Five for Friday: Baseball and Religion, Death Documentary, and Earth’s Smartest Birds

Busch Stadium photo: pdsphil/Flickr

What Baseball Can Learn from Religion

Sometimes this type of articles can be a bit too clever, but this one is good. One might disagree with the author’s views on the designated hitter rule, but we can learn from his illustrations of baseball’s misguided efforts to accommodate non-fans.

From the article: “Current innovations like the automatic intentional walk are just silly. Horrible proposals like starting extra innings with a runner on second to make tied ballgames end sooner remind me of churches that ‘innovate’ with terrible music or by offering milk and cookies for Communion instead of bread and wine. These smack of appeals to people who do not want the product you are offering anyway. Baseball could learn much from religion on that front, as many innovations have not only failed to reach new adherents, but turned off the longtime faithful as well.”

Emojis Representing People with Disabilities Needed

While emojis may seem silly to some, Apple’s proposed new ones are an important development for helping break stigma and misunderstandings about people with disabilities.

From the article: “I think it’s a great development. Emojis are sort of an emerging language, especially among younger generations, so it’s always great to watch those formats sort of progress, to be more inclusive and not just be the same icons we’ve all been seeing since we were 12-year-olds and first starting out on the internet.”

Hotel Forgives Guest 17 Years After Seagulls Trash Room

Hotel employees thought Nick Burchill was kidding when he sent a letter asking to be forgiven for an incident that led to the destruction of a hotel room and that he no longer be blacklisted from the property. But then they learned the letter wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. The story proves it’s never too late to repent.

From the article: “I remember walking down the long hall and opening the door to my room to find an entire flock of seagulls in my room,” Burchill said in a recent letter of apology to the four-star hotel. “I didn’t have time to count, but there must have been 40 of them and they had been in my room, eating pepperoni for a long time.”

Filmmaker Helen Whitney (photo by Jake Landis PBS)

PBS Film Explores How We Go Gently – or Kicking and Screaming – into the Night

When award-winning filmmaker Helen Whitney began to consider her own mortality, she decided to make the documentary “Into the Night.” In it she asked nine men and women how they approached death so that she could go “gracefully.” Among the interviewees was religion historian Phyllis Tickle, who died while Whitney was making the film. The other to die was her film editor, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer while making the movie.

From the article: “‘The idea of death, the question of why we must die, came very early to me as a dark shadow,’ Whitney told Religion News Service. ‘I’ve always thought about the power and irrefutability of this fact.’ Her work stands as witness to this spiritual train of thought. In nearly 50 years of making films, she’s produced documentaries about Pope John Paul II, Mormonism, a Trappist monastery, the notion of forgiveness and the spiritual aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”

Why Ravens and Crows Are Earth’s Smartest Birds

This article about birds is a reminder to us to  think about the standards we use to determine intelligence among human beings.

From the article: “Being able to fly to Argentina, come back, and land in the same bush—we don’t value that intelligence in a lot of other organisms,” says Kevin McGowan, an expert on crows at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York. “We’ve restricted the playing field to things we think only we can do.”

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About the Author

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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