Sunday, November 22, 2009

Africa & The Prosperity Gospel

I saw this video the other week and it left me with a lot of thoughts, and a lot of anger.  Give it a watch, and give the subject some prayer, why don't 'cha?  Real blogging to come, well, eventually, I promise.

The Prosperity Gospel from The Global Conversation on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Discipline, the Dog, and Me

Do to a series of unfortunate events, me and the army of dudes who live in our house have inherited the duty of dog-sitting a non-house broken Jack Russell terrier.  It is as much fun as it sounds.  It could also be called a Jack Russell terror, and it could (and often is) called things that aren't ultra-appropriate in print, but one phrase in particular does in fact mean "female dog."  Although watching Isabella run laps around the dining room table is amusing, watching her crap on the carpet after you took her outside is decidedly less amusing.  Nevertheless, I am amazed at the depths of hate and rage that I find in my heart whenever the dog does the many evil things it does.

Today, after an amazing morning at Pastor's School, I decided to "show my righteousness" and take the dog on a walk in Shelby Park.  A lot of things struck me as I was walking, particularly about the way I tend to relate to God.  Isabella is a mass of contradictions.  One minute, she's pulling hard, straining ahead against the leash.  The next she's skittish, cowering, afraid even of shadows.  When at street crossings, she'll choke herself against the leash if it means she gets closer to the traffic that would kill her, were I not willing hold her back.  Upon returning to the house, I let her run free in the rooms we've cordoned off for her, but no sooner had I turned my back, then I found her on the dining room table, trying to get food when her bowl was full.  As soon as she saw me in the dining room, she immediately scampered off the dining room table.  As we've watched her, I've been one of the main disciplinarians, holding her nose to her urine or feces while soundly smacking her hindquarters with an open hand.  As I reached towards Isabella to discipline her yet again, I was surprised to see her roll onto her back, attempting to hide from the coming thump.  She snapped at my fingers, but nevertheless, she was disciplined and carried back to her pen.

During the walk (and after the dining room scene) I couldn't help but think I'm the same way.  Straining against God's sovereign directions and plans, fleeing opportunities out of cowardice and fear, spinning to avoid his discipline.  What a thought, though, that God's actions towards me are always love, are always gracious, are always for his glory and my good!  In Psalm 73, Asaph writes of how he had been like a beast toward God, brutish and ignorant, even though God is a good and deals justly.  This week has been a time of comfort for me as I've had chances to reflect on God's goodness and sovereign control of my life.  Praise God for his constant mercy and care for us, his creatures!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Breaking News: Butterworth Retires from Fantasy Sports

Louisville, KY - Former fantasy sports stand-out Paul Butterworth announced his retirement today, bringing an end to a nearly half-decade career spanning three sports.

A life-long sports fan, Butterworth was recruited by college-friend John Gibson to join a baseball league in the Spring of 2005. Dubbing his new franchise the "Albatrosses," the franchise sank like lead to the bottom of the table, finishing sixth out seven teams.  "At that point in my life, Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' was a big influence on me, and it remains one of my favorite poems," Butterworth would later state. "Although the poem was influential in my blogging, its inspiration did not carry over into interpreting baseball stats."  In spite of total failure, Butterworth would give an additional two seasons to a game he had absolutely zero chance of winning.  Although the 2006 Fantasy Baseball Season would see Paul craft his greatest fantasy team name ever, "The Brokebackers" would come in 10th out of 11.  "Originally, I wanted to dub them 'The Brokeback Mountaineers' but I didn't have enough characters to give to the title," Butterworth would later tell political/baseball commentator George Will.  In 2007, the "Apostolos Alphas" managed to sink even lower (9th out of 9) and Paul finally walked away from the stats of the Great American Pastime.

While fantasy baseball was a complete fail, Butterworth would taste the sweet wine of victory in fantasy football.  In the 2006-2007 season played against dorm-mates on his hall, "The Mohicans" (a double homage to Paul's beloved Washington Redskins and a DVD copy of a Daniel Day-Lewis film laying on his desk) would rip apart the league with a 12-3 regular season record, propelled off the back of the surging New Orleans Saints.  Drew Brees, Duece McAllister, and Marques Colston all started for Paul that season, with Marques serving as sort of 4th wide receiver, since Yahoo! Sports had him listed as a WR/TE, thus increasing his roster versatility.  The dream season ended in a nightmare, however, as the Saints benched their starters in the final 2 games of the NFL season, which were the fantasy playoffs.  Deprived of their stars, The Mohicans crashed out of trophy contention, finishing 4th of 12.

Several forgettable seasons followed, but at long last, 2008-2009 would see "USDA Organic Pigskin" grind out a smash-mouth style season, taking 3rd out of 10, securing a bronze trophy for the case.  By this point, though, Paul's attention was beginning to waver, and his once characteristic heart seemed drained of blood.  He decided to join old friend/commissioner Jeff Pearson's Boyce League, but a dreadful 0-4 start for "Inglorious Butters," coupled with a lack of familiarity with the top scorers of today's Fantasy NFL led him to turn set the roster and leave it be.  Several weeks later, he discovered that he had won two games by simply doing nothing.  This was the last straw and Butterworth was finally done.  Interestingly, sources close to Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder have stated that the Coach Jim Zorn first landed in hot water with Snyder by suggesting that the controversial owner do the same.  "You've always said this was your Fantasy Team!" Zorn is alleged to have yelled while being drug out by FedEx Field security.

Despite his checkered legacy, Butterworth has left the door open for a return at a later date.  "I've got into soccer in a big way, recently.  I'm told ESPN has a sweet fantasy game..."