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A Little College Football Rant

Jay Bilas always says on a certain Sunday in March, “Don’t tell me who you lost to, show me who you beat.” With that, let’s compare Team A and Team B.

Team A and Team B both have identical 10-2 records and 6-2 in conference play. Both losses by Team A and Team B were on the road.

Team A has 2 wins against teams ranked in the top 10.

Team B has 0 wins against teams ranked in the top 10.

Team A finished the season beating a 5-6 team by 56 points on the road.

Team B finished the season beating a 5-6 team by 22 points at home.

Team A defeated Team B in the regular season.

Looking at this, it should be clear that Team A should be ranked ahead of Team B, but yet because of privilege, and because ESPN and everyone else focuses on who you lose to, Team B will be ranked ahead of Team A.

Team A is Tennessee.

Team B is Alabama.

Tennessee may not be deserving of the College Football Playoff, but neither are Alabama nor LSU. Tennessee does deserve a NY6 bowl over them.

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Getting back to the blog

LL Cool J once said, “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” Tony Kornheiser once wrote a book entitled, “I’m Back for More Cash.” Both Michael Jordan and Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard announced returns by simply saying, “I’m back.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m back from neglecting my little corner of the Internet for far too long now. There’s been a couple of things that have motivated me to start writing on here a little more often now. First, I still feel like I have some things to say. Other than my classroom on the end of a hall, I don’t have a pulpit anymore to say things that I feel need to be said. I’ve been reading some of my old sermons lately and I still feel that urge to preach while I minister to my eighth graders while teaching them about American and North Carolina history. Second, I’m fed up with my online existence being controlled behind a walled garden of voices shouting into the void. About a month ago, I deactivated Facebook in order to still keep my sanity. All I did was get angry or depressed every time I opened the app. Also, I don’t want anything I say or write to be controlled by a corporation or to disappear at any moment.

I’ve heard many people over the years about how it’s better to have your own space, so I feel the need to cultivate mine here. So while I’ll still hang out on Twitter because it’s my preferred social media of choice, most of the time you will find me here, because I don’t want to be chained to a corporation for my digital identity anymore. This time, I plan to stick to it.

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Gardner-Webb going to the Big Dance!

Today, Gardner-Webb defeated Radford in the finals of the Big South Conference Tournament to earn their first ever NCAA tournament berth. It’s one thing to be at a school that seems to go every year, but it’s something special to watch your school get there for the first time. Seeing this moment above made me weep tears of joy. I’m looking forward to Selection Sunday next week.

It seems lately when I browse through Facebook, a friend of mine posts something politically polarizing that just makes me shake my head. I’ve tried to stay away from political posts, considering that my friends vary all across the political (and theological spectrum). I did make a post that I didn’t intend to be political, but because it involved an incident in the political world, the discussion went off the rails in a hurry and I was left with regret for posting it.

That said, when I see all these politically-charged posts, it makes me consider leaving Facebook. The thought only lasts a few minutes until I remember that I’ve done and do quite a bit of pastoral care via Facebook. So now, when the politically-charged posts begin to be too much, I just click the button to close the browser window. Setting limits and not posting can be the best thing to do. As coach Herm Edwards once said, “Don’t press send.”

Despite the well-known challenges, it is self-defeating for pastors in particular to declare their moral superiority to everyone else and walk away from social media. We may not like the present reality of how people communicate, but it is the present reality. When we opt out, we remove our voices from the conversation and fail to be informed about what others are doing and saying.

A new study from New York University and Stanford University has reported that people who deactivated their Facebook accounts for a month felt less politically polarized but were demonstrably less informed.

Source: Why ministers shouldn’t walk away from social media

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Thinking Theologically About My Health

The following was my article for the October issue of The Announcer, the monthly newsletter of Jonesboro Heights Baptist Church in Sanford, where I serve as Associate Pastor.

For my article this month, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to all of you who have been praying for me concerning my recent health issues. For those of you who don’t know what happened or what is going on, allow me to share.

I went for my annual physical back in early August. Through routine testing, it was discovered that my blood sugar level was abnormally high. Subsequent testing over the following three weeks revealed that I have Type 2 Diabetes. As word has got around, the general reaction I’ve received from people is shock (I can relate… I was pretty shocked myself). The second most popular response has been, “How??? You’re young… You’re thin… (thank you!)” Honestly, I don’t know what caused it. It could stem from genetics. It could have been the result of 30+ years of drinking multiple glasses of Dr. Pepper / Pepsi / Coke or sweet tea per day. For all I know, it could be revenge for all those times I made fun of those Wilford Brimley commercials. At this point, how I got it isn’t so much as important as where do I go from here.

What got me the most was a statistic I read about the severe increase of heart disease that diabetes causes. As someone who has a family history of it, that statistic alone was enough to realize that some changes needed to be made.

In thinking theologically about all of this, I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 which says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” This passage can be interpreted a number of ways, but one way that hits home right now is that I need to do more to take care of this temple that is my body. It means that I need to eat healthier, exercise more, and focus on doing the things that help my body instead of hurt it. When we do this, we honor God with our bodies and fulfill the practice of loving the Lord our God with all our strength (Deuteronomy 6:4).

So from all of this, I want to encourage you to practice loving God with all your strength and take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit that is your body. I don’t know what that might look like for you, but you do. So this month, take some time to examine your habits as far as eating, working and exercising are concerned. Are there any changes that need to be made? If so, do them, so that you may honor God with your body.

As an update, since I’ve started making changes to my eating and exercise habits, I’ve lost approximately nine pounds and I feel a lot more energized. I didn’t realize how bad I felt, especially over the summer, until I started feeling better.

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Starting Over

So I’m starting the blog over again. I created a new one a little over a year ago with a few posts of things of interests, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I lost pretty much everything, including the database. Of course, it doesn’t help when you fail to back up everything.

Anyway, I’m trying this again and seeing where it goes. So stay tuned.