Boy Scout Oath.

Samuel is talking to the scout troop.

“You pledge that you will … do your duty to God. What duty do you have to God? Duty is a word that means you are expected or required to do something as an obligation. You are obligated to someone for something, perhaps because something was done to or for you and you owe that one something in return. Now, it’s expected of you. You are required to do something.  No second-guessing. No questions asked. You’ve been informed as to what is required, so you do it as a duty.

“But what did God do for you that you owe the Almighty something in return?  You’re living, you’ve got life inside your body. God gave you the ability to choose, to reason, to imagine. You have a body to navigate around this world. God has done it all for You. He created this marvelous universe and put you here in this particular spot where you can breathe and learn to live abundantly enjoying the benefits of a sun rising every day, with animals to enjoy and feed on, water to drink. And in these waters fish to catch and eat. You have others to talk and fellowship with, and on and on.

“God has done this for you, so what do you have to give as a . . . duty . . . in return for this life you’ve been given? God has also sacrificed His only Son for you. So how do you repay Him for that?  You choose to live the way God wants you to live; no lying, no stealing, no cheating, none of that wanting what your neighbor has. And, yes, there’s usually an and. You want to tell others about this gift.

These are perilous times.

As this country and the world is experiencing the pandemic of a virus, the demands of the authorities, plus the looting violence of the rioters.  These are troubling times.  We need  God’s blessings and protection.

I’ve had this idea.

2 Chronicles 7:14 states:  ““If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

What effect would this have on us and the community, if ALL the churches in Broken Arrow, Every protestant denomination church, along with all the catholic churches would gather a bunch, 50, 100 or more from each church to stand together along 71st st for one day, possibly a Saturday morning, holding signs such as LOA (Love one another) and at a certain time kneel and pray together.  We would be presenting a united body of Christ to the community and possibly the media would post it.  And to God we would humble ourselves by putting our theological differences aside by seeking God’s face, grace and mercy together as one body, by turning away from our selfish ways.  Would we get the healing of the wicked ways of our society?

A bit of History

Aw, reading the news this morning about the riots and uprisings across the country, a personal event came to mind. It was 1963 and I had just got my release from the Army. I wanted to go to Atlanta, where my older brother was, and I could get back to finish college. On the way there in a VW, I stopped near Birmingham, AL to play golf. After the round, and back on the city streets, I noticed I was being followed by a pick-up with 3 or 4 guys in the back. It scared me, and I kept going. Why were they following me so close? Here I was a Chicago kid with an Illinois license plate in a southern city during the days when many northerners went south to counter the southern civil rights against Black racist agenda.

Apparently, those white Alabama kids thought I was one of those Yankees supporting the Black uprisings in the south. No, I was just a guy wanting to get on with his life after 3 years in the Army. After getting settled in Atlanta, enrolling at Georgia State College, I got a job with an Auto manufacturer. There I was, working alongside other guys about my age. During lunch breaks, I felt alone as the others would not associate with me, a Yankee with an easily detected Chicago accent. After 3 months, I was told I had to join the union. I quit. Outta there and back to school.
Racial unrest has always been a problem in the US ever since the slave trade of Africa brought thousands of black over black slaves to work the cotton fields of the south. Muslims also enslaved Africans and sold them to Americans. In my Chicago High School, we had a few African Americans sitting next to me in English or History classes and on the baseball team.

In the army, we were just Army guys regardless of skin color. Two and a half years of racial harmony living peacefully together in defense of our Country. Why can’t we do that now?

The BIG difference between the ’60s riots and now is the technology of 24/7 news to get our attention, the internet, computers, and everyone voicing opinions of their hurts and injustice 24/7. Yes, economic injustice is the basis of it all, using the few unjust actions of the police, which the media highlights in delight.
Come on folks, let’s call it quits and return to ‘love one another as you’d like to be loved’ and accepted. You know, I don’t even like to use the words White or Black or Brown to describe our differences. We are all descendants of Adam and Eve through Noah. Having been dispersed after the tower fiasco to different parts of this earth and after thousands of years of living in the sun-drenched south that original sun-tan became embedded in their DNA and passed on to the kiddies. That’s all for now. Time for me to relax and thank God for this day.

Smelling a rat.

I don’t know about you, but I smell a rat.

Let’s back-up a few years to 2009 when the H1N1 flu, or swine flu, which supposedly came from pigs, was estimated to have caused about 284,000 deaths. Some studies estimated the actual number of cases including asymptomatic and mild cases could be 700 million to 1.4 billion people. Compare all that to the current pandemic, this virus that we’ve been told came from bats and started in China. The swine flu perhaps had its first identified case diagnosed in Mexico. In 2009-10, the world was not locked-down, businesses, stores, and restaurants closed, but because of this new virus, yes, we’ve all, the entire world has been put under control.

No, it can’t be just because Covid-19 expanded from China. Something else is going on, something major has changed, and it’s not our CDC, nor is it WHO. Both organizations were operating then. Technology has just become faster and more convenient. The world has not been in a major war. Here in the US, political control has only switched parties, and other nations have not had major changes. Our federal debt is beyond managed control, and a coming depression has been forecast.

What am I missing?

Since 2009, the number of books written and warning us about the end times has increased since 2009. But come on, our human race has been inflicted with viruses, plagues, pestilences, and wars since our fall into sin, and warnings of the coming judgment.have prevailed too. But is this one, the real end time plague?

 We won’t know until it happens, will we? So keep your face-mask handy.

And on a personal note, get and read “Just a Matter of Time: Until the End of Time” available at Banes and Noble. It may enlighten you as to what’s possibly in store down the future road technologically and politically.

Interesting Title: Montesquieu New World Island

Considering the political this year addressing this virus that’s infected the world, this novel was published in 2012 which forecasts political interventions into modern day life. Will this lead to that Brave New World?

“Mark is a farmer and inventor living the good life with his wife Susan of 33 years. While building up the interest in their Halloween Festival on the farm, Mark gets disenchanted, then obsessed, and desires to leave all the comforts behind to follow a desire for freedom. After experiencing a peace that passes understanding, an unsuspected surprise disturbs their tranquility forcing them to form new plans. The progressive idealists believe that the human spirit can be tamed by bureaucratic decree, and are slowly changing equal opportunities into equal results. The federal government has grown beyond its intentional usefulness of protection of our rights to intrusion into those rights, spending money not yet appropriated as if the citizenry were an endless mine. We, the silent generation were mistaken as we thought the boom could never end, treating the national debt as embalming juices preventing deadly decay.”

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Montesquieu-World-Island-Arnold-Kropp/dp/1480291218/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1588617423&sr=8-2

Social Distancing Yucckkkk!

Six-Months ago, would any of us have thought that you couldn’t have an extended family gathering for a birthday party. Or, that you couldn’t attend the Easter service, you had to watch it on your home computer. No way, right? Yep, but it happened, and now officials have begun using drones to warn and spy on citizens that may be breaking the social-distancing rules.

Two years ago, in writing my latest novel, I never dreamed that a gathering of more than 10 adults would now be illegal here in the land of the free. In chapter six, the main character invites three couples over for a Bible study and it was shut down by the local police in riot gear and fined $1500. A neighbor informed the police, and a drone flying over the back yard recorded the shout-out.

Get that book online at Barnes and Noble and help keep the book selling business alive and well during these times of non-essential businesses being forced to close.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-a-matter-of-time-arnold-r-kropp/1134632914?ean=9780578603711

Just A Matter Of time: Until the End of Time

Election Noise

“Make some noise, let’s hear it.” The electronic sign bellowed out to the 50,000 fans watching the ball game.

That is my summary of the election yesterday. Noise.

We still have the rule of law. We still have Two houses of Congress. In two years we’ll vote again.

There are two kinds of noise; natural and manufactured.

It’s the loud, consistent rumbling on the airwaves that gets our attention. It’s the thunder that causes us to look out the window. It’s noise, it’s the alarm clock that wakes us from slumber. The loud arguments between relatives disturb the kiddies. The media and what we hear on the tube, see on videos, hear from the media, from Hollywood, from Washington, and locally is manufactured noise that has the effect of dividing us.

Then there is the natural noise of nature. Thunder and lightning, volcanoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, the roar of a lion or bear, the woofs of a rabid dog, the hissing of a snake. We run to take cover. We huddle together. We reach out for a solid safe hand to hold onto. It’s the natural noise that draws us together.

The Psalmist wrote, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Baseball, the American pastime sport of sports.

What is it about baseball that attracts so many loyal fans to watch a three-hour slow moving game? Slow, yes, compared to most other team sports such as basketball, football, soccer, and rugby. The seven players standing and waiting for the pitcher to receive the signal from the catcher squatting behind the batter. He fingers the ball, winds up and throws the hard small white ball at 95mph. The batter swings and misses. Ball one the referee calls, and the catcher throws the ball back to the mound. The four infield and three outfield players shuffle their legs and arms, rubbing the mitts getting in position for another pitch and swing for the ball to be hit in their direction. Possibly.

The game in various forms has been played since the 18th century or even before, but it wasn’t until September 23, 1845 when its first official rulebook known as the Knickerbocker Rules were formulated by Alexander J. Cartwright. Many updates and modifications have been agreed upon since then.

The baseball is 2.8-2.9 inches in diameter and weighs 5 to 5.25 ounces. The bat cannot be thicker than 2.75 inches with a maximum length of 42 inches.

Imagine the instincts and skill the batter must have looking at that ball approaching the strike zone in less than a second. Does he swing or not? Will the ball be down around the knees or up above his belt? Will it be inside or on the outside corner of the 17-inch wide plate? A fastball or curve, a slider or change-up at 78 mph?  The batter wants to swing the bat fast enough to hit that ball square-on with the full force of the swing to cause the ball to roll or fly between the infielders or outfielders or, out of the park. And the picture wants to strike him out or cause him to hit into a double-play. Three missed swings, and he’s outta there. Four balls outside the strike zone without a swing, and he gets a free walk to first. Pop-ups, sending the ball high into the air, is caused by the bat striking the bottom quarter of the ball, when the batter wanted to hit it square on. On ground balls, the bat meets the ball a bit above center. A good hard line drive is when the batter has swung the bat at the right speed interpreting the speed by the perceived vision of the pitcher’s performance. If he swings too soon and he pulls it foul. Too late and the ball goes into the other stands. Just a tag later or sooner and the ball will be in fair territory.

Summary: A star player hitting the ball safely one-third of the time entices the fans to purchase jerseys with his name on it.

Three hours of this, when you may have gone to get a beer, and a hot-dog, that one swing of the bat determined the game. You missed it, but oh, there it is on the replay screen. Twenty to forty thousand watching in the stadium and thousands, perhaps millions watching it on TV. Yes, a one to nothing game can be boring if all the concentration is on the hitting and running the bases.

Fielding is another practiced skill aspect trying to accurately throw a ball from deep left field to the catcher to get the guy out at home plate as he slides into or around the catcher who’s concentrating on catching the ball on the bounce and turning to tag the runner before his hand tags the plate. “Safe,” the umpire signals. “No hold on a minute,” the manager signals. “I want a review.” The umpires signal to the people upstairs to replay and study the videos, while the players and the fans anxiously wait for the verdict. “Nope, he’s out.”

A long, long time ago, I hid on the back seat floor of the Plymouth, when dad and my older brother got ready to drive all the way north to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs get beat. Somewhere on the drive, I was discovered, and he had to stop to use the pay phone to inform mon where I was. Hmm? I don’t remember a thing about that game.

Wrigley Field is revered in Chicago as a landmark. It’s one of the oldest original stadiums, opening under the name Weeghman Park in 1914 at Clark and Addison at the Lakeview area of the near northside. The Cubs played their first game at Weeghman Park on April 20, 1916, besting the  Cincinnati Reds 7–6 in eleven innings. In the early 20’s the yearly attendance recorded 542,283 fans watching the Cubs play. It was not until 1988 when the Wrigley Family added lights to the ballpark. In 2017, the paid fans at the Cubs home games was recorded at 3,199,562.

Baseball is played in nine innings of three-outs for each side. Runs, whatever the offense can muster. According to data, the most runs scored in any single ballgame was 49 in August 1922 when the Cubbies beat the Phillies 26-23. In 2007 The Texas Rangers scored 30 runs in the first game of a double-header against Baltimore Orioles. Baseball can also be a game with lots of excitement viewing them safely hit the ball and run around the bases.

Currently, the teams play a 162 game season starting around the first of April, with the last game the end of September.  Then the post-season begins. The final seven-game (if necessary) World Series is between the winner of the National League East, Central and West divisions against the best of the American League 15 teams occurs toward the end of October.

Okay, enough about the game itself. Imagine yourself a 30-some-year old player, married with children spending eighty some nights away from the home field sleeping in motels, flying to the next city after the game for three nights in another motel. Then getting up early to go practice before the afternoon game, or an evening game that may end after ten pm, then flying to another city for another three-hour game starting at 1:30, thirteen hours later. Hardly enough time to get a good nights sleep. This past June, the Cubs played 17 games without a day off.

Currently, there are organized leagues teaching, coaching and playing baseball/softball for kids as young as Five. If the interest is still there, the kids work their way through the various age group leagues and into high school ball and possibly college. If a player proves his skill there, he may be drafted into the majors to advance to the A level, the AA level, the AAA minor league level and finally to the majors if an injury does not force him out. Players are recruited from as far away as Japan, South Korea, South America and our neighbor Canada. A bunch from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Venezuela and just a few from Europe and elsewhere. China and Russia, none so far.

Injuries in baseball are quite common. A strained muscle or an ankle, knee, arm, hand or shoulder sprain can sideline a ballplayer onto the Disabled List for some time. There have been broken bones. There have been concussions. Some pitchers have been injured by a ball coming back at them at 140 mph. Some catchers have been injured by a ball slightly hit causing the catcher to miss it, and the ball knocks off his helmet or bounces up into his thigh and crotch. “ouch.” Umpires have been hit by the ball. Fans have been injured trying to catch one of those foul balls.

Each team must have a support staff of base coaches, pitching, fielding and batting coaches, medical personnel, and all those who clean the uniforms to have them ready for the players entering the locker room. There must be drivers of the busses to take the players back and forth to the airports, as well as people to pack the uniforms, the bats, balls, gloves, helmets, shoes, hand gloves and protective equipment they use when facing the ball coming at 95mph. There must be cleaners for the locker-rooms and dugout areas, not to mention the number of people it must take to pick up the trash left by spectators under the seats. A ground crew is needed to cut and mow the grass decoratively. A crew must be available to rake the infield dirt and roll out the carp when the rains come. The grass must be fertilized and watered to maintain the field in excellent shape without ridges and bumps. 162 times a year they play, plus practice sessions and games in spring training in the warmer climates, which stars in mid-February lasting to the beginning of the regular season.

Hmm, the players are at the daily command of the manager and owner for seven and a half months of each year. What do they tell the players to do during that time away from the ball-park?

“Yeah, good, four and a half months off to do what I and the family want. Ah, that three-week cruise you planned was wonderful, but I’ve got to get back into shape or I won’t be able to swing that bat, or chase after the ball as well as I have been, or I might be traded to NY or LA so far away from home. “Sorry honey, I’ve got to go to the gym today, and the media has requested an interview, and the charity ball is right around the corner. Thanksgiving, then Christmas and New Years. “Oh man, I ate too much, enjoyed the desserts like never before.” Five weeks away and a new season starts. “Let’s take a trip to Rome before the team’s golf outing in Florida in three weeks.”

The next possible technical change being investigated is eliminating the behind the plate umpire calling the balls and strikes, as there have been many controversies as to the correct call. “Oh, no, that was off the plate,” the player huffs and puffs in anger, “You are capable of making mistakes Mr. Umpire.”

The future may be in the digital world of calling strikes and balls.

Is Baseball still America’s pastime?