Saturday, April 10, 2021

Why Do Women Struggle?


Since the beginning of time women experienced being at a disadvantage, but it shouldn't be that way. It's not their fault. Perhaps it's in their DNA, but that's a poor excuse. We can do something about it and we will.

The Baptist Church is a good example. On any given Sunday a Baptist Church may be loaded with male preachers on its platform. But where are all the women? Probably no where to be found.

Moody Bible Institute is another good example. They pride themselves in training people for Christian service. However they follow the same Southern Baptist model and discourage women from the role of senior pastor in the local church.

I have a lot of nice Catholic friends. They are great people, but I only see men in the role as priests. Ladies do an excellent job as nuns to a worthy calling, but I don't see them as a priests. Perhaps I'm missing something in the biblical interpretation. 

Outside the Catholic denomination there are many Bible churches that have a pro and con view that lead into heated arguments. So there is room for ladies in the church.

One of the regional churches under Willow Creek in Barrington, Illinois recently restructured its staff. Their senior pastor, a lady whom served for over a decade, was replaced with a man. My heart went out to her. Fortunately she started another church with some former church staff members and is doing well. Yes, God is in control and it takes all kinds of people to make a world.

But gender won't stop everybody from fulfilling a passion. Remember the movie Jentl where Barbara Streisand  impersonates a man because she wants to be a Rabbi, and there were no women Rabbi's in the Rabbi school? She was a strong willed person and eventually got her way. 

I never was a male chauvinist. Gender is not a barrier to opportunity. My wife is a professional artist. In the market place she ranks higher than I do.

After the boys played the Chicago Cubs in my book, Boys on the Gold Coast, everybody wanted to join their team so 'Pop' decided to have tryouts. The challenge came when girls likewise wanted to be included. 

In a big cap, not appropriate for a hot summer day, Nellie covered her long blonde hair. Rubber gloves covered beautiful well manicured hands. She avoided direct eye contact because her blue eyes would be a give away. Even her walk appeared suspicious. 

But Nellie was bound and determined. She made the team and gave the fans lots of excitement. Perhaps it was time to change the name of the team. 

Why do women struggle in life? I think it's more of a power play than anything else. Some people have a lot of pride that gets in their way, thus preventing equality for all. 

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Saturday, April 3, 2021

A Baseball Hero Returns


Stories are powerful. They draw a lot of interest. I like reading  or listening to a good story. So sit back and enjoy a story about Larry from Boys On The Gold Coast. 

Larry was a Gold Coast hero. Ever since the boys played the Chicago Cubs the stardom of the boy with arms like Popeye the sailor man grew. He often reminded people of Pete Rose, great Cincinnati Reds player whom was loved by many baseball fans.

Like all the guys on the team, Larry loved to play baseball. He liked to bat and hit just about everything that crossed the plate. His eye to hand coordination was excellent. 

During batting practice he placed the ball perfectly where-ever he so desired around the infield. The white little ball with stitches traveled as if it were drawn to a magnet that represented the bases. Occasionally a  sharp hit liner nearly knocked the pitcher off the mound. There wasn't anything Larry couldn't do.

Then it was time to scrap the clouds so the speak. High pop-ups kept the infielders hustling to catch the ball in their glove. 

Watching baseballs sail into the outfield left no hidden secrets. The boys looked like pros hustling to catch short pop-ups. Pinning them against the fence looked easy. Bulging eyes kept neighborhood fans sitting on the edge of their seats. 

Putting baseballs into orbit was fun. Soon they started sailing over the fence and landed on the green canopy of the general store across the street. When Mr. Lucas, the store proprietor called the police, the boys were kicked off the school lot.

But not all was lost. A retired janitor, the boys nicknamed Pop, came to their rescue. He took them to a new location in a nearby park and helped them develop their baseball skills. Needless to say their popularity grew as lawn chairs in the neighborhood block traffic. 

The boys were the talk of the town. Organized youth baseball didn't exist in those days. It wasn't uncommon for kids to gather with friends on corner lots for some fun with splintered bats and tattered baseballs.

As their reputation continued to grow the Chicago Cubs got interested. Soon they invited the boys to play in an exhibition game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Coming from behind and struggling, the boys tied the game in the ninth-inning before Larry stepped into the batter's box swinging a bat. A standing ovation voiced the crowds approval.

It was a do or die situation. The bases were empty with two outs. Under an enormous amount of pressure and feeling like a bundle of nerves Larry was ready to meet the challenge. 

With shaky knees his arms began to tense up. Then, on a full count he closed his eyes and swung his bat viciously. After rounding first base and listening to a cheering crowd, he saw the ball leave center field. 

It was a big day. The home town boys just won a baseball game while a baseball hero returned to the lineup.

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Blame the Baseball Player


When we think about being falsely accused we often think about Easter when Jesus died on a cross and was resurrected three days later. But did you know that we are often falsely accused or blamed for something we have no control over? Without exception it  may happen to all of us without warning. 

Bill was a good friend of mine. We grew up together on the Gold Coast, a name for a Chicago neighborhood among others so named. Even though we both liked to play baseball, Bill had a rough time playing with the other guys. His pals just weren't always nice to him. Allow me to share his story with you.

Whenever time permitted we gathered with friends on a school lot to play baseball. It was nothing fancy other than a worn-out infield and some cardboard bases to enhance a playing field for some fun and play-by-play action.

Two guys were chosen to be a captain of each team. To start things rolling one boy tossed a baseball bat to the other whom caught it with his free hand. Then they took turns climbing to the top with one fist at a time. Last fist to reach the top started the choosing process. 

It was a rank and file system where the best players were chosen first. Fair play was often challenged. Where are the merits in baseball?

Bill usually played right field with another player where there wasn't much action. With more than nine guys on a team everybody played so some players had to share positions, and Bill was a southpaw and that didn't allow for a position of choice. Did you ever see a southpaw behind the plate or at third base?

In the outfield he was an average player. Catching a few and throwing some didn't get his buddies too excited. His real problem was hitting.

In spite of being an average hitter he very seldom ever struck out. After putting some wood on the ball they usually landed in a glove or beat him to first base every time. The more times Bill played the angrier  his buddies got.  Soon he started to digest a lot of criticism.

"Come on Bill do it right and hit the ball." The negative comments got more consistent. "Step to the other side of the plate."

The guys never thought that Bill was ambidextrous. It was in his DNA. He was a natural southpaw fielder while batting right handed at the plate. Some people never learn.  Yes, it takes all kinds to make a world. 

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Friday, March 19, 2021

You Are a Leader

Good leadership reflects the character of the leader. People are aways impressed if the results of a project are good. If not so good it may lead to heated arguments.

The goal of any leader is to motivate  a person, group, or organization for the common good. We, the hard working people that we are, will know them by the fruits of their labor. Like you, I can easily identify with many good and not so good things that will make my blood boil, figuratively speaking. 

Many years ago when I was young and good looking if you believe that,   I worked at McDonald's our local hamburger joint. Everybody wanted to turn over the burgers on the grill or serve customers at the counter. It was fun to operate the cash register. No body wanted to wash dishes or empty the garbage cans.

Whenever I saw garbage cans overflow it reflected poor management. In addition workers liked to bully their peers or manipulate the boss and it showed. 

It doesn't work that way in baseball. Baseball is a team sport and all the players must do their best if they expect to win ball games. The manager must use his players according to their skills and talent. The win/lost record will tell the rest of the story. 

I like to think that 'teaching' goes along with 'leadership.' Both have the capability of influencing people. When I was in Bible school we were assigned to read Jesus, The Master Teacher. It was a good story about the life of Jesus.

Jesus came to earth at Christmas time with one goal in mine. The goal was to teach people about their sinful nature and encourage them to change their way of life. (John 3:16). 

So you are a leader. Whether you admit it or not and your actions will influence other people. Use them wisely. More and surprising opportunities await you just around the corner.

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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Are You In Control?

Everybody likes to be in control of their own desires and actions. Freedom is the name of the game in life.

I grew up in a German family. Even though I encountered a lot of criticism my mom wanted the best for me. It was a rough life. 

When I was a kid many years ago I loved baseball. There wasn't anything I wouldn't do to listen to a baseball game on my radio. TV in those days was a big box, small screen, and a snowy black and white picture. Baseball wasn't fun to watch on the old RCA TV set.

To satisfy my baseball appetite I made a board game. First, I purchased  some plastic baseball players off a cereal box top. Then I made a spinner and labeled it with all the basics-single, double, triple, out, double play, and home run. You know what I mean. The same baseball rules have been around for a long time. 

The field that was covered with green and gray construction paper and clued to cardboard measured three feet square and was surrounded with a two inch wall. No baseball field would be complete without a dugout along the first and third base foul line. 

The teams I chose were the Chicago Cubs and Brooklyn Dodgers. It could be any team. The choice is yours. Fifteen players kept the dugout bench warm when they weren't on the field.

Just a piece of scratch paper, draw lines to represent nine innings, spin that dial, and play ball. With friends or alone I could play baseball all day. I was in my second heaven and guess what? I was in complete control to have the freedom to win or lose a game. The fun just began.

Freedom is your choice. Choose a career, care for your family, worship God, and more. You are the boss. Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?

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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Will The Real Chicken Please Stand Up?


I like things that are authentic. The real thing. But now we have fake news and rigged elections. What else could go wrong?

Do you like chicken? I know, immediately Boston Market, Panda Express, and KFC enters your mind. But what about this picture? Will the real chicken please stand up?

For the most part medicine along with healthcare is real. The right treatment plan from the right doctor is a good thing if we are sick. Thank goodness for a good healthcare system that works. Insurance is another issue that we will share with you at a latter date.

What about baseball? No way you say, but there is. Thanks to the replay camera, often the umpire makes the wrong call at the plate and gets away with it. For example, a baseball sails away from home plate and the man in the black suit calls it a strike. Such is life in a baseball game. We must learn to live with it.

My wife likes to knit. It is a hobby of perfection. Drop a stitch or two and watch out because it shows. Many times the lady has to stop, go back, and start a row all over again. Authenticity in knitting that sweater, scarf, hat, or whatever will pay off. Patience is a virtue. 

There is no doubt about it, we have to feed our soul. Because we can't see it many of us take it for granted, but it's there. The solution to a good life is reading the Bible. 

The Bible is a good hand book. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." (II Tim. 2:15 NIV) I feel good and life is so much better.  

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Is It a Mission Impossible?


The dictionary says a mission is an important assignment carried out for political, religious, or commercial purposes. Like the old TV program asked, "Is it impossible?" It depends on your point of view.

As a kid growing up in a local church we thought missions pertained to missionaries in some faraway dark place like Africa, Asia, or South America. At missionary conferences we saw pictures of grass huts, primitive dress attire, and natives carrying a bucket of water on their head and walking long distances to the closest village. 

What is your mission in life? Everybody has a mission. The main point is how you go about accomplishing it and how long it takes. No wonder some people get discouraged. 

Not too long ago we started a FREE newsletter about baseball and/or life and are happy to see the interest that it gets. Nothing is impossible. Our mission is to help good hard working people learn how to cope with life in a messed up world. 

While making money is foremost in people's minds our first priority is to help people. Could there be anything more important than having a job and maintaining good health?  

Our lists is endless and we hope you share it with your friends. Life is tough and doesn't appear to be getting any easier. But there is hope if only we look for it.

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