Random Collection of Thoughts from the Weekend

There was a lot that took place this weekend, so here are some random collection of observations to get your week started:

Health Care Debate Concludes

Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted to approve a reconciliation bill that all but gives President Obama the legislative victory of health care reform that he has sought since his first day in office. Regardless of how one views the bill, there are some interesting observations worth making about the debate.

What does this mean for the church? There are some interesting questions that can be asked of the church in response to the bill’s passage. Did we give to government what is essentially one of the church’s callings, to care for the poor? Or did we respond and say this is a role for government? Were we united as a church? Or were we broken in parts, some in support, and some in opposition? For those who supported, why? For those who opposed, why?

I’m not sure any of us have the answers to these questions. It’s too early. But, these and other questions are worth a proper and deep examination. There must be a serious discussion among our churches as to what this bill means for the church and for our people.

There are things that I am disappointed about with what took place yesterday.

I am disappointed the attitude of those in opposition to the bill. Groups that lined up to protest the bill this weekend were in ways defiant and disrespectful of not only the legislative process, but the Representatives as well. To shout racial slurs at members of Congress as they entered the Capitol shows a complete lack of respect for Congress, the Representatives, their own views, and the very Constitution they claim to support in their activities. It was disgusting to read and watch and, as a friend of mine stated, said to see the debate look more like the 1950s and 1960s.

I thought we had grown as a country, obviously we have not.

Time will tell what the health care reform will mean for the country, for the church, but to make any definitive statement today would be merely to make a guess at the wind. What we can say is that the church must think about how to respond in this new climate, and new future for the country. How will we be the church? I think we will and I believe we must. It is our calling, and our duty to be the hands of feet of Christ in a broken and shattered world.

We’re talking Basketball

The first weekend of the NCAA tournament is over and my brackets look as if a toddler took a crayon and drew all over them. They’re gone and beyond anything that look like a winning formula for bracketology success. I’ve lost, in my main bracket, two Final Four teams. My entire left side of the bracket is demolished. I’m doing so bad, my wife whose only interest in college basketball is that my alma mater, WVU, has a strong shot of making the Final Four, is beating me and has an outside shot of winning the group on campus that we are in.

I take solace in that I am not alone in this, except for maybe the wife winning the bracket contest against me.

It’s been a great weekend, filled with upsets, strong performances, and great shots. St. Mary’s and Cornell seem to be sharing the glass slipper of Cinderella right now. Here is an interesting fact for the tournament. Of the 16 teams remaining, there are eight of what I would call “dance crashers,” or teams with a seed of 5 or lower. It’s a guarantee that at least one of those dance crashers, either Northern Iowa or Michigan State, will advance to the Elite 8. And Kansas, the favorite to win it all, will be watching the Sweet 16 from home, as the Jayhawks are the only No. 1 seed to fall during the opening weekend.

A wild tournament indeed.

So what can be expected as the tournament moves to the regional semifinals and finals? The dominance is now in the East Region and that region is sitting with two teams – Kentucky and West Virginia – that have a strong probability of not only making the Final Four, but winning the entire tournament. Should both teams make it to the expected Elite 8 battle that could be not only the game of the tournament – Kentucky’s elite freshmen going up against West Virginia’s formidable defense – but would be the favorite in Indianapolis to win.

Syracuse has looked good in its first two games, but does Kansas State – a potential Elite 8 opponent – give the Orange trouble? Duke’s easy ride to Indianapolis may have gotten easier with Villanova out of the way, but can Purdue stop the Blue Devils? It’s possible.

And, it has to be said, will Ohio State fear the SEC in its Sweet 16 game against Tennessee? Perhaps since this is not football things won’t be so bad for the Buckeyes.

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