October 16, 2018

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: October 13, 2018

Translucent (2014)

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: October 13, 2018

Today’s Brunch is sprinkled with Peanuts. Just thought you ought to know.

 

Nostalgic autumn photos from Vermont in the 1970s (by yours truly)…

Best quote I read this week…

Doubt is only a problem if certainty is the expectation.

• Austin Fischer

Recommended viewing…

If you haven’t had a chance yet to see Ken Burns’s film, The Mayo Clinic: Faith-Hope-Science, I recommend that you make some time to do so soon.

As one who works in healthcare, and who has faith-based, idealistic, communitarian, and public service reasons for doing so, I found this documentary instructive and refreshing when one considers the complex, profit-oriented, inefficient, and ineffective system of healthcare in the U.S. today. The Mayo Clinic has a history, from its founding, of being just the opposite of that — patient-centered, collaborative, and uncompromisingly, even sacrificially, devoted to the common good. This ethic grows out of its Franciscan roots and its midwestern (Minnesotan) neighborly traditional common sense ethics. In watching this inspirational film, I learned a great deal that I didn’t know before about how faith and religious values have played such a strong role in the Mayo way from the beginning.

Kudos to Ken Burns for bringing this to our attention. In my opinion, this is a must-see documentary.

Images of unimaginable destruction…

With events like this, it might be a good time to review our piece, Surd Evil, Serpents, and the Cosmic Battle, which includes this quote from OT scholar Bruce Waltke:

The precreated state of the earth with darkness and chaos suggests that everything hostile to life is not a result of sin. This is Job’s discovery (Job 38-41). Job is mystified by his whole experience of suffering. God’s response is to make clear that everything negative in creation from the human perspective is not a result of human sin. The chaotic forces — sea, darkness, and the like — are a mystery to human beings. Although these forces seem, for the moment, hostile to life, human beings can still trust the benevolence of the Creator because the malevolent forces of creation operate only within his constraints.

Numbers or Narrative? The evolution of pitching in baseball:

Clayton Kershaw

As we move into the championship series of Major League Baseball, it is clear to me that, in many ways, it is a much different game than the one I played in my youth — especially when it comes to pitching. An article at The Ringer explores this thoroughly, explaining how various forms of “bullpenning” are fast becoming the approach teams are  using with their pitching staffs. This is in contrast to one of the long dominant narratives of the game: the prominence of the starting pitcher.

These days, the game is increasingly run by those who follow a science of baseball statistical analysis called sabermetrics. When applied to pitching, statistics show that batters trend better against a pitcher the longer he is in the game, with a significant improvement in the batter’s success the third time he faces a pitcher. Therefore, as I saw time and time again throughout the season, most starting pitchers are now taken out in the 5th or 6th inning, no matter how they are doing, so that batters will not face them that third time around. The rest of the game is pitched by various specialist relief pitchers from the bullpen. Some teams have gone as far as to use different pitchers every one or two innings, ditching the idea of a “starter” altogether.

There are exceptional pitchers, of course, who occasionally pitch longer and may even throw a complete 9-inning game (a rare feat these days). But the new approach is now winning the day. As a former starting pitcher and as one who has attributed heroic status to the great starting pitchers with the courage, creativity, grit, and endurance to find ways of overcoming the batters they’ve faced inning after inning, I find this new trend hard to swallow.

In the article by Ben Lindbergh, he points out that this is the biggest conundrum this new approach raises. It sets up a battle between numbers that make sense and one of the traditional narratives that has made baseball such a compelling game.

Sandy Koufax

However inefficient the stats said it was, a head-to-head battle between aces who went deep into games was—and occasionally still is—a source of excitement that transcends the competition between teams. It’s the closest baseball comes to a heavyweight title bout. We still get marquee matchups, but they don’t define the game as often; in the playoffs, even a Justin Verlander–Corey Kluber confrontation like last Friday’s is liable to be limited to not much more than 10 innings combined. We’re less likely to see a signature start that lives on as legend, and more likely to see a solid six innings followed by a couple clean outings from generic right-handed relievers who don’t amass enough innings a year to have high profiles and whose names we’ll forget in a few years.

…[B]aseball is, for most spectators, a TV show. And although it’s not scripted, it does depend on a cast of compelling, recurring characters with whom we have histories. “Something we learned from Wings, that we employed when we were creating Frasier, is keep your cast small,” Cheers writer and Wings and Frasier cocreator Peter Casey once told me. “Don’t have a big cast, because in real life, they’re all actors, they all want their lines. And if you have 11 characters in a show that’s only 22 minutes long, everybody’s gotta get fed.” A big cast, Casey said, can become unwieldy. One might say the same about a big bullpen.

Call me old-fashioned, but I’ll take narrative over numbers any day.

Where searching for extraterrestrial life is going next:

From Space.com:

A few decades ago, finding life beyond Earth was an idle dream — but today, astrobiology is a thriving field, fed by incredible discoveries across different realms of science and the possibility of still more to come.

And to shape where astrobiology goes next, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine gathered a panel of expert scientists to reflect on what has happened in the field since 2015 and what consensus suggests should be priorities going forward. The result is a paper published today (Oct. 10) highlighting a suite of recommendations for NASA.

Among the recommendations:

  • Investing in technological advances in more powerful telescopes and starlight-blocking instruments.
  • A continuing emphasis on interdisciplinary cooperation that promotes system-level thinking “looking at habitability as a spectrum, rather than as a simple yes-or-no question.”
  • Thinking more creatively about where to look for life in our own solar system. In particular, exploring the possibilities of subsurface life.
  • “The report also emphasizes a key challenge to identifying life: accurately finding and interpreting what scientists call biosignatures, the chemical changes characteristic of life. “
  • Reintroducing the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI, into mainstream research and reviving funding for it.

Most of all, the report emphasizes the tantalizing promise of astrobiology itself and its potential impact on our lives and worldviews. “Taking a look at what we find out from these other planetary systems can shine a light back on Earth,” Sherwood Lollar said. “It really is a comparative approach where by taking a look at all of these complex systems, we can learn more about each and every one of them.”

The emotional support squirrel:

Amy Held at NPR reports:

Jokes aside about flying squirrels, nuts served on planes and bushy-tailed passengers, squirrels and planes do not actually mix. At least not on Tuesday at Orlando International Airport, where an unidentified passenger hadn’t gotten the memo.

She boarded her Cleveland-bound Frontier Airlines flight toting a cage containing the furry occupant. She did her due diligence by noting on her reservation that she would be bringing an emotional support animal, Frontier said in a statement. She even had the animal cleared by TSA’s X-ray machine. She just failed to notify the airline that her companion was a squirrel.

Once onboard, the woman was told that squirrels are rodents — and rodents are not welcome. (So don’t get any ideas, proud hamster, rat and mouse owners).

The woman refused to get off the flight, Frontier said, and Orlando police stepped in.

“Everyone was deplaned so police could deal with the passenger,” Frontier said.

An Orlando Police Department spokesman said the woman got off the plane once officers arrived, so no further action was taken.

Questions of the Week:

Can we please find a way to restore humble service like this as the true mark of evangelicalism?

“Oh my gosh, did you see this one?”

Can this technology help people take hurricane warnings more seriously?

What led the Washington state Supreme Court to declare the death penalty unconstitutional?

Why has a small but growing proportion of the youngest children in the U.S. not been vaccinated against any disease?

Where have all the lighthouse keepers gone?

What does autumn look like in the UK? — Here are some samples:

Mark Knopfler performs the title song from my favorite autumn album…

Comments

  1. Heather Angus says:

    Thank you for the views of autumn colors, Chaplain Mike. Of course, here in southern Ohio, things are still green and very damp.

    Also, humble and selfless service like those of many Christians during Hurricane Michael *is* the mark of true evangelism. It just doesn’t make the news.

    Loved the obit, and pictures of the lighthouse. But sad about the lighthouse keeper losing his home to automation. (Wonder if that’s the route baseball pitching will take? It seems to be starting in that direction.)

    Anti-vaxxers? My guess is parents (a) are afraid of autism — yes, I know that’s discredited nonsense but if you thought your child faced a one in a million chance of permanent brain damage from an injection, would you take that chance? And (b), young parents (thanks to modern medicine) haven’t ever seen cases of measles or mumps or chicken pox. It’s simpler to skip taking precautions against something you’ve never seen. Sort of like offering someone anti-werewolf insurance.

    And — I adore the emotional-support squirrel. (To be fair to the lady, it sounds as if she *needs* emotional support.)

    Thank you again.

  2. First?

    A few comments:

    1) Beautiful autumn photos from Vermont in the 1970s.

    2) Regarding baseball and the current pitching trend: me-thinks sometimes managers are too clever for their own good. Seen many a starter pulled during a dominant performance, only to watch the bullpen blow it.

    3) Mark Knopfler! Yes!

  3. craig volker says:

    Looks like “humble service” works for the Billy Graham Center and is hawking his book.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Perhaps why he uses “Evangelical” in the title and first paragraph, and then switches – without comment – to using the unqualified term “Christian” for the rest of the article. Pretty slick.

      • Christiane says:

        I realize the connections that are ’embarassing’ need to be ‘hidden’ or played-down. When you think about it, they MUST do something because, right now:

        the word ‘evangelical’ is taken for ‘conservative Christian’ which is more likely than not seen as ‘far-right Christian’ which is synonymous with ‘Republican’ which now is known as ‘Trumpism’ and is connected to misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia . . . . and since Charlottesville, also connected to white supremacists, to racism, and now to the child-abuse of the children of undocumented immigrants at the border . . . .

        I get it that the word ‘evangelical’ is tainted. But was it set in motion the moment that evangelicals willingly embraced ‘conservative values’ as defined by politicians for the sake of political gain?

        Trumpism is not ‘evangelical’; and these days, I doubt it is classic Republicanism; and it most certainly is not nor ever was ‘conservative’ . . . . . but does it matter now that the words have been co-opted for ill purposes?

  4. senecagriggs says:

    MARK KNOPFLER has written some great lyrics.

    On the album, Best of Dire Straits, there are two songs that appear to reflect the weariness of someone who does private investigations and finds only betrayal and lies.

    He also authored PRIVATE DANCER made famous by Tina Turner. It too is a very sad song. I don’t know what makes Knopfler “tick” but he has written several great songs with moral themes of some depth.

  5. senecagriggs says:

    Fleetwood Mac’s longtime lead guitarist Lindsey Buckingham is suing his former bandmates after being kicked off of the group’s new tour.

    In January, Buckingham was told by his manager that the rest of the band would be touring without him, and he says none of his bandmates would return his calls to explain why.

    NOOOOOooooo

  6. The fall colors in the UK are beautiful.

  7. Richard Hershberger says:

    Baseball: I occasionally blog at Ordinary Times. I have a piece up on the state of baseball, arguing that what we see is nothing new, but part of a century-long trend. https://ordinary-times.com/2018/10/11/what-is-going-on-with-baseball/

    In baseball book news, it turns out that reviewing page proofs is my least-favorite part of the process.

    • The article makes that argument too, Richard. One of the facts I found interesting in the article is that Ted Williams did not have any significant statistical difference throughout the course of a game. That is, his average the third time through the lineup was not much different than his first time through.

  8. As Calvin and Hobbes put it, “I think the surest sign of intelligent life in the universe is that none of it has ever tried to contact us.”

    • Ronald Avra says:

      On rare occasions, I will spend a chunk of money on something that I want but is actually superfuous. The last time I did this, I acquired the ‘Complete Calvin and Hobbes’.

  9. Richard Hershberger says:

    From the selfless service piece:

    “Jesus’ model is why evangelical Christians all over the U.S. are planning to bring comfort to hurricane victims.”

    Stetzer is patting himself on the back for stuff that he thinks is probably going to happen. The thing is, he is probably right. It will happen. But a few questions arise: Will Evangelicals going to be disproportionately represented among Christians in general? Are Christians in general going to be disproportionately represented among the general outpouring of aid?

    Then there is this:

    ” They’re preparing to help people of all different backgrounds because that is what Jesus commands and modeled.”

    The Florida panhandle is chock full of white Evangelical Protestants. Other white Evangelical Protestants don’t get credit for helping people with different backgrounds from this. Yes, there will be African-Americans and Hispanics helped as well, but this raises the question: what about Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria? In a decent society, this would have been Trump’s Katrina. It isn’t because you know, they aren’t really Americans there, what with speaking Spanish and all…

    • Christiane says:

      in the heart of the ‘gospel’ so many ‘white evangelicals’ preach, there are stories of marginalized people doing humane things to help someone in trouble, without thought of ‘credit’ or self-reward

      this contrasts with Trumpism

      I’m not getting the ‘wedding’ of the two seemingly very different forces . . . . I get it that Trump panders to what is called ‘his base’, but how can so much of that base be those who claim ‘the gospel’ as truth?

      what are the dynamics of this strange relationship between Trumpism and ‘the Christian far right’?
      I’m at a loss to understand this because Trumpism seems to reject so very much of what is at the heart of ‘the gospel’ of Jesus Christ . . . if I try to fathom this phenomenon, my head explodes . . . what forces are at work here?

      • I’m treading on dangerous ground here but I think several factors are at play…

        1) a misguided idea of Christian nationalism. That America is a/the “chosen nation of God” and that God expects us to be overtly “Christian” as a consequence. Any concessions to the rights and dignity of non-christians, especially if those concessions are seen as “condoning sin”, would put that special relationship with God in jeopardy.

        2) a media/ideological bubble. Evangelicals tend to stay withing their perceived “safe zones” of media and perceptions. Christian radio and TV, books from Lifeway, Fox News, etc etc. Even if someone has a fairly moderate pastor, that’s but a half hour’s sermon a week overagainst hours daily of the Bubble’s propaganda.

        3) angst. America is in trouble – structurally, financially, culturally, and (if you’re an ethnocentric Caucasian) demographically. People want answers, and quick, easy solutions. One party offered that quick and easy path.

        4) Americanism. Evangelicals have had a cultural concession for ages. We’ve come to believe that capitalism, meritocracy and righteous crusades of both the military and cultural types are the Gospel way. Weve had things out way for so long that any deviation from that is seen not as a reappraisal of our beliefs from a Biblical perspective, but outright heresy.

        5) poor hermeneutics. By and large, when evangelicals actually read the Bible, they read it in snippets and assume each individual snippet is Transcendent Propositional Truth with no context or interpretation necessary. That makes it very easy to build a case “biblically” for believing just about whatever you want to believe.

        I’ll stop there. This will probably stir the pot up enough already.

    • Steve Newell says:

      What is sad about many “evangelical” Christians is that they are motivated by some great disaster to act but are blind to the suffering that is in their own communities.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > but are blind to the suffering that is in their own communities

        Yep.

        To be fair this problem besets lots of people who choose to be concerned about a problem which exists at a safe distance: hunger in Africa, threatened species, storm victims, etc… All worthy causes for concern – – – but the very consistent lack of any equivalent concern to the problems of one’s own state, city, or neighborhood. Why is that?

        • Relieving suffering in your own community may involve acknowledging your own role in causing the problem, and may require you to undertake difficult long-term personal change. It can be an ongoing arduous and personal process. It’s easier to just blame your neighbor for their own problems, and leave it at that.

        • And then there’s the fact that you can see your neighbor’s warts up close, and the part they seem to play in their own problems, whereas when a crisis hits in another region or country these things may not be evident to you.

      • Steve, not sure this is always true, especially in the cities. Activism has always been one of the marks of evangelicalism, and, despite what John MacArthur says, evangelicals have always been engaged in social activism. Abolition, women’s rights, mission work that cares for homeless, alcoholics, and drug abuse victims, children’s ministries that care for the poor and uneducated (Sunday School started this way), health care (see the Mayo Clinic article — though that specifies Catholic social consciousness), and so on, including disaster relief. One of my friends retired from congregational ministry to start and lead a ministry seeking to help women and children who have been trafficked sexually.

        I am often and consistently critical of evangelicals on this site. Sometimes for an over-emphasis on activism to the detriment of a solid foundation of theology, doxology, and spiritual formation. But, in my opinion, evangelical groups on the whole need to be recognized for the genuine good works they do.

        Stetzer, as an evangelical leader, wants to point this out because the “evangelical” brand name has become so sullied in this poisonous partisan political atmosphere. I know to some it seems like special pleading, but he has a true point.

        • Aren’t a lot of the evangelical churches that currently do good work in the cities Black rather than White? If so, I think that makes a big difference for this discussion, since the Black churches (which are largely evangelical) have a very different subculture, politics and ethic than the White ones.

  10. Christiane says:

    “The chaotic forces — sea, darkness, and the like — are a mystery to human beings. Although these forces seem, for the moment, hostile to life, human beings can still trust the benevolence of the Creator because the malevolent forces of creation operate only within his constraints.” (Bruce Waltke)

    “The sea gave up the dead that were in it ” (Rev. 20:13)

    I came to feel some peace about my husband’s choice of someday being buried at sea as is his right according to the Navy when I read the words of Rev. 20:13 . . . . . . what had been to me a ‘mystery’ became a matter of ‘trust’ and the resulting peace, a matter of confirmation that took away the sense that I would someday be abandoning my husband’s remains to the ocean instead of committing them into the Creator’s care.

    strange, the impact of a single phrase from sacred Scripture on a person who is deeply troubled . . . but that is also a sign of how the Scriptures are ‘sacramentals’ in their ability to touch and heal and calm the storms within us

  11. I was comparing your beautiful fall pictures of 1970s Vermont with some pictures my co-worker was showing me this week. He had just bought the latest generation super-duper cell phone and took pictures of trees outside our place of work. The cell phone picture actually looked better than the real thing. The new camera/cell phone technology is quickly creating an alternative sense of reality and beauty. The impacts are concerning to me.

  12. quiet rain
    pelts the fallen leaves
    like gentle dreams

  13. As I watched the Atlanta Braves fall to the Dodgers in a near sweep during the NLDS there was a lot of talk about “the shift.” It is now common that six or eight times during a single game infield and outfield players will shift position based a batter’s pattern of where the ball is hit. It used to be that teams would shift once or twice per game, usually in anticipation of ending an inning or to facilitate a double play. It’s now routine to have specific defensive strategies tailored individually to different batters. The commentators I was listening to on Fox Sports couldn’t believe that batters let them get away with that without trying to pull a hit to beat the shift.

    Another trend is the number of players swinging for the fence, if not the parking lot. Advancing the runners and adding RBI’s has given way to homeruns. Look at how many HR’s account for runs scored in a typical game compared to 20 years ago and further back. The nature of the game has changed and those changes include pitching, fielding and hitting in ways that no one is missing.

    • Andrew Zook says:

      To me, shifting should happen all the time… would make the game more interesting and especially down the ladder where kids are playing (oh how I hated getting stationed out in the field and not moving an inch, inning after inning…) Cricket has no such problem. The captain moves players around the field at will, sometimes after every bowl (pitch) based on changing circumstances. Forces the batter to rethink things as well – keeping it interesting.

  14. As a life-long Minnesota Twins fan, one of my fondest sports memories is Jack Morris’s iconic complete-game, 10-inning shutout in game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Morris wasn’t completely dominating. He had struggled at a couple of points in earlier innings but he convinced his manager to let him stay on the mound and he essentially willed himself and his team to victory.

    In today’s era of Sabermetrics and preemptive pitching substitutions it’s hard to imagine anyone even having the opportunity to create such a heroic narrative.

    • The older I get, the more I watch sports for the human drama. Technological advances and statistical analyses have the tendency to erode this narrative and change the conversation to a back-and-forth about probabilities, odds, and trends. When it’s all about strategy based on numbers, the human players can easily become viewed as automatons who function only in specific ways. It’s plug-and-play. It’s like watching a video game.

      I hate, absolutely hate, instant replay for this very reason. To the moon, Alice! Throw out the designated hitter, let the lowly pitcher flail away or try to bunt. Kill the ump! — how much richer my life is because I saw Earl Weaver and Lou Piniella’s tantrums! Take your shifts and the statistical maps you set them up by, put players in their proper positions, and let them learn to cover ground — and let the pitcher learn to pitch to the defense.

      I’m sure if I was a coach or general manager trying to win a championship, I’d be doing everything in my power to win and make money for my team. But as a fan, I want human drama, failure, mistakes, overcoming odds, creativity in doing what it takes to beat the other team, endurance through difficulty, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

      I want good stories to tell my grandchildren.

    • Dan from Georgia says:

      jimbo! I’m a native Minnesotan and a Twins fan as well, and I fondly FONDLY remember that game too! Boy do I really miss those games where someone says “screw you” to sabermetrics and demands the ball. What a gamer Morris was that game!

  15. Andrew Zook says:

    Regarding baseball pitching – “…statistics show that batters trend better against a pitcher the longer he is in the game, with a significant improvement in the batter’s success the third time he faces a pitcher.” Cricket knew this long ago and so the “pitcher” changes every over (but he could be back the next!), but the batter stays, and if skilled, faces the same pitcher many more times than a batter vs pitcher in a baseball game. And in the process the two batsmen theoretically and generally get more and better hits (bringing a statistically larger amount of hitting and on-field action in the same amount of time than any baseball game ever could)
    It’s too bad this stats pitching is happening in baseball, because it means even less hitting or hits than before! (Not a problem cricket has btw) In my mind a bat and ball game should be about and favor hitting, and big hits if possible. Sounds like baseball is going the opposite direction. Not a great strategy for this age of lessening attention spans. As if it’s not already mostly this: getting out immediately or waiting around foreverrrrr until the batter gets the pitch he wants. I understand it’s a generational thing, but that sounds boring…and a reason I don’t watch or follow, and this will surely keep me away for good. There’s already endless pitching and more pitching and then a few moments of hitting and some fielding… unwatchable imo, live or on tv. (Even worse live, because most seats are too far from the main action, which is, the pitching) Whenever the wife and kids drag me to the local field for the minor league, I catch up on reading a good book because we’re out in the grass and you can’t see much nor is anything really happening…except a guy throwing a ball at a catcher and every now and then a hitter swings at it and sometimes connects… That’s it. Oh but the stadium tries so hard! keeping fan interest, with lots of other things not related to the game at all! Marketing gimmicks… cheers, old organ playing, raffles, kid foot races.. and more marketing gimmicks! And that’s the majority of the 3-5hrs. Almost unbearable. The de-evolution of good sport in real time.
    Granted, some forms of cricket are longer and more drawn out, and even boring to watch, but there is statistically more action than baseball, especially the T20 version. In the same amount of time, way more hits, big hits and fielding than any baseball game could ever muster and little need for marketing gimmickry because the action is in the game on the field!) Wish we hadn’t let it die like we did a century or more ago. (yes cricket was big in the USA at one time)

    Sorry for the downer on your favorite, CM, but that’s just my honest opinion.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      CRICKET. IS. NEVER. BORING.

      With that out of the way, good points.

    • Nothing is more mind-numbing than these super high scoring (American) football or basketball games. All this leaping about. The best baseball is the classic pitcher’s duel, winding up with a 1-0 or 2-1 score. Every play, every moment has significance because any single move could decide the game. Sure, a game of horseshoes might seem more fun and visually stimulating to an audience than a game of chess but only if you function on a completely superficial level.

      Baseball is chess. Football (American) is checkers.

      Curling is Zen.

  16. an unseen bird caws
    its way across rainy sky
    like a darting ghost

  17. Concerning surd evil part of the quote from Bruce Waltke says:

    Although these forces seem, for the moment, hostile to life, human beings can still trust the benevolence of the Creator because the malevolent forces of creation operate only within his constraints.

    Paradoxically, for many it is exactly this idea that makes them doubt not only the benevolence of the Creator but that he exists at all! They would rather have no god at all than one who allows such malevolent forces to operate within his constraints, which after all must reflect his will, rather than extinguishing them completely. And if you go on to say that they are not God’s will, that they are outside his power, then how can you assert that they exist within his constraints; maybe he cannot restrain them, now or ever, in which case he is not God at all.

    • Your comment reflects why certainty is not an option for those who want to speak about God. It is presumption to think we can grasp the ways of God.

      • Then the Calvinists and Augustinian Catholics got something right? If we cannot grasp God’s ways, neither can we judge his morality on the basis of what we experience or see.

        • Which means that we cannot be sure our best moral deliberations and actions are aligned with God’ will, and we cannot be sure that the other guy’s moral deliberations and actions are not aligned with God will, even though we consider them utterly wrong.

          That leaves a lot of area of darkness and ignorance. Is it any wonder that many would just as soon not talk about God at all, or undertake belief in him? This calls for extraordinary humility in the face of the truth claims of others, humility that not even many saints have evidenced. You’re more likely to find this kind of humility among the holy and wise, the saints, of non-Western religions than among Christians.

  18. I sometimes wonder why the Saturday off-site links are included. What’s the connective tissue there? So I was drawn immediately to “Where have all the lighthouse keepers gone?” And I found so many touch points in today’s brunch: human response to chaos and surd evil; evolution of technology that changes or minimizes human interaction, much like camera tech; heck, I can even tie in Mark Knopfler – albeit his Shangri-La album – with “The Trawlerman’s Song.” I’m out of luck connecting it to baseball though. Well played.

  19. Dana Ames says:

    Beautiful photos. We get a little color here in California, but not like parts East.

    I second Chaplain Mike on “The Mayo Clinic.” I watched it when it was broadcast. Made me fervently long for that kind of attitude and service to permeate all aspects of our health care system. Regulation can’t engender such an attitude of service that was present not only in the Mayo family, but also (as one would expect, but something I didn’t know about the clinic’s history) in the nuns who first staffed the hospital. The “factual” part, if you will, that overwhelmed me was the way the finances were handled, in the strictest honesty and openness; that the clinic could afford to treat people who couldn’t pay because of the generosity of those who could pay, and of donors; and that, instead of maximizing profit and living a grandiose lifestyle, the Mayos lived modestly and put all the money into the foundation, so that the clinic would not have to turn anyone away. In the realm of finances, it was all Gift.

    What a contrast to the cutthroat atmosphere of medical administration/insurers today; most doctors and nurses in my experience do what they do out of a desire to serve people, but the middleman makes it impossible both for the doctors and for the patients. May Ken Burns’ film serve as inspiration for profound change in our system; if it were in my power, I’d make every US Senator and Representative watch it. We could have this kind of health care for everyone, if we had the political will; but more importantly, we could have it if each one of us would see the taxes we would contribute through the lens of generosity, and lay aside our fear of scarcity.

    Sorry, baseball fans, but I really only start to pay attention when we finally know who’s going to the Series…

    Dana

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