Saturday, April 29, 2006

Borderline Christians, Cups, and Other Protective Measures

Golfer Fred Funk's caddy, Mark Long, does a dead-on impersonation of 5-time major champion and dashing Spaniard Seve Ballesteros. One of Long's best routines is of Seve recounting a disagreement with his brother, Vicente, who was carrying his bag during one particular round at The Masters. Mark-as-Seve says, "We were on de 15nce hole. My broder, Vicente, say, You hit 5-iron. I say, No is a 4. He say, 5. I say, 4. Finally, I say, Okay. I hit 5-iron straight into de water. I make a 10. Vicente? He no longer my broder."

I feel a little like Seve today as I digest these disturbing results of a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, as reported by USA Today.

*64% of white evangelicals agreed with the statement, "Immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care."

*51% of white mainline Protestants agreed with this: "The growing number of newcomers from other countries threatens traditional American customs and values."

If these results are accurate, all I can say is Pew. And I hereby renounce my whitehood, as well as my association with anything mainline or remotely evangelical. In the true spirit of a Protestant, I protest.

Although I'm not particularly loco about aligning myself with Rev. Sam Rodriguez either, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who wants amnesty for immigrants. He said his constituency supports traditional family values such as heterosexual marriage and a ban on abortion, so he expects reciprocal support - that traditional political value - in this case from white evangelicals.

Since when did entitlement, protectionism, and back-scratching become Beatitudes? I don't care where you stand on this very complex issue, please quit identifying yourself as a God-follower if you're primary concern is shooing away the pests trying to infest your big honkin' slice of American pie.


Another poll shows President Bush's approval rating having plummeted to historic lows. According to the latest numbers, it's now at only 32 percent, down from 50 percent just last December.

But before you Bush bashers rub it in, keep in mind that the margin of error in that poll is 3.1 percent. That means his approval rating could be as high as 35.1. So there.


Nicholas (7) is now the proud owner of his first protective cup, having discovered the hard way the necessity of said apparatus during his first stint as catcher for his Little League baseball team (The Thunder). Cup acquisition is one of those time-honored rites of passage that young boys have experienced for centuries, right up there with reaching the final level in Star Wars Battlefront on Xbox.

The other day, Nicholas was having trouble putting his cup and the attendant slingshot-style holster on before his game, and Amy wasn't able to provide much in the way of experiential advice. This conversation ensued:

Amy: Keep in mind, I really don't have any idea how those things fit.

Nicholas: Didn't you ever play softball?

Amy: Yes, but I never wore a cup.

Nicholas: Why not?

Amy: I don't have a penis.

Nicholas: Oh. Right.

Considering how, um, "self-aware" Nicholas has been getting in and out of the bathtub all his life, I'm not exactly sure whether the cup will prove more protective against outside forces or from himself. We'll see.


The Academy Awards needs to add an Oscar for Best Grimace in a Movie Preview. Harrison Ford and Denzel Washington would be the only nominees each year.


There's a guy I've known off and on for nearly 20 years who's asked me for money every time I've been with him. It's very annoying. And a good reminder of how people feel when I ask them to give to Continent of Great Cities.


I don't know anyone under 50 who uses a handkerchief.


I made a New Year's Resolution to make sure I didn't agree with Don Wildmon, head of the American Family Association, on a single societal issue. But, alas, we came down on the same side on the utterly ephemeral TV show, Book of Daniel, which was cancelled after just a couple of episodes. Albeit for different reasons.

Wildmon was livid about the program's portrayal of a priest who didn't seem to care that his kids were either gay, horny, and/or selling pot. I, meanwhile, was furious over the show's suggestion that Christians are such bad actors.


I'm concerned at some of the recent reports I've seen of Saddam Hussein screaming incoherently and going on a hunger strike. This could really damage his credibility.


The other day, my friend, Bill, said, "You know those black and white billboards that are supposedly God talking to us, like 'They're commandments, not suggestions?' I'd like to put up one of those signs and have it read, 'Hey, Abilene. Why so many churches?'"

Good question. The answer? You can only put so many white, mainline, evangelicals in one building.


Finally, I take my equally-enormous size 8 hat off to Kevin Mench, the Texas Rangers slugger, who Friday night became the first right-handed batter in Major League history to homer in 7 consecutive games. The streak began last Friday after a specialist suggested the foot problems he'd been experiencing were due to the fact that he needed to wear a size 12 1/2 shoe instead of a 12.

Some guys might want to consider getting their cups resized. Seeing as how approximately 112 percent of all baseball players on television still get caught in the act of "adjusting themselves," it appears Nicholas wasn't the only one who learned how to strap it on from Mom.


julie said...

Grant, your post made me giggle several times but for a different reason than usual. From your title I thought that you were talking about communion and then I found out you were talking about those cups. So funny!!!

Matt said...

I have some problems with the way those statements are worded - they seem to me to be carefully loaded to bait all of the RepubliChristians into saying they agree so that someone can do a news story that bashes them for it.

However, there is a frightening reality that is reflected in those numbers. For that reason, buddy. I join you in renouncing white-hoodedness and protesting my fellow protestants. There is a seriously high level of cluelessness among our fellow evangelicals/protestants about what the gospel is really all about.

Brandon Scott Thomas said...

great post, Grant!
Did you get my monk-e mail I made for you?

Stacey said...

You should write a book. I laughed out loud multiple times during this post. Especially the part about Bush's approval rating and Nicholas' cup. Good memories. But this was the best part of the blog:

"Since when did entitlement, protectionism, and back-scratching become Beatitudes? I don't care where you stand on this very complex issue, please quit identifying yourself as a God-follower if you're primary concern is shooing away the pests trying to infest your big honkin' slice of American pie."

My sentiments exactly. Well said.

SG said...

Yeah, you crack me up!
Yikes! There is a right of passage "cup" age???? That will be Rob's job. So glad Amy has Anna 5Clare to balance out all that boy stuff!
I was really wanting to eat at my favorite hole in the wall taco stand today and darn it if they aren't all immigrants! It's closed!
I find myself in the strange position of not agreeing with anyone on this issue. The "right" is too scared shows no compassion. The "left" cares nothing about personal responsibility and is helping to create a social welfare nightmare. The "middle" seems either too wishy washy or just plain blind. Is it possible to not have a place to stand on an issue while still caring about it? I guess
I really wanted that burrito con pollo for lunch!

Tom Chapin said...

Grant, my problem with you is that you don't post often enough. Thanks for your insights and your humor. Hmmm. If I had to choose one or the other . . .

Anonymous said...

Who are you callin' Bush basher? We (the "Bush bashers") prefer the term "Anti-Bushite."

dwainflynn2138117887 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Soren said...

Great post Grant (dude, you need to post more frequently)!

I had been awhile since I visited your blog. I love your stuff. Keep it coming!

Mike Kjergaard