, though I was too young to remember.

My first World Series memories were the unforgettable ’75 Series against the Big Red Machine.  So many magical, and scary moments like Fisk’s homerun and Fred Lynn crashing into the wall (recaptured in The Boys of October).  Had our other remarkable rookie that year, Jim Rice, not been hit by a pitch and missed the playoffs there may have been a very different ending.  We have our own dynamic duo of rookies with Pedroia and Ellsbury (who does a good imitation of Fred Lynn) to match the Gold Dust Twins.  Okay…. I’m really done for now.

8:46  Got in late from Men’s Study and missed the ceremonial first pitch, and the top of the first with Beckett striking out the side.  So what I saw first was Pedroia hitting a homerun to open the scoring.  Echos of Damon leading off Game 1 of 2004 with a homerun.


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Ironic that I again listened to Mark Driscoll from the Refocus Conference yesterday afternoon.  He talked about convictions we hold in an open hand (non-essentials) and those we hold in the closed hand (those necessary for either the existence or well-being of the church), those we die for.

We can’t die on every hill in theological and ecclesiological debate.  We have to focus on what is important, defending it.  But other issues of lesser importance we can allow differences of opinion.  Among those things he said are worth die for are: inerrancy of Scripture, deity of Jesus, penal substitionary atonement and … male headship/leadiership or complementarianism.  I agree with him, and didn’t think I’d have to die on that hill so soon.  But I did.

A church in our Presbytery wanted to call a man who used to be in the PC(USA) who held the following view concerning this issue:

“I believe that there are strong Scriptural arguments on both sides of this issue… I have not found the responses that each side uses to resolve this issue for them to be fully satisfying to me.  I am, without reservation, committed to the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture.  It is precisely because of my commitment to the authority of Scripture that I have not been able to come to a dogmatic conclusion about this issue for myself yet.  At this point, to me, Scripture is not altogether clear on this issue and I am not able to simply dismiss what I see as strong Scriptural arguments on each side.  I am, therefore, comfortable in working within the framework of individual denominations or churches and following their practice.”

Some of us believed that this is a significant issue, and that the Scripture is clear.  Our denomination recently approved a position statement on this issue which affirms our convictions.  It is, confessionally, complementarian.

Today our Presbytery decided to “revisit” our previous decision to not sustain his ordination exam.  Suddenly life became like a Kafka novel- an exercise in absurdity.  Our Presbytery decided that merely “supporting” not believing and affirming this position is “good enough.”  I am saddened.  I fought, lost and died on that hill along with a third of our Presbytery.

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Richard Lovelace’s discussion of destructive and protective enculturation in Dynamics of Spiritual Lifegot me to thinking about worship and nominal Christianity.  He mentions the Puritan Regulative Principle of worship as a type of protective enculturation.  It can be, if used improperly (thinking only the worship of a particular time is pure & acceptable).  And Luther’s view of worship can easily lead to destructive enculturation (worshipping like false religions).

The Regulative Principle states that Scripture regulates our worship.  How one interprets that makes all the difference in the world.  Scripture does address the elements of worship- and these are what should be regulated.  We find lots of singing, prayer, offerings, confession, sacraments and preaching as part of worship.  We then remove the cultural baggage, disenculturation, of previous cultures so we can exercise these elements of worship in our particular culture.  We cannot put a protective cocoon around them that says only Psalms, or hymns written in a certain time frame, or only certain kinds of prayers and songs may be said and sung.

Our worship should be both like and unlike our culture.  It should fit in regarding style, who we dress & speak, how affection is shown etc.  It should be unlike our culture in that it conveys the gospel clearly and consistently, and removes any cultural aspects that are contrary to the gospel.  Christian worship will look different as you cross cultures- even within the same city.  But it should have the unifying aspects of leading us to faith in the triune God, particularly depending on the person and work of Jesus for our salvation, and dependence on the Holy Spirit.  It should emphasize God’s holiness & love, our sin and humility, reverence and joy in the reality of justification & sanctification etc. (John Frame’s Worship in Spirit and Truthis a great book to work through some of these issues in interpreting the Regulative Principle)


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… in an earthly sense.  The Boston Red Sox once again came from behind to advance in the MLB playoffs.  I know the real reason why… my father left for Italy on the 16th.  We decided in 2004 that my father was the real source of the curse, and prohibited him from cheering for the Sox.

What changed is that Pedroia and Youk started to hit.  That pretty much turned the series around.  One of these days I’ll do a running game blog like the Sports Guy.  Yesterday I had a tension headache even before the game began.  By the end I was a mess, despite the painkillers.  But my daughter picked out her PJs before the game- without prompted it was Red Sox.

I quickly grew weary of B-M going on about how the pitchers were on a short leash, and you through out the usual rules in a Game 7.  Every time the Indians did anything positive offensively, they mentioned that Beckett was ready (like the Sox don’t have anyone else who can pitch).  Please… can Fox find less annoying announcers?  I’m almost ready to listen to Joe Morgan spout his ridiculous space-filling nonesense. 

The hinge point of the game was the 7th inning.  The Indians were scraping back.  Westbrook had settled in even though he gave up 3 runs in the first 3 innings (saved by lots of double play balls).  Guess he had a longer leash than B-M expected.  Dice-K started leaving breaking balls up in the 4th so Okajima was in for the 6th & 7th.  He ran into trouble in the 7th.  I cringed when Lugo missed the pop fly and Lofton ended up on 2nd base.  “Oh, no- here we go again.”  But the key was the shot down the line past Lowell that Joel Skinner had Lofton hold up on.  Manny wasn’t near the ball, and Lofton could have easy scored to tie the game.  BTW: it is just hilarious to hear the women at Spring Training going goo-goo for Joel.  But Okajima gets out of the inning without the Indians scoring. 

That was when the Indians fell apart.  They were loose and playing well up until then.  Suddenly they commit an error putting Ellsbury on base.  Lugo moves him into scoring position.  I just wanted an insurance run- but Pedroia rocked them with a 2-run shot over the Monster.  That seems like a common thing- a team failing to draw even or take the lead, squandering a great opportunity, only to have the other team come up and add on runs.

I can’t remember them trying to pitch Okajima 3 innings before.  Just because he’s well-rested doesn’t mean he can pitch more than usual.  It was time for Papelbon to come in and try for his first 6-out save, and 1st postseason save in the same shot.  He just blew the ball by them.  But by then the Indians were starting to look like the life was sucked out of them. 

I was exhausted, very happy and needing something for my head and neck.  I’m getting too old for this.  Like Beckett, I have time to get ready for Wednesday.

On to face the surprise team of this year’s playoffs- the Rockies. 

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Some Love for Drew

He’s been getting booed for much of the season.  It hasn’t quite worked out like he hoped it would.  I can understand why- new league, son’s health issues….

One swing wiped all that away for the Fenway faithful: 4-0 Sox after a grand slam to deep centerfield in the first to give Schilling a comfortable lead.

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My post on Lovelace’s Dynamics of Spiritual Life concerning Continuous Renewal, there is a chart that includes the secondary elements of renewal: mission, prayer, community, disenculturation, and theological integration.  The 5th chapter concerning these elements is quite long (between sermon prep and the Red Sox games, it took awhile), but quite helpful.  He mentions how these are interactive elements: mission depends on prayer; prayer and mission take place in community; disenculturation greatly affects our prayers and mission, as does our theological integration or lack thereof.

I found his section on disenculturation quite helpful as he traces this concept biblically and through church history.  I am currently reading Leviticus, and his discussion is helpful in placing it in redemptive history.  He calls it a protective enculturation.

“Since the full benefits of union with Christ were not available under the Old Covenant, it was necessary for God to build around Israel a wall of protective enculturation formed by welding together the Jewish culture with its religious core. …

“This cultus served as a tutor to bring them into readiness for the coming Messiah (Gal. 3:24).  It was protective, but it was also restrictive of the flesh.  This restriction aroused sin and made it visible, producing guilt which drove the believer to the sacrificial system which pointed toward the coming Lamb of God.”

Things like the section on clean & unclean food in Leviticus (which I read yesterday) was preparative as well.  “The objects among which they discriminated were morally indifferent from a New Testament perspective, but the constant acts of choice they had to make between clean and unclean items was a kind of game preparation for the serious business of discriminating between the holy and unholy which is part of a walk in the Holy Spirit.”


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I heard some statistics this week.  Shocking when you hear the rhetoric coming from certain circles about how the “rich have to pay their fair share.”

The top 1% of wage earners pays 39.5% of the taxes received.  Each one of them pays taxes for 40 people.  Hmmmm, that’s not fair.  They pay more than their fair share, in my opinion.

The top 5% of wage earners (those making over $175k) pay 59.5% of the taxes.

The bottom 50% of wage earners pay only 3% of the taxes.  Is that fair?

Just heard about this book, and put it one my wish list.  It’s The Forgotten Man: a New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shlaes.  She documents the shift that took place in government and politics (big government => higher taxes; appealing to special interest groups at the expense of the regular guy) during that time.

I remember how FDR was credited with leading us out of the Great Depression when I was in high school.  In college I learned that he spent our way out, setting us up for many of the problems we find now in government, the multiplication of programs and more.  His actions probably prolonged the Depression as well.  Sometimes I wondered how he got re-elected so many times.  Even though the economy stunk far worse than in 1992, and he helped it stay that way, he did what Bush 41 couldn’t, get re-elected.

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