Nuns Pray, Rangers Lose

San Francisco was bedlam last night after the Giants broke a 53-year drought to win the World Series; you could hear the sound of the streets from way up in the hills over the Mission district. And near the ball park? Forget it.

But amid the din, and my own rarely-elicited hometown pride, I found myself wondering about those elderly nuns who have been praying for so many years for the Texas Rangers. They’ve had a few minutes of fame this season, what with stories in the Wall Street Journal and on NPR’s Morning Edition.

The NPR story in particular caught my attention, partly because of the lead-in: “The whole point of faith,” Steve Inskeep intoned, “is to hold a belief when you have no solid evidence to support it.”

Huh? I perked up, suddenly, on bad theology alert. But then I got caught up in the story, worrying how it would go for Maggie Hession and Frances Evans if the Rangers, having come this far, were to lose the big prize.

So now they have. And the Giants are coming home to ticker tape. Is anyone going to do a follow-up with the devoted Sisters? And what about the efficacy of remote prayer? It’s a big question in some circles. This may end up a test case: a couple of saintly women pray for almost 40 years and their team gets crushed, right in view of an irritated-looking Laura Bush (and yes, I was the only one who jumped up and yelled “Laura Bush!” when she came up onscreen).

So, no answers here. Just a placeholder, a reminder to come back to the larger questions about prayer, devotion, baseball — and, for once and for all, media folk, let’s work out this whole faith v. belief thing.

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