Friday Stream of Consciousness – 116

Here’s what’s on my mind this Friday morning:

  • Tony Gwynn is. I’ll get to him a bit later. But, as a huge baseball fan and Long Beach Poly High School graduate, it’s been a sad week. So, this week’s Stream’s pic is Tony’s high-school baseball photo. #getembeach
  • I’ve seen both of the movies showing at the little theater nearby: Chef and the Fault in Our Stars. Both were really good. Word association for The Fault in Our Stars would be: sad. For Chef, it would be “surprising,” regarding it’s quality and depth. By the way, don’t go see Chef if you’re hungry. The whole movie is full of sizzling yumminess.
  • I’m teaching a class on Christianity and Culture at Pepperdine right now. The 27 students in class are extremely smart, diverse, and interesting in and of themselves. It’s hard to know who’s getting more out of the whole experience—me or them. Given it’s June and the class is 2:30-5:30 in a beach town—I think we are all doing as well at focusing as can be expected.
  • As I mentioned earlier, I’m still stunned and saddened at the passing of Tony Gwynn. Through an odd set of circumstances, I got the chance to throw one pitch to him when I was in high school—and I tailed it low and away. It’s probably for the best, as he would have probably sent it over the green monster into VIP Records across the street.
  • In the Spring of 1993, Tony came to Long Beach Poly High School for one of many short baseball camps he’s conducted at our inner-city High School over the years. It was where he went to High School, and he came back fairly regularly to help out, donate money, or spend a little time with young ball players. I was lucky enough to be one.
  • I asked him who the toughest pitcher to hit was (I was a pitcher and was dying to know this). He said all pitchers were tough, but they were also all hittable. I pressed him a little bit for an answer. He said, “Greg Maddux.”
  • He laughed a lot–real laughing…like belly laughing. I loved that. Nothing puts a kid at ease in the presence of the great Tony Gwynn like him laughing.
  • He mentioned how he took pride in stolen bases, and loved that people often misjudged his speed. He said, “They’re over there thinking, ‘fat boy ain’t going anywhere.’ The next thing you know, fat boy is standing on second.”
  • He also took pride in his low strikeout ratio. Since 1969, he’s got the second lowest of all-time among hitters with at least 5,000 at-bats. It inspired me to try to avoid striking out at all costs…because that’s what Tony did.
  • He was a thinking man’s hitter, in the best sense. He was obviously a great athlete (he was an NBA draftee as well), but he loved to talk about hitting as though it were like cooking to a fine chef. He LOVED talking hitting. He loved video tape, and was a treasure trove of hitting knowledge–not just a beast of an athlete.
  • He and Don Mattingly are the two greatest non-juiced hitters I’ve seen in my lifetime.
  • But, he truly was a great guy who played the game the right way and gave back to the game—as well as young people. RIP.
  • If you haven’t heard Eva Cassidy sing, she’s absolutely amazing. She feels her way through a song like few others. She too passed away from cancer way too early…at only 33 years old. Check out Songbird or Fields of Gold.
  • Won’t it be great when either a cure is found, or we all shed these broken bodies of ours in glory?
  • Nothing has a greater long-term impact on a church’s well-being than it’s ability or inability to handle conflict in a way that honors God.
  • Nothing.
  • I had the best Father’s Day! Among other wonderful things, I got to go to the Reagan Library for the first time as a spectator.
  • I loved learning more about one of my favorite Presidents, check out Air Force One, and…
  • They had an amazing Hall of Fame Baseball exhibit at the Library. There I saw several marvels of the baseball world. Barry Bonds 755th home run ball, Jackie Robinson’s jersey, Babe Ruth’s World Series cleats, and more.
  • However, the biggest deals were the baseball cards they had there. The first baseball card ever printed (1869) was there, along with a T206 Honus Wagner card—worth approximately 3 million dollars. For anyone that collects baseball cards—it was an astonishing experience. Somewhere between 60 and 200 were ever made and distributed between 1909 and 1911. It’s an exceedingly rare card.
  • Now that nerd moment is over.
  • I’m working really hard at learning to like seafood so I can broaden my diet from the five food groups–beef, chicken, turkey, pasta, and nachos. Someone give me a legitimately awesome tasting seafood dish…it can’t taste too fishy.
  • The World Cup is going on. Ummmm…go USA?
  • And, speaking of Ronald Reagan…I remember watching this speech in school right after the Challenger exploded. It was great to hear something positive at the time. I was 11. If you want to know how to comfort a group of people in a time of tragedy, Reagan’s Challenger disaster speech is personal (he uses names and speaks directly to nearly everyone involved–including school children who watched the explosion live), heart-felt, and unifying. You can view it here.

What’s on your mind this Friday?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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