Friday, September 30, 2005

Jews Attempt to Rip Southern Baptists

I had a hard time believing what I was reading when I read this article. I want to explore a couple of thoughts, and hopefully won't seem anti-Semitic. Firstly, it seems that "political" Jews have been nothing but troublemakers for centuries. The Bible is rife with these individuals--theological and political. I wonder sometimes if such behavior can be traced to Maccabean times, since once one reads the Apocryphal books of 1 and 2 Maccabees, the language sounds a lot like the one the ADL's representative used. We certainly know that these Jews did a lot to ensure that Jesus was crucified. I think these sorts of Jews do the Jewish people a grave and serious disservice. They're like the fanatics that give Christians a bad name. Second, I wonder a bit at the whole concept of the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship. Let me post a quick excerpt for those of you who won't read the article:
The fellowship is made up of about a dozen congregations in the United States. Its Web site says its mission is "to encourage Jewish believers that their ethnic and historical heritage need NOT be lost upon their commitment to Yeshua (Jesus)."
On the surface this sounds great. It even sounds like what the early church was--effectively a group of practicing, strongly devout Jews who believed Messiah had come. It is wonderful that new Jewish believers can enter into the joy of the Lord without feeling they are abandoning their heritage and practice. But for some odd reason I keep thinking of the Judaizers. This was a group in the infant church (during the time of the book of Acts) that said you had to become a Jew first before you could become a Christian. This made it difficult for Gentiles (non-Jews) to become Christians, because of such things as circumcision and ritual diets and such, not to mention the whole deal about following the Law of Moses. I'm sorry, I like my pork. Fry up that bacon! I don't know, maybe I'm reading too much into this. Especially since it's pretty clear this is a Jewish Christian group, not a Gentile Christian group. But anyway, more power to them if they want to witness to their Jewish brothers and sisters about the glorious Savior, Jesus Christ. And shame on those rabbis who want to act like children about other people sharing their faith. Totally immature, they are.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Of Mice and Wedding Registries

Well, I have officially entered into the realms of the whipped. I sat down with Tricia tonight and worked on wedding registries for not one, but two stores. That's right, two--count 'em, TWO--stores. Now, this whole wedding registry business is quite interesting. They give you a list of stuff to buy, and usually it's the higher-end stuff, meaning people pay more for it. And it's never in a set. God forbid it be in a set! You have no idea how much value gets placed on sets by people like me and Tricia--people who aren't really shopping-type people. If we can get it all at once we will. Like Dave Ramsey says, we just wanna leave the cave, kill something, and drag it home. Tricia remarked that even the whole concept of wedding registries is flawed. This is because some people don't even look at wedding registries. They just get you whatever strikes their fancy. This presents a problem, because you could get duplicates. I guess that means I have to look forward to getting ties and soap-on-a-rope from a few people. But I don't think that's as big of a problem as it could be, because some stores let you return/exchange duplicates. How nice. Though I think a nicer thing to do would be to donate the duplicates to places like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, or to your favorite humanitarian outreach group (like Wayside Christian Mission or what have you). Oh God, listen to me, I sound like someone from Queer Eye. I think I'll stop now and go to work while I still enjoy wearing colors other than pink.

Silly Game Time

Here's a silly game for those with blogs who are extremely bored (or like me just woke up and haven't the faintest idea what to do with yourself). 1. Go into your archive. 2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to). 3. Find the 5th sentence (or closest to). 4. Post the text of the sentence on your blog with these instructions. The modern church has become a reactionary entity, speaking up when the latest fad, attack on the faith, or church movement stands up and gets noticed. Oooo. I get a face-smacker. That was fun.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Linguistic Adventures

Dang, I'm on a blogging streak today. Kudos to Voyager Nick for this test.
You Should Learn French
C'est super! You appreciate the finer things in life... wine, art, cheese, love affairs. You are definitely a Parisian at heart. You just need your tongue to catch up...
And I don't even like French. I'm a Greek and Hebrew guy. How odd.

Holy Kibbles-n-Bits, Batman!

After having seen this on several of my friends' blogs, I just hadda post this for my one or two (haha) readers: Isn't that amazing? That picture is real. A Saint Bernard puppy named Elsie swallowed a 13-inch serrated knife with a forked point! Here's what the story (you can read it here) had to say:
There was the knife, lodged between Elsie’s esophagus and stomach. The puppy had swallowed it handle first. The only safe way to remove the blade was to cut open Elsie’s belly, which Carew did the next morning in a two-hour operation.
Here's a shot of the knife itself: Scary, ain't it? Thankfully, here's what the vet had to say:
"I’ve taken other things out of dogs, like shish kebab skewers, toys, small utensils, but never a blade." After plenty of antibiotics and intravenous feeding, Elsie was ready Thursday morning to go home to Scarola, her four teens and husband. “She was bright and alert, eating well, a goofy little puppy,” the vet said.
And now for a pic of the vet and that mischievous puppy: Shout out to Dee Reju for turning me on to this!

You Can't Always Get What You Want

You can't always get what you want You can't always get what you want You can't always get what you want But if you try sometimes, you just might find You get what you need! While watching Rock Star: INXS, I was instantly captivated by this Rolling Stones song. It inspired me to go out and purchase my first ever Stones album. I decided to get their excellent compilation Forty Licks. Wisest secular purchase I've ever made--this album quite frankly rocks. But it was the chorus that captivated me, not just the sounds. "You can't always get what you want." How true is that? Oftentimes we ask God for many things, and get very very few of them. Why is that? I have come to the conclusion that we have confused wants with needs. Wants are things that one can live without; such as a TV or the newest sports car. Needs are things that, if one does not have them, will cause death or at the very least severe injury. These things are necessities such as food, water, shelter, and basic clothing; and can be expanded to include other things as well, as long as they are necessary for simple existence. Suddenly I understand why men and women get drawn into affairs. It is a failure to control their wants. I am currently writing a sermon based on this chorus, and in the process I was thinking of examples of wants and needs, when unbidden I got a picture in my head of my old best friend under the "wants" column. I wanted her, I wanted us to become a couple and hopefully one day get married and have children. In the words of an old ministry boss I had, she consumed me. She would have satisfied my wants. But I did not know that she could never fill my need for a "helpmate." Second, I got a picture in my head of Tricia under the "needs" column. Something seemed so right about that. Something about her satisfies every need I ever had where women and relationships are concerned. Strangely enough, my wants are quelled in her as well! I have what is called contentment with her. I like that! So basically, getting what you want will never give you contentment, but getting what you need can satisfy you so totally that you cease to want. That's why all these men and women cheat on their spouses--they fail to control their wants, and they fail to realize that contentment is right under their noses; or more intimately lying next to them in bed every night! So they pursue what they think they want. This is an epiphany of the highest order. I must sleep on this and praise God.

Ohh, It's Great To Be A Tennessee Vol!

I went to work tonight happy, and I came home just as happy. My beloved Tennessee beat 4th ranked LSU tonight 30-27 in overtime. It was great. Okay, it wasn't "great" great. Quite frankly, UT sucked in the first half. They sucked worse than a Hoover vacuum cleaner. LSU led 21-0 at the half, and all seemed lost. Then Rick Clausen got in the game. He promptly led UT to a touchdown to open the second half, and all LSU managed the rest of the game was a field goal. It was like the offense had finally come to life under Clausen, which is scary when one considers that I am an anti-Clausenite. But I think it is time for me to lay that aside. Rick Clausen is the best quarterback for Tennessee right now. He is better than Casey (even if Casey was the better athlete). He does exactly what Tennessee needs right now. He plays Tennessee football. I think Phillip Fulmer would be well served to spend this recruiting season pursuing a few quarterbacks. We needed Brian Brohm badly, and not getting him hurt, as can be seen. Let us hope and pray that the rest of the season goes smoothly, and we recruit at least 3 of the best quarterbacks in the nation in the offseason.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Woe is Me!

Woe is me, for I am a man of a defeated Big Orange. Tennessee once again was possibly cheated out of a win against our archrival Florida. Tied 7-7 and driving for a touchdown, Tennessee passed to the 1-yard line with a spectacular diving catch. The receiver, in replays, clearly had both hands on the ball before he hit the ground and tucked the ball in as he rolled, never losing possession. But the review crew decided that the ball hit the ground, and overturned the catch. Funny, they overlooked the part where he had caught the ball before it ever touched grass. This negated an almost sure touchdown that would have put Tennessee up 14-7 at halftime. This completely changed the game, as Tennessee was forced to settle for a field goal, and instead got the kick blocked as a Florida defender got a hand on it. Tennessee would never score again. We lost 16-7 as Florida got three second half field goals. It is always in this game that the most controversial calls in Tennessee history in the last 10 years have occurred. There's the infamous dropped pass in the end zone by Florida that was ruled a touchdown (before replay was instituted), the famous slap that resulted in a penalty against Florida, leading to a UT score and win, among many others. The vast, vast majority of these calls have gone against Tennessee, for reasons totally beyond my comprehension. It's one of the questions I plan to ask Jesus after I get in to heaven. But all is not totally lost. Tennessee still inhabits the top 10. A national title is not totally out of the picture. But we must defeat LSU utterly next week to have a chance at this. Anyway, my rankings for this week are over on the sidebar, along with a new book I am reading. Enjoy!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Han Solo Shot First

While reading Dr. Russell Moore's blog over at The Henry Institute, I was reminded of a particularly nasty moment in my beloved Star Wars: the original movie (Episode 4) was changed so that Greedo, not Han Solo, shot first. Those of you who are Star Wars aficionados know exactly what I'm talking about. When Luke and Obi-Wan go into the famous cantina, they meet the smuggler Han Solo. After they leave, Han is waylaid by the bounty hunter Greedo. To keep from being captured and taken to the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt, Han surreptitiously took his blaster out of his holster and pointed it at Greedo under the table. Poor Greedo never suspected his death was at hand. Zap! Lucas, in the interest of making Han look more "gentle" (what a crock of rancid yak butter), edited the film to show Greedo shooting first instead. Just take a look at the Special Editions or even the new DVD editions. Isn't that the most horrible thing you ever saw in your life? Not only does it look clumsy and stupid, it destroys the Han Solo character in a subtle way. Throughout the original films, you see just as much of a redemption of a man in Han Solo as you see a coming-of-age in Luke Skywalker. It is extremely important to see that Han is a pragmatic character--a me-first, whatever the cost space cowboy. By shooting first, this is dramatically illustrated. It makes Han's evolution in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi into a caring, others-oriented person all the more remarkable and enjoyable. Especially when you read the novels. The wild horse reigned in and tamed by the beautiful princess and befriended by the prince. I am considering the fact that Han probably wouldn't need this redemption if he was not the kind of person that would shoot first. By the same token, we wouldn't need Jesus if we had not sinned. The importance of this statement is profound. Far from defending the origin of sin and the act of sinning, I feel it recognizes that we are fallen humans in need of a Savior, something many of us deny just as Han Solo denied: "I believe we make our own destiny. I don't believe there's some all-powerful Force controlling the galaxy." Such a worldview dooms us to an unsatisfied existence, always searching for significance and purpose. Just as Han in the days before Obi-Wan and Luke entered his life and turned his world upside down, before Jesus we are wandering souls in search of something better. Han's life was governed by money and the pursuit of pleasure, and Luke's entrance brought him into a family where he could finally experience contentment. One might say it was the will of the Force. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross offers us the same contentment and purpose, albeit of a higher order than Han's. Just remember--Han Solo shot first.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Jock In Me Cringes

Lo and behold, the jock within me cringes:
Modern, Cool Nerd
69 % Nerd, 56% Geek, 30% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 73% on nerdiness
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 79% on geekosity
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 48% on dork points
Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Human Relationships and God

This is a recent entry in my journal for a counseling class I am taking at school. The basic question was, "How do my human relationships fit in with my relationship with God?" I had such a fruitful free-writing experience that I just had to share it with you. Enjoy! After meeting with Dee, I reflected more on human relationships rather than just my own personal journey. These relationships, I am considering, are more and more what will help my personal journey gain significance. Especially in my relationship with Tricia, I have an opportunity to “search for significance” and in so doing glorify God in my relationships. I think this is because the human level is where we practice our relationship with God. If we have a triadic relationship with God and others, then the personal expression of our relationship with an “intangible” God is with “tangible” people. Certainly, the hope is that the people we are in relationship with will gain or develop a deeper “intangible” relationship with God. But I wonder if we have in some ways overlooked the aspect of how this tangible relationship affects our own personal relationship with God. This is what Dee is asking me to think about. As I reflect on this, I find that the more I attempt to practice biblical love and affection for Tricia; the more I learn to behave as the head of the relationship; the more I learn to sacrifice myself to her, since I belong to her and not myself, the more I realize how pitifully I have done this in relation to God. I find myself asking, when have I loved the Lord? When have I submitted to him as I want Tricia to submit to me? When have I sacrificed myself to him as he sacrificed himself for me? The answer is a very sad “rarely.” Is this common? I think it is, especially for ministers. In attempting to “be Jesus” to those around us, we realize just how short we are in our own relationship with God. I begin to wonder if human relationships are where God teaches us how we are to relate to him. In practicing biblical relationship principles, we learn not only how better to relate to others, but how to fellowship with God. So, then, should we work harder on our human relationships? I think we must. Without these relationships we have only a superficial understanding of how to relate to God. That is a sobering thought, that I have only had a superficial relationship with God apart from my human relationships. Have I ignored my relationship with God in order to focus on others? Where do these relationships fit in with my relationship with God? Have I been saying “no” to God when I should be saying “no” to others instead? What a turn of perspective, to first say we need to work harder on our human relationships and second to say we need to say “no” to these relationships as well. I think that the problem is that I personally say “yes” to the wrong relationships instead of the right ones. This is true of others in ministry as well. We are so caught up in “being Jesus,” in those relationships with others, that the relationships that are necessary to work on—family, close friends, Jesus—end up becoming secondary. I am seeing this happen even now with a good friend who is new to full-time ministry. He is letting his ministerial relationships and his view of what he is supposed to do as a minister “trump” his relationship with his wife and children, with his good friends, and there is a deep worry that his spiritual life is suffering as well. I myself am worried that I have fallen into the same trap. I never seem to have time to pursue devotions as I did in the past, and this rankles me. I keep wondering where my devotional time fits in with all this other “stuff” I need to do. But I was asked to rephrase that to something more appropriate, and the proper question (which I have started to ask here) is where do my human relationships fit in with my relationship with God? I think that, first and foremost, my human relationships must never be allowed to pull me away from my relationship with God. This means that the demands on my time and on my presence must be reduced, or at least told what priority they have. I cannot spend time with Tricia or with church members if I have to drop time for Bible reading or prayer. I must be willing to say “no, this is my private time with God, come back later.” Further, I must be willing to do this no matter what hurt feelings it may cause. In my relationship with Tricia, this may hurt her feelings for a while, but it will model to her that God is first in both my life and in our marriage, and that if I want to be the best husband I can possibly be, I need this time with Jesus. Second, my human relationships must never be allowed to pull me away from my relationship with Tricia. Without her by my side I am potentially like a ship without a rudder. It’s like having a Bible but not knowing how to use it. By making her my number one human relationship, I can put others in their proper place and more effectively schedule my time with them. I liken this to Jesus’ relationship with the disciples. It seems as if he never allowed his ministry to distract him from developing that relationship with the disciples, especially his inner circle. He always made sure they spent time together, quality time. In doing this, I will do things that facilitate a deeper relationship with Tricia. We will spend more time together as a couple, we will do more “couple” things, alone or with other couples, we will help each other become man and wife more deeply. She and I right now are talking about doing more things with other couples, as this is something that we enjoy, and we have found that being around other couples (especially “older” couples) encourages us and teaches us more about this kind of relationship. In making my relationship with her a priority, I can further prioritize my relationships outside of my own personal, immediate triad (God-Stephen-Tricia). We will begin to focus on relationships with other couples instead of individuals. I don’t really know where else to go or if I’ve even answered the question of the moment. I’ve rambled quite a bit today but I feel that the past 3 pages have been very informative. Let’s hope I did what I was asked!

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Rise of Notre Dame and the Fall of Coaching

Well, it would appear Charlie Weis is doing what Tyrone Willingham was poised to do this year at Notre Dame. ND has scored two major victories--a pasting of Pittsburgh in the season opener and then a massive, massive upset of Michigan this week. Now, don't misunderstand me, it's way too early to make any definitive judgments, especially since the Irish still have to play USC. But this made me think about something I've been mulling a little more seriously. I think that college coaches these days are not given enough time and leeway to do what they are hired to do. Ty Willingham is a prime example--those were his players that beat Michigan on Saturday, not Charlie Weis'. For all we know, Willingham could have smashed Michigan to the ground. But no, he was axed after three years, long before the effects of his recruiting and his coaching could really be felt. It didn't used to be this way! Take Tennessee as a case study. Granted, Tennessee already had a strong foundation talent and coaching wise, but it took Philip Fulmer at least 4 years to really get where he wanted the program to be. We lived through the Heath Shuler years (which were great) and still couldn't beat Alabama, but we stuck it through and let him recruit, teach, and coach, until one day Peyton Manning signed with UT. It then took another year or two for Tennessee to be totally where Fulmer had aimed the program--national title contenders. And that is exactly what we were Peyton's junior and senior years--serious contenders. We realized the fruit of all this time when Peyton left--a national title with Tee Martin. If not for the talent and increased level of play Peyton Manning brought, we'd have never had that opportunity. And we owe it all to giving Fulmer time to get his system and players into place. Tyrone Willingham could have had Notre Dame back as a serious contender next year, while spending much of this year showing the fruit of his labor. But in today's microwave culture, we must win and we must win now. There is no longer a sense of "work hard and reap the rewards later." We want to have our cake and eat it too.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Profile Time!

Well, I don't do this often, but I took a couple of those funny profile tests, and here are the results: Joan
You are Joan of Arc! You don't really want to hurt
anyone, but if they attack your friends or your
country and no-one else will stand up to fight
them, you head into the battle. Beware though,
conviction tends to get you killed.

Which Saint Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla AND... Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc. Interesting. Interesting indeed.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Movie Review: Revelations

Well, Tricia and I went to the big Labor Day flea market, and while strolling amongst the wares, I was suddenly distracted by what appeared to be a Star Wars movie. Upon closer examination, I realized I was looking at none other than a Star Wars fan film! I immediately became engrossed in the film, much to Tricia's chagrin. I questioned the guy, and found that his store (right across the river in Clarksville) often sold these things! Cool! After walking around getting totally bent out of shape over this development, I marched Tricia back to the table and I bought one of the fan films: Revelations. This movie was, in a word, excellent. The story was great and plausible. The acting was good though obviously amateur, but extremely convincing. The special effects were obviously computer generated, but spectacular. The lightsabers were very well done, right down to the look of the blade. My only gripe is that the fights were horrible. Lousy. Painful to watch. But I was able to tolerate it. If anyone has access to fan films, I strongly suggest they go out and get them. I was blown away by this movie and recommend it to everyone.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

It's Football Time in Tennessee (and Kentucky)!

It's about dang time. It's finally here--the first college football weekend of the year. I have waited eagerly for it! This weekend kicked off with work at UPS, precious little sleep, and then the Tennessee opener versus Alabama-Birmingham. And it was accompanied with my family's UT game tradition (started by me), a pizza. I've influenced Tricia's family a bit with this, as the only thing we eat when UT plays is pizza. But I must digress a bit--I'm becoming every bit as influenced by their Louisville-Kentucky game tradition of a party. We're having it here at Tricia's house this year, as Tricia's mom shocked all of us by getting cable this week. That is an unheard of development, but one welcomed by someone who's had cable all of his teenage and adult life. Tricia says that at least now she can catch up on Orange County Choppers like I have. Anyhow, with today's UT-UAB game, I am disgusted. Oh, it started well enough--stinging, swarming defense, high-octane offense, a kicking game that rocked, even if the kicker did miss his second field goal try. Erik Ainge led UT to its first two scores and looked good. And then the first quarter ended. For the next 3 quarters, it was as if they became the Bad News Vols--they were horrible. I don't know what the heck Randy Sanders was thinking--it was a totally different game plan. And then Rick Clausen came in and just made UAB's defense look like a pee wee team. Imagine my mortification--I am an anti-Clausenite. I firmly believe we are better off without a Clausen at the head of this team after what Casey Clausen put us through for 4 years. But for the first time ever I have to admit that Rick Clausen was the better quarterback. Ainge just didn't get it--he looked like the pee wee player the rest of the game, whereas Clausen was cool as a cucumber. His stats proved it too--he threw for over 200 yards. I firmly stand by my belief that a) we need to fire or demote Randy Sanders, b) we need to hire back David Cutcliffe, and c) we need a down home Southern boy leading this team at quarterback. Ainge is from Oregon and Clausen is from California. The last 6 pre-Casey Clausen starting Tennessee quarterbacks (going back to Andy Kelly--Kelly, Heath Shuler, Jerry Colquitt, Todd Helton, Peyton Manning, and Tee Martin) were all down home Southern boys who understood what football in the South and in the SEC are all about, and they played like it. Poor Jerry Colquitt--he lasted only 3 or so plays before UCLA broke his leg and ended his career. But he was one tough customer. Now, you ask, aren't I being discriminatory? You bet your bottom dollar. No other league (except maybe the Big Ten) plays football as rough as the SEC. No other league can match the intensity of SEC football. Yet the SEC gets routinely disrespected on the national level, for such novelty acts as Southern Cal or Oklahoma. If you don't believe SEC football is all that great, just look at what Steve Spurrier did at Florida, or Mark Richt's work at Georgia, what Gerry DiNardo and Nick Saban did at LSU, Houston Nutt at Arkansas, and Philip Fulmer's work at Tennessee. These are the premier programs in the conference today (Auburn isn't consistent enough, and Alabama has been off the map for a decade). All of these programs have consistently played tough, Southern quarterbacks (with the possible exception of the Spurrier years at Florida--Rex Grossman, anyone?) who didn't give a flying fiddle dee dee who you were on the other side of the ball. These Yankee (or Hollywood boys or whatever) quarterbacks don't know how to sneer and give an opposing linebacker an "in your face." Southern football players are the best in the country. With that, I must now go and prepare for my adopted team, Louisville. I've decided I can root for them comfortably, although not with as much excitement and enthusiasm. My blood runneth Tennessee Orange.