Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 41

On Palin Endorsement
Recently in a New York race, Sarah Palin endorsed the third-party candidate instead of the party-backed Republican. I wonder about the following: Why hasn’t the Libertarian Party courted her? Why hasn’t she (or has she) approached the Libertarian Party? It seems their platform matches many of her ideals and the party could use a nationally-known figure to boost its image. Plus she would bring some voters with her. Now she still wouldn’t get my vote, but still, it seems the idea would be worth considering.

On a Gambling Issue
Ohio voters will face another gambling issue next week. Although the past 15 of so related issues have gone down in flames in the past, this one seems to have a chance of passing. I’m amused by the attack ads, here’s the one that I find the most interesting. The Cincinnati Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church is against the issue because of “economic, social, and moral” reasons. Interesting, especially because of the legal gambling they use as fund raising.

On Cutting into Learning Time
Unfortunately for me, since I’ve taken on a major project the past couple of weeks, my blog reading and writing time have suffered – translated into decreased learning! My apologies to the bloggers who may be wondering where I’ve been.

On the Afghanistan Fight
It seems our armed forces are in Afghanistan to take on Al-Qaeda – an enemy that has little presence in Afghanistan because they are in Pakistan. Therefore, the fight is with the Taliban, who isn’t the target, but the group who oppose the US presence. Can anyone else hear Abbott and Costello “Who’s on first?” What a mess!

On Rushing the NFL
Who doesn’t feel sorry for Rush Limbaugh as his attempt to become part of an ownership group fell short of the goal? Yes, he has the right to be an NFL owner. Yes, the NFL has the right to turn him down. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this Leonard Pitts column about the issue.

On the World Series
A friend of mine roots for multiple baseball teams. Obviously, whichever one is doing best is his favorite. Since none of his teams made the playoffs and the Indians being one of his teams, he turned into an instant Dodger fan because they have so many ex-Indians. Then they lose. So now he’s pulling for the Phillies because of ex=Indians Cliff Lee and manager Grady Little, well, unless CC is playing (then he’s torn). He’s such a Homer, a fact that he continually denies.  I’m a Reds fan and since they aren’t in the World Series, I don’t care who wins.

On the BCS
Although the Cincinnati Bearcats are trying to upset the BCS apple cart, I don’t have a good feeling about their trip to Syracuse this weekend. Nonetheless, I tip of the Angle cap to the Global Sports Fraternity for their taping of the BCS Committee Meetings. For anyone who missed the latest, watch below.

On Cincinnati Sports as of Now

The Cincinnati sports scene has been a hodge-podge of ups and downs. The past 20 years have primarily been a downer for our two main professional teams: the Bengals and the Reds. So the fact that the Reds finished strong and the Bengals are off to a good start does help. On the other hand, our memories aren’t short – so many fans are skeptics.

UC Bearcat football is currently on a roll and has captured the hearts of many in the city. Although Ohio State fans exist, Cincinnati is not a Buckeye hotbed. Although the Bearcats are currently getting high accolades, Coach Brian Kelly admits that the Buckeyes are want his team strives to be – and adds that UC is not there yet.

Fans in this area love college basketball. Sure UC and Xavier lead the way, but UK Wildcats are just down the road to they get their share of coverage – but since I hope they lose every game, I’ve already given them too much space here.

UC basketball during the Huggins era was great; then suddenly, it was gone. The team was essentially dismantled and the struggles ever since are well known. On the plus side, they seem to be turning the corner so fans are starting to get some positive vibes.

Meanwhile, a mere 3 miles away on the Xavier campus, Musketeer basketball has been unbelievably successful through various coaching changes. They are simply a hallmark of consistency and another good season is expected this year. Although hardcore UC and XU fans don’t root for the other, many fans have a have a preference, yet pull for the other in all games but one.

Bottom line – it’s all about being in the wait-and-see mode. After all, by the end of November we’ll feel totally different.

On Lutherans and Sexuality

I’m a Lutheran … actually an ELCA Lutheran. Yep, the ones whose August assembly took a dramatic step in passing a social statement regarding homosexuality, including clergy in same-gender relationships. To say that this was an easy decision would be a lie. So would if one said that every church member is comfortable with the decision.

Lutherans traditionally struggle with decisions, however, Lutherans deeply believe in faith, hope, grace, forgiveness, and love. These fundamentals are extended to everyone, everyone is welcome, and everyone has something to offer. The difficulty comes when some feel that “everyone” follows with “except” serves as a litmus test of faith and acceptance.

Lutherans want to do what is right, yet are torn when that feeling potentially conflicts within Scripture. On the other hand, wrestling with scripture, talking it over, and learning are typical characteristics of Lutherans.

The importance of education to Lutherans goes back to Martin Luther, himself a university professor. Luther believed that education serves the common good of both the church and society; therefore education is an essential tool for us to understand God’s word and place its meaning into practice.

I’m not a theologian by any means, but I do understand that the Bible is a very deep book whose intricacies can be overwhelming. Contradictory passages exist, and passages interface with both context and passages throughout the book. And to top it all off, people can interpret the same passage differently – and this is also true for theologians.

Some congregations are in the process of leaving the ELCA, and others are considering it. Many congregations, if not every, have members who have left or considered leaving. Although I sit and wonder what such action would prove, who it would appease, and how would it improve the situation, I also understand that individuals must act within their own convictions and do what they feel is right – just as the assembly delegates did.

In a meeting at our church shortly after the assembly, I heard some say that they were against the proposal, but they were staying because dealing with that struggle is part of the journey. Yet I also heard someone explain that they did not know if they could stay.

  • Addressing the assembly immediately after the vote ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson wondered what he would say to three different groups.
  • Group 1 just experienced loss, felt they didn’t belong, or felt abandoned – he would use Romans 8.
  • Group 2 always wondered if they belonged, but suddenly reached affirmation – he would use Ephesians 2:13-14, 21-22
  • Group 3 not only has groups 1 & 2 together, with not only both of the above, but also those who haven’t experienced loss or separation, yet wondered if what has occurred threatens unity – he would use Colossians 3:12-17

I end this post with these points:

  • As Lutherans we know that church isn’t a museum of saints, yet we are a collection of sinners connected through commonalities, including disagreements.
  • As Lutherans we know that living out the faith isn’t easy, yet should never think beyond ourselves.
  • As Lutherans, we know that healing and acceptance will take time – and over that time an effort of not only reflection, but also discussions and exploration with those who agree and disagree – should be part of the struggle.

Christianity isn’t easy – nor is it meant to be.

On All-Time Pauls

There have been 6 Pope Pauls and 2 John Pauls, but none of them occupied the center square on Hollywood Squares as Paul Lynde or played in the NFL as Paul Hornung. I grew up in a time with Paul Richards on the Wheaties box, which was sold at a small grocery store in my hometown owned by a longtime family friend named Paul.

One of my friends today is Paul who is funny, personable, loves to help people in need, peddled is way across America, and is the only person I know who burned, ready-cooked sausage links for a men’s breakfast group – but he didn’t play in the Beatles.

My Uncle Paul was one of those truly nice people in life – and I’ve always assumed my middle name is in his honor – as it is with 2 of my cousins. He also liked to cook, but his seasonings aren’t sold in stores as chef Paul Prudhomme’s. So to all the Pauls out there, this post is for you.

With one of the better defensive outfields, enough hitting, and reasonable pitching, baseball Pauls are good enough to be pesty to the leading teams. Although we’re still waiting on the Paul Householder’s potential, this team much better than the All-Time Randys.

By the way, for the other all-time teams, see Categories in the Sidebar, and then Sports > All-Time Teams or click here.

Ladies and gentlemen. Now taking the field, the All-Time Pauls!

1B – Paul LoDuca (AS)
2B – Paul Lehner
SS – Paul Molitor (HOF)
3B – Paul Konerko (AS)
C – Paul Cassanova (AS)
OF – Paul Waner (HOF)
OF – Paul Blair (AS)
OF – Paul O’Neill (AS)
DH – Paul Sorrento

SP – Paul Derringer (AS)
SP – Paul Dizzy Trout (AS)
SP – Paul Dean
SP – Paul Splittorff
SP – Paul Byrd (AS)
RP – Paul Quantrill (AS)
RP – Paul Assenmaucher
RP – Paul Shuey

Mgr – Paul Richards

On a Classy Start to the Week

Monday morning is a drag to some – or as fellow blogger The Beeze calls his weekly posts as Monday Moanin’. Although I’m not one who sees Monday as a downer, I recognize that others need something to jump start their week – thus the purpose of this Category of posts.

Instead of something lively or funny, this post is about talent, but unique talent – plus a shout-out to my favorite Oberlin College student who discovered it for me. Props to Stringfever and their idea for 4 playing the same cello at the same time. The song …. Bolero … hey guys … remember Bo Derek?