Michael Spencer: The Great Pumpkin Proposes a Toast

In honor of Halloween today I wish to direct you to Michael Spencer’s definitive work on the subject:  a post entitled “The Great Pumpkin Proposes a Toast“.

One of the areas in which evangelical Protestant-dom has completely gotten it wrong is in its attitude toward Halloween; the firm belief that this is the devil’s day and that believers ought to avoid it at all costs.  Such an attitude shows a profound ignorance of the Christian roots of Halloween, and of the necessity of a healthy imaginative life in being truly human.

Speaking of the Great Pumpkin, here, courtesy of Youtube, is the conclusion to “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”.  Sorry, couldn’t find the first part.  We have to take what we can get.

[Whoops:  Looks like the second part is now gone too.  Oh well.]

My Fantasy Pep Talk

Back in 2007 Lou Holtz got up on ESPN and gave what I would call a “fantasy pep talk” to Navy in preparation for their upcoming game with Notre Dame.  Prior to that game, Navy had lost to Notre Dame for forty-three straight years.  Lou Holtz’s talk was apparently so effective that not only did Navy beat Notre Dame that year, but they have now beaten Notre Dame three of the last four years.  So I shall proceed to take something from that talk, throw it out there and hope it sticks and has the same effect.

At the beginning of his talk, Lou Holtz made reference to an elite Navy squadron that had to swim a mile and a half to cross some river or other in the course of some battle somewhere.  (With the passage of time, I have become hazy on the specifics of this thing; I think I have preserved enough to give you the general idea.)  It was a rough crossing; the currents were strong and the water was treacherously choppy.  After swimming for about a mile under these conditions, the soldiers decided that they could not go any further, so they turned around and went back.

The upshot here is that those soldiers swam two miles and failed to complete their crossing, when they only had to swim a mile and a half in order to successfully complete it.  They swam an extra half-mile in order to avoid swimming that last half-mile that they did not wish to attempt.

You, Georgia players, have done the exact same thing far too many times against Florida during the previous twenty years.  In this decade alone I can count at least five occasions when you swam a mile in order to avoid swimming that last half-mile that would have enabled you to reach the goal of beating Florida. Continue reading “My Fantasy Pep Talk”

Attention Georgia Fans

This is a vuvuzela.

Those of you who saw any of the World Cup games this summer know all about this already.  But since soccer doesn’t have a lot of traction around here (there are only three possible final scores in a soccer game:  0-0, 1-0, and in a real scoring orgy, 1-1), I shall proceed to enlighten you.

The vuvuzela is a noisemaking instrument, similar to a kazoo.  It is only capable of producing one tone, something close to a middle B-flat.  (Don’t know what a middle B-flat is?  Ask a music major.  They’re good for something.)

Get 50,000 people playing these things together in an enclosed space, and the resulting sound is the most annoyingly obnoxious thing that you have ever heard in your entire life.  You thought the cowbells at Mississippi State were bad?  This is worse.  Much worse.  The best way I know to describe it would be to say that it is similar to the inside of a beehive.  Or the inside of Lane Kiffin’s head.  Or a beehive on the inside of Lane Kiffin’s head.  Which would explain a lot.

And therein lies our only chance of beating Florida this year. Forget bum-rushing the field after the first Georgia score.  Forget the black helmets and the black pants.  (Please.  As soon as possible.)  No, what we need is the vuvuzelas.

Those of you who are going to Jacksonville:  Get a vuvuzela.  (You can probably find one on Ebay and have it shipped to you via Express Mail in time for the game.)  Get it into the stadium some kind of way.  (Ask a Mississippi State fan for advice on how they sneak the cowbells into their stadium.  Or better yet, ask a fellow Georgia fan how they sneak alcohol into the stadium.)  Play it all afternoon Saturday.  Make life as miserable for Florida as you possibly can.

Of course you will have to respect the vuvuzela by only playing it at appropriate times:  before the game, after the game, after Georgia scores, and during timeouts.  Otherwise the league would not look too favorably upon us.  But even at that, you can still make life extremely miserable for Florida on Saturday afternoon–so miserable that they will want it to be over as soon as possible.

To get an idea of what the vuvuzela sounds like and the general loathing and antipathy which this sound engenders, check out this video:

Florida-Georgia Reflections: Lindsey Scott

Though it may be impossible for those of you who were born within the last 20 years to believe, there actually once was a time when Georgia used to beat Florida on a somewhat regular basis.  Today we will look at one of the most momentous Georgia victories ever.  So come hop into the time machine with me and we will go back…back…back…

Ronald Reagan had just punked Jimmy Carter in the presidential election.  The Iranian hostage crisis had just ended with the release of the 52 Americans.  Honda had just rolled out its first ever American-made car.  LSU had just fired longtime coach Charlie MacLendon and hired a young, up-and-coming rock star named Bo Rein to replace him, only to have him die without ever coaching a down for LSU when his plane crashed under mysterious circumstances.  And at Georgia, a talented freshman tailback named Herschel Walker was making a huge splash.

Yes, that’s right:  The year was 1980.  It was the start of that famous decade which gave us Reaganomics, Iran-Contra, Oliver North, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Chernobyl, Miami Vice, the Exxon Valdez, junk bonds, Rob Lowe, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and some of the finest music ever to grace the ears of humanity.

Since this is the 30th anniversary of Florida-Georgia 1980, I felt it appropriate that we should look back at that game.  I did not see this game, but I had the opportunity to watch the replay of it in its entirety (almost) on ESPN Classic a few years back.  We all know about Lindsey Scott, but it was fascinating to watch the game unfold and see the drama that led up to that play. Continue reading “Florida-Georgia Reflections: Lindsey Scott”

The Monday Melange 10.25.10: Mike Zimmer, Rudyard Kipling, Albert Mohler

–Mike Zimmer, Bobby Petrino’s defensive coordinator back when he was with the Cons in 2007, just called him a coward.  Guess they won’t be having dinner together anytime soon.

–Are the Narnia stories too scary for kids?  Over at hermeneutic, Christianity Today’s blog for women, Elrena Evans offers her take on “Why There’s No Narnia in Our Home”.  It is an interesting discussion of the issue of censorship as it relates to children’s literature and what is and is not appropriate for children to read.  My take is that the concern for violence in children’s literature is a recent and unnatural concern, having only come about within the previous century.  Many great children’s stories from previous generations, such as those of Rudyard Kipling or the Brothers Grimm, depict violence quite shamelessly.  Of course, I could see things quite differently if and when I have kids.

–Okay, so by now we’ve all heard about the rescue of the Chilean miners.  And many people call this event a miracle.  But is it really?  Read this piece over on Roger Ebert’s blog in which he takes up the question.

–Yoga is not Christianity and should be avoided like the plague by anyone who identifies himself or herself as a Christian.  That is Albert Mohler’s opinion, and he wants it to be yours as well.  Tough beans for the many UGA students who must employ yoga in order to fit into their dorm rooms.


As cheesy as that word may be, that is really the only word which can adequately describe the situation which Georgia finds itself today.  Not so much because Georgia has had two big wins over Tennessee and Vanderbilt (we suspected this would happen–we had our doubts, but when it did we were greatly reassured), but because the mayhem resulting from South Carolina losing to Kentucky and Florida losing to Mississippi State has made Georgia relevant.  Just two short weeks ago, Georgia was 0-3 and dead last in the division.  Now Georgia is only a half-game removed from the division lead, and actually has a somewhat realistic chance of winning the thing.

Of course, this is going to require a lot of help. largely because of that pesky tiebreaker which South Carolina holds.  But it could still happen.  In order for this to occur, three things must happen:

1.  Georgia must win out.  Duh.

This is going to be difficult.  First, Georgia must travel to Lexington and beat a Kentucky team that just beat the team that beat the No. 1 team in the country (a team that Georgia could not beat) and came within a last-second field goal of taking Auburn to overtime.

Assuming Georgia survives that test, they must travel to Jacksonville to take on a Florida team that they have failed to beat in 17 of their last 20 meetings.  Florida has showed themselves to be pathetic lately in losses to Alabama, LSU, and Mississippi State.  But Florida could field a team consisting entirely of middle school cheerleaders and band members and still beat Georgia, even if Georgia were to start a Super Bowl MVP at every position.

And assuming Georgia survives THAT test, they must then travel to Auburn and beat a team that just hung a whopping 65 points on the #12 team in the country.

2.  South Carolina, which has already lost to Auburn and Kentucky, must take two more losses, presumably to Florida and Arkansas.

3.  Florida must lose once more, to Georgia.

If all of the above played out, then Georgia, at 5-3, would win the division outright.  Florida and South Carolina, at 4-4 each, would tie for second, with Florida shading South Carolina by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker.  And even if Georgia took a loss to Auburn, the end result world be a 3-way tie which would nullify the head-to-head tiebreaker which South Carolina holds over Georgia.  In such an instance, the same-division record tiebreaker would favor Florida and Georgia, who would each have only one loss in the division (Florida to Georgia, Georgia to South Carolina).  South Carolina, with two division losses (Kentucky and Florida) would drop out.  At that point the head-to-head tiebreaker would be applied.  Georgia would control the head-to-head tiebreaker as a result of beating Florida.

Of course, none of this matters unless Georgia beats Kentucky today.  And that is by no means a given.  Let’s be honest:  The three games that Georgia has won so far are games that Marion Campbell, Kevin Ramsey, or even Willie Martinez could have won.  But today, Todd Grantham will earn that $750,000 a year salary by figuring out a way to stop Randall Cobb, who is by far the best athlete in the SEC East and would be the best athlete in the entire SEC if not for Auburn’s Cameron Newton (I refuse to defer to the popular fashion of calling him Cam Newton).  If that does not happen, then forget that I said any of this.

Michael Spencer: Just Beyond the 100th Time

The post that I wish to direct your attention to today is for those of you who feel that you have been around your church or around evangelicalism long enough to have heard almost everything that anyone could possibly have to say.

Imagine that.  There are people running around out there who actually feel that way.  Only they won’t tell you because it is not safe to.  The standard evangelical reaction to such a sentiment is to dismiss the person expressing it as some prideful prick who thinks (wrongly) that he/she has attained a superior level of maturity than the rest of us and therefore has no further need of instruction, or as some immature young punk who wants to have his/her ears tickled with the latest crazy pablum.

But if you will take a long, hard, honest look around you, you will see that those who say they have heard it all are not to be so easily dismissed, because they have a legitimate complaint.  The problem proceeds from evangelical Protestant-dom’s complete and utter infatuation with the weekly 40-minute information dump as the primary catalyst of spiritual transformation.  Oh, and don’t forget the quiet time.

Evangelicals love to believe that as long as people are sitting in rows and listening to well-known evangelical teachers, life change is happening and people are growing into spiritual maturity.  But transformation by information only works up to a certain point.  The problem is that people are human beings.  They cannot be satisfied forever by mere information; they want and need to see Christ in as many different forms as real life comes at them.  If we cannot and will not offer them that, then we should expect to see and hear a lot more people walking away saying that they have seen and heard it all.

Read “Just Beyond the 100th Time” by Michael Spencer

Michael Spencer: Niki Made Her Choice and Apparently So Did We

Those of you who have been tracking with me for a while know that I have had a lot to say here on issues of creation and evolution.  Today I would like to direct your attention to a post by Michael Spencer which reflects much of what I feel about this issue and the way that evangelicals have engaged this issue.

I have no sympathy whatsoever with anyone who says “You can’t be a Christian if you…” (are a liberal, believe in evolution…whatever).

Read:  Niki Made Her Choice and, Apparently, So Did We by Michael Spencer

Quick Hit: The Tennessee Game

Here, a couple of days late perhaps (deal with it) are my thoughts on the Tennessee game this past weekend:

This was a textbook example of what happens when a team with a bad record and good talent meets a team with a bad record and bad talent:  Usually the team with the bad record and good talent wins.

If you have seen any of the games this year, you know that whatever Georgia’s problems may be, they certainly do not stem from a lack of talent.  Our players are just as big, just as fast, just as athletic as their opponents.  The problems Georgia has faced are strictly the result of coaching:  offensive playcalling that fails to maximize the available resources, a new defensive system that is not a good fit for the personnel currently on hand (Didn’t Ray Goof have this problem with one of his defensive coordinators?), and the overarching problem:  a head coach who is not setting the right tone for his program.

But even the worst coaching on the face of the earth cannot keep good talent down forever.  Sooner or later, all that talent is bound to shine through and have its way.  You do not want to be on the opposing team when that happens.

Now, some positives that Georgia has going for it as we look ahead to the remainder of the season:

–Aaron Murray.  He’s a gamer.  Though his offensive line has not blocked a lick for him, he has been anything but overwhelmed.  In four games without A. J. Green, he managed five touchdowns to two interceptions and a 61 percent completion rate.  Not bad for a freshman quarterback with no game experience prior to this year.

–A. J. Green.  Having your best player in the lineup always helps.  We saw that this week, and during the brief time that he played at Colorado.

–The defense is improving, all the blown coverages notwithstanding.  Don’t look now, but after six games Todd Grantham’s defense has surrendered a full 51 fewer points than Willie Martinez’s defense at this point in the season last year.  What’s more:  Only once has anyone scored 30 or more points on Todd Grantham’s defense (Arkansas scored 31).  After six games in 2009, Willie Martinez’s defense had given up 30-plus points three times and 40-plus points twice.

Quick Hit: Guess Who Said This?

“And I think also understanding that, you know, that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings — that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes, and that we … achieve salvation through the grace of God.”

Sounds like a straightforward articulation of the Gospel and a solid profession of Christian faith, wouldn’t you say?

But if you knew who spoke the above words, I would be willing to bet good money that because of this person’s political leanings, an awful lot of you would say that this person is lying through his/her teeth and that there is no possible way that this person can be a Christian.

Since when has politics become the litmus test of whether or not someone is a Christian?

Come on, people.  You are better than that.  Christianity is better than that.

And no, I will not tell you who spoke the above words.  You have to click the link if you want to find out.