Drugs and sports

Major league baseball suspended 13 players, including superstar Alex Rodriguez and three All Stars, for using performance-enhancing drugs.  Sportswriter Julian Linden worries that this may be the tip of the iceberg, not only in baseball but also in other sports.

This is because none of the suspended players failed a drug test.  The cutting edge of doping has to do with masking agents and undetectible drugs.  The players were only caught because of records discovered from a lab called Biogenesis, and who knows how many similar labs are out there? [Read more…]

Mazeppa and Teddy Jack Eddy

I told you about the Tulsa mini-renaissance of my college days in the 1970s, mentioning specifically the Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting, the late night bad-movie and skit-comedy festival featuring Mazeppa Pompazoidi  (Gailard Sartain) and Teddy Jack Eddy (Gary Busey). Well, hat tip to my brother Jimmy for pointing out that you can find some of that stuff on YouTube.  He cited  this example, which has the further value of being a pitch-perfect satire of the high school football culture of those days (and probably still).  We all had coaches like “Coach Chuck.”  And you can understand why high schoolers of a particular mindset would stay up late for this.  See the video after the jump. [Read more…]

Christianity without the Atonement

The committee preparing a new hymnal for the Presbyterian Church (USA) has thrown out a popular praise song, “In Christ Alone,” not just because it refers to the “wrath” of God, as originally reported, but because of the word “satisfied.”  That is, because it says the wrath of God was satisfied in the Cross of Jesus Christ.  What was objectionable is the doctrine of the atonement.  (See Abby Stocker, writing for Christianity Today, and follow her links, which show how this bedrock teaching of the Christian faith has become controversial lately, even among many ostensible “evangelicals.”)

What is the point of Christianity without the atonement?  It becomes turned into another religion.  I suppose the attraction is that it gives us another religion of law, which people somehow prefer to a religion that says they are sinners in need of forgiveness and, yes, atonement.  Jesus becomes the example we have to emulate, though surely those who are honest will have to admit that this is an even higher standard that they fail to live up to.

At any rate, after the jump I quote Timothy George on the controversy, who, though he focuses on “wrath” rather than “satisfaction,” makes some excellent points as he puts the controversy in the context of church history.  I also appreciate his account of how hymns have been tinkered with.  See, for example, the Mormon Tabernacle choir version of “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and what the Unitarians have done to “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” [Read more…]

Be careful what you google

The anti-terrorism surveillance, we are told, involves just aggregate data and in any event wouldn’t be a bother to ordinary law-abiding citizens.  But a Long Island woman happened to be researching pressure cookers while her husband was shopping for backpacks.  Whereupon six men from an anti-terrorism task force showed up at their home and subjected them to interrogation. [Read more…]

Bringing back audio drama

Do any of you remember radio drama?  How about hearing recordings of radio dramas?  Do you listen to “talking books” on car trips?  There is something special about listening to a story-teller, to the power of sheer aural language.  Notice how the experience engages your imagination even as the images come from outside yourself.

Well, some of my former students are teaming up with veteran writer and  producer Phil Lollar, the co-creator of Adventures in Odyssey  (a Christian children’s series of radio dramas that some of you may remember), to create a similar kind of children’s drama, to be entitled “Iliad House.” [Read more…]

The religious spectrum of liberals and conservatives

E. J. Dionne is a liberal columnist who is also a  faithful Catholic.  He has written a column warning liberals about the anti-religion reflex that some of them display.  In doing so, he cites a useful study of where both liberals and conservatives fall on the religious spectrum. [Read more…]