Revenge of the Bulldog Tooth (National Championship Edition)

Normally I wait until July or August to come out with my Georgia football predictions for the coming season.  But this year, ever since the end of the 2007 season, all the talk around here has been about Georgia winning the national championship this year.  As the price of gas has escalated over the last few months, so has the intensity and fervor of the talk coming from Georgia fans who are fully expectant of a national championship this year.  And this is only expected to continue through the remaining months between now and the start of football season.  So I feel that now is just as good a time as any to bust out the old bulldog tooth and see what it has to say about Georgia’s upcoming season.

Now before we begin, let me say this:  Georgia’s football team this year is certainly good enough to contend for a national championship.  But until the powers-that-be in the world of college football decide to scrap this BCS monstrosity that we are currently forced to live with and replace it with a playoff or my contract bridge-style bidding system, being good enough to contend for a national championship doesn’t count for jack s–t.

It also takes luck.

Lots of luck.

Just ask LSU.

You see, last year LSU had what was arguably the best team in the country, and the preseason No. 1 ranking to back up that assessment.  But if not for a whole lot of luck, they would never have had the opportunity to show it in the BCS championship game.  Key injuries hurt them down the stretch, and they suffered two debilitating losses as a result.  After the loss to Arkansas, which took place in LSU’s final regular season game, LSU went so far down in the polls that no one gave them a snowball’s chance in hell of playing for the national championship.  But with a whole lot of luck–and a whole lot of love from ESPN–LSU leapfrogged about half of Division 1-A after winning the SEC championship and wound up playing Ohio State for the national championship, a game which they went on to win easily after having a whole month to get everyone healthy again.

So we know that Georgia is good enough to contend for the national championship.

That leads us to the first–and only–burning question:  Will Georgia win the national championship in 2008? Continue reading “Revenge of the Bulldog Tooth (National Championship Edition)”

Speed Limit WTF?????

I would love to see some police officer actually enforce this.  I can just see it now:

“But officer, I was only–”

“Dude, you were doing 16 in a 14 mph zone.  Now put your hands up and get out of the car, cause we’re going down to the police station.”

Mere Christianity 13: Christian Marriage

In the previous chapter Lewis talked about the negative side of human sexuality and what is wrong with our sexual appetite.  In this chapter Lewis looks at the positive expression of human sexuality, which is a fully committed marriage relationship between a man and a woman.  This relationship, in which one man is joined to one woman on all levels, not just the sexual level but totally combined, is the proper expression of human sexuality.  It is not the sexual act itself which is sinful when one engages in sex outside of marriage, rather it is the fact that it takes one kind of union (sexual) and attempts to wrench it completely apart from all the other kinds of union which are supposed to be a part of any marriage relationship.

Lewis notes the role of chastity in Christian marriage, and then noting that it is also about justice.  Keeping one’s promises is a huge part of justice, and it is an integral part of any Christian marriage because the marriage is built upon the promise by both spouses to be faithful to each other until death.  Here Lewis expresses the rather controversial view that if people do not believe in marriage we should just allow them to live together unmarried:

If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep.  It is true that by living together without marriage they will be guilty (in Christian eyes) of fornication.  But one fault is not mended by adding another:  unchastity is not improved by adding perjury.

Lewis goes on to draw the distinction between love and “being in love”.  So much of our culture is saturated with propaganda from TV, movies, and music which sends the message that this state of “being in love” is the ideal state for any relationship or marriage, and that if you don’t have it in your marriage then you should get out and find another relationship where you do have this feeling. Continue reading “Mere Christianity 13: Christian Marriage”

Mere Christianity 12: Sexual Morality

Here Lewis gets into the virtue of chastity, which he calls the most unpopular of all the Christian virtues.  He begins by making the statement that chastity is not to be confused with propriety.  Chastity is always a constant, but social standards of propriety are always subject to change and indeed they do vary depending on place and time.  For example, note that the standards of propriety held in sub-Saharan Africa and Victorian England are wildly different, as are the standards held in Buckhead and Afghanistan.  With that, note that a breach of social standards of propriety is an offense against chastity only if it is deliberately calculated to evoke lust.  Otherwise, it is merely bad manners.

Lewis offers the opinion that strict social standards of propriety are no real help to chastity, and that the relaxing of standards which was happening in his day, and in ours as well, is a good thing.  The problem is that because of this there are two competing standards held by older people and younger people.  Older people denounce younger people who do not accept their standard as lewd and immodest, while younger people denounce older people who do not accept their standard as prudes and Puritans.  A real desire to believe the best about everyone else and to make others as comfortable as possible will go a long way toward solving these problems.

There are two big ideas from this chapter:  Christians are not against sex, but must proclaim that the human appetite for sex has gone wrong.  The other is that perfect Christian chastity is an impossible goal, and those who try and fail at it must be forgiven and restored. Continue reading “Mere Christianity 12: Sexual Morality”

The Case of the Disappearing Young Evangelicals and the Megachurch

Recently a well-known Christian school associated with a megachurch in a large city somewhere in this part of the country (don’t ask me where because I don’t know) came out with a study which showed that 80 to 90 percent of their graduates had abandoned the Christian faith within 5 years of their graduation.  As you can imagine, this was quite a distressing piece of news for them, because it showed that for the most part they were not making disciples for life.

This is one of the early manifestations of something which is going to rear its big fat ugly head within evangelical Protestant-dom during the years to come:  the discovery that much of what we call evangelicalism is really just smoke and mirrors which has little if any real effect in inducing people to lifelong discipleship.  Another manifestation is the Willow Creek self-study that came out last fall which showed that many of their programs were doing little to promote the development of lifelong disciples of Christ. Continue reading “The Case of the Disappearing Young Evangelicals and the Megachurch”

Mere Christianity 11: Morality and Psychoanalysis

In this chapter Lewis takes an interesting detour and talks about psychoanalysis.

Many Christians, particularly those of the evangelical stripe, have a strong aversion to modern psychology and psychiatry.  No doubt this is because Sigmund Freud, the most influential figure in all of modern psychology, operated out of a worldview which was directly contradictory to Christianity.  But when looking at the work of Freud, Lewis takes the approach of separating his psychological work (in which he speaks as a specialist on his own subject) from his general philosophical ideas (in which he speaks as an amateur who doesn’t know what he is talking about).  And psychology, divorced from Freud’s crazy philosophical ideas, is not in the least bit contradictory to Christianity. Continue reading “Mere Christianity 11: Morality and Psychoanalysis”

Quick Hit: Obama, Jeremiah Wright, and Civility

There has been a lot of discussion lately (okay, maybe not so much right now as a couple of weeks ago–but hey, I’m a college student and I get to these things when I have time to deal with them) about Barack Obama and his pastor Jeremiah Wright and some things that Wright said that have come to light which the media which supports Obama is not making very much of but the media outlets which are against Obama are turning into a huge stinky deal.  Things like America was responsible for 9/11, the U. S. government invented AIDS to kill black people, God should judge America, etc.

A couple of quick points about all of this:

–The statements which are attracting so much attention represent a small fraction of Jeremiah Wright’s preaching.  If one were to go to Obama’s church and listen to a full-length sermon or two or three by Jeremiah Wright, one would probably not hear anything objectionable.  And if one were to hear the statements in the full context of the sermons in which they were preached, one would probably find them to be not worthy of all the attention that they are getting.

–Statements about God judging America ought not to rankle us.  Anyone who has been part of evangelical Protestant-dom for any significant amount of time–whether as part of an old-line fundamentalist Baptist church or in the Pentecostal/charismatic world–has probably been exposed to a significant amount of preaching about God judging America for abortion, homosexuality, taking prayer out of public schools, teaching evolution in the public schools, etc.  Besides, if we are fully honest with ourselves, we would admit that as a nation we have done things over the course of our history (or not done things with all of the blessings that God has given us) which are deserving of judgment from God.  So when Jeremiah Wright gets up and says that God should judge America–BIG FAT HAIRY DEAL!!!!!

–Finally, what are we saying when we criticise Obama for his ties to a pastor who says the sort of things that Jeremiah Wright says?  Are we saying that we can only have friendship and fellowship with people whom we agree 100 percent with?  That if you say something I disagree with, then I need to cut you off?

I don’t agree with everything which the pastor of my church says, yet I don’t see that as meaning that I need to find a new church.  Obama may or may not agree with all the crazy things that Jeremiah Wright says.  I don’t know.  But if he doesn’t agree, then I don’t think he needs to cut him off.

So can we quit making a big fat hairy deal over all of this, as if the criterion for friendship or fellowship with another person is complete 100% agreement with all opinions which the other person holds?