New Yorker: God Help the Jets

An alternative viewpoint to the Tim Tebow to the Jets move comes from Adam Gopnik at the New Yorker’s Sporting Scene:

First, even allowing that we all do our best work in highly competitive circumstances—a dubious premise; most of us do our best work when we feel confident that the boss has our back, that we have room to maneuver, and even a little space to fail in—this does not give the newly re-signed Mark Sanchez helpful competitive pressure, but merely weirdly competitive pressure. That is, the moment Sanchez has a bad game or even a bad quarter—which he is bound to have, as all quarterbacks do—then the crowd, the bloggers, and some announcers will all cry for Tebow to come in and rescue the situation. That is, his presence won’t lead to a technical calculation about who can best lead the Jets; it will lead to an hysterical overreaction as to who can do what. Tebow’s reputation is not, after all, as a cool hand who will steady the ship, but as an unduly lucky man who will agitate it, and the fans. Even if you consider only the question of “chemistry,” what you are doing is adding an even more volatile ingredient to an already volatile brew. It can only blow up.

Yeesh, how do you really feel?

He goes on to suspect that Woody Johnson, the Jets owner is behind this decision because of some kind of right-wing agenda, which I think is a bit ludicrous. But his further point could be on the money.

My own dire prediction is that Sanchez will be inconsistent, the tabloid back pages will be exhausting and enervating, Tebow will then be thrown in and will create some excitement and win a game against the Bills or someone—and then, as more and more defenses catch on to the limitations of a college quarterback playing what amounts to a high-school style game, he will fail, big-time, and then Sanchez, left on the bench, will return, only now even more confused and demoralized than he has ever been before. It’s not a pretty picture. One wants to believe that pro-football decisions are made on cynical brutal, pro-football grounds, i.e. that the coaches would take a pentagram-drawing Satanist if he drew pentagrams that moved the football.

So perhaps the Jets are desperate enough to throw up a prayer by signing Tebow, but perhaps Tebow’s signing is an indication that they have also sold their soul for media hype?

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2012/03/the-strange-case-of-tebow-and-the-jets.html#ixzz1ppke8h7u

Tebow: Does He Have a Prayer in New York?

If Tim Tebow thought the media pressure of Denver was bad then he ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The Wall Street Journal put it best

“I can’t imagine a more unlikely fit for Tim Tebow than the New York Jets, just given what we know about the culture of that team. It seems to me, and a lot of outside observers, a team that has a pretty broken culture — at least a messy culture,” said Patton Dodd, the executive editor of Patheos.com, a website designed for dialogue on religion and spirituality, and author of the ebook, “The Tebow Mystique.”

“(But) in some ways, it’s sort of ideal for him,” Dodd added. “Even though it doesn’t seem like a likely fit, if he’s serious about what he believes, this is the kind of place that he ought to, to use Christian language, feel called to.”

I’m a Jets fan, as many know, and at first glance Tebow didn’t seem like the right fit for the raucous bunch in green. But perhaps he’s exactly what they need? Rex Ryan the team’s sometimes acid-tongued coach now won’t be the center of attention. Even if Tebow serves as a backup to QB Mark Sanchez, he’ll be the center of a media frenzy for a bit. It will be interesting to see if the Jets have given up on Sanchez who was widely criticized by teammates and fans alike this season, as the Jets failed to even make the playoffs, or if Tebow challenges Sanchez, who hasn’t ever had to look over his shoulder and who teammates have called lazy and undisciplined.

Tebow at QB has been dismissed as a publicity stunt, a QB who doesn’t have the tools to play in the NFL and even as someone disingenuous—as if he doesn’t practice what he preaches–something he can rightly dispute, perhaps on all counts.

It’s often the understated Quarterback who can lead, who shows confidence and leads a team on the field. Tebow could be that guy and it will be interesting to see what he brings to the table and what the Jets might be able to do with him. He’s got receivers, he’s got linemen and he’s got a defense to support him and keep the other team off the scoreboard.

If Sanchez couldn’t win with these guys, then maybe it is time to take a shot with someone else or to at least have someone on the team who can push Sanchez to stay disciplined? After all, Denver did make the playoffs and Tebow single handedly beat the Jets this year, pretty much knocking them out of the playoff hunt. So he’s earned some respect from the guys in green.

However it could also blow up badly for Tebow. The press will hound him greatly and make it hard for him to do his job. The Jets have had their run of Quarterbacks who came in with bigger resumes and who failed mightily, falling under the pressure of the media spotlight.

ANd perhaps there’s a precedent here. Across town, the Giants were told that a little Quarterback named Simms would never get it done for them and look at what happened with him. Then a guy named Jeff Hostetler, Phil Simms’ backup, well, he wouldn’t get it done either according to the experts and he did just fine. Then Eli Manning, the not-as-good-as-his-brother mantra was hung on him and two Super Bowls later, the critics have become quite silent.

Perhaps Tebow’s more understated résumé as a not-good-enough Quarterback is a distinct advantage and even drives him to achieve?

But will the bright lights of Manhattan tarnish the image of the GCQB (Good Christian Quarterback)? Or will Tebow become an even bigger phenomenon on the world’s biggest stage?

Nobody else has led this team to a Super Bowl since the brash Joe Namath who thinks Tebow is a mistake. Tebow could just be one more bad Quarterback but he’s worth taking a fly on at this point. I’m open to seeing what he has to bring to Gang Green.

Does Tebow have a prayer? Certainly. It may be all he has, but then again, without him this year, the Jets needed a lot more than that.

Praying the Game

I often watch sporting events alone. I don’t generally like to go to Super Bowl parties. The quiet press box was wonderful when I was covering games in my media days. And sports bars with dozens of televisions are fun, but not my favorite places to be. Even broadcasting a game, while a thrill and an intimate experience, doesn’t rank with simply watching the beauty of a sporting event.

When I first started working at Busted Halo®, Fr. Brett Hoover, CSP decided that I needed to go an experience another part of the country, where Catholics were in the minority. He sent me to Knoxville, Tennessee where Catholics represent only 2% of the country and where our good friend Fr. Eric Andrews, CSP was serving as an associate pastor at the University of Tennessee. I did an night of reflection for their students and had a great time. The highlight of the week was going to the women’s basketball game.

A word about Tennessee. When there’s a game the whole town turns orange and the game dictates everything. The women’s basketball team is always nationally ranked and usually #1 or #2. It was an amazing sell-out arena that night and they retired the number of one of their all time greats Chamique Holdsclaw.

But the story, I’d like to focus on is this. We had three tickets for the game but I had to sit away from Fr. Eric and his then-pastor Fr. Terry Ryan–two sports nuts. Now if you’ve ever gone to a sporting event with me, you’d notice that I’m pretty quiet and introspective at it. I don’t shout my fool head off at a game in general. I don’t really cheer much, or really say much of anything. I enjoy the intricacies of the strategy and watch the game dissecting it. I don’t get out of my seat to eat or drink and I keep a scorecard at baseball games.

In general, I’m not much fun to go to games with.

Fr. Terry looked down two rows and asked Fr. Eric at the game we attended. “Why’s he sitting on his hands? Isn’t he enjoying himself?”

Then came the kicker: “He looks like a Buddhist.”

Bingo. I’m actually in prayer-relationship during that game. I often pray during games about whatever’s going on in my life. I share the game with God–as a friend might share the ballgame with another. The game’s not really a distraction as much as an anchor for me. I can watch the game and simply offer that enjoyment to God and let that open me up to what else God calls me to. In that conversation, I often am able to listen more carefully to God’s voice.

Even as a player in a game, I would find myself alone and enraptured by God’s companionship. Outfielders get bored out there all alone. You end up making little games with the rocks in the earth and paying attention to the next pitch while trying not to get too distracted by your surroundings. The pitcher’s mound is a lonely place, but not when God’s invited in to share that space. It reminds me to take my time and launch another softball into the open mitt of the catcher and to have quick reflexes if a ball is hit back my way (Catch it or it kills you).

My wife often says “You look like a little boy again when you’re at the ballpark or the hockey arena.” She gets it. We don’t talk all that much and she doesn’t really understand much about the intricacies of baseball. On our honeymoon in Montreal, her gift to me was an Expos game, now nearly 10 years ago when Montreal still had a team. We sat 6 rows off home plate and she loved being that close and began to pick up a bit more than usual.

Or so I thought until she said, “That guy’s cheating!”

“Um, no dear…he’s just taking a lead.”

We had a great conversation that day over a three hour ballgame. There was no place else to be. We could be present to one another and simply be rather than do. Amid the raucous fans, who often annoy me when they get too loud, or too drunk, I find quiet, tuning out nearly all things around me and finding time to spend with God amid balls and strikes, goals and fights, field goals and punts, chips onto the green, or the occasional slam dunk (basketball being my least favorite). We share the time and there is nowhere else to be.

Bill Barry, the great spiritual director and author, often reminds us to share what we like best with God. A long sunset walk, a luxurious bath, a well cooked meal, a bike ride, working out, crossword puzzles–whatever puts you at ease. In doing so, we are sharing that time in conscious relationship with God–just as we might do with a close friend.

I remember one summer day, I had nothing to do and was troubled by my prospects for the future. I got on the subway and went off to Yankee Stadium (the old one, not the new antiseptic one that replaced it now) for an afternoon game. I sat by myself in the Right field bleachers–not an awful seat, near one of my favorite players, Paul O’Neill. God and I spent a long afternoon there–nearly four hours. I don’t think I spoke a word that afternoon aloud–but much was said and shared. Each pitch was a reflection of the beauty of God’s creation, a gift to each player, that was indeed special and a marvel to watch.

Truth be told, the ballpark has become less of a Cathedral these days. It seems the owners have forgotten, or perhaps the public has, of the beauty of these games themselves. Parks and arenas, as my friend Kevin pointed out to me on a recent ballpark tour we took of the many distractions inherent now in the games we watch. What’s there to eat? What kind of beer is here? What other distractions are there? How drunk can one get before the 7th inning when they stop serving? How loud can the music get (in Detroit, it’s downright deafening!)? In Cincinnati, the park is surrounded by the river and a beautiful bridge–it’s too bad most can’t see either from their seats–while in Pittsburgh they did it right and it creates a glorious backdrop.

The three best ballparks in the Majors in my opinion are Wrigley Field in Chicago (where people actually watch the game–despite people saying it’s the world’s biggest outdoor bar, I’ve found Cub fans to be amongst the most knowledgeable about the game and their team), Fenway Park in Boston where a standing room ticket still beats a front row at many places and PNC Park in Pittsburgh which is just glorious. The old Yankee Stadium was pretty good too–but too many corporate shills killed it turning it into an amusement park rather than a baseball stadium and beckoning a new one to fit that mold better. I’ve loved watching hockey in Buffalo as well, where the fans are rabid for the game itself and don’t care much for distractions.

Winter is ending soon and I will gladly take in a minor league game at Coca Cola Field here in Buffalo. It’ll be time to unwind and simply spend time with God and neighbor and simply be.

In the green cathedrals, the ice chapels and even the hardwood hallowed halls, God is eminently present to me.

And it is there that I’ll wait for Him to come and join me again.

Rest in Peace, Kid

Gary Carter, the Hall of Fame Catcher who made his mark with the Montreal Expos and then later with the New York Mets leading their pitching staff to a World Championship in 1986, died yesterday of brain cancer. He was a mere 57.

It was hard to pick a favorite player on that 86 Mets team, but Carter was mine. Filled with a child-like enthusiasm for the game that earned him the nickname, “The Kid”, Gary Carter was a rah-rah guy. Opposing hitters used to hate him because he never shut up behind the plate, being an apt distraction.

Carter was also a devoutly religious man, and a big member of the Christian organization Baseball Chapel. When I was a producer at WFAN, I got to speak to him directly on the phone once. He was extremely friendly and I asked him about his experience with Baseball Chapel and he reported that it was a great experience and something that he often encouraged young players to participate in. “It helped remind me to have a heart for others and for my teammates.” I remembered early in the 86 season, Mookie Wilson was hit in the eye with a baseball, shattering his sunglasses. Carter rushed to him and calmed him down. “Did the glass break, Mook? Oh God it did! OK just stay put, we got you!” Carter admitted thinking that Mookie might lose his sight right then and offered a few prayers and hoped that he’d return soon. As we now know, he certainly did and played a big role in the 86 championship.

Carter was a different guy on an arrogant hard-drinking, partying team like the 86 Mets. Mets Today has a good depiction of Carter’s relationship and then how he continued to influence his teammates later in their lives.

If you read The Bad Guys Won (and you should), you’d know that — off the field — Gary Carter was one of the outcasts on the heavy-drinking, hard-living 1986 Mets. At the time, he was seen by many of his teammates as a “goody two shoes”; they were annoyed by his choice to live by values of his choosing, rather than “going along with the crowd”. Those same teammates, 25 years later, effusively praised him for living life “the right way”. Darryl Strawberry said “I wish I made the choices he did, and lived my life the way Gary Carter did.” Ron Darling echoed similar comments, admitting that while some of his Mets teammates took many years to figure out that family and being a good father were the most important things in life, Carter did it “right” his whole life. Darling also said, “Gary Carter was everything you wanted in a sports hero: a great talent, a great competitor, a great family man, and a great friend.” None of that is smoke-blowing; Gary Carter WAS as close to being “perfect” as an athlete could be — an ideal example for others to follow.

Carter was a great leader on the field, coupled with Keith Hernandez as a second field general, they seemed unstoppable that year.

Carter was coaching college before he got sick and leaves behind a family and a ball club who dedicated themselves to him. He recently went and watched his team probably for a final time, leaving them with the thought that in some way he’ll always be with them.

And that is true for us fans as well.

Number 8 should have been retired long ago in my opinion, along with a lot of other players from that 86 team. We forget that Yogi Berra also donned number 8 when he led the Mets to the 73 League Championship and he was also a coach on the 69 Championship. I always thought the Mets should have retired the number for both men on August 8th (8/8). Some are not in favor of retired numbers, but I think they provide a measure of class to an organization and they honor those who were stars. I’ve always maintained that Gooden, Darling, Ojeda, Fernandez and even reliever Jesse Orosco would not have been half the pitchers they were that year without Carter’s guidance. Carter also started that last inning rally in the 86 world series with a two out single that kept the Mets heartbeat alive and led to the famous slow roller hit by Mookie Wilson that went between Bill Buckner’s legs and tied the series up and demoralized the Red Sox who were one strike away from a World Championship.

Mets fans know that the Sox didn’t choke. The Mets came back all year like that. They just always seemed to be able to come back when the chips seemed down. I credit Carter for that “never say die” attitude that permeated the team.

And so, because we believe that as Christians, we, in fact, “never say die”…

“Eternal Rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May Gary’s soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”

By the way, if you have an extra shekel or two, you might want to Stand Up 2 Cancer in honor of Carter today. I love this PSA which features Ron Darling standing up for cancer in honor of “my catcher” towards the end of the ad.

Who’s Got a Prayer in the Super Bowl?

As a Jets fan, I’m in a no-win situation today. Our cross town rivals the Giants play the hated division rivals the Patriots. I’ll be rooting for the Giants naturally. I was their studio producer for a year or so at WOR so they hold a small place in my heart. My friend Bob Papa is their radio voice and one of my close friends Al Swingle finally received Super Bowl tickets after his family held season tickets with the Giants for more than 50 years in the Giants’ 4th trip to the big game. It’s about time for Big Al who inherited these tickets from his father, who smiles at him and his brother as they attend in Indy today.

But the question as always is who’s gonna win. I’ll take a shot at handicapping this game as best I can. Giving you a look at what I think the keys to just about any football game is.

1) Whoever Controls the Line Usually Wins:
When the Giants have the ball: They have a huge opportunity to expose a mismatch on the left side of the line. Will Beatty their left tackle and their Tight End Jake Ballard could give Eli Manning long periods of time to throw–but more importantly, they’ll give Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs huge holes on the left side to run all afternoon and control the offensive line of scrimmage and the time of possession. I’d look for Jacobs, especially to break at least 3 big runs and if he does New England will have to answer offensively. Look for some quick passes on that same left side to also be in the mix early to Jake Ballard and Victor Cruz. Beware of Hakeem Nicks on the other side of the field as he could catch them napping. Quick passes to them over the middle on the slant will be key as well as a ball control offensive running game. Do that and the Giants can win, perhaps even dominate. Big Edge: Giants.

1b) When the Patriots have the ball: The Giants were able to stop big hulking TE Rob Gronkowski and I think they can do that again. The key this time will be stopping Wes Welker and perhaps Deion Branch and even Chad Ochocinco could play a huge role in this game as they have something to prove in perhaps their last chance at a final championship. The Giants secondary is suspect at times–so if the linebackers spend most of their time paying attention to Gronkowski and Hernandez the two big TEs, the secondary has to contain the receivers on the outside. I’d give up the middle to the receivers slightly–forcing Brady into a slant option for the receivers and hoping Wes Welker won’t cause too much damage. If the Patriots win it’ll be because the Giants couldn’t cover their receivers on the sidelines, not over the middle. This also means that Tom Brady will need time to pass and RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis who could make a big difference with a big game will need to pound the line of scrimmage early to set an early ball controlling pace. I think Giants DT Chris Canty may have a big game both stopping Green-Ellis and putting a lot of pressure on Brady. If he can be a factor, he’ll cause turnovers and perhaps even grab the Giants an extra score. Edge: Patriots

2) Special Teams: Both kickers are clutch and awesome. Gostkowski for the Pats has been solid and Tynes was so clutch against the niners and has been for some time. I think neither will be chokers, but for the Giants the key for them might actually be making sure that Tynes doesn’t get to kick as many field goals, converting touchdowns in the red zone instead of the 3 points. Weirdly enough, the key to this game might be punting. If your defense can control the line throughout the game then consistently pinning the other team back in their end of the field could keep them red zone starved as long as a receiver doesn’t break free for a big score (Welker, Ochocinco). I think Steve Weatherford will have a great game on the turf and pin the Pats back deep consistently. Edge: Giants.

3) Turnovers: Obviously the team that makes the least mistakes usually wins. A step further: the team that makes the least critical mistakes will win. The Giants capitalize on those often and the Patriots often take a cool calm and collected approach–never getting too high nor too low. For the Giants to win, Brady will need to make a mistake or two. Control the line of scrimmage on defense and the Giants could force him to do that. I don’t see Manning beating himself in this one. If they can control the time of possession by playing typical Giants football, Manning will need not do anything spectacular to win. If the Pats win, it’ll be because the Green-Ellis ran all day long and/or Brady had enough time to find open receivers for big plays and they simply outshoot the Giants. Edge: Giants.

Coaching: Both Coaches are disciples of Bill Parcells. While Belichick is thought of as a football genius, Tom Coughlin has been his equal, if not better. I find Coughlin to be a more meticulous preparer for big games and given two weeks to prepare for his former colleague, Coughlin will have a few tricks up his sleeve that Belichick won’t be ready for. He’ll find the missing link.

Intangibles: I always find one player that nobody talks about all week long. While we’ve heard about the Patriots TEs all week long, Jake Ballard has gone relatively unnoticed at that position for the Giants. I’d expect Coughlin to not only control Belichick’s Tight ends and receivers but then to also beat his former colleague at his own game. I’ll predict an MVP game for TE Jake Ballard.
Edge: Giants.

A score you ask: Low scoring: Giants 28, Patriots 20.

Losing Weight

So one year ago, I weighed in at around 238lbs. Today I’m around 218. So I dropped 20lbs just by exercising. My diet has fluctuated from being very rigid at times about that and then not paying much attention at all. Being on a college campus doesn’t help as food is always a nearby temptation. But at least I’m eating healthier than I used to.

So the other side of this is that muscle is much heavier than fat and I’ve gained a ton of muscle. One of the things that I’ve noticed is how much weight I can push these days. When I started it was all I could do to bench press the bar 5 times with no weights on it. Now I’m pushing 155-160lbs that many times for three reps.

I can squat 135 lbs now 3 times and a bit more for one time.

Some days I get disappointed that the scale isn’t down as much as I’d like it to be. But as diet improves this year I hope to lose another 20lbs and improve my personal bests. I’m running better than ever in terms of sprinting and my agility is really good during drills. I’m really looking forward to our faux “NFL combine” drill that our great trainer, Ben Woods wants to put us through at some point.

But here’s the tell tale sign. Here’s me in 2008 after climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge–which had me slightly winded walking up so many stairs.

I love the fact that I climbed that bridge and it was a great experience. But I look so fat in that horrid gray suit they make you wear. It helps you blend into the bridge so you don’t freak the traffic out.

Recently a student snapped this picture of me with my students at Glenmary:

OK—now I believe that seeing is believing. I look a lot thinner. Still a bit of a paunch, but for a man of 42 who has only gotten back into shape, not so shabby. 20lbs makes a difference and if I can do it again this year, then I’ll be below 200lbs by year’s end–a very realistic goal.

So today, let’s pray for better health and for those who push us to be healthier, trainers, doctors, therapists, spiritual directors. I am especially grateful to Ben Woods, who pushes me and our crew of young students who work out with “the old man” in the morning.

A final story from the gym:

I was doing rows the other day. Now when I started doing rows I think I started with a 20lbs dumbbell. I’ve graduated to 50lbs recently. Ben looked at me the other day and pushed me to do 15 reps with that weight and I successfully did it. But that means only one thing. The weight is too light. “Up you go to 55lbs!” Ben triumphed.

“Ugh!” was my first thought. I struggle to do 12 reps with the 55lbs. As I finish a young student comes over and asks, “Hey is that a 60?” And I say “Nope, 55.” He turns his nose up at my weight–mind you, a personal best, for me. And heads over to get a 60 pound dumbbell.

OK, now I’m not very competitive in general, but the student pissed me off. I looked at Ben and said, “That little (word I shouldn’t say), I just do the most I’ve ever done and he made it seem like I was lifting a pillow!”

Ben’s simple response: “Well, ya think you can do 60? Cmon, you’re strong today. Go show him that you can lift as much as him.”

I grabbed a 60 and began to row. I got to 10 with my left arm and I thought it would explode. The student got a glimpse of me rowing and smiled. I switched arms to my stronger right arm and started rowing away.

“10, 11, (grunt) and 12!” Then I glanced at the student and fired the weight into the floor with a thud and said “There! And I’m twice your age!”

He laughed and said, “Way to go! Now you’re motivating me.”

Someone told me he went and got a 65 pounder soon after that.

I knew my limits and went upstairs to do some running.

But that’s the kind of community that we have. We push each other. Men and women, faculty and students, ministers and athletes all supporting each other. It’s beginning to break down a lot of doors, mostly because I’m mouthy. If I’m running behind someone, you’ll hear me saying “Don’t let me catch you, Doc!” to one of my colleagues who is a former athlete and in great shape. He’ll realize that I shouldn’t be close to him and push that much harder, making it harder for me to catch him, but ultimately giving me a better workout.

I’ve never felt better, in a number of ways. I can’t imagine not being at the gym three days a week and even feel a bit lethargic when I’m not there.

So pray for my community of friends and our trainer, Ben as a new school year starts. May we be able to stay healthy and move more swiftly and strongly as time goes by.

Resolutions 2012

Resolutions always seem to be taken lightly, almost as if we intend to break them even as we make them. “I know I should do this…but I’m not going to.”

And perhaps instead of making light or resolutions, we should take them more seriously. And by that, it means we should really think about our resolutions and make them realistic and then DO THEM.

So I’ve decided that I can make eight resolutions. The number of infinity—which means I should make all of these habits for the rest of my life. If I waver I expect you, dear readers, to point out my flaw:

1) Work out every weekday: I already work out three days and resolve to double that. 8a-10a is “my time” and I devote it to exercise on M-W-F. Hitting the bike or treadmill those two extra days isn’t that big of a stretch.

2) Stick to a diet and drop 20 pounds by Spring: Again, this has gotten easier in 2011, but I fall way too often. I’m a compulsive person and so creating habits like eating right need to be a priority and I need to take them seriously. I can’t eat one cookie, because I’ll eat 12. It’s a good thing that I’ve never tried drugs because I’d be selling plasma for my next fix if I did. If I stick to the diet I’ve designed, generally speaking I lose about a pound a day. If I don’t I either gain a pound on non-workout days or I don’t lose any weight on workout days. No donuts.

3) Spend more time on Campus: Sometimes just hanging around, “loitering with intent” as my colleague Michael Galligan-Stierle says, provides opportunities for us. I’ve gotten to know a bunch of people simply by working out at the UB fitness center and that’s led to other opportunities for ministry. You can’t be a campus minister without actually being on campus. Hey students, look for me and find ways for me to interact more with you on campus. I will do the same.

4) Friday or Saturday is Family Day: Wife and Dog deserve a day too. I have to pick one of these days and simply be with them. No distractions, no excuses. My first call is to them. Keeping in better touch with my parents and sister is another element of this.

5) Live the Magis Daily: So in spiritual direction, I’ve discovered that the essential part of my ministry is spiritual direction. The Magis–the word means greater, is what we do that really expresses who we are, mores than other things. So I’ve dedicated myself to getting more training in this area and to offer myself more to people seeking someone to companion them on their spiritual journey. I’m open to exploring new creative solutions with this as well. Spiritual direction by Skype anyone? More importantly, what’s the Magis for you?

6) Join a softball team this spring: I loved doing this throughout my life but then stopped for no reason. I’m in shape now and competing in some kind of sport is something that will continue to bring me life. Besides, I need to make some new friends and not be so occupied with work–that’s more of the reason for this task actually.

7) Do three exclusively spiritual things per day:
1) Read something spiritual–a book or an article.
2) Pray. Do the Examen. Really discern.
3) Do something for someone else to bring God into their lives. Simple. A kind word, a small task, a flaw overlooked.

8) Give things away: I will repeat last year’s Lenten project of the Lenten 40 day giveaway.

Googling God will continue in 2012. So we’ll also be dedicating some evening hours to that and random times throughout the day. I think this is a do-able list. Anyone think I’m crazy?

Bill Maher = Angry Atheist

I’d like to say that I often would watch Bill Maher when his politically incorrect show was on ABC-TV. I’d also like to say that I thought he got a raw deal when he was thrown off the air for his comments about terrorists not being cowardly but Americans lobbing missiles from 2000 miles away was. I heard him say that live and thought he was simply trying to make a point, although I disagree with his statement that Americans are cowardly. I also don’t subscribe to HBO. So while I liked Maher, I didn’t like him enough to drop bucks on him to continue to watch him.

But more recently, Maher has become the angry atheist, the kind of person who can’t admit that all religious people aren’t nutburgers. This time Tim Tebow has been the target of his lampooning. Pardon the language in his tweet:

Wow, Jesus just fucked #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler “Hey, Buffalo’s killing them”

OK, now I’m not the biggest fan of Tim Tebow, mostly because I’m not a Denver fan. But I don’t think that it’s fair of Maher to pick on him just because Tebow is a Christian. I also haven’t heard Tebow proclaim any kind of prosperity gospel messages. He’s just grateful to be able to play. Why not just leave him alone? Besides isn’t it bad enough that Buffalo destroyed his team this weekend? It wasn’t like Tebow said Jesus loves the Broncos and hates the Bills.

See this is the problem I have with the group of atheists who are just so nasty that they can’t let others believe what they believe. They’re angry. They’re mean. And if you ask them what they don’t like about religion, many will claim that all religion leads to violence.

If that’s true, I’d like to come out as being an anti-meanie. Because that seems to lead to violence and hatred as well.

A Slap on the Bonds

The NY Times reports:

Judge Susan Illston sentenced him to 30 days of house arrest, 2 years of probation, 250 hours of community service with youth groups and a $4,000 fine for providing evasive testimony to a federal grand jury eight years ago.

Let me tell you why this is bogus:

1) He lied. Clearly (no pun intended).

2) 30 days of house arrest in his $10 million dollar home? Oh the horror, the horror!

3) A $4000 fine on a guy whose net worth is $80 million dollars is laughable. Even 10 times that about is what the guy spends on a vacation most years.

4) A community service situation: Laughable. Hey kids, here’s what you can learn from Barry Bonds–how to beat the rap!

5) Perhaps the 2 year probation is the most fair. After all, could Bonds keep his nose clean for 2 years? Doubtful.

Even with all of this Bonds is never going to be looked on as the Home Run King. He’s a cheater. Period. And while he’s not the only one, he’s still the most prolific one. And before someone says that I’m a racist, Clemens, McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa and now Ryan Braun are also cheaters.

Baseball should wash their hands of anyone found guilty on the dreaded list at this point. Mostly because it seems that nobody else will.