Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Incredible Hulk (and other lessons from Ferguson)

"I felt like I was a five-year old holding onto Hulk looks like a a cloud of dust... grunting." - Darren Wilson's grand jury testimony 
Are we really that oblivious? Lacking in empathy? Or was justice served in this case? Opinions abound, but who knows the true facts? Will Wheaton?

Call me a dreamer, but in the midst of all the bad news I think nonviolence is working. And I am encouraged by the new meme for the ongoing movement for racial justice in this country: "Hands Up, Don't Shoot." That phrase, and police tanks and tear gas, are likely how we will remember Ferguson. But we should also never forget the "incredible hulk."

"I have always held that, if he who bases his hopes on human nature is a fool, he who gives up in the face of circumstances is a coward." - Albert Camus

Monday, November 24, 2014

Could you get to a grocery store with a "Biblical world view"?

According to Focus on the Family, "worldview is the latest buzzword in Christian circles." And a "Biblical worldview" means that you "believe the Bible is entirely true [and] allow it to be the foundation of everything you say and do" (emphasis added). So it's not that surprising (if it really is true) that "only 4 percent of Americans had a 'biblical' worldview." Otherwise, how would they get to the grocery store? Moreover, would grocery stores even exist?

If you really believe that you have a "Biblical worldview" then please explain in the comments (using chapter and verse) how grocery stores exists, how you find them, and how you get there. I'll wait for you to finish...

For everyone else, here are a few questions to consider as you reflect on your own world view.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Moral Abomination of Football

While I am in general agreement with Christopher Chabris's assessment of Malcolm Gladwell, I think Gladwell is absolutely right about one thing - football is a moral abomination. Not only does it glorify pain, violence, hostility, destruction, and a "take no hostages," "win at any cost" mentality, but it also conveys to impressionable young people that authority and tradition are supremely important virtues. And to make matters even worse, it is all too often entangled with pious, "holier than thou" religious views that reinforce some of those same morally dubious values.

As the New York Times noted in September, the NFL has now "stated in federal court documents that it expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems and that the conditions are likely to emerge at 'notably younger ages' than in the general population." Even high school football players risk brain injury and death. What competent local school board, superintendent, or principal would even consider allowing such an activity at their school? Why do we allow this one to continue? Why are we surprised by stories like this?

I'll just leave you with some "Friday Night Football" slogans to ponder. Do we really want to teach our children these values?
  • Play each down like it's your last
  • football, little effort means broken bones and blood.
  • It doesn't matter who starts, but who can finish the game
  • Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing
  • We are ... Mobile, Agile, and Hostile
  • Show no mercy. Make no excuses.
  • We don't rebuild. We reload.
  • Second place means First Loser!
  • If football is your religion, prepare to meet your maker
  • If you can't take a hit, stay off the field
  • If you can't take the pain, then stay off the field
  • It's not a contact sport, it's a collision sport
  • It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.
  • Most football teams are temperamental. That's 90% temper and 10% mental.
  • My world revolves around football
  • Never give up - never back down - never lose faith
  • No distractions, just destruction
  • No limits
  • No pain inflicted - no gain
  • No pain, no gain
  • No regrets
  • Our blood, our sweat, your tears
  • Pain is temporary, pride is forever
  • Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • Pain of sacrifice or pain of regret?
  • Pro football is like nuclear warfare. There are no winners, only survivors.
  • Shut up and hit someone
  • the goal is to have more blood drop off your body than sweat does off of mine
  • The more I sweat in practice, the less I bleed in battle
  • We bust ours to kick yours
  • What we do in life, echoes in eternity!
  • Whatever it takes
  • Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing
  • You gotta believe