November 21, 2012
Here at the Collegium this week we will be celebrating Ausländerabend. The American students have been asked to host the presentation. Since we all come from the southern United States, we will share about southern culture. My job will be to speak for 10-15 minutes about American football. I am a little nervous, primarily because I’ve never succeeded in doing this before in English. Hopefully the German students will find the topic more interesting than my mom and my wife, both of whom are convinced, despite my attempts to explain, that the game consists in a bunch of men running around and tackling each other. If I can succeed in peaking some interest in American football, I plan on hosting a Superbowl party here (I would love to see the Giants and Broncos play).
January 11, 2012
I’ve been enjoying following the NFL playoffs this season. Wildcard weekend was pretty exciting last week with Tebow leading the Broncos over the Steelers, and the Giants eliminating the Falcons. Among the games this weeked, the 49ers will be playing the Saints. I do not follow the 49ers, but I really enjoyed reading THIS article about their kicker David Akers and the amazing turn around he’s had since last season. Oh, and in case you’re curious, I think the Saints will win the superbowl, although I would like to see the Gianst take on the Broncos.
October 27, 2010
I went on a run last night with Sophie. HJ and I go walking together almost every day, but sometimes it is nice to push yourself a little bit and to just plain sweat. I find running is a good way to clear the mind and pray. Now, there were a few things about last nights run that caused me to pray a little extra harder: (1) It is hunting season and I was running in the woods. Sure it was dark and hunters weren’t supposed to be out, but you never want to assume; (2) It had rained yesterday and there were many puddles; (3) It was very mild, making the possibility that snakes were out and about very real (I was sure hoping that Mark 16:18 is original because I was sure claiming it). But, alas, I got home safe and sound without a single out of the ordinary happening other than some wet running shoes.
September 29, 2010
An article this morning, focusing on the weaknesses and troubles professional football players face, grabbed my attention.
The writer described the reluctance by football players to admit their frailties. Instead, they put up a tough front. The writer, speaking about football players in general, noted, “He’s just a man, troubled and, in some respects, frail.To show weakness is antithetical.”
One player actually commented on the issue, saying, “In all my time playing and in 10 years of working with players since I retired, I can’t remember one guy, not one, who asked for help…You don’t ever want to show that chink in the armor, that you’re somehow vulnerable.”
Why is there such reluctance for them to admit weakness? One responded that perhaps it’s because “that means he’d have to admit to himself, ‘You mean I’m not tough enough to handle this?’ ”
Weakness. No one wants to appear weak or needy. The Bible, however, is clear that God actually delights in man’s weakness. Paul explained that God was in the process of teaching him to not only acknowledge his weaknesses, but to boast in them. For when Paul was weak, it made room for God’s power and strength to become visible in his life.
What about my own life? Am I feeling the need to somehow walk around like a macho football player who pretends like everything is ok? Or am I willing to admit I’m weak in so many ways, so that God can be seen as the “macho”?
Or furthermore, am I not only willing to admit weakness, but to then seek help? Am I one around whom others can feel okay with showing their own weaknesses?
September 21, 2010
So, I just checked my Facebook account. There are some people (not only on Facebook, but for the sake of example Facebook makes a good test case) who you can pretty much predict what they will be talking about. What bothers me is when someone writes on their Facebook profile that Jesus is the most important part of their life, yet in their daily posts all they talk about is, say, politics and sports, politics and sports. The message that sends me is that Jesus really is not as important as these other soap-boxes. Or perhaps it communicates that they are a Christian whose real mission is to transform Washington D.C.
So what is my soap-box? Do I reflect through my words that Jesus is really the most important part of my life? Or am I sending the message that Jesus is a part of my life, but this other area is what really matters, what I’m passionate about? My prayer is that I will honestly be able to say, like the New Testament believers who were commanded not to teach in Jesus’ name, “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
September 20, 2010
Fall is a great time of year. Everyone knows that fall is accompanied by cooler weather, pretty leaves, festivals, and, of course, football. I’ll be honest with you, this year I sense a noticeable difference in my attitudes towards football. Let me explain.
My wife and I do not have cable. For most of the year I do not really mind not having it. In the fall, however, I sometimes regret it because I am not able to watch the games. This has been my attitude for years, but not this year. Honestly, football is one of the last things on my mind. I think part of the biggest reason for this is that I’m really grasping how fleeting and temporary the game is. Do I really want to sit and watch a 3 hour football game (which has about 2 hours of commercials. Think about it: the actual game itself is only 60 minutes)? What else could I do with three hours. Could my wife and I spend quality time together? Could we go outside and visit with neighbors, go to the park, have friends over, be more involved with our assembly?
After the game, there are all the highlights of the games for the current week. But really, each week’s games do not matter. The games that really count are the playoffs. But the one game that really matters is the Super bowl. But if your team didn’t make it then you’re waiting for the next season. And the cycle starts all over. In the end, all the games, all the highlights, all the superbowls are forgotten and insignificant. What you are left with is the realization that what seemed so important and so exciting was really of no value. It merely robbed your time and was an insignificant distraction from what truly mattered.
I would rather devote my time and attention to things of weightier significance. I’m beginning to grasp things of eternal value, things that last forever and never fade or diminish, and honestly, football seems so petty.
So yes, I still like football. I’ll even be glad to watch a game if it afford the opportunity for some good “hangin out” time. And I’ll probably go to a superbowl party for that very reason. But just know that thrills of football seem like rags and poverty compared to the pleasure and delights of Christ. I’m not saying it’s wrong to watch the game or to have a source of entertainment, and I’m not saying the loving Christ means you can’t like football. What I am saying is that personally, in light of the fleeting and ultimately insignificant nature of the game, I find it much more rewarding to devote my time and attention to weightier matters.
March 9, 2010
Today I’ll be lacing up my cleats and hitting the soccer field, as Dr. Cole announces the need for more players to challenge los amigos this afternoon. I’m a tad bit nervous – it’s been a few years since I really touched a soccer ball, though I played from about age 5 all the way through college. In fact, when I was a kid and my mom would be helping me study or do homework, she would tell me to go grab the soccer ball and then, with it under foot I would study. She just knew that I could think better if I was moving or dribbling. I hope it all comes back this afternoon. If you want to join us, come at 5:00 to the intramural field.
Well, I’m back from the match, and feeling very foolish. I figured I would step onto the field and be able to run for 90 minutes, un-winded like the old days. WOW! After about 10 I felt like I was dying. My head, lungs, heart, everything screamed, “enough!” So I did a lot of walking and only ran when absolutely essential.
I guess I’m not in the shape I once was. Those short bike rides and walks with the dog don’t prepare one for intense running. Will I devote the energy to getting back into soccer shape? I doubt it, I don’t have that kind of time anymore. The name of the game now is functional fitness.
The cool thing about yesterday was the international flair to the match. We had at least four spoken languages on the field–English, Spanish, Korean, Swahili– not counting dead languages. In addition to the languages, there were many nationalities, including Irish.
January 8, 2010
Christ Johnson had a 2,000 yard rushing season. How much credit belongs to his offensive line? You decide here.