Monday, March 14, 2011

Things I don’t understand #82…

…Why I don’t observe Lent.lent_6316c

Okay, this is not entirely true. I know about Lent. I’ve heard that literally translated it means “Spring”. As a Christian it’s hard not to “observe” it, but my level of participation has always been quite low. After all, (as I have often said) there’s a reason I’m Baptist. But as the days(and years) pass, I’ve slowly come to realize that I’m missing an opportunity here. Hopefully, it’s not an opportunity to to prove how sacrificial I can be (“I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full”) but to be drawn back to the one who made the ultimate sacrifice.

It’s silly how silly we humans can be. We know that God came to earth, suffered, was tempted, suffered some more, and finally died on the cross as one final and definitive proof of his love. We KNOW it. But I wonder how often we remember it. I don’t. Instead I tend to dwell on all the stuff I already feel like I’ve given up in this life in the supposed name of my God and forget to recognize that no amount of forbearance on my part would even register on God’s scale. So after pleas from my current pastor and former pastor that I should consider giving something up for Lent, I think I might.

I think one of the reasons I've been so slow to embrace this practice is that my past contact with those “observing” this aspect of Lent many times involved them “giving up” things that needed no giving up. Non-coffee drinkers giving up coffee, teetotalers giving up beer, vegetarians giving up meat, non-duffers giving up golf…so I thought, “What’s the point?” Well, hopefully I've found the point. I found something to give up. In doing so I pray it will cause me to remember. Remember Christ’s suffering outweighed my suffering. That his temptation outweighed my temptation, that his holiness, righteousness outweighs my feeble attempts at godliness and religion. That Jesus’ sacrifice outweighed any the world has ever known. And that God’s grace outlasts all of my silliness and folly. 

I hope that the process of “giving up” will result in not only remembering the costs but the reward. That at the end of Lent, new life can be found. You know, the hope of Spring.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Things I don't understand #81...

…What’s a good Valentines Day gift.

So, it would seemed I dodged this bullet once again. (Hey, life’s a bitch.)(What? No, no. I said “life” and that’s what I meant.) But, I figured for all those poor saps out there staring down the proverbial barrel of the proverbial gun, I would try to help. It makes no difference if it’s a completely made up holiday or not, the clock for you is ticking like you’re heading into a ‘24’ commercial break. 

Anyhoo, you could get candy, but it’s lame. Pretty, pretty lame (Unless you’re 10…or attempting a little Valentines Day ironic humor). The default seems to be flowers. Do that, but don’t just hand them to her. That defeats the purpose. Sure, chicks dig flowers, but what they dig even more is their co-workers being jealous that they got flowers. I’ve made this mistake before, and well, look at me. So, flowers…delivered: check. Then there’s jewelry.  Honestly, I feel like jewelry is too substantial a gift to give on a made up holiday, but I guess if you’re rolling in dough, go nuts. But I feel like I need to introduce you to a little concept called “managing expectations.” I also hear there’s those(married, of course) who go the lingerie route. I think I grasp the pros of this approach, but it also seems there could be some definite cons.  I.E. the collective minefields of style and size (have you ever seen Hurt Locker?) and that fails to mention how the obviousness of your “motives” might be received. I wish you luck, but tread lightly, brother, tread lightly.

It should be obvious that you also must provide a nice dinner. As to what a “nice” dinner might mean for you and yours, I cannot assist. But this is not the “Price is Right”, so it’s much safer to ‘go over’. Oh, and if you uttered the phrase “Valentines weekend” at any point, I still want to punch you.

You’re probably starting to get a sinking feeling that this post is actually going to be no help to you at all. That really shouldn’t shock you, though. I mean, just log on to the Facebook and check my relationship status. Exactly. Consider this your first installment in the “Managing Expectations” lesson series. You might also notice that I offered no suggestions for the ladies out there. I don’t really think this needs explanation, but I feel safe in assuring you it will require no monetary outlay.

That reminds me, CBS Cares(my favorite PSA provider) has a gift idea that I somehow didn’t think of. Let me know how this one works out for you.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Things I don't understand #80...

...Hey, it is what it is. And as I end one sort of disappointment I'll probably immediately cause another sort. Because the topic of this blog(my first in more than a year) is the only serial entry. That's right, the BCS...or lack of a play-off...or most inexplicable situation is sports. Period.

The reason I'm still doing this some two months later than normal and 3 weeks after the college football season ended is two-fold. 1) I just read Death to the BCS. You should check it out. 2) I think what TCU did does give us a whole new perspective. If you're new and still not sure what's going on, uh, just scroll down about three posts. (Yeah, it's that.) I know, it's been awhile. Sorry. (Hey, I said, "Sorry." Back off.) Anyhoo, what Death to the BCS did was confirm all the things I believed might be true. It also revealed that the bowl system is more nefarious and ridiculous than I could have ever imagined. Basically, it steals money from institutions of higher education and provides "the man" outrageous salaries to put on one stupid game. What TCU did was confirm that the "little schools" do belong in the process of deciding a champion, which they currently are not.

So now we're going to see what a play-off would've looked like this year. If you want all the criteria, just scroll down. Despite what you might have heard, I clearly don't have the time. (Clearly.) As you view the first round match-ups, just imagine how great, how exciting, how riveting this would be. And don't be so quick to dismiss all those "small schools", either.

Fictional 2011 College Football Play-off Bracket

(1) Auburn (SEC Champ)
(16) Florida International (Sun Belt Champ)

(8) Arkansas (At Large)
(9) Michigan State (At Large)

(4) Stanford (At Large)
(13) Connecticut (Big East Champ)

(5) Wisconsin (Big 10 Champ)
(12) Nevada (WAC Champ)

(3) TCU (Mountain West Champ)
(14) Central Florida (Conference USA Champ)

(6) Ohio State (At Large)
(11) Virginia Tech (ACC Champ)

(7) Oklahoma (Big 12 Champ)
(10) Boise St. (At Large)

(2) Oregon (Pac 10 Champ)
(15) Northern Illinois (MAC Champ)

This year was interesting on a couple of fronts. The first team out was LSU which was ranked #11 at the end of the regular season. I think the highest ranked team ever left sitting at home. Because of that, the WAC ends up with the same number of teams as the SEC and Big 12. Talk about "level playing field".