Yep…The Crocks Are Still The Crocks

Those of you who know me know that I am an extremely fair-weather fan of Atlanta professional sports.  Here is an excruciatingly glaring example of why:

Atlanta has an NBA franchise, called the Hawks.  That franchise, however, is known by those of us who know better as the Crocks, because they are a complete and total crock.  Always have been.  Always will be.

Several years ago, the Crocks brought in a new coach and a whole bunch of young players.  They were the picture of complete and utter ineptitude as they slogged their way through several losing seasons, but they managed to get better every year, going from 13 wins to 26 to 30 to 37 to 46 to 53 this year.  Two years ago they barely made it into the playoffs and yet managed to take the imperial Celtics to seven games.  Last year they won their opening-round playoff series against the Miami Heat in seven games before being swept by Cleveland in Round 2 (several key injuries contributed to that).

This year?  Even while the Crocks were winning 53 games in the regular season, no one around here really bought in.  Seems people had the sense that despite all outward appearances, the Crocks were still the Crocks.

Guess what?  They were right.

You see, the Crocks drew the Milwaukee Bucks as their first-round playoff opponent, with the winner advancing to face Orlando in Round 2.  The Milwaukee Bucks, though a dangerous opponent, are nowhere near as talented as the Crocks.  And they lost their star player right before the playoffs, so the Crocks were expected to win this series in five games or less.

Well, the Crocks took Game 1 and Game 2 in most convincing fashion.  Then they went to Milwaukee and got completely and utterly punked in games 3 and 4.  Wednesday, here in Atlanta, the Crocks blew a 9-point lead with about three minutes left in the game and lost 92-87.

Add it all up:  The Crocks have now lost three straight to a substandard opponent whom they were expected by many to sweep.  Now, they are on the verge of being eliminated by this substandard opponent (whom I must add, is missing their star player).  In order to avert this awful fate, they must win tonight on the road, something they have done only once in the past three years that they have been a playoff-caliber team.  Which means they must find a way to come off Wednesday night’s monumental choke and pull a miracle on their opponent’s court.  Smart money says this ain’t gonna happen.

Mike Woodson, the present Crocks coach, will probably be fired in a few days.  And then the Crocks ownership will probably blow up the present roster and rebuild everything from scratch.  Which means:  God knows how many years it will be until we see the Crocks in the playoffs again.

Yep…the Crocks are still the Crocks.  There’s a reason why I am such a fair-weather fan of the local professional sports franchises here in the ATL.

UPDATE: Last I heard, the Crocks were up 48-36 in the third quarter.  But that was about an hour ago.

UPDATE: Looks like the Crocks actually managed to pull it out.  Who knew?

Les Miserables 44: Cemeteries Take What Is Given Them

Here we return to the story.  Jean Valjean and Cosette are in Fauchelevent’s shanty in the convent, but it is clear that they can’t stay there forever, because they will be discovered at some point.  Children are naturally curious creatures, and the girls in the boarding school at the convent would eventually discover that there was someone in Fauchelevent’s shanty that wasn’t supposed to be there.  At this point, the problem is for Fauchelevent to find a way that Valjean and Cosette to remain there lawfully.

One of the nuns in the convent has just died, an old nun who was revered throughout the convent as a saint.  She had slept in a coffin for the previous twenty years as part of the in pace which Victor Hugo defines and describes in the previous section, and had requested that she be buried in this coffin, in the convent vault.  No one had ever been buried in this vault because the city required the convent to bury their dead in the local cemetery.  But because this nun was so revered by the convent, they were not going to deny this request.  Carrying out this request would involve deceiving the local government; they would send a coffin for the deceased nun and then take it to the nearby Vaugirard cemetery and bury it in a plot specially reserved for the nuns of Petit-Picpus.  This coffin would be sent back empty.

Fauchelevent asked the Mother Superior of the convent to take Valjean on as an assistant gardener and Cosette as a boarder at the school (Valjean was identified as Fauchelevent’s brother and Cosette was identified as his granddaughter.)  By carrying out the dying nun’s wishes, Fauchelevent ensured that his request would be granted.

Thus, Valjean and Cosette were provided for.  The only problem which remained was getting them out of the convent so that they could enter properly.  Cosette was easy enough to take care of; she could be smuggled out in a basket that Fauchelevent could carry, and then left with a friend of his.  Valjean would pose a much greater challenge. Continue reading “Les Miserables 44: Cemeteries Take What Is Given Them”

The Monday Melange 04.26.10: Roger Goodell, Ben Roethlisberger

–Please meet “Steve”, our new travel correspondent and executive director of transportation here at Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion.  It is a pleasure to have “Steve” on board to handle all of our transportation arrangements here at Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion, and we look forward to hearing what he has to say about travel-related subjects.  We are confident that “Steve” will do an excellent job here, especially when the mode of transportation is riding lawn mower and the destination is the Oyster Shack.  And he definitely knows his rights, which is yet another plus factor.  Here he is, in rare form:

–So I hear that Roger Goodell has suspended Ben Roethlisberger.  Kinda had to, after how he dealt with Ookie Vick and Pacman Jones.  Otherwise, he would have had a race riot on his hands.

–Seriously.  How much trouble can one get into in Milledgeville, Georgia?  I have been through Milledgeville, once.  There is not a whole lot down there.  But apparently Ben Roethlisberger found a way.  (I need to go out with him sometime and let him show me some things.)

–Are liberals and atheists smarter than Christians?  Michael Bell examines some recent studies that come to some provocative conclusions on this issue, and then gives his own take.  Short answer:  Yes, but there are some confounding factors, i. e. liberals tend to prefer to live in large cities.  In large cities, people have greater access to information; this makes those who live in large cities smarter (by and large) than people who live in small towns or rural areas.  Also, the core message of Christianity–a crucified leader–is a message that just doesn’t make sense and which many reject as foolishness.

–As long as we’re looking at videos, care to watch Charlie Hall and Francis Chan in a breakdance competition?

Nice try Francis, but I think Charlie’s got you in this one.

–The last time we did one of these, we were wondering who would be the first to yell “GET IN THE HOLE!!!!!” when Tiger Woods was playing in the Masters, and who would be the first to respond with “That’s what she said!!!!!”.  Well, Phil Mickelson won the Masters and Tiger Woods managed to make it through without completely and totally embarrassing himself at least.

–How’s the weather down in Amundsen-Scott Station, Antarctica?  High:  -47.  Low:  -81.  Windchill:  -113.

Michael Horton on the Difference Between a Church and a Movement

Today I wish to direct your attention to a post by Michael Horton on the difference between a church and a movement.  Horton’s big idea is that movements are ephemeral and tend to splinter easily, while the church is built to last.  This post is occasioned by the controversy within Reformed circles over John Piper’s decision to invite Rick Warren to speak at his upcoming Desiring God conference.  Horton uses his own analogy of a movement as a village green where people from all different churches can come out into open space and have conversations together, and makes reference to C. S. Lewis’s analogy of churches as the rooms in a house and all the rest of Christianity as the hallways.  You can hang out in the hallways, but it is the rooms that are built for all the complexities of doing life on a long-term basis.

Read Michael Horton’s “The Hallway and the Rooms”

Pete Enns: Why We Fight About Genesis

Today I wish to direct your attention to a post by Pete Enns over at the Biologos blog site.  In this brief post he takes a look at the reasons why Christians fight over things like evolution.  The big idea is that most Christians like to maintain coherence in their worldview, and anytime that coherence is threatened the results can be quite volatile.  We have seen this particularly with the Waltke situation that has unfolded over the last couple of weeks.

Read “Why We Fight About This” by Pete Enns

An Update and a Rant on the Waltke Situation

You’d better sit down and buckle up, people.  I would highly recommend that you take whatever measures are necessary to ensure the stability of whatever chair you happen to be sitting in before you read any further.  Sitting in a rolling or swivel chair while reading this post is strongly discouraged.

I am getting ready to rant, people.  I am quite upset, if you have not figured this out from the smoke pouring through your computer screen and into the room where you are sitting.

A couple of weeks ago I linked to a video by noted Old Testament scholar and Reformed Theological Seminary professor Bruce Waltke produced in cooperation with the Biologos Foundation, an organization whose mission is to lead Christians into a more positive and fruitful engagement with scientific issues (a mission which I wholeheartedly support, by the way), in which he challenges Christians to stay engaged in the discussion of scientific issues, especially evolution, and warns that we must be prepared to accept evolution if the evidence points in that direction (I believe it does) or risk being marginalized by society as cultic and irrelevant.

Now Waltke’s views on this subject are a well-known matter of public record.  There is nothing in this video which Waltke has not already said a million times or more in his public writings throughout the course of his career.  But in the culture of fear which exists in present-day evangelical Protestant-dom with respect to evolution, when this video dropped it ignited a massive firestorm of controversy.

Don’t bother looking for this video; you will not find it.  Shortly after it appeared, Waltke asked that it be removed from the Biologos website.  There are indications that perhaps he was pressured to do so by his superiors at RTS. Continue reading “An Update and a Rant on the Waltke Situation”

In Memoriam: Michael Spencer (cont’d)

Today we conclude our remembrance of Michael Spencer.

I thought it best to close this out by linking to the full transcript of David Head’s eulogy for Michael Spencer, and the audio for Bill Haynes’ message at the memorial service.

Before we return to our regularly scheduled diatribe deployment activities, I would like to direct you to one last post by Michael Spencer, one which I feel is highly appropriate at this time.  It is called “Death–the Road that Must Be Traveled”.  Enjoy.

In Memoriam: Michael Spencer (cont’d)

Today we continue our remembrance of Michael Spencer.

Michael Spencer had a sense of humor and was not afraid to use it in order to poke fun at those things in the world of evangelical Protestant-dom which deserve to be made fun of.  Here is one of his all-time classics, a post entitled “Easter Weekend at the Megachurch” which appeared on the Boar’s Head Tavern (a group blog moderated by Michael Spencer) back around Easter 2005:

BHT Fellow Judson posted: “I just received a recorded phone call from my pastor inviting me to attend Easter Sunday.”

Lurker Eric replied with this gem:

“Press 1 if you will be attending the Traditional Easter Sunrise Service to be held in the (insert local Jr. College stadium here).”

“Press 2 if you will be attending the 8:30 Traditional/Contemporary Easter Cantata Service to be held in the main auditorium/gymnasium.”

“Press 3 if you will be attending the 10:00 Contemporary/Revelant Passion Interpretation in the Holy Grounds Coffee shop. Seating is limited, please reserve soon.”

“Press 4 if you will be bringing a friend to the 10:30 Resurrection Sunday Pageant. If you’re friend is not a Christian but is sensitive to the christian lifestyle/worldview, please leave their name and address so the Seeker Strike Team can visit them next Tuesday.”

“Press 9 to hear these selections again or Press ‘O’ for the operator…Thank you for calling Valley Central Fellowship and Worship Center…”

(Eric the Lurker from Redding)

Neither was Michael Spencer afraid to laugh at himself on occasion.  Here he offers a listing of some of his most boneheaded ministry moments:  “Stupid Ministry Tricks:  The Best of My Bone-Headed Ministry Mistakes”

In Memoriam: Michael Spencer (cont’d)

Today we continue our remembrance of Michael Spencer.

Michael Spencer was not afraid to speak out in the face of issues in evangelical Protestant-dom which he saw as problematic.  I will begin today by directing your attention to a post entitled “Talk Hard” which is a manifesto for the role of the critic in the world of evangelical Protestant-dom.

“Why Do They Hate Us?” This article takes a long, hard look at evangelicalism and its engagement with the outside world.  There are many good reasons why evangelical Protestant-dom does not get a lot of love in the outside world at large, and sadly, many of those reasons have nothing whatsoever to do with the Gospel.

“Signs:  I’m Weary of Weird Christians” In this article Michael Spencer takes aim at those evangelicals who claim to know what God is saying to them as if they are having additional books of the Bible pumped directly into their heads, and those who claim to know beyond the shadow of a doubt the next big thing God is going to do in our day and age.

“Out of Business with God” In this article Michael Spencer takes on transactionalism, the belief that if we do something then God will automatically respond in a certain way.  Evangelical Protestant-dom is rife with this.

“Those Magnificent Young Men in Their Pastoring Machines” Here Michael Spencer takes aim at the contemporary evangelical view of the pastorate, in which the prevalence of church growth methodology has caused the pastor to be seen not as a pastor but as a CEO and salesman.

“One Big, Happy Lie:  Southern Baptists, Alcohol, and Me” Here Michael Spencer describes what it was like to grow up in a religious culture where there was a tremendous amount of hypocrisy over the issue of alcohol.

“To Be or Not To Be, or Why I’m Not A Young Earth Creationist” In this article Michael Spencer describes why he is less than impressed with the young-earth creationist position, which has way more influence in the world of evangelical Protestant-dom than it ought to.

In Memoriam: Michael Spencer (cont’d)

Today we continue our commemoration of Michael Spencer.

Michael Spencer was deeply influenced by Thomas Merton, a writer and monk who lived near Louisville, Kentucky.  Here are some of Michael Spencer’s posts pertaining to Thomas Merton:

“The Monk Who Wouldn’t Go Away” Michael Spencer’s tribute to Thomas Merton.

“Contemporary Worship and the Walnut Street Epiphany” About this epiphany in Thomas Merton’s life and how it relates to present-day evangelical worship.

“Who and What Are Forming You?” A challenge to evangelicals to be intentional about spiritual formation, a la Thomas Merton.

“The River is Deep; The River is Wide: How I Made My Peace With The Roman Catholic Church” Exactly what it sounds like.  Michael Spencer describes how he overcame the prejudices that were part of his Baptist upbringing and came to develop a very positive view of the Catholic faith.  Thomas Merton played a huge role in this process.