Christianity… A Hard Sell

I just recently finished up listening to Kevin DeYoung’s sermon series on the book of Leviticus. KDY is the senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, and therefore an unashamed Spartan fan.

He preached through Leviticus from February to July of last year, but because the church makes all his sermons available online (for free!), one can listen to them at one’s leisure. Go here for the whole Leviticus series.

Leviticus? What’s in there but the moldy trappings of a now defunct bloody sacrificial system? Not to mention, a bunch of regulations that frankly seem irrelevant to us who don’t live in an agrarian society and outdated sexual mores that are beneath our “enlightened” 21st Century selves?

While I can devote an entire series of posts of all the things KDY uncovered in the 18-part series, I will try to sift through the largesse.

In Sermon 4 (“Sin Offerings”), he expands on sin, no, not the TV station formerly known as the Spanish International Network (currently known as Univision).

Rather to the our constantly missing the mark of God’s law. Something which all human beings (save for One) are born into, act out and puts us at enmity with God.

Sin, as KDY points out, is an “objective category”. That is, it’s not relative to our whims and fancy, as he put it, “God’s values ARE whether we value them or not”. Because we are born at enmity with God we don’t like to hear about sin, especially our sin though we all feel more comfortable pointing out the sins (real or perceived) of others.

KDY rightfully asserts that he abhor hearing about sin and because of that he says,

Christianity will always be a hard sell. Real Christianity. Because it confronts head-on our love of autonomy. ‘I want to be the reference point… I want my feelings, my desires to be affirmed… It want to be the center of the universe… I want you to exist to make me happy… God exists to make me happy… I am the moral reference point, everything else is decided right or wrong based on what it does to me and how I like it… If there is a God surely He exists to meet my needs and affirm my beliefs.’

Sin is not simply being untrue to yourself no matter how many times the Disney movies tell you that it is

Indeed…

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A Mexican’s World Cup Primer

No, it has nothing to do with Tequila shots or other such truck but rather a historical retrospective.

Mexicans get soccer fed to us in our baby bottles

I made this statement to an American friend a couple of years ago. Many will say that it is a generalization and perhaps be insulted by it. A Mexican-American chap who heard it certainly was and let it be known just how offended he was. The fact that he neither was born and spent most of his childhood living in México made his overreaction a little bit less credible.

My native land hosted the 1986 World Cup and I remember it vividly. Anyone remember the borderline offensive mascot, Pique?

[found the pic at:  http://degenerasian.blogspot.com/]

The memories are bittersweet because while Manuel Negrete’s strike made an indelible impression on my mind, the loss against ze Germans in the quarterfinals broke my young Tri-loving heart.

Over the years, we moved to America and my interest in soccer waned as it had to compete with American football, baseball and basketball. Yet every four years I was drawn to the world’s biggest sporting event, The World Cup. I have soaked in every WC since ’86, and followed especially close those in which my beloved Tri took part of. (All of them since ’86 except for Italy ’90).

I pined in ’94 to go watch them live but alas it was not to be. We are but 2 weeks away from the start of South Africa 2010 and like many of my compatriots living in all corners of the world, I am giddy with excitement.

Yet this anticipation is tempered by the ghost of México in World Cups past. Like many Mexicans I take a hopeful pessimism approach into each World Cup. Yes, the squad is a solid one with great potential but let us not set our sights too high.  Otherwise we will be disappointed if El Tri comes crashing down like cadet Juan Escutia at the Battle of Chapultepec.

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The Arm of God Haunts México

[Para Español no oprima el #1, nada mas haga click donde se termina el Ingles]

I was not able to watch yesterday’s México-England match in its entirety yesterday given the fact that this small thing called work kind of prevented it.

Thanks to Telemundo’s live streaming of the events, I did manage to catch a good chunk of the 1st half and about a quarter of the 2nd half. Kudos to Telemundo legend Andrés Cantor for dropping an f-bomb on live television. His partner, Sammy Sadovnik asked him what Mexican coach, Javier Aguirre, shouted at English captain Steven Gerrard.

Cantor obliged him by repeating Aguirre’s “Hey Steven, F*ck you!” Cantor thought the mikes were turned off, fail. Oh well, I guess the FCC doesn’t care since it is a Spanish station.

To the match…

It was good to watch El Tri go up against seemingly top-flight competition without throwing up all over themselves. That is, if we’re not going to consider the inability to defend set pieces and to put the ball in net (looking at you Carlos Vela) as examples of throwing up all over themselves.

México’s performance was tantalizing and typical of what happens when they go up against world powers (Though England hasn’t won a World Cup since 1966, they are still considered one of the world’s best, if not by merit then by tradition.)

El Tri created a myriad of scoring opportunities and yet failed to capitalize. If you want to beat good teams you have execute in front of the net. England? They had 2 corner kicks in the first half and scored in both. Granted, in the second corner English forward Peter Crouch was offsides and brushed the ball into the goal with his arm, but still.

Seeing the Frankenstein monster’s-like 6’8″ Crouch tower over my diminutive countrymen was hilarious but things would have been far more humorous and haunted if the Mexican contingent would have invited noted Mexican ref and Dracula doppelganger, Marco Antonio “Chiquidracula” Rodríguez (below)

Good teams (México is not there yet) find ways to maximize the opportunities granted to them, that they create opportunities should be a given.

I know it’s just a friendly, but the flashes of brilliance shown by the usual suspects up front, Gio and Carlos Vela, gave us Mexicans a glint of hope that maybe just maybe we might have the horses to get out of the frigging Round of 16 in South Africa. Then Vela blows 2 clear scoring chances.

Oh well, my beloved Tri has pined to be in that top tier of squads, and dwell in the lofty spires where Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Italy make their home. Unfortunately that is not currently the case as evidenced by the setting of this very match. This was England’s World Cup send off.

The host picks a “lesser” opponent to play in the send off match. Very much like homecoming in American football. For your homecoming, you schedule a team you know you’re going to beat. England had no doubt that it was going to beat México, hence the 3 lions scheduled my Tri.

That’s OK, until México shows that it can beat top-tier competition it will reside in the middle of the pack.

That said, I think they earned the respect of the Brits, or at least their journalists judging by some of the pieces I’ve read from their newspapers.

Here is a fine example of one from the Telegraph,

England 3 Mexico 1: match report

Up next for México? The Netherlands tomorrow at 1:30 PM.

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The Spirit of Phil Hartman Lives on at Florida Tea Party

Yesterday was “Tax Day”, the day in which millions of people scramble like decapitated fowl to get their tax forms to their nearest post office.

Not coincidentally, various “Tea Party” groups chose “Tax Day” to express their discontent with our Federal government. I’ll leave the haranguing over the demographics to others.

While perusing through a gallery of shots taken at various nationwide demonstrations, here’s one of them:


[Photo Credit: Joe Cavaretta / AP]

Some may look at this and see an old man (possibly ex-military) telling some young punk that his slipper-wearing generation would have lost WWII, others might see this as an example of the uncivilized confrontations endemic to this kind of event.

Me? This pic took me back to the days when SNL was a must-see event. Remember the skit in which Frank Sinatra (Phil Hartman) slapped down an irreverent Billy Idol (Sting) with the epic line,

I’ve got chunks of guys like you in my stool!

Here’s the vid, the exchange begins at the 5:27 mark. Even a pro like Phil almost loses it after dropping the line.

John Redcorn Soothes Mother Earth

I remember it like it was yesterday, sitting in a dorm room watching the series premiere of “King of the Hill” and Joseph Gribble’s first appearance. The punchline of course was his appearance, nothing like perceived father Dale but closely resembling that of his mom’s “friend”, John Redcorn.

At that point I don’t think I had laughed harder at anything I had watched on television. Chris Rock’s “Bigger and Blacker” topped it a couple years later.

At any rate, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recently said that God was “Bolivarian” (As in Simon Bolivar not Bolivia but who’s counting?)

Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales, recently attended the aftershock-tinged inauguration of Chile’s new President.

Here’s a shot from the ceremony (photo credit: Claudio Santana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images),

As seen in the pic, Evo Morales (left) appears to be manipulating the aftershocks.

God may not be “Bolivarian” but the luminaries in attendance should thank Him that Evo seemingly has things under control.

Jaime Escalante Will Win American Idol Season 9

The remaining 12 girls performed tonight on American Idol. The verdict? An all-around snoozefest. Save for the look on Simon Cowell’s face after fellow judge Kara Guardio channeled her inner Paula and commented that “Leona Lewis is her generation’s Mariah Carey”. Huh? Leona couldn’t carry Mariah’s, oh never mind.

It was painfully obvious that none of the 12 remaining songstresses will win Season 9, but Lilly Scott might have a shot at making the final on the strength of her rocking the Madam Mim look.

Personally, I think this competition is locked up. As this post’s title brazenly states, retired Calculus teacher, Jaime Escalante will take the disco ball, er fat recording contract come May 26.

Here’s Jaime on the right and in Idol form on the left (no pun intended my Russian readers).

And on a related note, to be sure, Mr. Escalante can count on this man for support:

Bush’s Tots

Well, it has been a month and one day since I’ve shown my face around here. Why that has been the case, I’m not sure, it’s not like there has been a lack of things to blog about.

There have been plenty but I guess no one thing was enough to drag me out of my shell until I caught the following piece cited at one of my daily haunts, Barking Carnival:

While Bush lives high, hometown scholarship reportedly runs dry

The Bush the story is about is of course, former USC great and now Super Bowl champion, Reggie Bush. Here’s Reggie getting sandwiched by Michael Huff and Aaron Ross,

With his deftness in not keeping his promises, it is obvious that Reggie is preparing for a future career in politics. How boss would it be to have Kim Kardashian as FLOTUS? Of course, Reggie might not have prayer since it’s hard to see how people are going to want another Bush at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This post is dedicated to Reggie Bush’s obvious source of inspiration in all this, Michael Scott.

To view the episode, click here.