There Is a Sea

The following song is in our books at church. I have never heard it sung before, but I love the words.

“There is a sea which day by day
Receives the rippling rills,
And streams that spring from wells of God,
Or fall from cedared hills;
But what it thus receives it gives
With glad unsparing hand;
A stream more wide with deeper tide,
Flows on to lower land.

There is a sea which day by day
Receives a fuller tide;
But all its store it keeps, nor gives
To shore nor sea beside
Its Jordan stream, now turned to brine,
Lies heavy as molten lead;
Its dreadful name doth e’er proclaim
That sea is waste and dead.

Which shall it be for you and me,
Who God’s good gifts obtain?
Shall we accept for self alone,
Or take to give again?
For He who once was rich indeed
Laid all His glory down;
That by his grace, our ransomed race
Should share His wealth and crown.”

-Lula Klingman Zahn, 1921

The above photo is from the Atlas Tours website and is of the Sea of Galilee. Did you pick up on the comparison between it and the Dead Sea?


Double Standards

Double Standards are, by definition, unfair, which I suppose is why most people don’t like them.

I, too, dislike double standards, though I’ll admit that sometimes, my ire towards injustice is slow to awaken when I belong to the party that is benefitting from it. For example, when I was at Harding, I was never too concerned about violating curfew, because I knew that since I was a guy, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Had I been a girl, it would’ve been a different story; I would’ve been in trouble.

That was a double standard, but since I was a guy, it didn’t bother me too much.

Former NBA star Tim Hardaway’s statements this past week have made me think about a couple of double standards concerning homosexuality. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Hardaway’s comments, he said the following during a radio interview after being asked how he would deal with a gay teammate:

“First of all I wouldn’t want him on my team. Second of all, if he was on my team I would really distance myself from him because I don’t think that’s right and I don’t think he should be in the locker room when we’re in the locker room.”

When the interviewer was critical of Hardaway’s remarks, and referred to them as bigoted and homophobic, Hardaway responded:

“Well, you know, I hate gay people. I let it be known I don’t like gay people. I don’t like to be around gay people. I’m homophobic.”

The fallout following Hardaway’s words has been considerable: he was removed from All-Star Weekend activities, barred from future NBA appearances, and fired from his job as the Chief Basketball Operations Advisor of the CBA Indiana Alleycats. And he’s been publicly condemned by just about everyone.

First off, let me start of by saying that I don’t condone Hardaway’s words. While I can understand his concerns about undressing and showering around homosexuals in the locker room, he was way overboard in saying that he hates them. Even if his hatred stems from a belief that homosexuality is wrong, the Bible is pretty clear that we’re not supposed to hate anyone.

That being said, the degree of the outcry against Hardaway serves as evidence of the politically correct culture that we live in.

What I mean is this: if he had made basically the same statement, but about Christians instead of homosexuals, do you think he would face the same consequences? No way.

The truth is, there are some things in our society that are okay to publicly criticize without fear of serious repercussions, while other things like homosexuality (or Islam, or whatever is politically correct at the time) are completely taboo.

That’s a double standard, and I don’t like it.

The second double standard hits a little closer to home for me.

As a Christian, I absolutely believe that homosexuality is wrong, but the Tim Hardaway interview reminds me that sometimes we (Christians) tend to look at it from a skewed perspective.

From the way many Christians talk and act, you would think that homosexuality is some sort of unforgivable sin and that gay people are a group to whom we owe nothing. Some people who claim to follow Christ even seem to believe that His command to love our neighbors doesn’t apply to homosexuals, and live their lives in ways that could be summed up by Hardaway’s comments.

We’re understanding with people who lie, or are greedy, or even steal or commit adultery, but we treat gay people as if they are irreedemable, as if there is no hope for them.

That’s also a double standard, and I don’t like it either.

The truth is that all forms of sin—including homosexuality, but also including things like lying, gossiping and adultery—separate us from God, and make us deserving of death.

Thankfully, Christ was willing to experience death in our stead, and bridge the gulf that our sins had created between us and God. That death gives the hope of redemption to liars, gossips, thieves and adulterers. Homosexuals too.


Big News

It has been a busy weekend in NW Arkansas, one in which several significant stories have unfolded. Here are some of the big events over the last couple of days, in roughly chronological order:

1. Razorback Football

Frank Broyles is stepping down as the University of Arkansas Athletic Director. Broyles is in his 49th year, but more and more people across the state of Arkansas began to call for his resignation for the role he has played in Houston Nutt’s Football Sins, Volume 2006-2007.

Nutt has been under considerable pressure after the defections of his offensive coordinator and a couple of highly-rated recruits, but after this story, published earlier this week, highlighted some of the most egregious of Nutt’s numerous moral offenses, there was much speculation that he would actually be fired.

Sadly, it looks like Broyles remained faithful to the apple of his eye to the bitter end, and sacrificed himself so Nutt could keep his job.

Incidentally, Nutt got a raise and a contract extension.

2. Razorback Basketball

The Arkansas Razorback basketball team continues to toy with my emotions. Three days after getting blown away 84-60 at Mississippi St. and dropping to 4-7 in conference, the Hogs manhandled the SEC West-leading Ole Miss Rebels today, 83-66.

A loss today would have almost certainly eliminated any chance the Razorbacks had at an at-large NCAA tourney bid, but now, there is still a slight glimmer of hope.

3. Sweet Dreams

My wife, who requires more sleep than I can personally comprehend, got in 11+ hours last night. She was still a little tired today, so she took two naps, but she was pretty wide awake after the second one.

4. Dockery Domination

At the Farmington Church of Christ Sweetheart Banquet this evening, my wife (who was in peak form thanks to #3) and I completely dominated the Newlywed Game. We answered the same on 8 0f 9 questions, and beat the 2nd place couple, who had been married for 35+ years, by 15 points.

The photo above is of the Hogs’ shot-blocking fiend, Steven Hill, and was taken by the AP.


Exciting News

Well, it looks like it will no longer be necessary for me to work for a living.

I don’t want to give away all of the details, and I’m not even sure that I should be telling you any of this, so I’ll just give you the basics.

Apparently, I have been contacted by a member of the South African Department of Minerals & Energy, who requested that I help he and his colleagues transfer a large sum of money out of the country and into an offshore bank account.

To be honest with you, I don’t even know how they got my name or email address, but I suppose that they checked up on me and know that I am a capable and reliable individual who can help them in this matter.

It is pretty exciting; for my help, I will receive 15% of the lump sum, which will come out to roughly $2.95 million USD. I’m not sure what I will do with all this money, but I’m thinking that putting it in a Scrooge McDuck-style money bin is a safe bet.

In other news, if Dante was alive today and writing the Inferno, I think he would reserve a special level of hell for email spammers.


Remembered At Our Worst

What if the only thing you were remembered for was your worst moment?

Although Fred Merkle broke into the major leagues with the New York Giants in 1907, he was still practically (and technically) a rookie in the fall of 1908 when the Giants were locked in a tight pennant race with their arch-rivals, the Chicago Cubs.

On September 23, the Giants hosted the Cubs at the Polo Grounds in New York. The game was just like the whole season had been: a tense, hard-fought struggle between two teams of equal calibre.

With the score tied 1-1 with two outs in the 9th inning, Merkle singled, advancing Moose McCormick from first base to third. The next batter, Al Bridwell, also singled, which allowed McCormick to score and seemed to seal the crucial victory for the Giants.

Jubilant New York fans stormed through the center field exit and onto the field in celebration.

Fred Merkle, seeing the rush of oncoming fans and convinced that the game was over, headed to the dugout without touching second base.

This was noticed by Johnny Evers, the Cubs’ crafty second baseman, who alerted umpire Hank O’Day and went after the ball. Evers fought through fans, claimed the ball, and relayed it to Chicago shortstop Joe Tinker at second base.

According to baseball rules, since Merkle had not touched second base and Tinker touched the base while holding the ball, Merkle was out on a force play, and Moose McCormick’s game-winning run was nullified.

Merkle’s base-running error would cost the Giants the game, which was ruled a tie, to be replayed at the end of the season only if the two teams were tied in the standings.

Of course, they were, and when the game was replayed, Chicago won, and the 19 year-old Merkle was blamed for losing the pennant.

The Cubs went on to win the World Series that year, although they haven’t managed to win another in the 98 seasons since.

Fred Merkle would go on to have a respectable year major league career that would span 18 seasons, one which produced 1,580 hits, 290 doubles and a .273 batting average (statistics more impressive when you consider that the majority of his career was played in the dead ball era), but he would never live down the “Merkle Boner,” as his 1908 mistake came to be known. In fact, it’s really the only thing he is known for today.

Sometimes, history can be pretty unforgiving like that—a lot of people are remembered only for their worst or most inept moments.

That is one advantage of not being famous: we don’t have thousands or millions of people scrutinizing our every move and waiting to jump all over us when we mess up.

Of course, even if we aren’t famous, we can make some mistakes that have serious and far-reaching consequences.

But that is one of the most comforting aspects of Christianity; we may still make mistakes, but those are not what God remembers about us. In 2 Corinthians 5.17, the Apostle Paul says,

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

I’ve always felt sorry for Fred Merkle, and have thought that it isn’t fair that he is remembered only at his worst, for a mistake that he made as a 19 year-old kid.

But his story reminds me of this: thanks to the blood of Christ, we don’t have to be remembered for our worst moments; they can be wiped away.

The 1909-1911 T-206 Fred Merkle tobacco card pictured above was one of my favorite Christmas gifts this year. Thanks Jared!

Sources for the statistics and historical dates and names used in this article include Baseball Reference and Wikipedia.


We Interrupt Our Regularly-Scheduled Blogging…

Yesterday, we were getting ready to watch the Arkansas-Kentucky basketball game at the Dockery house when we got a call that someone had driven their car into the printing room of the church building where my dad works.

When we got there, we were pretty shocked to see only 2-3 feet of the truck sticking out of the building. There was a large metal support pole inside that was torn down and snapped almost in half.

Fortunately, the driver of the truck wasn’t hurt. She was actually the new mail lady, and was dropping of a registered letter, but was driving a (new) truck that she wasn’t familiar with and accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes (she was sitting on the right side to deliver the mail and was hitting the pedals with her left foot) and drove right through the doors.

The hole in the building is temporarily patched up, but it will be a while before its completely fixed. Hopefully, it won’t slow down the printing operations too much, and things can get back to normal as soon as possible.

It was really pretty exciting, in a destructive/shocking/problematic sort of way.

Then we went home and watched the Razorbacks blow a big lead and lose their seventh consecutive game against the Wildcats. Let’s not talk about that.

The Doc File © 2006-2012 by Luke Dockery

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