Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Ode To Monday Night Football

During the first 75 years of the 20th century, the United States of America was only concerned with baseball. All the other sports were fun, but baseball was our passion. If you doubt this, watch “Sandlot” with a group of people in their late 40’s or older and see how much they relate to it.

I believe that the main catalyst for the growth of the NFL is the impact that one night a week made in how people view sports. ABC devised a plan where they would broadcast one game a week during their primetime slot on Monday nights. They added more cameras and they had big personalities in the announcing booth. They devised a plan to make the game more than a game, they wanted to make it an event.

What Monday Night Football did for the sports television is history. Now sports television was in Prime Time television. A game that only men were predicted to watch was supposed to carry a network’s night of television, a totally unthinkable thing. But 36 years later it has proven to be the longest running prime time still running.

Monday night was the last Monday Night Football game played on ABC. Over the 36 years there have been 555 games in Primetime. There have been amazing feats set and I have had the privilege of observing the last 15 years or so. Here are some of the memories that helped shape my childhood:

1.) When I was like 6 or 7 my brother and I received for Christmas NFL sweat suits. I got a 49ers outfit and Brent got a
Chicago Bears pair. The Monday night game in-between the holidays that year featured the Bears and the 49ers. (This
established my future allegiance for the rest of the 90’s as the 49ers were feuding with the Cowboys. I still cannot stand
the Cowboys for that reason)

2.) In 3rd and 4th grade my brother would run down the hallway into our living room and slide on his knees when Hank
Williams Jr. would sing the line of the opening “are you ready for some football?!?”

3.) Jerry Rice was the best receiver of all time, hands down no close runners up. He played in 45 Monday night games and it
was simply amazing to watch him work. When I would play video games I always wanted to throw it to Jerry.

4.) My childhood hero growing up was Barry Sanders. Every play it was possible for Barry to score. During the 90’s Emmitt Smith was said to be the best back in the league, which I disagreed with. Twice in the mid-90’s Barry and the Lions played the Cowboys. Both games Barry out played Emmitt and made me smile.

5.) When I was a sophomore in college, the Tampa Bay Bucs were playing the Colts and they gave up like 25 points (or something ridicules) in the last 4 minutes or so to lose on a last second field goal. I was in my room doing homework and I had the game on, but many of my Colts fan friends stopped watching the game cause it was a blow out. I called one and she didn’t believe that her team was coming back. So she called her parents to see if I was lying.

6.) Of course as a 10 year old I was not allowed to stay up and watch the entire game, so I was made to go to bed after the 1st quarter. Fortunately my dad would tape the game so I could watch it the next day after school. Unfortunately this was how I watched most of the games were Barry made Mr. Smith look bad.

7.) Probably the game that showed me just how great a NFL game can be was when the Patriots were playing the Broncos. The Pats were down by like 4 points and in order to get better field position the Pats purposely took a safety in order to gain 20 yards or so on the punt. The Patriots ended up getting the ball back and won the game. The Pats (which are now the bane of the Colts) are the most prepared and most professional team in the NFL, and that was just an example.

8.) Frank, Al, and Dan were my favorite broadcast combo ever. They were the three broadcasters of MNF during my formidable years of football knowledge. These three guys are the guys whom I base all my critique of announcers upon.

As I sit and watch the last Monday Night game, I realize just how much of a part of my life that it has been. I will miss Monday Night football with my dad and brother in the living room on Monday nights. It is a tradition that I will miss, so I say goodbye to one of my childhood memories.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Cats are people too!

So I came home and my bird was gone. Yes the sickly little singing canary who didn't sing finally met the big one. My mom and dad finally decided it was time that he was euthenized. So one day while mom was gone, my father played Dr. Kevorkian thus ending this little birds singing career that involved very little singing.

So my parents sat there all alone; no bird, no dog, no cat, not even a gold fish. For nearly 20 years they have had a pet, and now nothing! Talk about an unsettling feeling. Put this alongside the fact that they're still dealing with having no children in their house, and this only doubles the feeling of isolation. So enough about mom and dad, this post is not about them,

The hollow feeling they had led to them getting two 4 month old kittens. One is orangish with white paws and the other is black with white paws and mom named them Marmie (she is marmalade colored (I guess that's orange)) and Boots. They now have the run of the house. My parents spoil them and pretty much allow them to do whatever they want except sleep inside. They come and go from the house as they please and get fed for their efforts. (what a life!)

I've noticed that cats are very peculiar creatures: they come and go as they please and want to be entirely independent, but they're not, they expect to be taken care of without giving anything in return, they fuss and rebel when they are forced to do what they do not want to, they fight with each other and steal each others food, and they're only motivated to do something or go anywhere when there is something in it for them.

In the movie "Meet the Parents" Robert DeNiro's character is a cat person, he talks about how dogs are so dependent and almost need the affection of their owners, and cats aren't like that. He says you have to win over cats, you don't just walk up to a cat and it's your friend. Dogs, in his mind, are emotionally shallow people who just throw their emotions around. Cats on the other hand are emotionally strong creatures who don't need anything or anyone. Thus cats are superior to dogs.

So I was thinking about cats and how independent that they are and I was thinking to myself how much a cat is like a person. If you think about it they're like the people that we don't want to be friends with. They're like people with a "who cares what you think" mindset. We like people who are like dogs. Dogs care about you and want to be with you and love your company; that's who we want to be with. It's almost like cats are dogs with a sin nature.

Now don't get me wrong, I do not hate cats, in fact I'm glad we got the kittens, and I told mom and dad that they should get the kittens, and I love having them in the house; they're funny. But honestly would you want your best friend to act like they do? Or how about your neighbor? I think we'd love it if everybody we knew was like a dog.

So for the rest of my 'Holiday' break I am going to be working on being a dog person and less of a cat person. I hope you can do that also.

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Comments about Narnia:

So yeah about a week ago I posted about Narnia (sorry it’s been so long, I’ve had exams) and I said that I would have some more thoughts about it. So here’s my offering, take the gifts I give with joy….or laugh in my face. It’s your choice.

First I do not think that the Narnia books are biblical. I believe that Lewis wrote them for his neice as a way to explain some Christian principles. So when there are people out there, on both sides of the fence, who take the movie as either saying it’s obviously Christian or the Christians have stolen a good book, say what they do, they’re both wrong.

They’re just good stories that have Biblical principles implemented into them, they are not obviously Christian. Yes Lewis was a Christian and put what he put into them but remember he wrote them as children’s stories, not Biblical commentaries.

Second, I’m scared that the Christian population along with a mutated form of #1 is going to christen this movie as the next great Christian movie. But how many movies have come out and EVERY believer you know have it? And all your non-Christian friends don't. Like the Passion-how many people do you know that have it? How many of those people are believers? My point. I don’t want Narnia to be like that, I want it to be for everybody! It has so many good principles lets not make it into a movie that in 5 years is only in Christian bookstores.

Third I think that the Character of Aslan is the best in the movie! The power and dominance that he depicts is amazing! Yes I believe that there is a direct connection between Aslan and Jesus. It’s one that is even more powerful on the screen. I think that there is a powerful scene where (forgive me if you don’t know the story) he lays down his life for Edmond.

I would personally like to see them make all 7 books into movies! I think it oculd be done since Lewis has the characters age in each book. So they could seriously change them out very easily and make all the movies fit. So I would like to see them do it.

Those are my basic thoughts about the Narnia…not very much. I like that the movie followed the book. It was a great work and I think you should go see it. Regardless of who you are!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

How I met Narnia

When I was 9 I was first introduced to C.S. Lewis’ made up world of Narnia. It was Wednesday night CYC (now it’s like Wesleyan Kids something or the other) and my friend was talking with my mom about the Narnia books. I was confused, all I could imagine was this big old leather-bound book written like 500 years ago; but everybody else seemed excited about it so I played along.

Let’s get honest, my mom was excited about it so that means I was not. It was almost like she was forcing me to read these books, and I hate being forced to do anything. So I really didn’t want to hear the stories, but mom made us. She was mom, so we kinda had to.
At that time, we had reading time every night, my brother and I would go into one of our rooms and mom would read to us. It was something that we’d done since I could remember, so it seemed natural that we’d read those books at those times. So when my mom was so excited about it, it was figured that we’d read it at those times. So one night that winter, we started to read “the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”
As we read the story, it just kept getting better and better. Every night we hated to stop and there were many nights we’d stay up maybe 30 minutes longer than we were supposed to. The stories had us captivated! When the 1st book was over, we watched the 2nd, then the 3rd and so on and so on. We finished the entire series in less than a few months.
Over the years I have gone back to Narnia a few times. I’ll be looking through my book collection, and I’ll find one of the books and pick it up and read it. C.S. Lewis, though writing to children, captivates me and makes me want to go to a place somewhere in my imagination.
So when I saw that Disney has remade the movie, I was stoked. You see there’s an old British version that was horrible! I mean I liked them, but quality wise they are not anything I’d want to show people who hadn’t read the books first. Thus Disney with all its new graphic possibilities could make the book into a movie without damaging its already stellar set-up.
So Brent and I went to go see it and it was AMAZING! It was everything that I dreamed about, and so much more. The quality of acting and graphic work was solid. It was an amazing movie (one which I’ll prolly go watch another couple times). As we sat there it reminded us of when we were 8 & 9 sitting in our bedrooms listening to mom read us the stories. The feelings of emotion that we felt were not just excitement and emotion from the movie, but were feelings of warm memories that we shared as little boys.
The next couple posts will be about me addressing my thoughts on the movie! In the mean time, go watch it! Check it out! If you have read the books before, you’ll love it. If you have not read the books before, you’ll love it; and want to go get them and read them until you’re done.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Dan the Pyro

I love fire. I think it's the pyro in every male coming out in my personality, you can't beat a good fire. I think fire is something God is even facinated with. But what is fire? a chemical reaction? Oh no it's God's living poetry.

Have you ever lit a match just to look at the flame? How about stared at a candle for over a minute? Or just gazed at a bon fire for what seems to be an endless space of time? There's something about fire that's relaxing. You just don't want to look away nor ever leave it's warm embrace.

My RD has a fireplace in his house, I like it. We have our RA meetings by the light of it's flames. What could be better than sitting around an open fire and just talking? Think of all the Christmas songs that deal with fire and fireplaces, its in a bunch of songs! It seems that in the era of technology that we live in we forget fire! We like the clean, the easy, and the smokeless. Even if for centuries it's been one of the most romantic situations.

So when I grow up I want a fireplace, and if not a fireplace a lot of candles, and if no candles then at least a place where I can light matches. Just to see God's living poetry.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Would Jesus have come if man had not sinned?

I took a class that dealt with the doctrine of Christology last spring. In that class, the prof, Dr. Bounds asked us the question, "Would Jesus have come to earth if there was no fall?" I'll admit my first response was to say "why?" It seemed to me that there was no purpose to it, I mean he came to forgive sins right? So I reasoned to myself that no, Jesus would not have come to earth, and he especially would not have come as a human.

I believe that there is nothing God cannot do (outside of sin). This means that nothing is beyond the power of God. He spoke the world into existence, why didn't he fix the whole sin issue by just commanding it? It God wanted to he could solve the sin problem without involving man, yet He chose to involve His creation in the solution.

The tradition of the Church dictates down to us today that Jesus is still fully human; thus humanity has been introduced into the Trinity. What does this mean? It means that Jesus' life on earth has united God with his creation. There could be no better way for God to show how important humanity was to Him than to bring humanity into the Godhead.

God is omniscient. Omniscience means that God knows everything. His omniscience means that nothing can be taught to him, he cannot discover anything, and nothing catches him by surprise. So the result of Jesus incarnation did not catch God by surprise, He knew the result of the incarnation would be before the dawn of creation.

While God knew the result of the incarnation before the beginning of creation, He also knew that man would sin, and that He would find a resolution to the problem. If God could restore man in any way possible, nothing would be done without a purpose. All of God's plan's work, and all of the results of God's plans work; there's no other option.

Thus God's plan involves more than just the redemption of sins. Otherwise His plan would have looked different. Yes, sin was a big issue, it was a road block in the way of reconciliation of God and man. But God's plan involved more than just the a plan of redemption than back to Adam's level; he wanted it to go further. But where does the level of God's redemption plan lead to? I believe that it is to go participate in community with the Trinity.

So what? All of this may seem to have absolutely no relevance in your life today. But think about it, salvation in this light means more than just our sins being forgiven and we can have a relationship with God. Not only does God fix the problem of the lack of relationship, but he gives an extra sign of how important that relationship is by using a solution that goes above and beyond the problem.

This is the level that God places on having a relationship with you. He wants you to see just how much he cares about you! His whole plan is more than just freeing you from sin, but creating a route for as deep a relationship as possible. That's my God and his plan for salvation.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Bird We Don't Call Dickie

Since I have been 5, my family has had a pet; unfortunately the last 3 years it’s been a bird. My family has owned 3 dogs in those years, Goodie, Honey Dew, and Lady; sadly cars have hit all three. When Lady was hit, my parents decided to adopt a yellow singing canary; previously name Dickie. The funny thing is that Dickie doesn’t sing, and we don’t call him Dickie. Regardless he sits in a cage in our kitchen and eats seed, while I tell my parents to get a dog.

To me the point of a pet is to be able to enjoy having it. A dog you can play with it, and pet it, and it’s generally excited when it comes in your presence. Or if you’re a cat person, I can understand your passion because cats are like little people living in your house. You have to earn their respect, but once you do you’re their trusted friend for life. But a bird…a bird doesn’t even seem to notice when you’re in the room, let alone react. I think that they’re the most useless pet you could ever have, they won’t even let you pet them! What good is that?

Anyway, the morning we were to come home for thanksgiving, the bird that we don’t call Dickie, wasn’t doing so well. My parents found him lying in the bottom of his cage; with his feathers all messed up. No he was not dead, but he was acting very weird. My parents were obviously worried about him, but they left him in his cage as they went to work.

So later in the day as my brother and I get back from school, we discover the bird sitting on his perch quite disoriented. I have never touched his back but for some reason I discovered he would let me touch him. Not only did I get to touch him, but also he was standing there at an angle, almost a 45-degree angle. So I proceeded to investigate the issue. Apparently he couldn’t see me, and was trying to position himself so he could hear me instead. The poor thing was now blind!!

What was I to think? I have never liked that bird, but the bird had never done anything to harm or annoy me; it just sat in its cage. I was later that night sitting in a chair trying to figure out what to think about the whole situation. Should I support the killing of ‘the bird we don’t call Dickie?’’ or should I want him to receive the best medical treatment that ‘a singing canary that doesn’t sing’ can receive?

I wonder if there aren’t many Christians who we could consider ‘singing canaries that don’t sing’. We think of them as fringe members, and they just come into the church and they sit on their perch and eat their seeds. Then one day we see them and they look like they’ve spent the day on the bottom of their cage; totally disorientated. We walk up to them and they’re totally blind to their real needs, and there is nothing it seems we can do.

I think that Jesus would want us, as brothers and sisters in Christ to take them in and be a comfort to their lives. We should let our love for God and then them pour into their lives, hopefully helping them to heal. Even if they aren’t pouring into us, the body of Christ should pour into its fringe members, even if they don’t bring us the joy that we think that they should.

So back to the bird, I guess I should be supportive of its recovery; hopefully it’ll be ok. If not I’m sure that there’ll be a place somewhere in heaven for my little bird that we don’t call Dickie.