Firing a winning manager

The Brewers have their best season in years, leading the wildcard race and headed for the playoffs with just 12 games remaining. So what do they do? Fire their manager.

Yes, the team was slumping, frittering away their lead. But why fire Ned Yost, the man who brought them to their prominence? There has got to be more to the story than I know. Wisconsinites, please explain.

In the meantime, interim manager Dale Sveum–whom I like–having brought back Robin Yount as bench coach managed the team to superstar pitcher C. C. Sabathia’s first loss and the Brewers lost the lead in the wildcard race.

Sarah Palin and male leadership

A “moderate evangelical” writes in USA TODAY that few of the conservative Christians all excited about Sarah Palin as Vice President of the United States would allow her to be pastor of their church. He argues that the support of evangelicals for Palin means that they should now reject the principle male headship across the board, adopting egalitarianism in the family and allowing for women pastors in the church.

This is what happens when you have no Two Kingdoms theology and when you believe that whatever happens in the culture must be imitated in the church. All through history we have had female heads of state, including those who have ruled over intensely Christian populations (Elizabeth I, Victoria), and Christians have had no problems seeing them as lawful Romans 13 magistrates.

But how would you answer this article? Or do you think Sarah Palin will break through the last glass ceiling, turning Christians and conservatives into feminists?

Do either of the candidates know what to do about the economy?

It doesn’t sound like it. Then again, does anyone?

It’s hard to see how higher taxes on the wealthy, as Obama is calling for, will produce jobs, stabilize the housing industry, or shore up the stock market. (Is it that higher taxes will give the government more money to do things? Is that the rationale?) McCain, like Obama, is calling for new regulations for investment banks. That might prevent future problems, but it isn’t clear what that will do for the ones we have today. Both candidates support the Fannie Mae takeover but are against bailing out Lehman Brothers and the other big financial companies in trouble. Actually, both sound pretty much alike in their prescriptions, except on taxes, but taxes don’t seem to be the issue one way or the other in the current finance crisis, which was precipitated by the collapse in the home mortgage industry.

Aren’t these economic woes like a hurricane that just has to run its course, whereupon we then just have to clean up, help the survivors, and rebuild?

Cranach up close–really close

Thanks to Paul McCain for alerting us to this online resource from the Getty Museum: Cranach Magnified. It allows you to see tiny details from Cranach’s paintings, which sometimes amount to surprising extras:

Following its acquisition in 2003, conservators and curators at the J. Paul Getty Museum examined Lucas Cranach the Elder’s A Faun and His Family with a Slain Lion under magnification. They found a number of startling details, such as this tiny running figure on the road in the background (near right), that are indicative of Cranach’s highly detailed technique. Similarly, close scrutiny of related paintings—Apollo and Diana (Royal Collection), and Adam and Eve, (Courtauld Institute of Art)—led to similar discoveries, such as the reflection in the stag’s eye (far right). This comparative image tool is inspired by these findings.

The project initially focused on paintings executed between 1525 and 1530, and the sinuous, almost calligraphic brushwork, textured foliage, and surprisingly minute features characteristic of Cranach’s style in the late 1520s. Cranach Magnified has now been expanded to include works from across the artist’s career. By enabling close comparison of paintings related by date and iconography side by side, this tool is intended to help researchers better understand Cranach’s technique.

“Yahweh” as the Unspeakable Name

The Vatican has made a ruling that I fully agree with: The Tetragrammaton, YHWH, should not be uttered as “Yahweh”.

“In recent years the practice has crept in of pronouncing the God of Israel’s proper name,” the letter noted, referring to the four-consonant Hebrew “Tetragrammaton,” YHWH.  That name is commonly pronounced as “Yahweh,” though other versions include “Jaweh” and “Yehovah.” But such pronunciation violates long-standing Jewish tradition, the Vatican reminded bishops.

    “As an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, (the name) was held to be unpronounceable and hence was replaced during the reading of sacred Scripture by means of the use of an alternate name: `Adonai,’ which means `Lord,’” the Congregation said.

    That practice continued with Christianity, the letter explained, recalling the “church’s tradition, from the beginning, that the sacred Tetragrammaton was never pronounced in the Christian context nor translated into any of the languages into which the Bible was translated.”

I might point out that the practice got a big impetus from the Roman Catholic translation of the Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible, but I’m willing to let that go.

A barrier-breaking slate

The current presidential slate includes a black man and a woman. It also, let us not forget, includes someone who is disabled. John McCain’s arms are crippled, due to his injuries when we was shot down and then tortured by the North Vietnamese. (He isn’t the first disabled person to run for the office, FDR having had polio.)