Was it a good movie?
Did you enjoy it?
Those tend to be my main two questions in assessing the latest flick at the theater.
I don't pay a lot of attention to film critics because they tend — from my perspective — to nitpick various details that don't matter much to me. They're paid to find fault.
What does that have to do with GetReligion? Well, as a media critic for this journalism-focused website, my job calls upon me to spot holy ghosts in mainstream press stories and point them out for readers. But occasionally, I fear that I'm demanding a level of religious specificity that is no concern to ordinary readers.
Thus, when I read a story like a recent Dallas Morning News feature on good works by Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos, I'm unsure whether to (1) just be thankful for a nice piece that goes behind the scenes of a charitable player or (2) complain that the paper fails to offer any concrete details on the subject's obvious faith.
I mean, given the circumstances, it's not difficult for most readers to assume that Chirinos must be a Christian (something that the "Servant of Christ" mention on his Twitter profile quicks confirms):
ARLINGTON -- He had just signed his first professional contract. The scouts who signed him had just left his home. He was 16. His father, Roberto, told Robinson Chirinos to pull up a chair at the family's kitchen table.
"Never forget about people," Roberto Chirinos told him.
He never has.
Robinson Chirinos was telling the story again Saturday afternoon after spending the morning, along with more than half of the Rangers' roster, handing out backpacks as part of a Back To School Block party at the Refuge Church in Fort Worth.
The event taking place at a church is a pretty obvious clue, as is the additional context offered in the next few paragraphs:
The story goes like this: Chirinos languished in the minor leagues for a decade, barely able to squeeze out a living for his young family. After getting his first taste of the major leagues in 2011, he suffered a serious concussion that forced him to miss the next season and put his career in jeopardy. While on the disabled list, he attended a church service that moved him.
"The pastor was talking about seeing people in need and how it makes us feel sad, but that we don't act," Chirinos said. "I felt like he was talking to me."
And later, the Dallas Morning News provides a bit of information on Chirinos' relationship with the church:
Chirinos has worked with this largely Hispanic congregation of about 600 members in Fort Worth's diverse Sylvan Heights neighborhood since he began the program. It has since expanded into a block party where kids can get haircuts, dental supplies and refreshments, and the parents can get help with challenges like credit counseling. After Chirinos and Perez each welcomed the crowd in Spanish, pastor Carlos Ramos offered a prayer of thanks.
"What he is doing is vital," Ramos said. "Part of our mission is to impact people beyond this congregation; we want to impact the community at large. We want to help redefine the quality of life for this community."
So is this story haunted or not? Does it give readers enough facts to make the leap to Chirinos' faith on their own? Or does the absence of context on Chirinos' religious beliefs and their possible role in why he serves represent a journalistic weakness?
I asked a minister friend to read the story and tell me what he thought. His response:
That is great. The article truly showed the desire of most Christians to be compassionate in their communities and beyond. It also helped partially answer a question I have with every baseball game I watch: What are the wealthy Venezuelan ball players doing to help their impoverished nation?
"So didn’t feel a need for specific info that his faith drives him?" I asked my friend.
Maybe I assumed too much but I thought the sermon he heard at church is what inspired him to help.
See what I mean?
To me, the story needed to go into more detail on the specifics of the sermon. But maybe I'm just being a nitpicky media critic.
Your thoughts, dear reader? I'd love to hear from you, even in the comments section below or by Twitter at @GetReligion.