Saturday, November 28, 2009

God's Word and beatdown

Last year before the national championship game I blogged about Tim Tebow's eye black scripture verses, and how I wasn't really a fan of Phil 4:13 due to its chronic mis-intrepretation. Now my blog readership is quite small, but that post did actually get me interviewed by a big time newspaper writer for the Kansas City Star. Unfortunately I wasn't quoted.

While I may not have been a fan of the use of Phil 4:13, I am a huge fan of Tebow's scriptural accouterments. Each time he plays, thousands of people google those things-and I'm assuming these are people who don't have bibles or who don't use them regularly.

Anyhow, during the blowout win against FSU, the CBS announcer actually read the scripture verse Hebrews 12:12. It actually seemed to go well with Tebow's fumble. The only problem was that Tebow had "Hebrews 12:1-2." Some 10 minutes later, the CBS announcer apologized and read Hebrews 12:1 to all the viewers! Now he skipped verse 2, which mentions Jesus by name, but hey, not bad. All because of his eye black.

I'm not a Gator fan to put it mildly, but at least I heard God's Word read while I watched a terrible FSU beat down. Could have been worse I guess....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Non traditional takes on traditions

Once again, another Thanksgiving. And once again much to be thankful for. And once again, one thing NOT to be thankful for. The now surging 2-8 Detroit Lions, coming off A victory in which they lost their starting QB and WR, will probably once again grace America's living rooms with another terrible Turkey Day football game.

The Lion's players don't like playing on Thanksgiving (though their owner does); America doesn't like seeing them play, so why this match from Hades? The answer can be summed up and read, or sung, with one word: "tradition." That's it.

Sometimes traditions can be quite helpful and bring people together. I'll always fondly remember our family Xmas tradition of going to get a Xmas tree and then going to eat at the same Steak-N-Shake where my mom met my dad when she was on a date and the dude ran over his foot.

But sometimes traditions need to be changed (I love our fake tree and I think my parents love their fake tree now as well), and this is one of them. When a tradition's sole reason for existence is simply that it is a tradition, it might be a good time to tweak it or scrap it and start another.

I'm looking forward to starting some family traditions with Connar and Amy. However when a tradition outlives its usefulness, I hope that I don't give the same answer to Connar that America gets when we ask why we get stuck with watching another terrible Lions game: "because it's tradition."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Patience in Tampa?

10 days before the Bucs started this miserable season, they fired the offensive coordinator. 10 weeks into the season, they demoted their defensive coordinator. The only one on the staff with head coaching experience. I think someone with the patience of a toddler is running this organization. I could see Connar firing the defensive coordinator and replacing him with someone else with ZERO NFL play calling or head coaching experience. But an adult?

Patience is definitely not natural, but it is the fruit of the spirit (Gal 2:22). I need to learn from the Bucs and repent regularly when I expect myself, others (including Connar) to change immediately. This is one year, I don't want to emulate anything the Bucs are doing.

Fortunately for the believer, we don't get demoted, fired, or kicked out of the family. Trying to be a more patient person doesn't work; it never has. However, reflecting on this truth has helped me in the past and is a well that we can't run to enough.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Agassi "Opening up"

Confession can definitely be cathartic. It feels good to get stuff off your chest. In Andre Agassi's new book Open he confesses to a lot of things like doing Crystal Meth, and wearing a wig. I'm still bummed that hair wasn't real. And unless he apologizes to me personally, I shan't forgive that one!

Part of the reason he confesses is that it is cathartic. He mentioned as such on a Jim Rome interview. But part of the reason he confesses is that such confessions sell books. No one wants to read a book about someone if they're not going to confess something juicy. We could all fill a book with secret confessions that would either sell like hot cakes or make people think we should be shot. I, like Steve Brown, who recently preached at Hope, won't pick up another biography unless there's some dirt revealed. Otherwise it's just not believable.

Anyhow, here's some thoughts I have on Agassi's Open, which does sound like it would be a good read-and there's plenty of dirt. I wonder how cathartic confession really is if there is no One in specific to whom you're confessing...I wonder how cathartic it could be if there is no One who can declare that you are in fact forgiven, and no one else gets a vote...

Now I'm not expecting Augustine's Confessions, but I would be interested to know the answer from Andre to these questions. Should I buy and read the book, I shall definitely see and post how he may answer them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good questions

I've been know to ask a dumb question a time or two in my life. In high school chemistry class I was actually limited to 2 per day. But good questions can be quite helpful, especially in trying to understand, interpret, and apply scripture. Here are some helpful questions to ask when looking at a passage of scripture.

The benefit of losing

Tony Dungy is known for a number of things, but losing isn't really one of them. In fact, even in Tampa, he had only one losing season and a .500 season. But most people probably don't realize that before the Bucs had their big turnaround (of course now they've done another 'about face' at 1-8), Dungy was winless for a while, and if memory serves me correctly, he was also 1-8.

So he knows what it is like to experience losing. The experience of losing qualifies him to be an affective mentor to other losers. In fact it has even led winless
New Mexico head football coach Mike Locksley to seek Dungy out as a mentor. Allegedly there was some physical alteration with another assistant coach. New Mexico has had some violence issues, as you may remember, with New Mexico soccer player Elizabeth Lambert's "rough play."

Losing (game, jobs, family) stinks, but one thing it does is qualify us to minister to others who can't say, "You don't know what I'm going through." Losing qualifies us to minister to other losers. And even when we can't empathize perfectly, we can point them to a high priest who can (Hebrews 4:15).

Back in the saddle, I hope

It's been a long time since I've blogged here due to several reasons, one being that we were in West Virginia interviewing here for an assistant pastor position. I hope to be back up and running this week at full steam.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In the Navy

Today Jim Rome interviewed Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo, due to it being Veteran's Day, and the fact that they just came off a win over Notre Dame. Obviously the latter assured him an interview with Rome. After hearing the interview, it would be hard to see how anybody couldn't be a Navy fan.

The coach's highest praise for his team came not from their stellar play, but their character. Apparently just before the interview, an underclassmen starter wanted to make sure that all of the senior back-up players (who would otherwise not be privy to some of the benefits of starters like hotel time) were able to taste such benefits before graduating. The coach mentioned that this kind of attitude and concomitant behavior-though he didn't use that 'c' word exactly-routinely flowed from one teammate to another.

It reminded me of the attitude which Christ produces in the church, where through Him, we are to regard one another as more important than ourselves (Phil 2). Particularly those 2nd and 3rd string linemen those whose gifts may find them more behind the scenes than at the center of the play.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jellyfish from Hades

As an avid angler and lover of the sea, I've been stung by jellyfish on several different occasions. Never been a fan of them. One of the reasons I like sea turtles so much is that they eat these cnidocytes. On some occasions growing up in Tampa Bay, when I actually used live bait, they would get stuck in the cast net and sting me while trying to take out the bait fish. For one Japanese fishing boat, a number of large jellyfish did a lot more than sting them or make fishing hard. They ruined the day by sinking the boat. Check it out here. Crazy.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Orange you glad the Bucs wore Orange?

Well today I can proudly wear my Bucs shirt to the gym. They finally got off the snide, ending their 11 game losing streak, by beating their former hated rivals the Green Bay Packers. Literally when Tampa used to win a game against any team, people would drive down the street, honking their horns, yelling, "Green Bay stinks (although they wouldn't use that word)!" So obviously it was nice to beat the Packers, who haven't won in Tampa in a number of years. Not only that, but they did it wearing their ugly throwback creamsicle orange/white/red uniforms. It was one win, and they are now 1-7. But at that moment yesterday, they might as well have been 7-1. A comeback, a blocked punt for a touchdown, a 2 point conversion, a 4th down touchdown to take the lead, an interception return for a touchdown to end the game. A special day indeed.

Looks like Coach Raheem Morris' "union with Josh" may have afforded him another year of coaching. But then again, it's one game. Teams will now have film on the 21 year old QB. But then again, the whole town had forgotten what it's like to win a football game. Now we remember.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Soccer punching

Soccer can be quite a violent sport. It really can. Of course most of the real violence, like killing people, is left to the fans. But women's soccer? Yep, on the field at least, it can be even more violent. If you've not seen these highlights of New Mexico defender Elizabeth Lambert, whose smile belies her aggressive play, click here. This is quite amazing. Sometimes I wish I would have had the talent to play college sports. But then I watch this video and am thankful I didn't; I'm sure this would have been me instead on SportsCenter.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yankees and playing sports against girls

Well the Yankees won another world series. I guess it had been a few years. But when you go out in the off season and spend nearly 450 million dollars, you OUGHT to win. Players on a team like that ought to feel a little weird. It's kind of like a guy playing basketball against a girl. If he wins, he really can't feel all that proud of himself; he ought to have won. No glory in that. And if he loses, wow, he lost to a girl; that's worse than just losing. With no real pride and the possibility of deep shame, it's really a no-win/break-even situation. I think it would feel a little weird suiting up in the New York pin-stripes. Go Rays.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Freeman or Free men: Union with Josh or Jesus?

Well the Bucs are now the only team without a win, and at (0-7), I'm liking their chances to be the only team to go winless besides the Detroit Lions last year (0-16) and themselves during their inaugural season in 1976 (0-14). The only hope, if you can call it hope, is that they are starting their 1st round draft pick Josh "soul-glow" Freeman this Sunday against the old rival Green Bay Packers. The main problem with this situation is that Freeman isn't good. He wasn't very good in college, and that tends to not bode well for a good pro-career. Usually it works that way.

But the other problem is for the head coach and general manager. They have bet their future, perhaps their very future in coaching and general managing, on one man: Freeman. If he succeeds, they will have jobs for a while. If he fails, they will be out of a job. Perhaps this year, or perhaps next year. Their fate is forever linked with his.

This is reminds me of a term theologians call "union with Christ." In a nutshell, our past, present, and future are so tied to Christ, that his life, death, and resurrection in someway become our life, death, and resurrection. He died on the cross, so our sins were nailed with him on that cross (Col 2:13). He bodily rose from the dead, so that we will one day bodily rise from the grave (I Cor 15). His death and resurrection also means that presently, we have died to sin, and now no longer are slaves to sin (Romans 6). We struggle, but we are free from slavery. We Christians who are in Union with Christ, are freemen and free-women.

Now when it comes to Josh Freeman, I think the coach and GM are slaves to failure. I'd definitely be worried about being "in union" with Josh Freeman. Fortunately the one who is in union with Christ, has no insecurity. For Christ has already succeeded and we can presently live in that victory. If only I/we would believe this more!