college football ratings

WARNING: this is a rant. it may be irrational. it is a bit biased. but i've always wanted to rant about college football, so why not now.

the rankings are a joke. obviously, being a Nebraska Cornhusker fan, i'm biased, but see if this logic makes sense...
Nebraska has one loss. to who? Virginia Tech who is currently ranked #6 in the entire nation. Nebraska barely lost, should have won, and it was AT Va Tech. so where is Nebraska ranked? #23.

Oklahoma has one loss. to who? Brigham Young [BYU] who is currently ranked #20. Oklahoma's loss was AT home as well. so where is Oklahoma ranked. surely below Nebraska right? #8.

please, someone explain how USC is still in the top 10 after losing to Washington? Washington just got beat by Stanford people. that's not even a loss to a quality opponent [sorry Husky fans but you did go 0-14 last season; you're not quite "quality" yet, but you're getting there and i have hope as a current Washingtonian].

do i need to go on? probably not, but i will anyway. hopefully you're with me and you're enraged!

Penn State has one loss. to who? Iowa who is currently ranked #13 after previously being UNRANKED. so Iowa beats an untested, unproven Penn State team at home and jumps to #13? surely they must have some other quality wins, right? wrong. they barely beat powerhouse Northern Iowa at home [they had to block to field goals to win], and they held off perennial clunker Iowa State. but don't worry, Penn State kept a #15 ranking. after all, they have beaten Akron, Syracuse and Temple, all HOME games.

i'm begging for consistency. i'm begging for sanity. in the end, i'm begging for a PLAYOFF system that puts an end to all this nonsense...


Scripture 'N Youth Ministry

ran across this short video from Youth Specialties a few weeks back. simply put, i was challenged and inspired. the role of Scripture in my own life, especially as a youth, is a major factor in my desire to follow Christ and my call to ministry. without the Bible, i don't think i would be where i am today.

i hope you watched the video. it's only 1 minutes and 24 seconds! amazing ideas. things i want to implement and see happen. how? how do we get kids to fall in love with Scripture? i think it's nothing short of a miracle that i did.

thinking specifically about traditional "youth group" and "Sunday school", how do you think kids should be introduced to Scripture? what is the best way to get them to fall in love with God's Word?


"old school" U.S.A.

in New York Times opinion piece, "High Five Nation," David Brooks weighs in on the U.S. then and now. specifically, he writes of the attitudes and sentiments following victory in WWII. it was a moment of humility, of awe, and, as war correspondent Ernie Pyle expressed, "I hope that in victory we are more grateful than we are proud."

why don't we hear more of that today? have we lost our sense of gratitude and thankfulness for life and all its little joys? have we lost the sense of privilege and gift that is each new day? instead, we complain about the little things. instead, I complain about the little things that bug me, annoy me, and that need to be fixed or else. or else what? or else i'll shrink away in self-loathing and self-pity...

from the article:

But that humility came under attack in the ensuing decades. Self-effacement became identified with conformity and self-repression. A different ethos came to the fore, which the sociologists call “expressive individualism.” Instead of being humble before God and history, moral salvation could be found through intimate contact with oneself and by exposing the beauty, the power and the divinity within.

Everything that starts out as a cultural revolution ends up as capitalist routine. Before long, self-exposure and self-love became ways to win shares in the competition for attention. Muhammad Ali would tell all cameras that he was the greatest of all time. Norman Mailer wrote a book called “Advertisements for Myself.”

Brooks ends the article with a line that caught my attention and continues to scream out to me:

It’s funny how the nation’s mood was at its most humble when its actual achievements were at their most extraordinary.
what about us? as followers of Christ, are we humble? are we willing to celebrate adversity and an opportunity to grow? are we pursuing Christ's vision and Christ's Kingdom goals, or are we after wealth, fame, and self-grandeur?

i ask these questions as a fellow traveler. i ask these questions as a 21st Century American Christian struggling to find the answers and make some sense of it all...

join me on the journey!


health and

stumbled on an interesting article [read full article here]. it caught my attention because it isn't just about the need for health care reform and the ongoing debate, but about the need for prevention and education on healthy living in the United States of America. why do we spend so much on health care? there are a number of reasons, one of which is our general lack of healthy living. this is something the church can and should address. our bodies are gifts from God. we ought to treat them as such.

my specific reason for posting this is that the article mentions the the increase in the U.S. of those diagnosed with diabetes. this hits home. this is real for me and my family. my sister has been diabetic since age 2 and my dad had adult-onset or type II. eventually, complications from diabetes are what ended his life over 3 years ago.

read this paragraph from the article:
The market for prescription drugs and medical devices to manage Type 2 diabetes, which the Centers for Disease Control estimates will afflict one in three Americans born after 2000, is one of the brighter spots in the American economy. As things stand, the health care industry finds it more profitable to treat chronic diseases than to prevent them. There’s more money in amputating the limbs of diabetics than in counseling them on diet and exercise.
do you find that shocking? don't hear what i'm not saying. i'm not blaming the "system" for poor lifestyle choices. i'm not blaming my dad either. i'm suggesting that the need for change in the health care system goes beyond whether people are "happy" with their current plans. it goes beyond whether America is the best and other countries suck. i'm talking about making sure every person gets the care they need to live healthy, holistic lives; to do our best at allowing all of God's children to flourish. i'm suggesting that helping people live in the bodies God gave them shouldn't be about PROFIT.

will we have to sacrifice? yes. will we have to give up some of "our" money? yes. will the transition be awkward and imperfect? yes.

call me idealistic. call me a dreamer. i just know we can do better.


Glenn Beck in Mount Vernon?

have you been following this? do you have an opinion?
Glenn Beck is coming to Mount Vernon, WA and getting a "key" to the city...
it made the news in Boston [read about it here] read more at goskagit.com

i'm pleased to say i don't really know much about this character, but i'm confused as to why a political analyst would receive a "key" to the city. what has he done for Mount Vernon? is it worth dividing a town?

weigh in...



read this article...
To Father Kabat, the nuclear issue — and his protests — remain essential. The building of weapons continues to drain money that could be used to fight poverty and hunger, he says, adding, as if caught in a time warp, “There’s still a real threat these things could go to the U.S.S.R.”
is this man a "radical"? is he being faithful to the gospel and a call to follow Christ?


stuff...enough stuff...

fascinating article in New York Times this morning...
"The Self-Storage Self"...worth your time. enjoy this excerpt; check out question at end...

“A lot of the expansion we experienced as an industry was people choosing to store,” Litton told me. A Self Storage Association study showed that, by 2007, the once-quintessential client — the family in the middle of a move, using storage to solve a short-term, logistical problem — had lost its majority. Fifty percent of renters were now simply storing what wouldn’t fit in their homes — even though the size of the average American house had almost doubled in the previous 50 years, to 2,300 square feet.
Consider our national furniture habit. In an unpublished paper, Schor writes that “anecdotal evidence suggests an ‘Ikea effect.’ ” We’ve spent more on furniture even as prices have dropped, thereby amassing more of it. The amount entering the United States from overseas doubled between 1998 and 2005, reaching some 650 million pieces a year. Comparing Schor’s data with E.P.A. data on municipal solid waste shows that the rate at which we threw out old furniture rose about one-thirteenth as fast during roughly the same period. In other words, most of that new stuff — and any older furniture it displaced — is presumably still knocking around somewhere. In fact, some seven million American households now have at least one piece of furniture in their storage units. Furniture is the most commonly stored thing in America.
The marketing consultant Derek Naylor told me that people stockpile furniture while saving for bigger or second homes but then, in some cases, “they don’t want to clutter up their new home with all the things they have in storage.” So they buy new, nicer things and keep paying to store the old ones anyway. Clem Tang, a spokesman for Public Storage, explains: “You say, ‘I paid $1,000 for this table a couple of years ago. I’m not getting rid of it, or selling it for 10 bucks at a garage sale. That’s like throwing away $1,000.’ ” It’s not a surprising response in a society replacing things at such an accelerated rate — this inability to see our last table as suddenly worthless, even though we’ve just been out shopping for a new one as though it were.
“My parents were Depression babies,” Litton told me, “and what they taught me was, it’s the accumulation of things that defines you as an American, and to throw anything away was being wasteful.” The self-storage industry reconciles these opposing values: paying for storage is, paradoxically, thrifty. “That propensity toward consumption is what fueled the world’s economy,” Litton said.

do you have a storage unit? why?
are you defined by your stuff and how much you have?
do you have Ikea stuff [i do!]?


socialism n health care

"socialism is the enemy of all free people"
have you seen this bumper sticker? what does it mean to you?

interesting New York Times editorial today by Nicholas Kristof, read it here.

"Throughout the industrialized world, there are a handful of these areas where governments fill needs better than free markets: fire protection, police work, education, postal service, libraries, health care. The United States goes along with this international trend in every area but one: health care."

and check out this video:



finished What is the What...
gained perspective on life.
the final chapter begins with these words from Valentino Achak Deng,
"I will reach upward. I will attempt to do better. I will not be a burden upon those who have helped me too much already. I will always be grateful for what pleasures I have enjoyed, what joys I have yet to experience. I will take opportunities as they come, but at the same time, I will not trust so easily. I will look at who is at the door before opening it. I will try to be fierce. I will argue when necessary. I will be willing to fight. I will not smile reflexively at every person I see. I will live as a good child of God, and will forgive him each time he claims another of the people I love. I will forgive and attempt to understand his plans for me, and I will not pity myself."

so much wisdom. how can someone who has been through so much still trust in God? honestly. how can you see what this man has seen and still believe there is good in the world and a divine presence?

but by the grace of God. because there is nothing else which gives HOPE. there is nothing else which gives meaning. there is no other God who can put up with us and continue calling out to us.

praise God for understanding us; for forgiving us; for loving us...

and praise God for those who survive and cling to faith in the midst of insane life circumstances. and praise God for those who truly have compassion for these individuals and peoples. may our hearts break for the things that break God's heart. and may we be moved to make a difference in our world that the Kingdom might be seen in and through us.