Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stockholm Syndrome

So lent has ended. Technically Lent goes till Easter but it's a 40 day fast and if you fast on Sundays then you only fast till Palm Sunday. Celebrated yesterday with a bacon cheeseburger for lunch and 2 amazing pulled pork sandwiches. It was a good food day.

I'm not sure my next couple of fast will be fast of giving up something that doesn't affect the routine of my day. Meat, coffee, alcohol are all nice fasts and they would be a great pairing up but it doesn't get me out of my routine and thus doesn't find me spending more time with God and really giving something up to spend more time with God, thus making the fast kind of in vain. Giving things up for God is nice and all but to me it's vanity to fast without spending more time with God.

Giving up media in my car was awesome because I had all this time in my car to pray and there was a lot revealed and giving up internet and tv take me away from time I waste that I could be spending with God. Giving up a lunch gives me a time that I can use to spend with God where I normally don't.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Return of the Jedi!!!

Watching Family Guy's Something Something Darkside and re-watching season 4 of How I Met Your Mother with Car have me in the mood to sit down and watch the original Star Wars Trilogy. This is going to happen before the week is out. Probably on Thursday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fire From the Tomb

So I was sick last week and I've been in the process of moving so posting has been thin. But I wanted to post a quick word last week that has been pushed to this week. I'm going to come post a Bryan's mind view on John's 3 letters. It's kind of super interesting stuff that has had my mind spinning and I'm trying to put together what I'm getting from it.

Which leads me to this... The bible is so cool. I understand people who can say it's boring because yes, there are parts that are less stimulating then others. But on a whole, I don't understand how people can read the bible and not be moved to really think deeply on the words. I've been reading the letter's of John and eating them up, spitting them up, and trying to figure out what they all mean.

The bible is the most interesting piece of literature ever written. I know I don't read things the same way twice. Reading the bible hasn't always been an exciting experience and my enthusiasm for the bible hasn't always been as high as it is now. But lately reading the bible is hitting me in a new way, which is awesome and needed. And at the moment the letter's of John are tripping me out.

But that will have to come later...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Caps Report: Post Trade, Pre Playoffs

If anyone watched the game on Sunday versus the Blackhawks, you understand why hopes are so high for this team. If you're a hockey fan in general I think you hope to see the Caps go all the way. Is there another team in the NHL as exciting to watch as the Caps.

Sunday's game started at 12:30 pm. 11:30 central time, 10:30 before daylight savings time. A morning game, which NHL players aren't used to. And you could tell the Caps were tired. It was probably the most lackluster performance given all year... Well for two periods. After the second period the Caps were down 3-0 and looked done for. Ovechkin was out for the game and none of the lines could get it together. Defense was continuing to let the goaltending down.

And then something happened between the second and third period. I don;t know if it was that their coffee kicked in or just their bodies finally woke up, or if Boudreau gave his players the yelling of their lives but the Caps game out in the third and put up 3 goals to steal momentum from the Hawks. In overtime it was the Caps with this win. They stole a point and stole a win.

The Caps haven't looked the same since the Olympic break. Ovechkin is clearly not playing the same. The game against Tampa Bay on Friday was the worst game the Caps had played all season. The trade deadline saw the Caps make a lot of moves and not give up that much. They added experience on both offense and defense (including a Stanley Cup winner) and gave up a couple of mid round picks and Brian Pothier. The problem with not having to give up players is that your roster is too full.

Which has been a problem these past couple of games for the Caps. Boudreau has been switching his line-up and lines every game since the trade deadline. And I get it. You're trying to see what players work best together, who you want to have going forward as your starters for the playoffs. But you need to have consistency going in to the playoffs and you have to be playing your best going into the playoffs. This isn't happening right now.

It's a shame that players like Matt Bradley will probably be left out of the starting line-ups going into the playoffs. Players that have been a pivotal part of their success this year. But they need to go with what works and they brought in Walker and Belanger for this run. I'd like to see in the next two to three games Boudreau finalize his starting lines. You want to give them 5-10 games to gel together and be clicking as they roll through the playoffs.

Defense has been an issue and although at moments it seems to be better the defense is letting the goaltending down. The Caps should probably let Tyler Sloan and Carl Alzner head down to Hershey for the AHL playoffs and to work down their. SLoan has been a thorn in the defense every game he's played and even though Alzner has played well, if you're going to go with a young guy on your squad it's going to be John Carlson. John Erskine is out there as the big enforcer but if it's possible to roll without him... I might do it.

Which bring us to goaltending. If anyone thinks Theodore isn't going to be your starter in the playoffs you need to wake up. He's been far better then Varly since the break and he was by far better the Neuvirth while he was in DC. Yes, Varly was amazing in the playoffs last year until game 7 and yes he was great early on the in the season. But Varly's been hurt a long time and there just aren't enough games between now and the playoffs to get Var up to snuff. I would probably continue to rotate the goalies until the playoffs. You might need Var to step up in the playoffs and you don't want him going in cold. But Theodore's going to be your man in goal. The only thing I might do is call Neuvirth up from Hershey for one game and see if you might want to go with him or Varly in the playoffs as Theo's backup. My minor issue with that is you don't completely want to shake Varly's confidence but you're looking at the probability of Varly and Neuvirth as your goaltenders for next year.

The Caps have the Southeast division wrapped up and hopefully will put together some wins to get home ice throughout the playoffs. Looking forward to a great Cup Run this year,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Let me just pull out my soapbox

I'm slightly amazed at the things that get under my skin sometimes. I mean, I know things bug me constantly, but there are simple non offensive statements that will set me off and not leave my mind. And this is just such an occurrence.

Sometimes it's best to not read things. Yesterday I read a simple statement that really wasn't malicious or ill-intented in any way. The statement was that We need to really be praying for America and that these were sad sad times we live in. The reason for them being sad times and the reason why this person was reminded to prayer for the country... Same-sex marriage is now legal in DC. And this bugged me.

Same sex marriage is a hot button topic in the church. And the majority of Christians are against it. And I understand the reasoning... But I can't help but feel that this stance is wrong.

Now I would say that being gay is a sin. I believe it's wrong. But I also think a ban on gay marriage is wrong. It's discrimination. I feel like marriage discrimination over sexual preference is wrong. And even though I don't agree with homosexuality, I still feel that gays and lesbians have the right to get married.

I think that we sometimes forget that some of those who want to get married might be our brothers or sisters in Christ. And even though I think homosexuality is a sin, I know I have a sin in my life, and that puts us on equal footing. Because we both need Jesus. And if I have a brother in Christ who wants to get married but can't because of his sexual preference, I think that something is wrong. Christ died for all of us. ALL OF US!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Turn from your wickedness and turn to God

So I've been in the Old Testament a lot. Kings and Chronicles and Isaiah and I have to say there's a lot of death and destruction and prophets with bad news for the people of God. At some point the message went from repent from your wickedness and turn to God to, you're evil and you're going to die.

Now, I've struggled with this mightily. The reason being is that all the killing and death and terrible things the prophets say will happen and that do happen to the Israelites really doesn't jive with Jesus' message of grace and love. Ya know? And I'm a big fan of the grace and love thing because I'm pretty bad at being a Christian and without grace and love, I'm going to wind up getting overthrown and killed by the Babylonians.

But Jesus said when you see me, you have seen the father. And the connection is that Jesus is the earthly representation of God. Which means God is all about grace and love too. I know there's judgement and salvation didn't work in the Old Testament like it does now and I know the Israelites has chance after chance after chance to get it right and continued to be complete screw ups. So they all get captured and die. King after king after evil king gets killed and in the mix there are a handful of people who are all about this God of fathers business and try to do things the right way, but they die and their sons go back to being evil and the cycle continues. (I have just summed up the books of 1 and 2 Kings for you. Thank me later).

So back to Jesus. If we've seen the father through him, and Jesus was about forgiveness and grace and love and relationships, then God has to be too, right? And he is. That's why he established covenants with all these people in the Old Testament, I mean it's why he created people in the first place. But that still doesn't help me all the death and destruction. It bugged me in Esther, in bugs me to degrees in Kings, and although I have an understanding why, it doesn't always jive with me.

So, I didn't really have a breakthrough tonight and the killing still doesn't completely jive with me but I did have a thought hit me. 2 Peter 3:2 says "I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles." This struck a chord in me as I went back and reread it.

The thought I had was that the message hadn't changed. Jesus said repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The prophets said repent and turn back to God. Different wording and context but the message is the same. Leave behind that which is keeping you from God and follow God. Yes this is the dumbed down, poor man's theology version and perhaps many a people way smarter then me already knew this. Maybe everybody else already knows this. But I'm slow.

Jesus loves you.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thought Provoking Christianity

I often wonder what it's like to be someone who never has questions about there theology or their spirituality or morality. Or anything for that matter. Because my life seems to be a constant questioning and rethinking about life, God, and the universe. Not to say that my faith is in a constant state of doubt and turmoil, but I do often have issues with things when I'm reading scripture. Jay Bakker preached two Sundays ago about seeing everything in the bible through Jesus. The Gospel test is what he called it.

People who questions what seem like basic bible principles publicly normally get a bad rap. Brian McLaren just released a book called A New Kind of Christianity, and I think mainstream christianity hasn't been really kind to him and what he has to say. I haven't read that book yet. If ever I have some spare money I will be buying this and giving it a read. Jay Bakker loves the book, and I'm into what Jay Bakker has had to say about it so I'm positive. Not that Jay Bakker is mainstream christianitys favorite person.

Listening to Jay Bakker's sermons every week has really been key in my life lately. Jay's a theology guy. He spends a lot of time getting really in depth in the word. Jay's a study. But Jay also has a lot of questions about the bible and listening to Jay is listening to a guy working out his spiritual walk with others. Jay asks a lot of questions that I have. And I don't always agree or take what Jay says at face value, it's good to listen to a pastor preach what's he's going through and his questions.

The idea that questioning the bible is a bad thing to do as a christian has always seemed ridiculous to me. There's far too much about the bible I don't understand and the more I read it, the more questions I have. And working through those questions and working through my doubts is what brings me closer to God, and closer to an understanding and knowledge of who he is. I've been like this since high school, and even when my intentions for questioning weren't good, it still helped me work through a lot of things.

My theology and thoughts about God are always changing. And yes, there are basic ideas that never change and those ideas are what connect me to christians I might not agree with. And though there are people whose theology I will probably never completely agree with, that is the beauty of the body of Christ. We are all different people, with different backgrounds and different stories and different ideas of God. And Jesus sent his son to die for us and save us all. And ever though certain ideas are always in flux, the grace and love of God that saves me never changes. And that's a beautiful thing.

Ask questions.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympic Hockey is awesome

I feel like I had a lot of my facebook friends comment about the Olympic Hockey tournament. Which is awesome and I was glad to see the support of hockey for 2 weeks. But I feel like most of them are not paying the NHL much heed.

I loved every minute of Olympic hockey. It was amazing. The joy being unemployed was that I got to catch every game. What's not to love about that? Both the women's and men's tournaments had great moments and both feature the same gold medal game; Canada vs the USA. In both Canada was victorious.

Being able to sit back and just watch hockey just about all day for close to weeks was great. As a fan of hockey it was pure joy to be able to watch that much hockey in that short a time period. I usually just get Caps games, and I love the Caps, but being able to watch a lot of hockey is great! And there are a couple of things I learned from this years tournament.

FIrst was that the smaller, NHL sized rink was not helpful for the offensive powerhouses. The USA did as well as they did due to great goal tending and good defensive play. Russia wasn't nearly as good as everyone predicted, even with all that offensive firepower, they just couldn't get going and score like they really should've. Canada, even with winning the Gold, struggled. Yes Canada steamed rolled through their Qualifier and Quarterfinal games, but they lost their first game against the USA, had a tough time with Slovakia, and it was a close overtime game against the USA to win the Gold medal.

About Russia... I have a place in my heart to blame the coaching on their poor performance. Russia struggled in this tournament and got destroyed by Canada in the quarterfinals. And I noticed something early on. Alex Ovechkin was playing out of position. He hit hard and scored a goal but he wasn't playing like Alex Ovechkin plays. And as a Caps fan who has seen every game this season, I would know. My little brother even something to me about him playing out of position. They tried to use Ovie in a Crosby type of role, hanging out around the net to put in the rebounds. Not a lot of movement from the great 8. Ovie is a roamer. He's best out in space, on breakaways and when the defense doesn't know where he's coming from and what I saw was a more stationary Ovechkin, playing role he doesn't fit.

I loved watching Belarus play. Their game against Germany was just fantastic hockey and if you missed that game (it was on after midnight) you missed an incredible display of hockey. They were close in the game against Switzerland and I was pulling for them.

I can't tell you how proud I am of Team USA. So so proud. I had no real expectations for Team USA. I know Ryan Miller is a great goalie but I didn't know he was that great. A lot of young players that I haven't seen or heard much about this season and I was so glad to see them beat Canada in the first game and continue to play well through the tournament. Yeah they lost but they still got he silver medal and that's nothing to be ashamed of. A great outing for the USA and I think they can only get better in the next four years.

Lastly I will say this; The NHL needs to let it's players be involved in the Olympics in 2014. There's no reason not to. It's good for hockey fans, and it's good for hockey. I had no idea who Jonas Hiller was before the Olympics and now I wish he was a Cap. There aren't many games on tv and I have direct tv so I don't have Versus and don't get extra NHL games. I get to see the Washington Capitals and whoever they play. On occasion there's another game being shown on Comcast and NBC has a game on Sunday from time to time so my NHL exposure, even as a diehard hockey fan is limited. It's good to see other players and it's good to see players like Peter Forsberg play again. Plus you get teams like Latvia and Belarus, who are essentially their own KHL teams. It's a win for everyone. Plus, if you eliminate NHL players, team USA will be complete garbage, Canada will be a shell of the team it was this year, and great players like Jonas Hiller won't get a place to shine for the mass audience.

The ratings for Sunday's game were through the roof... Hockey is Good!