On being done with NFL (for now at least)…

Everything is stupid.” – Ben Shapiro

… and that is a true fact.foreverythingthereisaseason

Preface
Tonight is Thursday Night Football and my Chicago Bears are taking on the Green Bay Packers…  And I just don’t care anymore.   Thanks guys. 

The Flag and the National Anthem
The flag and the national anthem are (supposed to be) signs of national unity.  They are something that should be nationally treasured and respected.  They are something we should all be able to come around – despite all the other craziness going on in the world – and say for the two minutes it takes to complete The Star Spangled Banner, “We are one people, one nation; we are united”.  And then we can go back to apparently hating each other for all the wrong reasons (politics) instead of the right ones (being Packers fans).
How do we do that?  How we’ve always done it.  You stand.  You doff your cap.  You put your hand over your heart.  And you’re quiet.
That. Is. Respect.
This is the flag over 360,000 men fought and died under to preserve the Union and end slavery; it is the flag the world saw lead the charge against fascism in Europe during WWII and rebuild that continent after; it is the flag the world saw defeat communism and tear down the Berlin Wall; it is the flag the world sees time and time again in times of global crisis rising to the occasion in no small part thanks to the tears, sweat, and blood of the men fighting and operating under it.

Standing at attention has been, is, and always will be a sign of respect for that flag and our National Anthem.
Kneeling is not.  Never has been.  It’s been a sign of subservience, subordination to a higher power.  You bend the knee to kings and queens because you have to – not because you respect them.  You rise and stand when the President walks in the room because it is a sign of respect.  You rise and stand to give a standing ovation when someone has done something exceptional because it is a sign of respect.  You stand at the table when an elder or a woman enters the room (or we used to – we’re kind of uncultured savages now) and wait for them to be seated because it is a sign of respect.
Standing = respect.  Period.  Kneeling = disrespect in regards to this whole situation.  The player who started it said as much at the beginning (see below).
Men and women have died to protect your right to do and say as you will – and that includes disrespecting the flag/National Anthem…  But having the Right to do something doesn’t mean you should do it.
All that to say – historically it is a sign of respect to the flag, our nation, and those that have served in defense of what we stand for as a people.  It is disrespectful to kneel; to say otherwise is to attempt to change definitions because you don’t like them – and that is at its very core dishonest and wrong in the extreme.

The Protest
You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts – and the fact that this protest was founded on disrespect for our nation, our flag, and our national anthem means something.  You can choose to disregard that if it makes you uncomfortable, but that doesn’t change the facts.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.”
~ Colin Kaepernick

This protest was initially a sign of disrespect for the US Flag and anthem – from the instigator’s own mouth.  Not only was it an emotionally charged protest – it was one based on a factually inaccurate narrative, one that has been proven to be statistically incorrect time after time.   Are there bad actors in any system?  Undoubtedly.  Does that mean the system is inherently wrong and/or racist?  No.

But since the time of the initial incident – a preseason game a year ago – the protests have grown in size with many of the reasons varying, but with the underlying premise that the US and police are inherently racist always being present.

And now, no one is sure what the protest is about…  apparently by disrespecting the flag you are somehow respecting the first amendment and insulting a President you disagree with?

The Players
You get paid millions of dollars to play a game…  To entertain us…  To take our minds off all the crap that goes on in the world for 3 hours a week, 16-20 weeks a year…  You are overpaid entertainers who I want to enjoy watching perform.  You get paid to do that.  You do not get paid to make political statements…  in fact, as pointed out below, the rules prohibit you from doing that.  But whatever.
You have chosen to take a game that people across the spectrum enjoy immensely, and have made it divisive.
In the beginning one, then a handful of players, made a decision to disrespect the flag/National Anthem to being attention to an issue that was emotionally charged and based for them (despite years of research, facts, and analysis pointing to an opposite conclusion).  And then, when someone (the President) pointed that out and escalated it (which was going to happen – you don’t get to make political points and then complain when politicians latch on to them), players on every team in the league decided that instead of trying to show unity through respect – they were going to disrespect the flag en masse in order to voice political displeasure with a man…  Disappointing.
Bottom line – you made football political and now you are reaping the consequences of your actions.  You’re completely entitled to freedom of speech and of expression, and if your bosses are cool with you violating the rules of the game and disrespecting the flag and National Anthem to do it – go for it!  But don’t think there aren’t going to be consequences, and don’t think that if your boss tells you to check your politics at the door you have the right to ignore them – you don’t.
Maybe you should remember that we want to watch football and leave politics at the door for a few hours every weekend.  Maybe you should appreciate the fact that you make millions of dollars to play a game.  Maybe you should take the platform you have OUTSIDE the game itself to go and make your political points like the rest of us who don’t bring politics to work because IT’S NOT THE PLACE FOR IT.  And maybe you should use reason and facts to determine what points you want to make…  and maybe you should find respectful ways to do it.  Just maybe.

The President
Hey…  Donald Trump was… Well, Donald Trump again!  And the left lost its mind…  again.  He saw something he thought he could win on, and by God, he grabbed it by the horns.  Giving a speech in Alabama he went after those football players who have decided to protest whatever it is they’re protesting by calling for their owners to fire them over what he perceives as disrespect for America, its veterans, its flag, and its national anthem; as well as advocating boycotting until the NFL or owners did something about it.  Receiving the ultimately predictable blowback from the Left, the Donald doubled down on Twitter as he is apt to do.
Now…  Do I agree with the general sentiment expressed by the President?  Yes.  Do I think the President of the United States should call for the firing of anybody?  Yes – those public officials in the service of the Federal Government that refuse to implement legally issued orders, etc.  Outside of that – no.  He shouldn’t.  It’s in bad form, and he could have been perfectly fine just saying he disagreed with their actions – most of us do.  But he didn’t, and it is what it is now.
The President will have his defenders who say he was completely justified – I don’t think he was in the firing and boycott comments, but he will have them.  And there will be his detractors who say he shouldn’t have said anything and protests should be all about him now…  this is how stupid things have gotten.
Maybe the President of the US should stick to governing…  maybe he should work more on trying to get tax reform passed, etc.  Just maybe.

The Owners
Couldn’t for once you guys just do your job and tell your players to follow the rules?  You guys have a mess on your hands – the NFL has a ton of problems, and you guys aren’t helping.  I would suggest you start by getting a new Commish, and establishing a uniform code of conduct where you guys actually don’t have to spend so much time in court fighting suspensions and dealing with fallout because of the actions of your players on and off the field.  And maybe instead of buying into the idea that you need to join in the fight with the President and the players – you try to be the bigger men (clearly those two parties aren’t going to) and leave the politics at the door?  I don’t need to see you on the field, I don’t need to hear your statements – I need you to put a product on the field and on my television I want to watch again.

The NFL
The NFL sucks – bottom line.  This is an organization that just fails all over the place when it comes to its rules and the enforcement thereof.  Roger Gooddell shouldn’t be getting an extension, they should be finding somebody competent to lead the organization that is suffering mightily from issue after issue.

This is the organization that doesn’t have a uniform way of dealing with players that have legal issues.

The organization that has terrible processes in place for disciplining (or not disciplining) players who’s conduct off the field is detrimental to the game.

The organization that has done a terrible job dealing with the CTE/concussion issue.

The organization that allowed – in violation of its own rules (Rule 5, Section 4, Article 8) – Colin is a crappyquarterback-nick and subsequent players to make political statements during game-day without punishment.

The organization that refused to allow the Dallas Cowboys to wear decals honouring the slain police officers last year.

The organization that refused to allow – and threatened to fine – players who wanted to commemorate 9-11 with apparel, etc.

This…  this is a craptastic organization that needs to get its stuff together.

Instead of allowing itself to be drawn into the political arena – it should enforce its rules and maintain a strict apolitical policy: it should stick to football.  The game we all want to enjoy without all the outside stuff.
Go get a new commissioner and get stuff straightened out – you’ve got a long way to go before fans view you the same again (check your ratings the last few years, you might learn something).

The Commentators / ESPN / et al.
Hey, guess what guys?  President Trump didn’t make this an issue.  He didn’t polarize the sport.  He wasn’t the one to turn football into a politically divisive issue.  The players and you were.

Did he make it worse?  Yeah, he did – but then you had to up the ante.

People don’t turn to you for political insight – you’re sportscasters, sports journalists, etc.  Cover sports.  And when people try to make sports political – remember that no matter what, you’re going to alienate half your audience so maybe you should stick to….  SPORTS!  So stop your handwringing.  Stop blaming the President for the mess you helped get us into.  Start covering sports again – maybe we’ll come back and watch you again someday if you figure that out.
Also, I’ve had people who I generally like to think have two brain cells to rub together accuse the President of doing this because he’s racist – and that he only ever attacks people of colour.  Now, either they have no integrity or the shortest memories/attention spans known to man.  This assertion is so blatantly false it almost merits no comment – but they get to make that false claim over and over again without being called out on it: not gonna happen.  This president calls out anybody and everybody that disagrees with him – for better or worse (as is generally the case).  He spent the campaign going after everybody in the media, his competition, Hillary Clinton, etc….  ANYBODY AND EVERYBODY.  Trump isn’t racist – never has been, never will be.  He’s done the work in his business and personal life to prove it – if you’re going to ignore that, please just shut your cakehole. 

ME
* I respect the fact that good friends of mine disagree with me on some of this
          I will point out, that whether or not kneeling is a sign of disrespect is not something I’m willing to budge on.  You don’t get to change definition because you don’t like them, it is a sign of disrespect.
          I am also willing to discuss this – but if we disagree, I expect the discussion to be well-reasoned, factual (you don’t get to make your own facts up – come correct or don’t come at all), and as absent emotional outbursts as possible.

But as for me…  Like I said at the beginning: I just don’t care anymore.
This last Sunday was the first time I can remember not turning on a single NFL game…  It was sad for me.  This was the first Monday night I didn’t check to see who was winning.  It was the first weekend I just didn’t give a flying rat’s tail about my fantasy football teams.
Thanks, guys.  You’ve taken one of the great passions of my life and crapped all over it.
In my life I am passionate and knowledgeable about very few things: politics and football were two of them.  And I liked the fact that there was nothing political about watching my Bears take on whoever.  There was nothing political about who I drafted in fantasy football and made games I could otherwise give a hoot about interesting.  And you had to go and mix the two.  Again, thanks.
Football is a game, and while it is a game I enjoy – I will not be party to making a plethora of people who think it is alright to disrespect the flag (or warp the meaning so that they feel they’re not) richer than they already are….  for playing a game.
My personal boycott of the NFL started last Sunday, and will continue until such time as it is practice across the league to recognize that respecting the flag and the National Anthem are important and not optional; and that politics is not something I have to hear about before, during, and after a game.
I want to enjoy the game again… and you’re making it impossible.  I hope to be able to come back someday, but until then I’m hanging up my Bears jerseys and making time on my Sunday for more napping..  I’m out.

On Not Being Cursed…

Verse of the Day:

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes.

They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lordwhose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream

It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
~ Jeremiah 17:5-8 ~

scandal

So this wasn’t part of my regular Bible study, but recent events made me think of it: Republicans in different camps are upset with a good number of people today for a variety of reasons – one side is perturbed that President Trump didn’t even attempt to negotiate a deal re: the debt ceiling, another that we increased the debt ceiling at all, one that blames Speaker Ryan and Republican leadership for failing to see this coming and get in front of it, some at Messrs. Ryan and McConnell for just rolling over, and some (ok… most all) at the GOP led Congress for not getting anything done in 6 months after they’ve been saying for seven years ‘If only we had the House, Senate, AND the White House we could get stuff done”.  Not going to lie – I fall into a couple of those camps myself.

But it made me think of how much hope and trustpsalm1463 and faith we as people put into politicians….  and how much we really shouldn’t.
It’s something people on all sides of the political spectrum do: President Clinton was going to save the Democratic Party, President Bush was going to restore prestige to the Oval Office, according to President Obama – he was going to stop the rise of the oceans or some such nonsense, etc… I personally  yearned for the day when then-Governor Sanford would run for President – he was going to save the country with his sound policies, but he couldn’t even save his marriage because of his unsound morals (talk about a heart-breaking disappointment); then there was Governor Romney – probably the most qualified, morally upright person to run for President in recent memory; then there was Messr. Ryan (actually – he was before Gov. Romney, and I won’t lie – I’ve had a policy crush on Messr. Ryan since his early Roadmaps…  it was so dreamy) – I personally had so much faith and hope placed in him that his transformation as head cat wrangler Speaker has been soooooo disappointing I have a hard time finding the words to explain it (understandable seeing as he has a caucus that’s stupid to the nth degree, but still); and somewhere in there was Gov. Walker and Senator Rubio – both who I still think have bright futures.  And lastly I figured while the GOP controlled Congress wasn’t going to do anything substantive I might as well embrace The Donald – he may not share many of my convictions, but at least he ticked off all the right people.  And there was no way he was going to deal with Mme. Pelosi or Messr. Schumer….  And then yesterday happened.  GRRRRR…  I give up.  😉
Recently people put a good deal of faith in Donald Trump: he was going to build a wall, drain the swamp, take the national debt seriously in an Andrew Jackson kind of way; he along with a Republican Congress were going to repeal Obamacare, revise the tax code, etc…  And we know how that’s going right now.

But there is so much faith put in these folks, that I think we forget that’s what they are: merely human.  Individuals who are gifted with power, but who still have to deal with being deeply flawed people.  And when we put that much faith in men, we’re bound to be disappointed – which will lead to feelings of frustration and anger, and we too often take those out on the folks around us, or let it go into the ether that is social media…  And that just leads to the society we have today where everybody is angry so much of the time that we need to just take time away from it all.

It’s not worth it.

I could stop there really, but I won’t.   Still – it’s not worth it.  There is so much out there we should be doing, so much of God’s love we should be showing to our neighbours, that we really need to stop placing so much trust in people (maybe especially politicians – if you don’t give them that much power over your emotions/etc., maybe they won’t be that important overall) and start putting it back in the Creator of all things.

Look, I’m disappointed in a government that slowly encroaches on more and more of my life, I’m disappointed in a Republican party that lets it and doesn’t move on big issues to reform/reduce the size and scope of government, I’m disappointed in a President that is petty and doesn’t seem to have any core beliefs, I’m disappointed in a media that doesn’t care about the truth or the facts – only their agenda… And often that disappointment slips out as anger – it’s something I’m working on (maybe not hard enough(?)), work on it with me?  If we all work on it together, maybe we’ll get to a place where no matter what the douchebags in D.C. or Olympia or wherever do – we can still be filled with joy and be pleasant to one another.  Maybe.

Now, from today’s study:

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And that is a true fact.

On The Ending of an Extra-/Un-Constitutional Era(?)…

daca

Today President Trump issued a statement outlining the end of DACA, and I don’t think I could be happier with this President right now; he has kept his promises and he’s found a way in this instance to do it in such a manner that gives Congress time to make changes to the law so that it is – in some people’s views – more compassionate.  (Update: under the president’s statement – nothing really changes…  the government just stops handing out papers that aren’t legit anyways.  He could/should have gone further to actually faithfully execute the laws of the land.)

DACA at its best was a well-intentioned un-Constitutional exercise of Executive authority – something that even President Obama had the intellectual integrity to admit…  several times; he just didn’t care in the end.  At its worst it was an ill-intentioned attempt to win votes.  I imagine it falls somewhere in-between the two.

But either way – it was an un- and extra-Constitutional abuse of Executive powers.  The US Constitution clearly – CLEARLY places the entirety of onus on the Legislative branch of our government to craft immigration policy:

The Congress shall have to power… To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization…
~ U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 ~

DACA was clearly not included in any immigration law passed to this date, and as such is not a legitimate execution of said law – something the President of the United States is sworn to do.

Now, the President and many members of the Congress have expressed a desire for the program to continue, but as the President’s statement concluded – it’s the legislature’s job to make it law.  Allowing for the gradual phase-out of the program – where the first allowances begin to expire in six months and extend out for up to 24 month – gives the Congress ample time to pass a lawful version of DACA; heck, they could pass the exact same thing that’s in place right now if they wanted to – I’m just not sure this Congress is capable of passing even gas right now.  But again – THAT IS THEIR PREROGATIVE – and to circumvent that is to circumvent the law: I have no taste for that, and neither should you.

For all my friends: this is a policy issue – nothing more, nothing less.
Good people can disagree on immigration policy, believe it or not – there is no need to demonize or assume the worst about somebody because they opine contrasting viewpoints.  None of us is a better person because we want stricter border control, or because we want to take in more refugees or what-have-you – there are legitimate concerns and points on these across the spectrum – let’s respect each others’ right to differing opinions.  I have many I hold dear that desire a much stricter immigration policy and many that believe immigration should be reformed to be more expansive – and none of them are evil people because of it.  Could we have a policy discussion without assuming the worst about everyones’ motives, please?  Please?!  For the love of all that’s holy?!
  I’m begging everybody here!

For my friends on the Right: I imagine if Congress takes this on and successfully passes it but is unable to repeal Obamacare, pass tax reform, or build a security structure on the southern border – you won’t be too happy.  Nor should you be – promises were made, and the impotence and incompetence of this Congress should be punished.  Unfortunately – the left’s policy agenda is worse than the feckless agenda of Republicans today. Do with this majority what you will.  In regards to DACA, you should take time to acknowledge that most of the recipients have been here a long time – a good deal of them not by their own volition.  We perhaps should take that into account when drafting a policy prescription, and perhaps we should work together to figure this out.

For my friends on the Left: stop lying already, and stop acting like the world is coming to an end every time the President does something you don’t like – we dealt with it for eight years, you’ll make it through at least another three.  I’ve seen far too many posts about how the President is kicking out hundreds of thousands of children – that is false and you know it: DACA recipients were mostly in their 20s.  I’ve seen you try to make an equivalence between abortion and illegal immigrants (“You can’t be pro-life and anti-DACA, HYPOCRITES!”) – get real, and get smart – that’s a crap argument and as dishonest as it gets, and if you don’t know it I worry for your mental well-being.  I’ve seen you tell me I can’t be a Christian if I don’t agree with you on immigration policy and DACA – PUH-LEEEEESE, apparently unlike you I can accept that in order for a government to function the law must be followed and enforced, and as a Christian we can have different ideas on what national policy should be – you don’t get to tell people what their faith dictates policy-wise.  This all comes down to the fact that President Obama said time-and-time again that he didn’t have the authority to do this but he did it anyways, and now we have a President that actually believes in his proper role in governing.

For eight years we had an administration that ruled through Executive Order on the big things – this is what happens when you embrace such a form of governance: the other guy is just going to come in and undo what you liked…  If he’s inclined – he may try to do stuff you don’t like too.  You want DACA to continue?  Urge your Representatives and Senators to work together to create a constitutional, legislative fix.  The President said he’d sign it – he even gave them quite a bit of time to do it; so stop acting like he’s the big evil bogey-man because he believes the law says what it says and means what it means.

All that to say: finally.  The President kept his word and has consistently – if ham-handedly – tried to carry through with what he said he would if elected.  And, as stated above, he did it while being gracious and compassionate and allowing the system to figure itself out to reach a more amicable, legal decision.  Bully for him!


Now, in other things – join me in donating to these places for Harvey relief:

JJ Watt’s Houston Flood Relief Fund (He’s gonna make sure it goes to a good place)
Houston Food Bank (I don’t know what % goes to folks on the ground – but it’s a great place to give from everything I’ve looked into)
Church of God Ministries (100% goes to help on the ground)
Salvation Army

While the Southeast floods, the Northwest burns – I’m still looking for places to give here….  Donated to the local Salvation Army because I know they do good work.  If I find more, I’ll share it.

On Needing My Pain (and other emotions) – or On The Vulcan Influence…

Because I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul and tie as much as possible into Star Trek…  And Star Trek V isn’t as bad as everyone else makes it out to be – especially since JJ Abrams tried to murder the franchise.

Today we had a guest speaker at church, Jim Lyon – his message can be found here.  I thought the message was especially interesting since it provides the counter-argument to the Stoic line of thought that I’ve been reading in Meditations: where one argues that evil comes from emotion and they should be suppressed in favor of reason and intellect (the Stoic school of thought dumbed down as much as I possibly can here); while the other argues emotions are part and parcel of being the wonderful creations we are – in God’s own image no less.

Now, emotions are not something I’m generally comfortable talking about; c’mon, I’m a guy – can’t we talk about football instead?  But they are something I’ve learned to deal with a little bit better in the last year or so; whereas the emotions I find easiest to express are probably not the healthiest – anger and frustration, the rest escape me most of the time – just they way I’m wired.  
In the past, you could find me ensconced in politics 24/7/365 – it was what I loved, what I lived for from the time I was in middle school until I was 34, and I like to think I was semi-competent at it…  and towards the end I spent most of that time angry.  While I would consider my anger righteous in nature (it wasn’t… most of the time), but eventually it became pretty encompassing: I couldn’t just see people on the other side of an argument as people who needed to be loved but I disagreed with – they were the opposition, the enemy.  And that wasn’t just people in the other party, it was people in my own.  I sat in a few meetings where an individual repeatedly berated people who disagreed with them (I was on the receiving end of one of those tirades a time or two), and after on incident where this individual – a proclaimed Christian, said this about someone with whom they disagreed about a political issue “There is no mercy for [him]!” I had to take a step back and think about things.  I realized I never wanted to get to that point, where someone would see that kind of vitriol from me – so I had to take a step back.  As I slowly extricated myself from the organizations and things I enjoyed most in life I found something out: I became happier.  I found other ways to spend my time: instead of volunteering for a political party I found opportunities in the community, I found more opportunities at church, etc.  And I wasn’t as angry all the time – look, I still read the news and politics is still my first love (Daphne Du Maurier once said about first love, “I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say.”) I’m still going to get angry; but I’m not angry at the people next door, and I like to think I’m getting better at the rest of the world too (it’s realllllllly hard though – why are people so stupid?!).  It’s a process though, and one I have a hard time trusting God with – but trust Him I need to.  My emotions are a part of me and who God created me to be – I need them, they’re natural, they make me who I am; but as Mr. Lyon said they are corrupted versions of the pure emotions of He who created me so I need His help dealing with them.  This is just one area pertaining to emotions where I need help, there are plenty more areas…

So much of life comes down to trusting God, and the emotional side of things is one of the hardest for me, for a lot of people I’m guessing… and that’s why todays Verse of the Day is this:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your path straight.”
~ Proverbs 3:5-6 ~

I hope I do a better job trusting God tomorrow than I did today, and the day after, and the day after – I hope we all do.

Have an awesome Labor Day!

On “Winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing” and being the ham at breakfast…

bannerx
Winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing.” ~ Vince Lombardi ~

IT’S FINALLY HERE!f7a28431afe369a851204347192aad215359672e895f5f91c8fc1f75fc585687
COUGAR FOOTBALL GAMEDAY!
And we expect the Cougs to win…  A Lot.
#GoCougs

It’s finally the time of the year I look forward to the most; weeks where I spend Saturdays and Sundays yelling at a television and the chickens refs that are somehow doing a worse job than they did last year.

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 “It’s a little like breakfast; you eat ham and eggs. As coaches and players, we’re like the ham. You see, the chicken’s involved but the pig’s committed. We’re like the pig, (officials) are like the chicken. They’re involved, but everything we have rides on this.”

There’s a lot to look forward to this year I think as a Coug fan: spending the afternoons with friends eating chili doing jello shots whenever the Cougs score while talking about how awful the announcers are and being generally bullish on the Cougs chances this year, the return of Coach Leachisms – the pre-game and halftime interviews are some of the best viewing ever, Luke Falk maybe definitely setting some 12-PAC (and maybe some NCAA) records, a defense a year improved, and a shot at a 12-PAC title – it does run through the State of Washington this year.

All-in-all I think we’re in for a doozy of a year, and I’m guessing either record anywhere from 8-4 to 11-1 – here’s the schedule and my predictions:

  • Montana State – I think we win this: 1-0
  • Boise – Revenge win:  2-0
  • Oregon State – Another win:  3-0
  • Nevada – Chalk it up:  4-0
  • USC – Probably our first loss:  4-1
  • @ Oregon – Let’s keep the streak alive:  5-1
  • @ Cal – This probably isn’t going to be any prettier than the OSU game: 6-1
  • Colorado – They’ll be tougher this year, but I think we handle them at home:  7-1
  • @ Arizona – The Cougs keep on clicking: 8-1
  • Standford – I’d like to think we could win this: 8-2 / 9-1
  • @ Utah – Tough team at home, but nothing Luke can’t handle: 9-2 / 10-1
  • THE APPLE CUP @ Washington – This is what it all comes down to; the 12-PAC North should come down to this game.  As much as I’d like to beat the Huskies, and if they’re O-line is as porous as it was against Rutgers the other day we could, I don’t know if we’ve got it in us.  Luckily we have a bye the week before, so we’ll see what happens:  10-2 / 11-1 (cue the *you-know-what the Huskies* chant)

In all reality I think we end up at the 10-2…  that could all be blown out of the Palouse though if Coach Leach hasn’t figured out how to handle FBS schools/if he has – we’ll know soon enough.

And now…  we’re less than ten hours away from kickoff: I CAN’T WAIT!

Also, still this guy – our hero:
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GO COUGS!

On ‘Meditations’ Book 3…

Verse of the Day:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
~ Philipians 4:8 ~

Continuing my reading in Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, I came across this…  actually before that I’ve got to say this before I forget… this guy is not a good writer – I can find no rhyme or reason to the division of books.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy what he’s written, but it’s like the guy just wrote down a bunch of thoughts as they came to him without thinking about how they fit together; naturally some of them flow into others, but that’s not a prevailing theme.  Though, apparently after reading up on Meditations itself, this book was just him writing things down for himself during different points in his life – not intended for a wider audience.  I guess I can get that -I just don’t appreciate it, he really should have been more considerate of us though.  Now, onto something from Book 3:

Never esteem of anything as profitable, which shall ever constrain thee either to break thy faith, or to lose thy modesty; to hate any man, to suspect, to curse, to dissemble, to lust after anything, that requireth the secret of walls or veils.

Again, some really good advice from centuries ago.  Being a man that subscribed to Stoic thought he’s bound to have a few well-reasoned thoughts as seen above: and generally speaking I’m all about removing as much emotion from decision-making as possible (I realize I may not be normal), but some of his reasoning just doesn’t fly, people being the emotional creatures they are.  Part of this reminded me of something Robert E. Lee wrote to his son(?) at one point,

You have only always to do what is right. It will become easier by practice, and you enjoy in the midst of your trials the pleasure of an approving conscience.

Throughout history, a lot of wisdom comes down to paying attention to your conscience – the silent voice our Creator gave our souls to remind us the difference between right and wrong.  It’s acknowledged by both Christian and secular alike; maybe we should pay attention to it, foster it – and by doing so make the world a better place.

That rambling aside – have a great Labor Day weekend!

On Ole Miss, Nashville, and ‘Perlious Falls’…

Verse of the Day:

Hasten, O God, to save me;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me
~ Psalm 70:1 ~

originalLord, help me – I don’t know if I can make it through another day like this…


So!  I’m just gonna leave this here…  you should read it.  And then you and me should find a way to just skip this generation being our future – just skip them and move on to the next… provided we do a better job with them.  If not, let’s just burn it all to the ground and maybe we don’t start over – not sure we deserve to.idjit
One of my friends heard the story and mused aloud, ‘I wonder if they know bananas grow in trees?’.  Frankly, I’m not sure I could answer that in the affirmative.  We’ve got a generation attending colleges who’s first (and apparently only) response is to not “feel welcome” or “safe” because someone threw a banana peel away and it got stuck in a tree…  They needed safe spaces for that.  They cancelled a large retreat because of it.  They cried (seriously?!)  over it.  Because the big bad world hurt their widdle feewings… somehow…  still not sure how that does it, but with the apparently micro-thin skin on the generation in college right now, I’m guessing a brisk breeze might hurt their feelings.   I just…   Screw feelings.
I can’t even right now.
People need to stop being idjits.


Next up, an organization called The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood(CBMW) held a conference and issued what was titled “The Nashville Statement”.  As the name of the group would indicate, this was a Christian organization that months ago planned to issue a statement re: the topic of Biblical Christianity and how it related to the sexual nature of man.  This shouldn’t be a story, but apparently the same beliefs that have been taught for over 2,000 years caught many by surprise; and they melted down…  Again.  The statement isn’t controversial by any means – it is Christian (and to some extent aligned with Jewish) doctrine.  It’s been taught and believed for a loooooong time.  It was a good statement.  It was a Biblically correct statement – which makes it a Christian statement: believe it or not, God’s will and law aren’t something common man gets to change just because we don’t like it.  And public figures that go out of their way to condemn it and talk about how tolerant their viewpoints are while saying the CBMW has no place and should be silenced need to go look ‘tolerance‘ up in the dictionary, and then ‘tolerate‘ (I included links just in case…).  Also, the Mayor of Nashville needs to check herself – the government doesn’t get to say who or what is representative of the “inclusive values of the city“: many of the residents of Nashville believe what was expressed in the Nashville Statement; you don’t have a monopoly on values, and if you’re going to be “inclusive” you’d better be ready to include them – if not, you really don’t understand the word or that the role of the government isn’t there to tell people what views and values are acceptable.
Why is it every single time a Christian or Christian organization professes a Christian belief so many people lose their ever-loving minds?!  Just…  Stop it already.  I and others may not always achieve living up to our professed values, but most of us are trying – and not hitting the mark all the time doesn’t mean the mark still isn’t there for us.
#GoodGrief


perilAnd finally!  I got a book on the recommendation of…  I can’t remember who from National Review a while back.  It’s a kid’s book and I got a copy for my nephew and a copy for myself, and we made a handshake agreement last night to read a chapter a week and discuss it.  It is, by far, the book I’m looking forward to reading the most right now.  The book is the first in a series about Will Wilder (I guess I’ll find out who that is soon), and is titled The Relic of Perilous Falls.  It is supposed to be an adventure series (think young Indiana Jones(?)) but with an emphasis on faith and the battle between Good and Evil as understood by Christians.  Hoping it will keep my nephew’s interest and mine.

On Things Learned from ‘Meditations’…

Verse of the Day

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance
~ James 1:2-3 ~

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So, I’m currently I just began reading (I tried the audio book thing for this a couple months back, and I really just can’t do it – I don’t know why, but I am completely unable to process books that way.  Other things, sure – books, not so much.  It’s weird.  And enough of that now.) Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and philosopher.  There’s a lot to like in it, and one of the things I noted was the very first part: he spends a portion of the book talking about what he learned, and to whom he attributed the teaching.  The following bit he attributes to one of his teachers, Claudius Maximus:

From Claudius Maximus, in all things to endeavour to have power
of myself, and in nothing to be carried about; to be cheerful and
courageous in all sudden chances and accidents, as in sicknesses: to
love mildness, and moderation, and gravity: and to do my business,
whatsoever it be, thoroughly, and without querulousness. Whatsoever
he said, all men believed him that as he spake, so he thought, and
whatsoever he did, that he did it with a good intent. His manner was,
never to wonder at anything; never to be in haste, and yet never
slow: nor to be perplexed, or dejected, or at any time unseemly, or
excessively to laugh: nor to be angry, or suspicious, but ever ready to
do good, and to forgive, and to speak truth; and all this, as one that
seemed rather of himself to have been straight and right, than ever to
have been rectified or redressed; neither was there any man that ever
thought himself undervalued by him, or that could find in his heart, to
think himself a better man than he. He would also be very pleasant and
gracious.

Just some really good things to learn for all of us: we can decide how we approach the world – do we approach every situation with cheerfulness or woe?  Do we live our lives in such a manner that people trust us?  Do we do our job in such a way that no one questions whether or not we did our best?  Do we do good and forgive?  All these are things we, as Christians, should be doing – it’s nice to see them echoed here in the classics as well; even from one who oversaw a government responsible for persecuting the early Christians – we’re all only human after all.

And that’s my thought for the morning…

Also, a few of my friends in Texas have been sharing this, so here’s a quick plug for the Texas Baptist Men.  They’re a group doing good work down in Texas right now, and we need to support those that are.  Don’t forget to find a way to contribute to the relief efforts in the Gulf region, and don’t forget to find ways to help out those in your own community!

Have an awesome Wednesday!

On ‘Strangers In A Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World’…

Verse of the Day

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
~ Romans 12:2 ~

I recently finished up this book (Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith In A Post-Christian World by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput), and I’ve got to say it was a pretty good read.  I try to keep a few things in my reading rotation at all times: the Bible, a history book, a work of fiction (science or otherwise), and a devotional/faith-based book – this one clearly falls into the latter.

I find a good deal of the writing and philosophy of the church can be attributed to the Catholic faith, and as such often find myself reading works by their members/leaders both contemporary and from the past (current book is by a Cardinal on the ‘Power of Silence’).

I’m going to ruin the ending of this book by, well…. this right here:

The Word of God testifies to the goodness of creation, the gift that is life, and the glory of the human person.  With this glory comes a duty.  We are born for the City of God.  The road home leads through the City of Man.  So we are strangers in a strange land, yes.
But what we do here makes all the difference.”

Drawing heavily on Augustine, archbishop Chaput does a pretty good job of tackling a complex issue in a simple enough way for most to understand: how do we, as Christians, live our lives in today’s super-screwed up world, and – more specifically – America.  He spends the first chapter of the book outlining his reasons for the book; the next chapter on a brief sweeping overview of American history, faith’s role in it, and more specifically the Catholic church’s/faith’s role; a handful of chapters are dedicated to how America got where it is today (where “‘Anything but Jesus’ could be the motto of the secular age.”); and the last few chapters deal with “our reasons for hope, and to how we can live as Christians, with joy, in a very different world”.

Reading the book and then later reading some critiques, it seems Abp. Chaput struck a nerve with many modern Christians; he writes at great length about morality, relationships, and the nature of humans’ sexuality as creatures of God: there’s a lot in there that doesn’t match with what the world we live in today believes, practices, and promotes, but we’ve had the luxury of living in a fairly Christian culture for many, many years – they had the same issues in Christ’s and the early church’s time as we do now (no, there truly is nothing new under the sun), there just seemed to be a lot more moral clarity on the part of the Body.

There was much in this book I appreciated: his belief that we are creatures of place, his consistency in doctrine, the introduction of other materials I could read (Letter to Diognetus, ‘Lord of the World‘, etc.), and – I’m not going to lie – this book made me think and convicted me a fewdoyoubelieveinthedevil different ways.  One of those is captured here in this strip (many who are familiar with Calvin & Hobbes know who their namesakes are) – I have for a good portion of my life fallen into Hobbes’ school of thought, and while it is easier to think that way – it’s not correct to think that way.  Another way is that in the past I haven’t focused much on my relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ as much as I should have (if at all) – there’s always too much going on, other people to see, things to do, etc.  These are just two of the things this book made me ponder.

All this to say – I enjoyed this book, you may too.  If you have a chance, you can find it here or here or just ask to borrow it from me.

Here’s some of my favourite quotes from Abp. Chaput in no particular order:

  • What does God ask us to do in a seemingly post-Christian world?  The first thing he asks from us is to realize that the words “post-Christian” are a lie, so long as the fire of Christian faith, hope, and love lives in any of us.

  • We were made by God to receive love ourselves, and to show love to others – love anchored in the truth about the human person and the nature of human relationships.  That’s our purpose.  That’s why we were created.  We’re here to bear one another’s burdens, to sacrifice ourselves for the needs of others, and to live a witness of Christian love – in all our public actions, including every one of our social, economic, and political choices, but beginning with the conversion of our own heart.

  • …the tech revolution means more comforts for everyone.  It means easier communication, education, transportation, and work.  Technology equalizes opportunity in important ways.  Much of this is good.  But it also fuels a cult of efficiency, a fetish for tools, and a lopsided focus on the future.  It fosters boredom with the past.  It feeds self-interest.  It transfers huge wealth to a new, highly secular leadership class.  It punishes many workers in traditional industries.  It renders, or seems to render, the “supernatural” obsolete. And with its power to manipulate and propagandize, it reshapes our political life.

  • …we’re often worse than pagans. True pagans had a reverence for nature and the gods. Today we worship ourselves and our tools. That sin defaces the world.

  • Everyone’s grasp of truth rests to some degree on authority.  No one is really autonomous.  We can’t know everything on our own.  We need to trust others for guidance.  This is normal.  But who and what we trust matter greatly.  In American life, democracy and capitalism, despite their advantages, tend to erode the place of traditional authorities (families, religious faith, and other institutions), while putting new authorities (public opinion and market forces) in their stead.  And that has consequences.

  • Democracy tends to unmoor society from the idea of permanent truths.  Placing the law, which ideally reflects right and wrong, under the power of elections can seem to put truth itself on the ballot, because most people tend to equate the legal with the acceptable or good.  On the one hand, truth becomes relative and contingent on popular whim.  But on the other, it becomes radically privatized by the individual citizen.

  • The late distinguished sociologist Robert Nisbet, following Tocqueville, argued that when the forces of personal liberation are dominant in a culture, the result is not maximal liberty, but the absorption of liberty by government

  • The banking industry, corporate life, the mass media, religious ministries, athletics, law schools: Each has its scandals. In nearly every case the pattern is similar: Truth is adjusted or “interpreted,” ignored or justified away, to get seemingly urgent results. And deceit then spreads and takes root like a weed.

  • Aelred writes that true Christian friendship begins with two people who are drawn to some quality of holiness or virtue they see in each other. Since both persons love Jesus Christ and want to build their friendship on their love of Christ, Jesus is, in a real sense, the third person in their friendship.

  • In decoupling gender from biology and denying any given or “natural” meaning to male and female sexuality, gender ideology directly repudiates reality. People don’t need to be “religious” to notice that men and women are different. The evidence is obvious. And the only way to ignore it is through a kind of intellectual self-hypnosis.

  • The point of course is to be a great saint, to love greatly, rightly, and with passion, until we burn ourselves up in service to God and to others. Our wholeness, our integrity, depends on the health of our friendship with God. It was he who fashioned us from the dust. It was he who breathed his life into our bodies. So when we ignore God’s Word, we violate our own identity.


  • Patriotism, rightly understood, is part of a genuinely Christian life.  We’re creatures of place.  The soil under our feet matters.  Home matters.  Communities matter.  The sound and smell and taste of the world we know, and the beauty of it all, matter.  As G.K. Chesterton would say, there’s something cheap and unworthy – and inhuman – in a heart that had no roots, that feels no love of country.

     

On A Cup of Morning Joe And Other Things…

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One of my favourite memes…  EVER.

Verse of the Day:

No one calls for justice;
      no one pleads a case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies;
     they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
~ Isaiah 54:9 ~

So the other day President Trump pardoned controversial figure Sheriff Joe Arpaio (SA); I would have shared my thoughts earlier, but I had a fantasy football draft to prepare for and attend – priorities people!

On the pardon itself
*shoulder shrug* Meh.
Everyone knew it was coming, and yet the media did what it does best: blew everything out of proportion and acted like the world was ending.  The coverage that night was ridiculous, and it continues to be.  As I’ve stated before: to me intellectual honesty and integrity are pretty key, and I’ll get into why this whole thing is stupid. on so many levels.

Regarding the President
He was going to Pardon SA from the beginning, and anyone who thought differently is living in a fantasy world – one that many of us may enjoy, please pass whatever it is you’re partaking in.  This was completely consistent with the President’s views that immigration law was poorly enforced by the last administration (it was), and that stricter enforcement was necessarily a good thing: this is not racist, this is not discriminatory – it is a policy preference for the laws of the land to mean something and be enforced accordingly.

Regarding Sheriff Arpaio
I can honestly say I don’t know much more about the man than what’s been in the news and what’s on Wikipedia – and I don’t care to; in the grand scheme of things – priorities, people!
But, what you can find about him is that almost since he was elected Sheriff in 1992 he has been a contentious figure; with many siding with him because of his hard-nosed stance towards criminals in jail and those here illegally, with many siding against him for many reasons mostly failing into the category of civil rights abuses (perceived and otherwise).
I’m not a big fan of that kind of thing; most of the time I (publicly) steer away from controversial fellows like that because it doesn’t foster good-will, harmony, and national unity (though I understand their necessity and usefulness from time-to-time) – something I think we need more of, and I’m a big fan of Vice-President Pence’s advice:

“If there’s a line you don’t want to cross, you don’t even walk up to it — you stop three feet in front of it.”

*advice maybe we should all take to heart – I know I should more often*
Now, maybe there were lines SA was okay approaching and/or viewed as worthy of crossing – that’s for him to say; the courts clearly disagreed with his interpretation of what law enforcement should be doing, and the legal process played out like it should have…  And a part of that is the President having the power to pardon if he deems proper; he did.  End of story.

Regarding the Right
Two parts here – there is the portion of the Right that seeks to be admired by the public and the media and can’t wait to be the first to condemn President Trump because it will score them political points, and there is the portion that can’t get enough of The Donald.
On the former, nothing new to see here: the decision may have been politically unpopular, and political animals will do political things – it’s what they do.
On the latter, it’s a victory lap that perhaps they should not be taking part in.  Your guy got pardoned, be thankful and move on: I know the left and the media aren’t going to let it go – don’t let them drag you into the muck.  Also, there is an incredible amount of posturing involving the moral equivalency of the previous administration, the ‘they did it first’ argumentation, etc. – I’ll get into that momentarily – don’t worry about it, but…  The President has the Constitutional Right to pardon and commute, if you had a problem when the last President did it – you should have problems now; have the integrity to be consistent in your application of political principles.  And another thing: none of this is conducive to promoting better community and unity, so let’s focus on that when and where we can.  All that to say…
What’s done is done, move on.

Regarding the Left / Media
Seriously?  You have problems with this pardon, but you had no problem with the previous administration deciding that our Constitutional form of government didn’t suit their needs desires so they were going to unilaterally change immigration policy?  You have problems with a law enforcement officer attempting to enforce the lawfully passed laws of the land in regard to immigration, but you have no problems with people who break those laws (even Justin Trudeau of Canada has a problem with people who do that – where’s the condemnation there? I mean, he is a racist, right?).  Where were you when the last President was commuting the sentence of a traitor and pardoning one who leaked national secrets?  If you didn’t say anything about Manning and/or Cartwright – shut your cakehole, you have no room to condemn – and this applies doubly to the media.  The coverage on this was bordering on apocalyptic and that is just embarrassing for the media and the left when they refuse to provide wall-to-wall coverage on these – it is an indictment of an ideology that has one thing, and one thing only in mind: the march of leftist policies no matter the cost.  Also, you have no problem calling for civility in discourse, but the second someone disagrees with you on immigration policy (or any policy for that matter really) you publicly denounce them as racists?  As fascists?  This doesn’t help your cause, it just makes reasonable people think you’re unreasonable, self-absorbed jackasses without a reasonable worldview or any rational context – I have friends that immediately called President Trump racist for pardoning SA and believing immigration laws should be enforced, and it made me cringe.  Get over yourselves already.  Believing that immigration should be regulated and the laws surrounding it should be enforced is not racist, it is not fascist, it is reasonable.  It is reasonable to disagree with the current law, but if you don’t like the law – change the law; if our elected officials choose not to change it – get new ones at the ballot box.  But until then, the law is the law is the law – and we are “a government of laws, and not of men” as John Adams once aptly pointed out.

I think that covers most everyone and everything – maybe I’ll think of something more later on.

But my conclusion is we all need to take a deep breath, re-evaluate how we’ve reacted to situations in the past and now, find a way to assess our opinions without attacking people who have different policy preferences, and then watch some football (or baseball) for the love of all that’s holy!  There are Husky and Duck fans to rip on for goodness sake.  😇