Weekly Meanderings, 19 August 2017

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Tim Booth:

SEATTLE (AP) — Nearly two years ago, Amanda Hopkins’ phone rang. It was a call she dreamt of receiving, one that broke barriers and made her a part of baseball history.

Almost immediately, her competitiveness took over.

“She put a sign up on her bedroom door saying, ‘Stay out, we’re opponents,’” recalled her father, Ron Hopkins, a special assistant to the general manager for the Pittsburgh Pirates. “In other words, my bedroom is off limits to you, there is info in here. I got a kick out of it.”

The 24-year-old Hopkins is now about to complete her second year as an area scout for the Seattle Mariners. Her responsibility is the Four Corners area of the Southwest, taking her to destinations like Greeley, Colorado, and Hobbs, New Mexico, two of the more challenging places to get to from her base in the Phoenix area.

She is also the first full-time female baseball scout in more than 50 years, breaking through a barrier that required diligence on her end and willingness by the Mariners organization.

Here’s a fun one — on the eternal fruit cake:

Researchers discovered a 106-year-old, untouched fruitcake in an old explorer hut in Antarctica  — and it still looks and smells good enough to eat.

“There was a very, very slight rancid butter smell to it, but other than that, the cake looked and smelled edible!” explained Lizzie Meek of Antarctic Heritage Trust. “There is no doubt the extreme cold in Antarctica has assisted its preservation.”

The Trust is a New Zealand non-profit that cares for artifacts left behind by famous Antarctic explorers, including Captain Robert Scott.

The cake was found in a tin at Cape Adare, Antarctica’s first building, and used by Scott’s party of explorers during the Terra Nova expedition from 1910 to 1913.

The cake was made by Huntley & Palmers, a brand of fruitcake Scott used during the time. It still had its paper wrapping.

“Finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake among them was quite a surprise,” Meek said. “It’s an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favorite item on modern day trips to the ice.”

Aside from the cake, the Trust recently retrieved about 1,500 artifacts found at two huts at Cape Adare. The pieces were taken to New Zealand and conserved in a lab at Canterbury Museum.

Ted’s breakthrough:

But for years and years I struggled off and on, and to some degree mostly on over this sense of dread. I knew in my head one thing, but my heart failed to follow. So during short experiences when my heart did know something of that rest, it was exhilarating, and indeed intoxicating. But then would come the inevitable descent back into “reality,” and the ongoing struggle of all of that.

Am I home free now on this issue? No. I don’t think so. Ask me a year from now, if I’m still around and the Lord tarries. A time ago I seemed to enter into this breakthrough, but then fell back through some voice in my head which seemed to be my own mind. In carefully evaluating it, it was accusatory in nature, a sure sign that it was not from God. I descended into something which seemed all the worse.

Finally in desperation I was crying out to God. And a thought came to me: What if I simply trust God by letting God lead me. And such leading would be in a peace, a sense of what I should and should not do. As I recall I went to bed with that thought on my mind, woke up and yesterday morning wrote this post, went to work, and gradually seemed to enter into this rest. And by God’s grace I’ve remained in that place of imperfectly fully trusting in God, and not in myself. By the way, the Proverbs 3:5-6 passage quoted above came to me with a renewed emphasis a couple years or so back, as if God wanted to impress me with the importance of that passage for me. I included what follows because to so trust God even helps me physically, certainly impacting the emotions for good.

Does that mean I’m on top of the world now, and not down? No, no way. I’ve already experienced being down over an issue in the world and most importantly in the church. And I’ll be down at times over my own problems, as well. And does this mean that it’s now automatic, that I will continue on in this new way? No, absolutely not. I must continue to trust with the new challenges that come, big and small. And learn to walk in this way more and more. With others in and through Jesus.

Amazon Pick-Up:

BERKELEY, Calif (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc is rolling out U.S. pickup points where shoppers can retrieve items immediately after ordering them, shortening delivery times from hours to minutes in its latest move into brick-and-mortar retail.

The world’s largest online retailer has launched ‘Instant Pickup’ points around five college campuses, such as the University of California at Berkeley, it said on Tuesday. Amazon has plans to add the program to more sites by the end of the year.

Shoppers on Amazon’s mobile app can select from several hundred fast-selling items at each location, from snacks and drinks to phone chargers. Amazon employees in a back room then load orders into lockers within two minutes, and customers receive bar codes to access them.

Jeriann Sullivan:

A California high school cross country team took a group of shelters dog out for what could be considered the cutest dog run in history. This is such a great idea.

Students from the St. Joseph High School cross country teampicked up about 12 dogs and took them for a group run. “It was a win-win for both the cross country team and shelter dogs,” said Stacy Silva, community outreach coordinator for Santa Barbara County Animal ServicesThe Independent reported. “Tired dogs equal happy dogs.”

Coach Escobar told reporters that he came up with the idea when he was thinking of a fun way that the teens could earn their volunteer service hours that the school requires. “I just thought it would be a great idea to get the kids together with some of the dogs and go for a run,” he shared. “And that’s exactly what we did.”

Living in a shelter, even for a short time, can cause stress and anxiety on animals. Getting some fresh air and exercise while also making a new friend has unmeasurable benefits on the dogs. And it never hurts for kids to learn the importance of helping others – especially those who are helpless and have been abandoned. The best part is that this probably won’t be the last time the cross country team takes shelter dogs for a group run, according to Escobar. He’s hoping to get the full team together for another group dog run at the beginning of the season. Almost every shelter in the country will applaud this idea because they’re always looking for volunteers.

For you baseball people, this story rings true for my experience of watching this ump over the years — Angel Hernandez too often becomes the show:

Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler unloaded a series of grievances against Angel Hernandez on Tuesday, one day after the veteran umpire ejected him for arguing balls and strikes.

Speaking to reporters, Kinsler said that Hernandez, who has been a major league umpire since 1993, “needs to re-evaluate his career choice” because he’s “messing with baseball games.”

“I’m surprised at how bad an umpire he is,” Kinsler said, according to the Detroit News. “I don’t know how, for as many years he’s been in the league, that he can be that bad. He needs to re-evaluate his career choice, he really does. Bottom line.

“If I get fined for saying the truth, then so be it. He’s messing with baseball games, blatantly.”

Edith Humphrey: [HT: JS]

In the end, then, I want to plead that we not make a “disconnect” between our pastoral care and sound teaching from Scriptures and the tradition. The two are not separate compartments, or even separate phases, in our engagement of the questions, but they must come together.  As we register the desires for intimacy, ecstasy and hospitality, as we come to deeply befriend those who are urgently asking the questions, we must foster not only open hearts, but sound minds.  Love means telling the entire story of salvation, with its holy Creator and good creation, its tragic fall into sin and our disordered, dying condition, its call of Israel and giving of the Law as a pointer to God’s will, its revelation of the Incarnation of God among us, and its radical inclusion in the Holy Spirit—an inclusion that does not contradict the created order, but completes it.  Love means exposing spurious readings of Romans that present a God who works against nature and who contradicts Himself.  Love means showing the tendentious nature of the arguments by some scholars who misrepresent ancient “adelphopoeic” liturgies (medieval services that celebrated the holy partnership of monks) so that they can be used for the ungodly naturalization of same-sex erotic relations in religious communities today. Love means showing, despite the subtle argumentation of the likes of Rowan Williams, that there is a distinct difference between advisedly and rarely chosen prevention of pregnancy and expanding the definition of marriage to apply to same-sex erotic relations.  Love means reading the psychological and scientific data as carefully as we can.

Love also means finding within the Church’s repertoire different ways of encouraging those who are in the position of Gary, “Angie,” “Luke,” Mary and Wesley to see and realize their own God-given potential for intimacy, ecstasy and hospitable living within the faithful following of Christ, who himself was single. And so love is not only giving, but also receiving. Those who determine to follow, whatever the cost, are an irreplaceable gift to us, as they show a faithful watchfulness that is not asked of all of us in this particular way. Some have argued that celibacy by circumstance is not the same as a deliberately chosen calling—indeed, it is not, but in some ways it may be seen as an even deeper surrender which we must surely celebrate when we see it gracefully exhibited among us. As Wesley Hill perceptively reminded me in a recent phone conversation, Jesus speaks of some eunuchs who are born that way, others made that way by others, and still others who choose to live singly for the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:12).  For the single person who cannot find a faithful spouse, the widow or widower who is lonely after having lost a life-long collaborator, the gay or lesbian Christian determined to remain chaste in an over-sexualized age, I am more grateful than I can say!  As much as the celibate bishop, such brothers and sisters shine their light in a time of turmoil, reminding me that our final end is in the great Lover of all; they help me to see more of the grace of the Triune God than I would otherwise glimpse. “Medicines for the soul” come by way of Scriptures and the fathers, but are applied in our living with those whose challenges are other than our own.  By their witness, and in deep friendship with each other, may we all come to see more of the “many-colored” splendor of God’s deep wisdom (Eph. 3:10).

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