Nov 01, 2003
The unfinished war in Iraq is the war that keeps on killing. Not least, it keeps on killing American troops. The death toll for American soldiers is steadily mounting. Last summer the Associated Press reported that attacks on U.S. forces were occurring “almost hourly—too frequent for military press officers to keep up with,” and the situation has not improved. Our soldiers are still being killed on the average of 1.2 per day. More troops have died in the second phase of this war than during the first.
Baseball is the most maturing and deepening of all sports, with the possible exception of fishing. And it demands the most theological discipline. Unlike football, in which fans and players can dream of a perfect season, in baseball, as in life, you never win them all. No matter how much a team prepares, no matter how much it spends on salaries, no matter the size of its market, defeat is fundamental. No batter hits all the time; a “perfect game” is surpassingly rare. Longtime baseball fans and players must learn to accept loss, lots of it.
The title of Philip Roth's 2000 novel, The Human Stain, suggests something left behind unwillingly, something to regret, even something to be ashamed of. It alludes to the infamous sexual stain Bill Clinton left on Monica Lewinsky's dress. The novel, and now the film adaptation, are set during the Clinton impeachment hearings, when the media and public couldn't seem to get enough of talk about sex, deceit and desire.
Eric Till's Luther: Rebel, Liberator, Genius portrays the Reformer in warm and glowing technicolor. One cannot but side with this courageous young man who takes on an insensitive and secularized religious establishment. Heroes and villains are made easily identifiable in this film, though historical authenticity gets short shrift in the process.
I have always been fascinated by the phrase “the Lord make his face shine upon you.” God’s blessing, God’s protection, God’s peace, God’s grace—all part of that same benediction—are great goods, and if I had to choose between them and God’s shining face, I might well opt for them. But God’s shining face outdoes them all. For God’s blessing, protection, peace and grace concern things that we possess, do and suffer, while God’s shining face concerns our very being. It stands for God’s sheer delight that we exist and live before him.