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Finger Pointing and Name Calling

When I was growing up my mom taught me that finger pointing and name calling was not polite. Such behavior would result in time in my room to think about my rude and thoughtless actions. I would imagine that you learned the same lesson as a child. But in today’s world, finger pointing and name calling have become the practice of the day. Please excuse me while I call a few names to make my point. Consider Maui… at a time when that community needs to come together to care for the grieving, to house the homeless, to rebuild a community, so much effort is going into the blame game. The electric company should have turned off the power so that their downed power lines would not spark. Emergency Management should have sounded the alarm to alert people to danger. The National Guard, the Army, and the Coast Guard should have come faster and with more resources. The first round of Federal Disaster Relief is too little and so many expect that the next round will come too late. And the President… many say he has not been compassionate enough. So much finger pointing and name calling.

Sometimes the blame game is an important exercise that can help us learn from our mistakes. They say, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Change only comes when we hold people accountable for their decisions and actions, hopefully allowing better choices going forward. Change only comes when we hold ourselves accountable. Those who have been sounding the global warming alarms hope that we will recognize the choices we have made, and are making, that now result in increasingly extreme weather realities. They caution that if we do not learn from our past, our future will be significantly altered. Sometimes the blame game is an important exercise that allows us to change course for the better. But often that game of finger pointing and name calling just mires us in the past.

On Sunday, I watched one of our sweet little ones pointing her finger and calling names. She pointed to her little brother and called out his name as if he were a prince and heir to the throne. She pointed to her friend and as she said her name, I could imagine that she is the best friend in the world. Then she pointed at me. She said, “Look… look… “ I am pretty sure at that point she forgot my name, so I just got “look.. look.” But let me tell you, I felt rather special in that moment. The sweet, pure heart of that little one made my day when she pointed at me and tried to call my name. Jesus is right, we ought to learn from our little ones. They are the ones pointing us to God’s way.

On August 9th, a little name calling and finger pointing happened down at the baseball field in South Philly. Michael Lorenzen was pitching that evening for the Phillies in his second game with the team. Just eight days earlier, Lorenzen had moved from Detroit with his wife Cassi and their infant daughter June. This trade with the Tigers already looked like a good decision by the front office when Lorenzen gave the Phillies a win in his first outing. The crowd came hopeful that night as Lorenzen took to the mound for the second time. Inning after inning the pitch count rose, leaving many to wonder if Rob Thomson, the manager, would leave Lorenzen in for the full game. When Lorenzen took the mound for the 8th inning the fans went wild. Lorenzen said, “Hearing the fans gave me the chills. It gave that boost of energy I needed.” By the 9th inning, the whole stadium was on their feet. Lorenzen’s wife and mother stood in the team box with their phones recording every pitch, tears in their eyes. With two outs in the 9th, Dom Smith stepped up to the plate. He popped up on a Lorenzen slider, that Johan Rojas caught for the final out. Michael Lorenzen had pitched the first Phillies no-hitter since Cole Hamels in 2015- one of only 14 nohitters in Phillies’ history.

Then the name calling and finger pointing began… Lorenzen pointed to his catcher J.T. Realmuto whom he credits with calling a perfect game. Fingers pointed to rookie left fielder Westen Wilson who hit a home run in his first major league at bat that night. And others pointed to Nick Castellanos who homered twice in that game to reach 200 home runs for his career. While others pointed to Dave Dombrowski who traded a promising minor league player for Lorenzen- a gamble that has already paid off well. Lots of finger pointing and name calling brought the celebration to a fever pitch. Lorenzen pointed to the crowd, calling them part of the team, and thanking the crowd for giving him the extra boost for the final 3 outs. Then Lorenzen punctuated the celebration when he pointed skyward and called out the first name… the One he said should receive all the praise and glory- “My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… I give Him all the praise. I would not be here tonight without my Lord and Savior. I give Him all the praise and glory.” Now that’s the kind of finger pointing and name calling that my mother would have approved. I hope we learn to do the same.  
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us,
to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations,
for ever and ever! Amen. 
(Ephesians 3:20-21)
With you praising my Savior all the day long,
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