Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lenten notes

Johnny Damon was not re-resigned by the NY Yankees (nor was Hideki Matsui who was the World Series MVP). Damon could easily have gotten many votes as the Yankees MVP this past season. Batting second, he ignited many rallies. He batted above 280 with 24 home runs and over 80 rbi. The Yankees chose not to try to keep him. He signed with Detroit. Damon is a skilled ballplayer, good clubhouse guy, great team player and someone who loves to play the game. He is not a distraction nor a troublemaker. One of the Steinbrenner sons who is now running the ballclub said he would have loved to keep him but baseball is a business. Damon said, I understand, no hard feelings, baseball is a businees. No, baseball is not. Don't you hate it when you hear players and owners say that. Owners are trying their hardest to ruin what is an almost perfect game. A metaphor for life. There is no loyalty to team in the professional game anymore. Free agents go to the highest bidder. Owners let players who were part of the good chemistry of a winning season go and shop for other parts to make the team go. Baseball is a great game. Wanna enjoy one? Head out to your local little league, high school or college field.

One of our country's highest profile pastors went on attack mode over the film Avatar calling it the most demonic film he has ever seen (source: Christianity Today website). He needs to relax and enjoy it for what it is. It is a film, science fiction, and not a theological work. It is the most stunningly beautiful film I have ever seen. Good story, too. I have heard people say it is anti-military, and pro-green and glorifies the innocent native like Dances with Wolves did many years ago ( I like that film, too). Now a noted Christian pastor has said it is evil. I still say it was stunning, very entertaining and worthy of best picture of the year. It is possible to read too much into movies.

Lenten Meditation: we are familiar with Pilate's question to Jesus - are you King of the Jews? To which, Jesus replied, yes, it is as you say. Pilate probably did not believe it, and with a sneer ordered the "titulus cruces" to say Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. It was common to list the crimes of the crucified on his cross. This was Jesus crime: he was King of the Jews. The early Christians, who believed Jesus was not only King of the Jews but King of us all, honored Jesus' title by using the initials INRI (Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm - Latin for Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews). INRI shows up in sculptures and paintings depicting the crucifixion. Today, you can still buy a simple cross with the initials INRI on the titulus. Some communion tables have it, as well. There is a church in Rome that claims to have a piece of the original title from Jesus' cross. It appears ancient but it has never been scientifically tested to know for sure. Since the time of Pilate many have been reluctant to believe that the titulus accurately identified who the man hanging on the cross was. Paul was not one of those people. He wrote: God made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times have reached their fulfillment - to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ ( Eph 1:9-10). He is King, indeed, just like the inscription said.