Well folks, the first day of the 2006 NFL Draft is over for my New England Patriots and here are the guys we took:
And meet Chad Jackson, WR
And meet Bill Belichick, the genius coach who along with Scott Pioli (left) picked these big fellas and gave us a very solid first day in the draft war room. Two necessary components to a re-vamped offense! I can feel the beauty of these moves already.
This afternoon (while I was supposed to be preparing for a retreat I am speaking at next weekend) I was flipping channels when I came to the MGM station and saw none other than Inspector Clouseau (the original, played by Peter Sellers). It was the last 30 minutes or so of The Revenge of the Pink Panther. This last half hour was shot on location in Hong Kong and it was fun for me to see some familiar sites include the Excelsior Hotel, an early 70s taxi, the old HK Airport, an early 70's Cathay Pacific Tristar airplane, rickshaws, parts of Central, and areas near the shipping pier.
And to think I was such a young lad when this film was being shot showcasing my future home! We loved the Pink Panther movies growing up. Some of my all-time favorite funniest lines and scenes come from those films. I haven't seen the new one with Steve Martin. Perhaps I should. I doubt his could live up to Sellers and the gang.
As predicted yesterday, this weekend's NFL Draft is a real highlight of the offseason for football fans. I could not believe my eyes this morning when I read this article on-line. Unbelievable. The team with the first pick Saturday (the Houston Texans) decided not to take one of the most talented college football players ever to be drafted. His name is Reggie Bush and he's a marvel. Instead the Texans will take Mario Williams.
Shocking. I read the article twice to make sure it wasn't someone's opinion on a mock draft. This gives you non-football fans a clue as to why we love the game so much. Draft day surprises - wow! We'll be talking about this idiotic move by the Texans for years and years to come. Our kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids will be talking about it.
The 2006 NFL Draft is this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) and marks a great day in the life of an NFL fan. Let's say you could care less about this sport or any sport for that matter and have your mouse hovering over the X that gets you off this blog. Hang on. I'll make this painless and maybe even a little interesting by telling you my top ten reasons for why this is a great weekend:
#10 - In a long offseason the draft provides a little relief to suffering football fans without our spouses losing our attention for the whole day. (Well, there are those that still watch for the whole of both days! If you're married to one, call Ling and remind her that at least I am not one of those!)
#9 - Hearing the words "And with the 21st selection in the 2006 draft the New England Patriots select..."
#7 - Monitoring the webcam in the Patriots war room where Bill Belichick will be nowhere to be found. The mole is in the bunker and nothing, not even the draft, will woo him upstairs until training camp in July.
#6 - That warm, cuddly feeling that no matter who the Patriots draft will suddenly turn to gold just by joining winners of 3 of the last 5 Superbowls!
#5 - One last glance at Matt Leinert before he becomes one of the biggest busts in the draft in recent memory...all of that while he tries to quarterback the inept New York Jets.
#3 - The start of the 2006 season is closer and getting closer all the time.
#2 - Thinking back fondly on the day I was drafted. Too bad I got injured before I could ever play a down. (Albeit before my first middle school snap after my classmates choose me in gym class!)
#1 - The Patriots aren't picking first!
"Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are good news about a good God who made a good world and who loves this world so much that he has rescued and redeemed it, has defeated the evil which has intruded into it, and has launched his project of new creation," says Bishop N.T. Wright when juxtaposing the New Testament Gospels to the "Judas Gospel."
Isn't this a clear, joyful, and accurate assessment of the Goodness of God? What strikes me most about Wright's statement is the simplicity of it. Earlier this week I was with friends and we got talking about following Jesus. Suddenly a simple statement escaped from my lips without me even thinking. "It's Jesus," I said. Simple: salvation comes by following Jesus. I shocked even myself!
Why? Because while to believe following Jesus is salvation is simple in fact, it is hard in practice. And so there emerges a propensity to complicate faith. We all have this propensity. Not just Dan Brown or the Gnostics. These are simple truths: a good God, a good world gone bad because of evil, redeemed because of the good God, and a new creation now underway. Simple truths, but hard to swallow in a complex and complicated world where we feel there must be more to it. "The Jesus story could not be what the story really is," we surmise, but it is...it is!!
This morning I was getting caught up on sports news when I happened upon the Fox Sports site. I don't normally read Fox since ESPN and CBSSportsline gives me more than enough information. When I got to the Fox site this caught my attention. They are running a competition for the best sports blog and the contest will run from now until June 28th. I am seriously considering signing-up. But...
Why would I do this: well, the winner gets a regular slot at Fox Sports as a contributor. There is the allure that I might win. (Fat chance, Swallow, with thousands expected to participate.) But I also would have fun with the experience and I could learn a lot, too.
Why I should not do this: to be begin with, I have no time. I only have about 4 million things to get done between now and the final deadline of June 28th. Since I do not live in the States it's difficult for me to keep up with all the live sporting action. I am not present to watch games live in-person or on t.v. These and about 40 other reasons!
The only way I can win (I thought to myself) is if I take a different slant than everyone else and write unique pieces that explore some hidden aspect of sports instead of just following specific scores, teams, leagues, plays, etc. that one finds splashed all over sports websites anyway. For example, what about if I researched and wrote a series on the Olympics coming to Beijing?
This afternoon I spent a few hours at one of my favorite places in the world - the Hong Kong Central Library. Stashed away on the fourth floor behind the periodicals section I read an inspirational article in Inc. Magazine about one of my other favorite places in the world - a bookstore.
If you enjoy cheering the defeated onto victory, believe in the power of ordinary people to make a difference, like a good ending, enjoy bookstores, or want to read an uplifting tale read this.
N.T. Wright continues his Maundy Thursday sermon with a warning for all Christians to take history seriously. Referring to the Gospel of Judas he says, "First, as a historian I want every scrap of information about the ancient world, every coin, every inscription, every papyrus. I am delighted at every new find and publication. But, precisely as a historian, I have to say that this ‘Gospel of Judas’ has no historical worth at all. It tells us nothing about the true Jesus, or for that matter about the true Judas. It breathes a totally different air from that of early first-century Palestine. It’s like finding a document purporting to be about Napoleon and his senior advisors, and discovering that they’re talking about nuclear submarines and B52 bombers. It is that crass."
These are strong words, but I was reminded of them yesterday afternoon stretched out on my couch reading the Da Vinci Code. I was in chapter 55 of the version pictured in this blog site where Brown has introduced the character Leigh Teabing and has him explaining to Sophie who Constantine was. Knowing some history, particularly church history, myself I was surprised to find that I needed to consult a history book of my own to confirm whether or not Brown was writing accurately about Constantine's conversion. The author is so good at mixing truth and fiction that one can easily get confused.
This brings me back to Bishop Wright. The challenge we Christians face is that we're woefully unprepared to identify historical right from wrong because we do not know our history. For example, when is the last time your fellowship offered a course, even a brief one on church history or implications for the church in world history? Most Christian education in local churches avoids the subject altogether. Why?
My guess is there are at least two paralyzing reasons: 1) we're too busy dealing with the challenges of Christian living in the here and now. Who's got time to teach about Constantine's conversion and the penetration of the Gospel in the Roman Empire when young converts are coming to church now and want to know how to engage their current culture with the Gospel today. 2) We somehow view what has past as irrelevant and out of touch as if talking about history steals from the joy of the almighty present. This is true not only of Christians, but is generally true in today's society that lives for the now.
Even though I minored in history in college I know history was generally viewed in school as boring. But it doesn't have to be. Dan Brown has proven that. Will Christians be able to defend why we believe the Gospel of Judas is faulty based on its historicity? Will we be able to debunk certain aspects of The Da Vinci Code that are historically false? N.T. Wright certainly casts that challenge our way.