I apologize for being off the grid for a few days. I fell ill over the weekend and laid low for a few days.
And I wrote an academic article that will appear in the next issue of The Bavinck Review, an academic publication geared toward the small but growing cadre of scholars with interest in 19th century theologian Herman Bavinck. The title of my essay is, "A Soft Spot for Paganism? Herman Bavinck and 'Insider' Movements." In brief: a controversial, but major, model of international missions, especially in Islamic countries, is dubbed an "Insider" approach. This generally involves encouraging Muslim converts to Christianity to remain in their Mosques, pray Muslim prayers, read the Koran, recite the shahadah, or Muslim confession of faith (in some cases with well-placed alterations), and observe Islamic laws, dietary and otherwise. In other words: remain "Muslim."
What do you know? My producer made a documentary all about it here.
It so happens that a few "Insider" theorists groping around for some historical precedent and/or theological support for this approach have laid their hands upon Herman Bavinck's doctrine of common grace for that purpose. I hope my essay succeeds in proving Bavinck far too hot to the touch for such purposes. And that's all I'll say for now.
Lots and lots of horrible things in the news these days. Bombings in Boston and the trial of "Dr." Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia come to mind. Not that Gosnell's trial is bad news (except in the sense that I'd prefer summary execution), but news of his hellishly labeled "Women's Medical Society" at 3801 Lancaster Avenue is just very bad news, indeed. If you can stomach it or manage to watch through your tears, please watch this exquisitely painful documentary: 3801 Lancaster.
Jay and I will be covering aspects of the Gosnell case in the forthcoming episode of Dead Reckoning Radio, when we'll be joined by Eric Teetsel, Executive Director of The Manhattan Declaration. Manhattan Declaration is a premier grassroots organization dedicated to right-to-life issues, and we're excited to have Eric on the program. Do take the time to head on over to their webpage and sign the declaration. They're up to 540k signatures, and would like to see it get to a million.
Let us think of pleasanter things. Like baseball. If you aren't aware (and you have no reason to be), Joseph Patrick Mauer is in one of his periodic "zones." In the Minnesota Twins' current series with the Anaheim Angels, he has hit 4 for 5 in each of the first two games. That's 8 for his last 10, and it would have been 9 for 10 if not for a very nice play by Mike Trout. Everything he hits, he hits with authority, and he is wearing pitchers out. The series has almost been comical, watching Angels pitchers get a quick two strikes on Joe, then vainly attempt to get him out. He calmly watches the balls go by, fouls away the unhittable strikes, until he finally gets one he likes and slashes it seemingly wherever he wants to.
It won't last forever, of course, but I sure love sitting back and enjoying it while it lasts. When Joe gets inducted into the Hall of Fame someday (which, barring career-ending injury, is in little doubt), I will remember fondly Joe Mauer, the hitting machine.
As for the rest of the team... well, who knows what is wrong with Vance Worley? Mike Pelfrey has the look of a pitcher who really doesn't want to throw the ball for fear of what might happen. Seriously. His five innings last night were just painful to watch. Confident pitchers just get the sign and throw. Guys with insecurities walk around the mound after every pitch, kick the dirt, get the sign, wait, wait some more, get set, wait some more, kick their leg high, and tenderly try to aim the ball into the catcher's mitt. Makes for an interminably long game and really bad results. Thankfully the offense took care of the Angels all on their own.
The bullpen has looked really good, particularly Anthony Swarzak. Color me impressed. Our AA-turned-Major-Leaguer, Aaron Hicks, isn't working out too well, but I'm seeing some improvement in the body language category. He's starting to look a bit more comfortable, and I do believe this hitting slump will come to an end as soon as he can get a hold of one and put a charge into it. He'll remember how to hit. Brian Dozier has been a pleasant surprise so far. And I'm waiting for Chris Parmelee to heat up. I think he'll surprise a lot of people.
All in all, an okay but not great start for the Twins. With a long season ahead, "okay" is a lot better than terrible, and I'll take it.
April has been very, very strange this year. The last three days have consisted of dry, icy snow softly falling. Not enough to cover anything and not enough to get any moisture to speak of. What I do know is that it hasn't felt like fishing weather.
That's all to explain why there's no fishing report.