I am Roman Catholic in upbringing, but Post-Lutheran in faith, American in temperament, the son of deacons who have papal medals adorning their dining-room wall, unafraid and untraumatized by Catholic masses and elementary schools, a self-described "Messianic gentile."
I believe, therefore, that I am among those friendly to the church who nonetheless can feel free to critique her.
And so, a Friday afternoon baseball game, away in the mountains around Lake Arrowhead, on a crummy community baseball field, youngest son in the stands, eldest son playing right field and batting in the second inning, me coaching 1st base and keeping score, becomes in one awful moment another window open on the suffering of God. Another look through a glass, darkly.
I sent him to steal second on a crucial pitch, the throw was botched, the shortstop, lunging for the ball, collides with my son, his shoulder crushing my son's jaw as he slides into the bag. He collapses, backward, arms splayed, eyes closed, and is still. I can see some of the damage from the coaches' box. So begins a 6-hour side trip into the agonies of parenting a child born to me.
That, of course, was the least of the outcomes of the event. But our family has rallied around him, and we are lifting him up, and he is recovering more speedily than I'd hoped.
So. Just for the record, I love my son.