Does God have regrets?

deflate-gate-patriots-colts-memes-5

Sorry, not the best quality pic, but it’s funny!

 

Do you think the New England Patriots regret deflate-gate?

It’s widely accepted by sports outlets that the team intentionally deflated their footballs 2 lbs. less than NFL regulations for the AFC championship game last Sunday. This gave them an advantage of greater ball control in the cold, wet conditions.

The Pats ended up destroying the Colts 45-7, and many claim that the indiscretion was insignificant to the outcome of the contest. Maybe so. Or . . . maybe not. Who can tell how many fumbles or incomplete passes were averted? And if it didn’t make much of a difference, why did they do it?

I’m less than a fan of the Patriots so my opinion is biased. They are consistently in the playoffs, and they have been consistently caught being unscrupulous. I know there’s a lot of moolah involved, but what about honor? What about winning without an asterisk next to your accomplishment? Continue reading

Some choose to be a Bi-vocational pastor. I’m softening on the idea.

Photo credit: Celestine Chua / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Photo credit: Celestine Chua / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Who wants to go into a profession that will require you to have another job?  It means that you’ll have to be good enough in more than one area to make ends meet.  Working out vacation and other benefits is tricky too. Then, as a pastor, there’s the problem of fulfilling your obligation to your church community with half the time to do it in.

So when I heard a few years ago that some progressive pastors actually chose to be bi-vocational, it bugged me. First of all . . . what a luxury! I’m not a professional painter, successful salesman or someone else who has the capacity to earn what my family needs. Secondly, their point about how useful it would be to have pastors who work with people who don’t go to church made sense to me, and I felt a little guilty.

I’m not suggesting that every pastor should choose to be bi-vocational, but I’d like to share with you what happened last week that nudged me a bit further in this direction. Continue reading

Intricate un-faith

Photo credit: Leonard John Matthews / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Photo credit: Leonard John Matthews / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

“People often have intricate and well-thought-out reasons for not believing, and we treat them with less than respect if we ignore this.”   

N.T. Wright (Outreach Magazine, Nov/Dec 2013, p. 100)

I wonder how often Christians are stopped in our evangelical tracks by an unbeliever who presents greater reasoning to reject Jesus than we do to follow him.  My guess is that it’s not that often.

It doesn’t happen much because it only takes one time experiencing that for a Christian to shy away from ever going through it again.  Instead of challenging someone else with changing their eternal course the conversation turns into us not having the answers.   Continue reading

Not sure I agree with Oswald Chambers on this one

Basketball ouchie

My Basketball Ouchie

By far, the most injuries I’ve had in my life revolve around sports.  I’ve had two root canals because of an accident during a High School baseball game. I’ve torn ligaments in both ankles numerous times playing basketball in my younger years. One of my teeth that had participated in the aforementioned baseball accident was knocked out playing football a few years later at camp, and I just kept playing.

That beauty you see in the picture above is the result of a basketball encounter from Monday night. When it happened I had a feeling there’d be a mark. Kept playing.  It wasn’t that I felt pressure to look like a man in front of the other guys.  Okay, there was some of that.  But, my major motivation was simply that I didn’t want to stop playing.

Continue reading

Invisible Car Crash Prank

Cruel.  Just cruel. But fun to watch!

There were basically two kinds of reactions in this clip: those who looked first and those who ran and then looked.  The woman with the white jacket at the beginning stood still and looked for the accident as four people around her dove for cover.  But some people jumped for cover even when they didn’t know where the danger was coming from.  My favorite is the older gentlemen towards the end who keeps right on going, gently hurdling minor obstacles as he made his way a safe distance from the perceived disaster.

It’s an interesting example of how people react to danger that isn’t real, and I think it has New Year’s implications.

Continue reading

Hope is overrated

English: "Mountain of Despair" -- pa...

English: “Mountain of Despair” — part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington, DC. Image is that visitors pass through the Mountain of Despair to the “Stone of Hope.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hope is overrated.

It’s a crap shoot that gambles away our perseverance against the odds that one day our circumstances will improve.  It’s a blind wager that spiritually bankrupts.

It has no substance.  There’s little reason to believe that things will get better.  We just want them to, and we naively believe that’s enough.

Continue reading

True Colors (Guest blogger: Emma Knickerbocker – 12 yrs. old)

One of Emma's drawings (Not from her project. That hasn’t been graded yet.)

One of Emma’s drawings (Not from her project. That hasn’t been graded yet.)

So it`s first period at my school, and I`m sitting in Mrs. Zitkovich`s class, minding my own business and trying to focus over Martin`s and Billy`s usual “trying to beat Billy up” sort of thing. We’re working on this poem I love called “The Highwayman”, and I`m checking over my homework.

The bell rings, and we all sort of quiet down a bit, not that much. Mrs. Zitkovich walks in saying, “Take out your homework.”

After we check it over Mrs. Zitkovich says we`re going to have a choice of projects about “The Highwayman” and all of them but one include drawing! I decide right away that I`m doing a wanted poster, but then Mrs.Zitkovich convinces me to rewrite the poem with another character`s perspective, which includes drawing.

So I take it home to work on it.  Then I take it in to school, SUPER excited, and I hand in the paper. Mrs.Zitkovich takes a look at it with a questioning look. “Why didn`t you color it?” she asked.

Continue reading

Shortsighted compassion

Jason Collins as a Celtic (Credit: Wikipedia)

Jason Collins as a Celtic
(Credit: Wikipedia)

He’s the first active athlete of the four major sports in America to announce to the world that his is homosexual. Jason Collins, the 34-year-old center for the Washington Wizards, had an interview with George Stephanopolous on ABC’s Good Morning America after his announcement. When asked what he would say to a gay 12-year-old boy dreaming of playing in the NBA, Collins said, “It doesn’t matter that you’re gay.”

He’s right.

Continue reading

The next day

Vanda and Dave at WilliamsburgI’m waking up the morning after our wedding with a sense of being out of my element. It isn’t because I don’t belong here, it’s because I don’t know how to belong here.  I am the same person and yet everything has changed.  Yesterday I woke up a single man with only the promise of matrimony.  Today I am a married man, terribly excited but not knowing what to expect or how to act.

Will I remember to put the toilet seat down every time?  How often is too often to play ball with the guys?  Vanda is British, and they have already thrown me with the crazy tradition of crackers last Christmas.  I’m still not completely convinced that everybody in the United Kingdom wears those silly paper hats during Christmas dinner.  What if there are other traditions I’m unaware of that will stress the boundaries of my comfort zone?

Continue reading

March Madness, is there an upset in the making?

flickr photo by ianmalcm

flickr photo by ianmalcm

Yeah baby!  March Madness is right around the corner. It’s the do-or-die, youthful energy that surpasses that of pro hoops. Thousands of kids from schools all over the country wear their colors with pride as their teams fight for the honored title of National Champions. And there’s one aspect of it that get me going every time.

It happens every year, and it seems to be a more common occurrence as the years go by. It doesn’t matter how small your school or its lack of a powerful b-ball heritage, as long as your team is selected as one of the 68 there is a chance to win the top prize.

Butler, previously unrecognized by most NCAA enthusiasts, surprised the country by making the championship game two years – losing by the final shot to the perennial powerhouse Duke Bluedevils in the first year. My favorite game of all time was the National Championship game in the ’80s when 8th seeded Villanova defeated top ranked Georgetown.

Lesson: don’t underestimate the competition.

Continue reading