Football, Families and Keeping Your Promises

Being a fan of the University of Michigan and Pittsburgh Steelers football teams, this has been a rough year for me. Experiencing it in Columbus, Ohio doesn’t make it any easier obviously.

Among other things, this has not been easy on my family; particularly my wife. As the frustration grows and my mood sours the tension in the house gets kinda high.  Nobody enjoys this.  I would like to think I have gotten better about sports as I have aged, and having kids actually makes it better (they are great at distracting you and reminding you what is really important), but I won’t deny it has been a rough year and I have had my share of ruined days.

In light of this, and in the aftermath of Michigan’s ugly and improbable win last night, I promised Lisa I would take her and the kids to the Columbus Museum of Art (which is free on Sundays) instead of sitting around the house and getting grumpy.

What I hadn’t thought about was that the game was actually on TV (Fox because the Lions are NFC). So instead of huddled over the computer following it online while listening to Steeler radio, or going somewhere to watch it, I could watch from the couch on the full screen TV.

When we came home from church I watched the first quarter as the kids changed their clothes, ate lunch, and played.  And it started out great. Soon the Steelers were up 14-0 and I was smiling and joking with the kids. And I began to wonder whether Lisa really expected me to sacrifice the joy of a Steelers victory just because I said something about going to the museum last night …

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The gospel of our age

Live in the moment. This is the gospel of our age – live for today. Eat, drink, buy, travel – experience. Sex, drugs and rock and roll has become sex, pharmaceuticals and immersive digital content. YOLO, LOL.

I can see the appeal, and there is a sliver of truth there; if only to enjoy the everyday graces. Dappled sunshine, a cool breeze, the smell of fresh coffee, the tender yet intense embrace of a child just before bedtime … And I am deeply thankful for these moments that have been given to me.

But doubt pursues me. Regret lingers, coming into my vision with a disorienting pang of sorrow; a fog that too easily curdles into melancholy.

Or hardens into stoicism; not faith or hope or love but mere perseverance. This too shall pass. Vanity, vanity …

In this space I seek not a fortress of doctrine or intellectual architecture but peace; not the cold stones of a systematic belief that must be defended at any cost, and yet whose fragility is evidenced by its inability to adapt or change or speak outside its own self-selected club, but a place of rest.

Green pastures, still waters. The still small voice. Mercy, and not sacrifice …

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

I believe; help my unbelief.

How will United Methodists respond to Gosnell horror?

Matt O’Reilly tackles the important but admittedly difficult question of How will United Methodists respond to Gosnell horror?

First, O’Reilly makes the connection between Roe and Gosnell clear:

We must begin by recognizing that this tragic situation follows from the widespread efforts to normalize abortion in the United States. Not all will agree with that conclusion, but a variety of factors suggest its accuracy. Since abortion was declared a constitutional right in the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, the pro-choice movement has worked hard to undermine the full personhood of the preborn. We have been told again and again that the child in the womb is a fetus, not a baby. We are told that abortion is not the ending of a life; it is the termination of a pregnancy. This cold and detached terminology is intended to downplay any emotional reaction to abortion.

The problem is that if a preborn child in the eighth or ninth month of gestation does not have the moral status of a person, why should we think a change of geography from inside the womb to outside the womb suddenly establishes personhood? There is no substantive difference between the preborn and the newly born. If we are desensitized to the death of the former, it will lead us to be decreasingly sensitive to the latter. The road from Roe to Gosnell is a downhill slope.

[…]

United Methodists need to recognize that we are where we are because the Roe decision started us on a path of devaluing the sacred worth of human life. That path has led us to the trial of Kermit Gosnell.

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