Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fathers' Day Tribute to Bowden

In honor of Fathers’ Day which just ended about an hour ago, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my favorite pastime, watching FSU Football. This is an appropriate reflection for post-Fathers’ Day since the coaching staff of my favorite college team boasts a famous father-son tandem. All I have to say is Bowden, and every football fan in the country knows the family name. If only the word nepotism carried the same recognition value by the elder Bowden. If you know anyone in the FSU Athletics Office, you might want to pass along this definition and the proper phonetic pronunciation of the word (ne-PO-tism):

Favoritism shown or patronage granted to relatives, as in business.

You see, Bobby’s son Jeff serves as a receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator (co- because he couldn’t do the job himself). He’s languished for years in the role of play-caller and overall architect of the Seminole offense. The underlying fear among the Seminole faithful is that Bobby will put a vote of confidence in his son as successor if the wily ol’ veteran ever retires. Dadgum if that don’t beat all!

As an FSU alum and 18 year supporter of everything garnet and gold, I am downright scared about the next season with the junior Bowden in the coaches’ box, headset on ready! I’ve been following the “Fire Jeff Bowden” bandwagon as it fills and refills each season (or after each loss). I’m concerned that its movement seems to stall about December 1st every year, after the disappointment of yet another sub-par season fades away.

I want to keep the momentum going lest FSU officials feel that things in the Seminole Nation have calmed and that the tribe is one. We cannot rest easy knowing that another season looms just over the horizon. The excitement of Seminole Saturday Nights (and the occasional Thursday) is about to light up the west side of Tallahassee. Thousands of warpaint-clad fanatics will clamor for seats inside the Bowden castle so they can go hoarse doing the fearful warchant. And yet, we’ll still have to suffer through countless 3rd and long situations and drive-killing, mind-numbing reverses. Again, we’ll watch the Bowden braintrust abandon the run quicker than Weatherford can say “hike!” And, again, we’ll hear senior Bowden make the same, weary excuses for junior.

If you care one iota about FSU football, you’ll help me man the bandwagon that will hopefully steer Jeffy to a faraway place where football is merely an extracurricular exercise. Don’t let the pressure up. Visit my friends at and show your true Seminole pride!

Oh, and Happy Belated Fathers’ Day to dads everywhere!!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Defending the Bridegroom?

I've considered myself a Christian since childhood, but only got serious about the cause of Christ at age 18. During my adulthood, I've witnessed many well-meaning, and not so well, but misguided attempts by those who believe they've cornered the market on truth and discernment to correct the rest of us. These self-appointed defenders of the faith--of absolute Truth--have made it their life's mission to point out the fallacy, the error, the downright blasphemy and heresy of those who don't hold to the same absolutes, propositions or interpretations of Scripture as them.

Lately, I've had a run in with a number of these hypocritical and hypercritical people. Since stepping out into this mysterious conversation often termed the E.C. (for emerging church or emergent conversation), I've been called everything from a weak-minded twit to a dangerous heretic. And not that insults hurled at me by anonymous online do-gooders really do much lasting damage, but I get tired of having the same debates over and over again.

Most recently, a forum that I participate in was singled out by a rogue, rightwing unit of the Calvary Chapel denomination, called Apostasy Alert. The leader claims that me and my online cohorts were trying to take the modern church back to the Dark Ages and Romanize evangelical Christianity all over again. The message thread was about one woman's nostalgic use of the rosary, a family heirloom, to aid her in contemplative prayer. The discussion was blown way out of proportion by the leader of Apostasy Alert and taken out of context to support her anti-Catholic rhetoric.

But I don't mean to single out one organization. There are thousands just like it in every denomination of Christianity. Want proof? Just Google the phrases "false teacher" or "false prophet" and you'll get over 20 million and 9.7 million hits respectively. Yes, I said million.

I understand that these people/organizations stake their tents to the Pauline warnings against false teachings (see 2 Cor. or 1 Tim.), but honestly who appointed them as God's watchdogs? When does Paul's letter to a first century church or a young disciple override the commands of the Christ to "love your enemies?" In Matthew 7 and Luke 6, Jesus tells the hypocritical defenders of the Torah to take care of the speck in their own eye. And wouldn't alleged heretics and apostates fall under the category of "enemies" to Christianity? So when do we turn the other cheek? Only if admitted pagans and heathens speak against us?

My problem with these defenders of Truth goes even further. Since when does God need any human to jump to His defense? Isn't Jesus the Bridegroom? Why on earth would a bridegroom need to rely on his bride to defend his honor, let alone the Bridegroom who is Christ???

If these self-appointed watchdogs, loaded to bear with Scriptures and ready to cut-and-paste at a moment's notice, were to put a tithe of their time and energy into actually helping a widow, a prisoner or an orphaned child, wouldn't they be exponentially more fulfilled? They might actually find the Jesus they're so worried about defending. We need more love and grace in the world, not millions of self-rightious do-gooders hellbent on making sure everyone understands how wrong, lost or hellbound they are!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Making Java History

Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 'Gift From the Sea'

Okay, I didn't want to blog about this until I had gone java-free for one week...and here I am! I haven't suffered headaches or dt's or excessive irritability (above my normal level) since kicking the coffee habit last Thursday.

In fact, as I sit here and type, I'm enjoying my first cup of decaf since going java-free, cold turkey. Now, this wasn't a well thought out decision. It was more spur of the moment. But last Wednesday, after drinking the strongest coffee i've ever made, I sat at work trembling from the caffeine and sugar rush (yes I drink it black with a heapin' helpin' of sugar). That day, I said to myself, "Self...this isn't good. I need to kick the caffeine habit." The next day...cold turkey. I was a little worried because I've gotten headaches before on days where I skipped the Columbian morning boost.

Well, thankfully, no headaches and we're a week into this new life. I'm not saying I've kicked the habit forever. This is not some religious ritual that I'll keep faithfully. But I feel that the limited caffeine intake (we already drink decaf tea) will be a good thing for my health. So if you've never had the courage to bypass the Starbucks, to go half decaf or to kick the habit altogether, take heart! There is life on the other side!

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Ragamuffin Reality

There is a man in town who likes to darken the sidewalk near the busiest intersections and shout at passers-by with Bible in hand and signage that suggests they are bound for eternal torture. Recently, I passed him on my way home from work, but this time there were numerous others sharing the same street corner and joining him in his tirade against heathenistic, hell-bound Tallahasseans.

You know, I can't help but think of all the good that he and his ilk are doing for the kingdom of God. I mean, if "you're all going to hell" isn't the Good News...then I don't know what is! I guess that is why the following quote leapt off the page at me when I read it in chapter six of Brennan Manning's The Ragamuffin Gospel:

The ministry of evangelization is an extraordinary opportunity of showing gratitude to Jesus by passing on His gospel of grace to others. However, the "conversion by concussion" method, with one sledgehammer blow of the Bible after another, betrays a basic disrespect for the dignity of the other and is utterly alien to the gospel imperative to bear witness. To evangelize a person is to say to him or her, You, too, are loved by God in the Lord Jesus. And not only to say it but to really think it and relate it to the man or woman so they can sense it. This is what it means to announce the Good News. But that becomes possible only by offering the person your friendship--a friendship that is real, unselfish, without condescension, full of confidence, and profound esteem (p.124, softcover).

My guess is that the passers-by could care less about the man's/group's theology or eschatology and are more than a little perturbed at the message. I'm also guessing that if they were to fold up tent and move on that little difference would result. I'm further guessing that if they were to take all that hellfire-and-brimstone gusto and turn it into social action--like feeding the homeless at the local shelter or volunteering at the food bank or (fill-in the blank here)--that they might actually find Jesus themselves!

And what if they were to truly practice the age-old saying, "make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ?" Would they not be more in line with the gospel message of Jesus that even "ragamuffins" have a place at the table??