Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Continuing in the love affair for the underdog: public higher education; collegiate baseball in the north; and beavers

Every beaver has their day. Some beavers may have more than one day.

In the realm of collegiate and professional athletics, college baseball attracts little attention. School is not even in session when the annual crowning event of collegiate baseball gathers in Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series. As I do not have cable television that accomodates ESPN, I could not view the games. I did follow the results and stories--I feel a connection with the sport having spent two years of my life devoted to being a baseball "student-athlete." My youngest brother had a solid collegiate career playing at Portland State and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. College baseball is a worthwhile event if you choose to watch sport.

I hoped that Oregon State Univeristy, (aka "The Beavers") would win the College World Series, because I pull for the Pac-10 in general, especially for the non-California schools. Also, a northern school had not won the College World Series since Ohio State in 1966. I have always found warmth and sunshine overrated, and I love to see that good baseball can be played in places where sun and warmth are not regular weather patterns. Go Beavers!

In researching OSU, I discovered that a Beaver alum attained an honored position of Presiding Bishop in the Episcopal Church, USA. Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori earned two advanced degrees at Oregon State. Without knowing anything about Bishop Schori (although my Episcopalian friend Hawk speaks well of the new Bishop), I like this development for many reasons.

1. The Episcopal Church in the USA did not bow to the pressure of the Anglican Communion by backing away from its election of Gene Robinson, a gay man, as Bishop of New Hampshire.

2. With the election of Schori, the Episcopal Church also snubbed others in the Communion who do not believe in the ordination of women.

3. I love to hear about clergy who are given the opportunity to serve in the Church from backgrounds in public higher education. In my experience, people whose primary course of study involves theology in a Church college have superior backgrounds compared to us stiffs who attain their higher education from State U. We State U. folks may have less experience with theological lingo, but God has given us no less ability to engage in sound theology or to lead in the Church. I have not found explicit exclusion because of my educational background, however, the hierarchy seems implicit in favoring folk from Church college backgrounds--at least as I have seen in Lutheran circles. Schori holds advanced degrees in Oceanography. How cool is that for the Church? I would love to know if Bishop Schori has any interesting perspective on Leviathan from the Bible?

I enjoy the underdog story as much as the next person--though middle class folk may not truly live the life of an underdog, stories that reflect the diversity of God's people and creation give me hope that the Church can join what God is doing in the world. Even the beavers.


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