What you need to know about MLB Opening Day

President William Howard Taft threw out the first ever ceremonial first pitch on baseball’s Opening Day, April 14, 1910. On the spiritual side of the house, the 27th President identified as Unitarian:

“I am a Unitarian. I believe in God. I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe. I am not, however, a scoffer at religion but on the contrary recognize, in the fullest manner, the elevating influence that it has had and always will have in the history of mankind.”

God in the White House, PBS

Sticks and Balls and Natural Spirituality

Dr. Lisa Miller believes that every parent can enhance their child’s natural spirituality. And one great way to do that is through sports: “Sports teams tap into kids’ hardwired spiritual values: for selfless commitment, collective practice, ritual, play, and higher purpose.”

A prime example in Miller’s research is the parallel of Baseball and Divinity: “Basically all sports that involve balls and sticks are far more similar than different: baseball, cricket, polo, croquet, even lacrosse and hurling; we just bend and swing in different forms. Essentially, around the world we all are balanced and built with the same legs and arms, and nature has it that sticks and balls move the same way. So, too, with natural spirituality and the core transcendent faculty: the way in which we connect in the transcendent relationship really does not differ much; it is foundationally essential to how we all are built.”

Baseball and ministerial ethics

MLB player Ben Zobrist is suing his former pastor for various ethics violations. So here are just two things, ministerial ethics could have stopped before any of this happened:

According to deadspin, “in 2016/17, Ben Zobrist entered into counseling with Yawn to discuss his anxiety and depression.” What’s wrong with that? Pastors are not mental health professionals! Depression requires professional counseling and or medical intervention.

Also according to deadspin, “Byron Yawn, who used to be a senior minister at the Community Bible Church in Nashville, Yawn gave some, and also got an executive position with Zobrist’s foundation, Patriot Forward.” What’s wrong with that? As a pastor you cannot do business with parishioners! The sacred trust of a pastoral relationship is in jeopardy once money obligations come with additional power structures.

The baseball player got played here. The pastor should have never done counseling or accepted a job offer.

Infield Pontiff

A sporting summary of Benedict XVI’s itinerary:

The pope’s visit will begin with an April 16 reception with President Bush at the White House, followed the next day by Mass at the new baseball stadium in Washington and separate meetings with Catholic educators and leaders of other faiths.

On April 18, the pope will address the United Nations, then meet with priests and members of religious orders the next day. On April 20, he will visit ground zero and lead the Yankee Stadium Mass before leaving the country.

Two questions remain:
1. Will they install a commemorative plaque in the Yankee stadium, too?
2. Will the new Nationals Park be completed on time?

God at the World Series

An Online Newshour about Poet Karen Zaborowski Duffy who has been a high school English teacher for 20 years. She’s been a Philadelphia Phillies fan for even longer. Although her beloved team is not in this year’s World Series, she shares a poem about being at the event years ago with her daughter, starting:

“Even God, I think, is here,
so high up in the stands…”


MLB Trinity

Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez became the second trio in the history of postseason play to hit back-to-back-to-back homers. Ortiz is the one raising his hands to thank the heavens.