On the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cam Newton, and Life in the 40390

Tonight, LeBron James makes his return to Cleveland in probably the most anticipated basketball game of the early NBA season.

TNT, which will air the game, must be loving this. LeBron James and his Trifecta of Heat head to Cleveland to face James’ former team. It’s going to be like two exes meeting at a mall. It’s awkward. It’s uncomfortable. And, no one knows exactly how to act or what to say.

Add in the fact that Cleveland is acting like a jolted lover bent out on revenge and we could have the makings of WWE meets the NBA. Fans are already posting chants to cheer tonight such as “Wit-Nessed Nothing” in order to make themselves heard and seen.

The question must be asked is why is it so important to ridicule and hate someone simply over a game, and a decision that the individual made in their life? Did James handle the situation the right way? Probably not. But did James contribute to Cleveland during the time he was there? Yes, and for that he should be appreciated.

It won’t happen, sadly.

I liken the situation to many of my fellow West Virginia University alums and friends whom are still aggravated at Rich Rodriguez for the way he left in 2007. Did he handle it the right way? No. Did he add something to WVU while he was there? Most certainly, and for that he should be appreciated and respected.

We take sports too seriously in America, and the world for that matter. We allow sports to dictate and determine too much of our lives, to the point we believe it is OK to hate someone simply because they wear the opposing team’s jersey. Really?

Sports are games. It is not life. The fact James plays for Cleveland does not dictate whether or not one should act like, for lack of a better term, idiot, and embarrass themselves and their families by doing something they’ll only regret just so they can say, “I got LeBron back.”

It’s time to grow up, Cleveland.

Cam Newton is Eligible, but Daddy Broke the Rules

The NCAA has declared Cam Newton eligible, even though his father broke the rules in trying to get a payment for his son’s playing. So, a rule is broken, but no harm, no foul?

I feel bad for Newton, but he should not be eligible for Auburn’s SEC Championship Game on Saturday. If a rule is broken, he has to pay the penalty. The same penalty that cost Dez Bryant his college career, and Reggie Bush his Heisman Trophy. To claim no penalty is simply an act of looking at the money instead of doing the right thing.

I blame the BCS system, because the system is built to demand instant results and leads to situations like this. It is not the weakness of the ACC or Big East that diminishes the credibility of college football and the BCS. It is situations like Cam Newton, Auburn, and the NCAA that look only at the investment and not at the tradition of the game.

Auburn will likely win against South Carolina on Saturday. The Tigers will probably beat Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game. And, Auburn will probably vacate that title in three years.

Something is not right with the system, indeed.

Finals Week

It is the final stretch run of the fall. This semester has not been exactly what I expected, but it is nearly finished. That is music to any seminary student’s ears.

If anything I’ve learned this semester is perseverance to the end. I’m tired of seminary. I’m frustrated with still being in school. Yet, sometimes we are called to persevere even in the midst of difficult situations.

That is the story of my life, today.

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Advent Devotional for December 2

December 2, 2010, First Thursday of Advent

Scripture: Isaiah 40:3-5

Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and the hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!”

Someone had to do the shouting.

We wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t someone who called us in the wilderness. Saints who led us to faith, appreciation, and love of Christ Jesus. Maybe it was a parent who drove us to church each Sunday. Perhaps it was a Sunday School teacher that was influential in our lives. Or maybe it was a friend who stood by us when we needed a good friend. Each of us can point back in our lives and think of someone – maybe more than one person – who told us the story of Christ’s love for us.

Who are you sharing the message of Christ’s coming to?

In today’s climate, the shouting of the Lord’s coming is perhaps best in relationships. The relationships we have with friends, family, coworkers give opportunities to allow our words, actions, and lives speak to the living power, love, and hope of Christ Jesus.

We’ve often heard that it is the simple things that matter. This is very true when it comes to telling the story of Christ’s love. Often we think telling the story involves an encounter with someone that involves getting a “decision.” That’s intimidating for a lot of people, and leaves someone feeling as though we were more interested in the decision than the relationship. It’s the relationship and doing the little things in the relationship that shares the love of Christ – being welcoming to someone in need, sharing love, and encouraging others. It is these moments that foster relationships and allows others to see Christ through our actions.

Someone had to do share the message with us, so let us share the message with others.

Lord, we are in the wilderness waiting for your return. May we be your messenger to share your message to the people. Speak to us and shape us to be your messenger this day. Amen.