Monday, May 14, 2007

The Good Old Days are Now

Life is good.

The WPCoC softball team improved to 3-0 with a 21-3 win on Friday night. Attendance Sunday surpassed the 800 mark for the fifth time in the last eight weeks. Esteban Parra was baptized into Jesus. Eight others recommitted their lives in some way to Jesus. The ministry downtown resumed on Saturday with a food and clothes give-away to the homeless. Our new youth minister, Paul Cartwright and his wife April, arrived to begin their new ministry among our teens.

Life is good.


My little sis has joined blogdom. She has some great pictures of my little niece and nephew poolside yesterday afternoon. I can't wait to finally meet those two personally one month from today!


I'm rereading one of my favorite little baseball books written by the voice of the Giants and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, Jon Miller. In his book, Confessions of a Baseball Purist, Miller tells about "what's right and wrong with baseball as seen from the best seat in the house."

In one chapter, he talks about how waxing nostalgic seems to inevitably result in looking upon preceding generations as superior while looking with extreme cynicism on the current state of things; of looking at the present as inferior.

It happens within baseball. It happens in politics. It certainly happens within churches.

That cynical belief that twenty, thirty, fifty years ago were the "good old days" and that in every way, today doesn't compare with yesterday. Time has a way of magnifying our nostalgia, resulting in a bigger-than-life memory of yesterday that might not be in tune with the reality of yesterday. Miller calls it a "blind spot" -- the cynicism that today must always be viewed as inferior to yesterday.

And when it comes to baseball, that means seeing yesterday's game as superior in every way to today's game. For example, here's a sampling of quotes Miller injects into his book:

"The great trouble with baseball today is that most of the players are in the game for the money" (Ty Cobb in 1925).

"Baseball today is not what it should be. It makes me weep to think of the men of the old days and the boys of today. It's positively a shame -- and they are getting big money for it, too" (Bill Joyce, 1916).

"The present crop of big leaguers does not think enough. He feels he has arrived. The result is less intelligent baseball and a bit of laziness" (Tris Speaker, 1926).

"There is no doubt at all in my mind that the old-time ballplayer was smarter than the modern ballplayer. Now the game is all power, lively balls, and shorter fences" ("Wahoo" Sam Crawford, who retired in 1917, offered this opinion in 1960).

Miller's point? Well, twenty, thirty, fifty years from now, folks will look back upon today and, waxing nostalgic, talk about it as "the good old days." Since the good old days are now, Miller asks, shouldn't we enjoy them?

Jesus calls us away from gazing at tomorrow because today has plenty to command our attention (see Matthew 6.25-34). Paul reminds us that yesterday and cannot command our focus (see Philippians 3.12-16).

As the words of the old proverb say: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow's a mystery. Today's a gift, that is why it is called the 'Present.'"

So have a great in the "good old days."