The Stat Sheet

I’ve noticed a turn of phrase used by sportscasters and commentators these days, they speak of players that “do a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.”

If you watch OKC Thunder basketball games on TV you’ll hear them make this comment about guys like André Roberson. He doesn’t score many points at all, and in fact when he shoots he seldom even hits the rim. Yet, he’s a starter. Why? Because his contribution doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. No one on the Thunder team works harder, gives more or defines team-player more than André. His defensive effort is relentless.


Our culture, more than ever, however, prizes and praises those that light up the stat sheets, and not just among athletes. We have data and stat sheets on everything. Even our current POTUS loves to brag about his own stat sheet. Metrics matter; to some.

I use a web service called Squarespace to publish this blog. In the Squarespace tools are analytics where you can see how your blog is doing in terms of traffic to the site. I seldom look at the reports because I’m not trying to reach the masses. I’m too out of touch to be a masses kind of guy, and anyway, at the risk of sounding like the grapes are sour, the masses are a fickle lot.

However, the other day I got an email from Squarespace telling me about a new analytical tool where I can see geographically where the readers of About POPS are located. Now that’s just interesting. I assumed that there would be two dots: one at my house and one at my mother’s house.

Boy, was I surprised. Here’s the latest report:


I’m assuming that all the visitors from China on down with the exception of maybe France and Australia, are probably dark web hacker types out to steal my identity and dignity.

Let’s talk about Christmas, the birthday of a King, the type that had to have been a huge disappointment to those expecting a big stat sheet kind of king. A big-league, loud, in your face, flamboyant kind of dude. (I started to add that they expected one of those tell-it-like-it-is kinda guys, but He was that and it turns out they didn’t really want to hear-it-like-it-is; and we don’t either.)

Remember the Ray Stevens song, the one with the chorus that went (asking about Jesus):

Would He wear a pinky ring, would He drive a brand new car?
Would His wife wear furs and diamonds, would His dressin' room have a star?
If He came back tomorrow, well there's somethin' I'd like to know
Could ya tell me, would Jesus wear a Rolex on His television show?

Without a doubt, my favorite painting of Mary and Jesus is the one painted by Caravaggio called “Madonna di Loreto”.


I love it because of the humanity of it. The realness. The rawness. Two pilgrims, not bearing gold, frankinscense, or myrrh; just two people, who likely won’t show up on any stat sheet other than the one thats says they were born and they died, kneeling in a moment of awe of a baby who would one day be their savior. And, He was a lot like them… human, poor, frail and humble; just the way God planned it, and of whom it is written:

Jesus Christ, Who, being in very nature God,
        did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 
        but made himself nothing,
        taking the very nature of a servant,
        being made in human likeness. 
And being found in appearance as a man,
        he humbled himself
        and became obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:6-8

The other day, prompted by a friend, I wrote this in my journal:

Christmas—it has been:
And now politicized
If only it could be realized.

To culturally update Ray Stevens song: Would Jesus care how many Twitter followers He had? Maybe he’s looking for a different kind of follower—the kind that doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet.

PEACE Everyone across the USA and beyond, and to you 11 Aussies.