Baseball season is winding down (for this long-suffering Tribe fan, it's basically over). I find it somewhat sad when a sports season ends. But the good news is that when one season ends, another one begins. Football season is now upon us. I love football! And with the replacement referees this season (or perhaps just part of it), the games should be even more entertaining.
Hurricane Isaac has done its damage. Now, it is a tropical depression moving north and somewhat east. The hurricane that has done an estimated billion dollars in damage and taken life as well, will now dump much needed rain on some drought stricken areas of the country. So much that happens in life is a trade off. What is a disaster for some is a benefit for others. How does one thank God for the rain from a storm that was destructive and lethal?
The one thing that I miss when summer ends is a garden fresh tomato. Tomatoes from the grocery store are tasteless. The explanation for such cardboard tomatoes involves analysis of the tomato's genome:
The reason turns out to lie deep in the genetic regulation of photosynthesis. For 70 years, tomato breeders have sought fruit that ripen evenly. For that to happen, they need to start from a state of uniform light-greenness. Older varieties of tomatoes, by contrast, are dark green over the part of the fruit nearest the stem.
I like to slice a tomato and drizzle a little olive oil on it and sprinkle on a little salt, pepper, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese. Even the cardboard variety tastes better as a result.
It appears as if the electronics store might become a thing of the past. Perhaps it will just morph into a different form. I remember some people saying a decade ago that the Internet would mark the death of shopping outside of the home. Yeah, right... another prophecy remains unfulfilled.
One of my favorite bloggers is Dennis Sanders. He has the rare gift of being able to see both sides and several sides of an issue. Today he has posted some thoughts on politics, partisanship, and Christian witness. I am not in complete agreement with everything he writes, but his words are worth serious consideration. Like Dennis, I very much believe in the ministries often referred to as social justice concerns, though I am uncomfortable with the language of social justice, as its current understanding is anchored in the bedrock of Enlightenment assumptions about the nation state, which have distorted Christian thinking. I think it is too often true that in the midst of our activism, we have forgotten the importance of simply living as a witness to the gospel. Dennis notes:
... I think a problem with Progressive Christians especially is that we have made social justice virtually the only thing in Christian living. When that happens, it comes as no surprise that the lines between witness and partisan politics become blurred. We start to see candidates less as politicians for a political party than as someone who is on a godly mission.
...at the end of the day, whether President Obama gets re-elected or Governor Romney wins, what really matters is not who gets elected as much as how we are living as followers of Christ. When we forget that, we hurt our witness to the world.
On this, I agree with Dennis; and its truth is confirmed to me every four years when too many Christians sound more like Republicans and Democrats than Christians. The other thing I like about Dennis is his willingness to critique his own mainline Protestantism instead of always going after the fundamentalists and evangelicals. It's too easy to focus our criticism on "the other side." As one who grew up in Protestant evangelicalism and now pastors in a mainline Protestant denomination, I can tell you both sides live in glass houses. Perhaps both sides should spend more time pointing their fingers back at themselves instead of always going after "the other side." Both sides would be better for it.
Speaking of politics, I will have some thoughts on political conventions after both the RNC and the DNC have been held. I want to be fair. After all, as I have said many times, when it comes to politics I'm an equal opportunity annoyer.
And... speaking of politics-- political views aside-- I find it a great thing that we have a Protestant president, a Catholic vice-president, a Mormon candidate for president, and another Catholic as a candidate for vp. This would not have been possible fifty years ago. Some things are indeed getting better.
Biologos has started a news series entitled, "Divine Action in the World." It is worth a read.
I really, really, really love the Mennonites!
Silly Season in Politics: I linked to a wonderful article yesterday entitled, "The Wrong Side Absolutely Must Not Win." It reveals the very silly, and somewhat sad nature nature of our current political discourse.
Quotes of the Week (Possibly, but Not Necessarily Said This Week):
"Man was made at the end of the week's work when God was tired."--Mark Twain
"Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year, and to have the ability afterwards to explain why it did not happen."--Winston Churchill.
"We are a nation of immigrants. We are the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who wanted a better life, the driven ones, the ones who woke up at night hearing that voice telling them that life in that place called America could be better. They came not just in pursuit of the riches of this world but for the richness of this life. Freedom."--Governor Mitt Romney (Yes, I will quote from President Obama's speech at the DNC next week, so please refrain from sending me those snarky emails. [You know who you are.] It's sad I have to say that in order to keep some partisans from having an emotional meltdown.)
"I cannot think that God would be content To view unmoved the toiling and the strain, The groaning of the ages, sick and spent, The whole creation travailing in pain. The suffering God is no vast cosmic force, That by some blind, unthinking, loveless power Keeps stars and atoms swinging in their course, And reckons naught of men in this grim hour. Nor is the suffering God a fair ideal Engendered in the questioning hearts of men, A figment of the mind to help me steel My soul to rude realities I ken. God suffers with a love that cleanses dross; A God like that, I see upon a cross."--Georgia Harkness
Interesting and Somewhat Useless Trivia: Every human being has unique finger prints. We also have a unique tongue print.
This Week in History: Philip Embury, the first Methodist preacher in America was born in Ballingraine, Ireland on September 1, 1728. He traveled to America in 1760.