Friday, February 29, 2008

Sports Analogies from the Big Debate On Campus

So last night, there was a big debate on the campus of the seminary I go to (Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary). The debate centered around the question essentially whether historians can prove the resurrection of Jesus. The two debaters were Michael Licona, author of "The Case For the Resurrection of Jesus" and Bart Ehrman, professor at UNC Chapel Hill. Licona took the position that one could prove historically and Ehrman took the opposing view.

Aside from the debate, which I thought ended as I draw, I walked away with two thoughts. These two thoughts I will elaborate on with the use of sports analogies (of course). The first centered around Dr. Ehrman, who is an agnostic. He talked about his past and how he went to Moody Bible Institute and to Wheaton College (a Christian college) and how he "believed" in the truth of the resurrection for the longest time and that he only came to the position that he's at now in his words "kicking and screaming". Now I mulled on that and to me it sounded like this. Picture if you will a superstar baseball player. He is very talented, has risen up the minor leagues as the "can't miss prospect". He becomes identified with Team A, pretty much is the heart and soul of the team. He then signs with Team B for an exorbernt amount of money (like 100 million dollars). At the press conference, the player says that it was hard for him to leave team A and he was pulled away kicking and screaming. Now, if you heard about that, what would you think? For me, there are only three options. One, he's a liar. Two, he's (to put it nicely) not bright. Or three, he knows exactly why he left (the 100 million dollar contract). I think the same goes for Ehrman in regard to his former beliefs. Either he's option one and a liar, option two and not bright, or option three and he knew exactly what he was doing. For me, I tend to go with option three. In the end, he chose what he felt was the truth. Do I think he chose right? Well, no but the point is that don't make it out to be that it was hard for you when in the end it wasn't.

The second thing was that it gave me a better apprecation for those followers of Jesus that I don't necessarily agree with or like all the time. Here the sports example is this. On any given team, there will be players who don't like other players, for whatever reason. But, they are teammates and as long as they are teammates they have one common goal, to win. And they must cooperate and play together in order to achieve that goal. Same thing for followers of Jesus. There are some followers that I don't always like or agree with. But I have to be reminded, and last night was a reminder, that we're on the same team. If we're following Jesus, then he or she are not the enemy, they're my brother or my sister, they're a part of the body of Christ just like I am. And that is a good encouragment to have when faced with a difficult situation.

By the way, Happy Leap Day everyone :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NFL Combines and the Church

This week in Indianapolis, the NFL combines were held. For those who don't know, the combines are an event where athletes hoping to be drafted by an NFL team go and work out before scouts, coaches and executives. These potential NFL players go through a battery of tests including lifting weights, jumping, throwing, running and even a standardized test called the Wonderlic Test. Players are then ranked based on how much they could benchpress or how fast they can run to how high they scored on the Wonderlic Test. From the combines, teams take this information and use it in drafting players.

I personally haven't ever really liked the combines. Not that I have anything against them, I just don't feel like they are the best gauge in who's the best player. It's one thing that I guy can benchpress 450lbs or a guy can run a 4.3 in 40 yards. It's another thing when you put a helmet and shoulderpads on and stick him on the field and ask him to make plays. There are two things the combines can't measure, or at least I've never seen them measure. Those are character and heart. How a player handles adversity both on and off the field is sometimes more important than how high he scored on a standardized test. Case in point, Tom Brady. Tom Brady went to the combines and was rated horribly. He didn't have the "prototypical" quarterback body. He didn't wow the scouts with his lifting ability or his running ability. Because of this, he ended up being a 6th round draft pick. Of course, we know how that story turned out.

So what does this have to do with the church? I think the same kind of emphasis exists as well. We tend to elevate those who have super memorization skills of Scripture or can recite the Westminster Catechisms back and forth or are very astute in deep doctrine. And we tend to forget those followers of Jesus who may not be as astute but who love God and love others and share the Gospel with all they come in contact in word and deed.

Now I'm not saying that memorization is bad or studing theology is bad (if it was, I wouldn't be right now in seminary). I'm just saying don't overlook those other believers out there who are doing the work too. Just as much as there are players on teams who have the "eye-popping" combine stats, there are others who don't but who's contribution to the team is just as significant.

In the end, for a team to succeed, all the players have to buy into the system. The same is true for those who follow Jesus. Those that follow Jesus have to buy into Him. And from that, you get so much more than the pleasure of being the #1 pick. You get to be a child of God...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Predictions for the 2008 Major League Baseball Season

Along with reflections and thoughts, this blog also will have my predictions (both right and wrong) of sports. First up: Major League Baseball.

AL East:
Boston (division winner)
NY Yankees
Tampa Bay

AL Central:
Detroit (division winner)
Cleveland (wild card)
Kansas City
Chicago White Sox

AL West:
Seattle (division winner)
Anaheim (LA) Angels

NL East:
NY Mets (division winner)

NL Central:
Chicago Cubs (division winner)
Milwaukee (wild card)
St. Louis

NL West:
Colorado (division winner)
San Diego
Los Angeles
San Francisco

ALCS: Boston vs. Seattle
NLCS: Milwaukee vs. Chicago Cubs
World Series: Boston vs. Milwaukee
Champs: Boston Red Sox

AL MVP: David Ortiz
NL MVP: Prince Fielder
AL Cy Young: Erik Bedard
NL Cy Young: Johan Santana

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Reflections from College Basketball

I was looking on and came across an article about a college basketball player named Lester Hudson. What initially got my attention was that it was an article about a player from UT Martin. I went to grad school at UTM and I try to keep up with their teams as best I can, given that they don't get too much national press.

The story it told was of a player who came from inner city Memphis, didn't really do much in school. In fact, he didn't graduate from high school. Got into a junior college, got his GED but wasn't able to graduate from junior college. Walked on at UTM, paid his own way there and even sat out a year so he could play there.

The fact that this kid is at the point where he's at now is impressive. What impressed me in that story was the fact that there were several times where he could have just quit but he didn't. I'm glad he made it at UTM and is having the success he's having. I'm also glad he's at UTM because of the coach there, Bret Campbell. I know Coach Campbell, I had a class with him while I was there. He's not only a great coach but he's also a great Christian man. I know he's teaching Lester good basketball skills along with modeling Jesus to him.

I hope that this story continues and that more good things will be heard about this kid.

If you want to read the article for yourself, here's the address:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rebuilding With Help from Basketball

As I was thinking about what to blog about next, there were several things to talk about. But as I was looking on Facebook, I saw that a friend of mine posted a link to an article on It was a story about my alma mater, Union University. I don't think I have to say what happened there last week, it was all over the news.

But this article was about the Lady Bulldogs, the basketball team. The team is a perennial championship contending team. This year they are undefeated so far and ranked #1 in the nation in the NAIA (they are like the NCAA but made up of smaller schools). It talked about how the team, like the entire campus was affected by the tornado that hit the campus. It shared about the cleanup and rebuilding taking place. It also talked about a game that was played against Cumberland University on this past Monday (the 11th) at a local high school. Union won the game and continue their undefeated run. And then the next day, on a day off for the team, they went to help volunteer on campus with cleanup.

There are so many stories that have come out in the wake of this event. The one theme that sticks with me is that God provides and blesses in the midst of tragedy. There will be a long process of rebuilding, both physically with buildings and emotionally in the lives of students and faculty/staff. But it's in such things like basketball where some of those steps take place. It gives people a chance to have fun for a few hours and not worry about struggles of life. I'm take joy in being a graduate of an institution like Union and this story is just another example of that.

If you want to read the article yourself, here is the link:

Also, if you would like to give to the Union University Disaster Relief Fund, here's the link to that:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Steroids and Baseball....And Telling the Truth

One of the prevailing stories of the year and really the past decade and beyond has been steroids and HGH in baseball. The big thing this week was the testimony of Roger Clemens and his trainer before Congress. And while that story has yet to play out, the thing I wanted to touch on was on of the other people involved, Andy Pettitte.

Now anyone that knows me know that I don't like the Yankees. They are a team that do not root for, nor care for. But I have been a fan of Pettitte for a long time, even having him on my keeper fantasy baseball team for several years. He is also a professed Christian. When I heard that he was named in the Mitchell report, I was shocked. It just seemed like that was wrong. The very next day, he came out with a statement saying it was true, that he did take HGH (human growth hormone). This was made clear again this week with a sworn statement that was taken before Congress and read into record during the hearings.

One thing I think that can be taken away from this is how Pettitte faced things. He was wrong in taking HGH and openly admitted it. It's a reminder that we as believers still struggle and that we are going to mess up now and then but that we can own up to our mistakes and be sorry about it and ask God for forgiveness and that He will forgive.

I still have respect for Andy Pettitte. I can't say the same for others in baseball.

The Beginning of An Experiment

I thought it would be good to have a separate blog to discuss sports and reflect on them from my perspective. So from this blog you will get my take on sporting events and players. It will cover a wide range of sports and people. It'll be fun and a good time hopefully. So buckle in and enjoy the ride :)