31 December 2011

BCS Bowl Madness (and an easy fix)!

The system is beyond broken. Some teams in the top 10 are not even in a bowl game this year (like #5 Southern Cal)! Everyone, including the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama agrees, it is time for a playoff system in NCAA College 1-A American Football.

Here is an easy solution using the classic bowls in their historical ranks without letting the Fiesta Bowl trump the Cotton Bowl which was a stupid decision based on money, just like all college football decisions these days.

There are currently 12 Division 1-A conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big 10, Conference USA, IA Independents, Mid-American, Mountain West, Pac-10, SEC, Sun Belt, WAC), so I would recommend allowing for 4 wild cards to make a Super 16 for a proper playoff system. Here is how I would do it (without naming which conference plays where, because that does not really even matter. Let the conferences decide a rival conference for the system just like teams have conferences (i.e. Big 10 is the rival conference of the Big 12).
First the Western Bowls:
  • 2 play (1 is a wildcard) in the Holiday Bowl (San Francisco, CA)
  • 2 play in the Fiesta Bowl (Scottsdale, AZ)
  • The winners of these 2 Bowl Games play in the Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA) 
    • 2 play in the Sun Bowl (El Paso, TX)
    • 2 play (1 is a wildcard) in the Alamo Bowl (San Antonio, TX)
    • The winners of these 2 Bowl Games play in the Cotton Bowl (Dallas, TX)
    The winners of these two Western Bowl Games (Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl) meet in the BCS West Bowl Game. (Maybe play it in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, NE and call it the Corn Bowl or the Cereal Bowl). 
    Now for the Eastern Bowls:
    • 2 play in the Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA)
    • 2 play (1 is a wildcard) in the Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, FL)
    • The winners of these 2 Bowl Games play in the Orange Bowl (Miami, FL) 
      • 2 play in the Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN)
      • 2 play (1 is a wildcard) in the Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA)
      • The winners of these 2 Bowl Games play in the Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA)
      The winners of these two Eastern Bowl Games (Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl) meet in the BCS East Bowl Game (Maybe play it in Lambeau Field/City Stadium in Green Bay, WI and call it the Cheese Bowl or the Chili Bowl).
      The winners of the BCS West Bowl and the BCS East Bowl meet in the National Bowl Game/BCS Championship Bowl Game in a fitting location such as either New York, New York or Washington, D.C..
      All the games before the semi-finals and the Championship game are in more temperate southern states with San Francisco being the northernmost bowl, so it makes sense to have the semi-finals and Championship game in the colder, windier north in non-domed stadiums in major football cities for a different feel.You could still have all those other minor corporate bowl games for the teams ranked #17 to #120 with the opponents based solely on how much money they will get by inviting certain teams, just like now. There, this is the BCS fixed. How hard was that?

      One last thing... Happy New Year 2012 A.D.!

      27 December 2011

      The Green Bay Packers and their history as a Christian Faith-based Team

      If anyone knows the history of the Green Bay Packers, they will know that there has been a religious history with it. Recently, Coach McCarthy showed it continues today.

      When asked in a recent Tuesdays with McCarthy, "What’s something you always tell your team before they go out on the field?"

      He responded, "...The last thing I say to the team is a prayer that highlights scripture from the Bible that’s representative of our theme for the week. After the Bible verse, we say the Lord’s Prayer..."

      Some more prominent interesting Christian team history includes the following:
      The team’s founder, Earl “Curly” Lambeau, came from a devout Catholic family, whose life centered upon the Norbertine St. Willebrord Church in downtown Green Bay. 
      In Super Bowl I and II, it was quarterback Bart Starr and coach Vince Lombardi who provided spiritual leadership for the team. “God first, family second, and then football,” was Lombardi’s self-proclaimed priority list. Named MVP in both Super Bowl I and II, Bart Starr acknowledged that, “Regardless of the success that I have experienced, if my life does not exhibit God’s love, it becomes less meaningful.” 
      Each day on his way to work for the Green Bay Packers, Lombardi would stop at St. Willebrord for daily mass and "offer a prayer in case of unexpected death: 'My God, if I am to die today, or suddenly at any time, I wish to receive this Communion as my viaticum...'". On the morning of the dedication of Lombardi Avenue, Lombardi remarked, to his 37 member entourage, he was pleased to have gotten them all up to attend morning mass. 
      Things began to change under Mike Sherman’s tenure as head coach. Sherman saw the value of having one permanent chaplain with whom players could build a trusting relationship, because he saw that their spiritual needs required more than Sunday Mass. 
      For years the team had offered Catholic Mass and a non-denominational chapel service at the same time—4 ½ hours before kickoff—in separate rooms. Coach McCarthy has changed that, with Mass still before the game but chapel the night before. McCarthy did this so he can attend both services every week. The coach wants to hear everything that is presented to his players, so he can incorporate all of these spiritual messages in directing the team. It is just another indicator of the Packers’ spiritual legacy and dedication to their players’ overall well-being. 
      Famous Green Bay Packer, Reggie White, was known for his Christian ministry as an ordained Evangelical minister, leading to his nickname, "The Minister of Defense."

      Shortly after the conclusion of this year’s Super Bowl game, FOX TV newscaster, Pam Oliver asked Packer wide receiver, Greg Jennings, to describe his feelings at winning the Super Bowl. Jennings immediately exclaimed: “To God be the glory,” sentiments echoed by Packer teammate, James Jones as well. Other Packers, including Aaron Rodgers, Donald Driver, Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, Brandon Jackson, James Starks and kicker Mason Crosby, joined in the Godly tribute, freely acknowledging their faith in Jesus Christ. 
      As the newly ordained, “Leader of the Pack,” Aaron Rodgers not only recognizes the opportunity he has to be an influence in the lives of others, he wholeheartedly welcomes the opportunity. “I try to follow what Jesus did, lead by example,” said Rodgers. “If people see Christ’s influence in my life, hopefully it will have an influence in theirs.”

      18 December 2011

      The 5 Points of Calvinism: The Reformed Doctrines of Doom & Gloom (TULIP)

      The First Point [U]

      The first side (the positive spin) of the first point of Calvinism is that if God has chosen you for salvation He did so unconditionally. You do not have to believe to become chosen for salvation but you were chosen and created for salvation and so you believe as a result of being elected and created for salvation.

      The second side (the negative or doom and gloom side) of the first point is that if God has not chosen you for salvation, – meaning He has chosen you for damnation – He did so unconditionally. You were chosen, decreed, and created for damnation. You cannot believe and are therefore damned for your unbelief because this is according to god’s sovereign will and for His glory and good pleasure.

      The Second Point [T]

      The first side (the positive spin) of the second point of Calvinism is that if you, before the foundation of the earth, are one of those unconditionally elected for salvation you will one day (in this life) inevitably be born again before the final judgment. When you are born again you will be given a new nature. As your old nature was an unbelieving nature so your new nature will be a believing nature. Here is how it unfolds. As a new born child of God you will (as a result of your new birth) believe in Jesus Christ. Because (and when) you believe in Jesus Christ you will be declared righteous and be guaranteed a place of the other chosen few among the resurrection of the just-and at that time glorified for all eternity.

      The second side (the negative or doom and gloom side) of the second point is that if you are not one of the unconditionally elect, you will not and cannot born again. Here is how it unfolds. Because you are not elect, you will never be born again but will forever be stuck with your predestined unbelieving nature – you will not and cannot believe in Jesus Christ. Because you cannot believe in Jesus Christ in your unregenerate condition, you will not be justified. If you are not justified you will eventually be raised with the other unconditionally predestined unjust, and finally be sentenced to everlasting shame and torment. This to is according to god’s sovereign will and good pleasure.

      The Third Point [L]

      The first side (the positive spin) of the third point of Calvinism is that if you were unconditionally chosen and created for salvation, Christ died for your sins so that the eternal decree for salvation would have an historical provision for salvation.

      The second side (the negative or doom and gloom side) of the third point of Calvinism is that if you were not chosen and created for salvation-meaning you were chosen and created for damnation- Christ did not die for your sins because an eternal decree for damnation needs no historical provision for salvation.

      [But it is okay in one way, because you can go to Church and hear Calvinists preach and say that the Gospel is a “well meant offer” to you, even though it will never change your un-elect status, but it will sound nice to you. In fact, it even deceives some of the reprobate into falsely thinking they are elect !]

      The Fourth Point [I]

      The first side (the positive spin) of the fourth doctrine is that if you were chosen and created for salvation, God will irresistibly draw or efficaciously call you (applying saving grace to your life and circumstance) to Himself, first giving you a new life, which in turn brings with it a new nature, which is a believing nature, resulting in your certain and immediate justification and eventual and everlasting glorification.

      The second side (the negative or doom and gloom side) of the fourth doctrine is that if you were not chosen and created for salvation-meaning that you were chosen and created for damnation-you will not be irresistibly drawn, efficaciously called, and no saving grace will be extended to you, which means you will not and cannot be born again, which in turn means you cannot have faith in Christ and thereby be justified in this life or ultimately glorified in the next life. Instead you will suffer the torments of the everlasting lake of fire in accordance with the sovereign will of god because this is according to His good pleasure.

      The Fifth Point [P]

      The first side (the positive spin) of the fifth point of Calvinism is that if you were chosen and created for salvation, the new nature you receive when you are born again, and the saving faith that comes with that new nature, and the justification that immediately follows faith insures that you will live (however imperfectly) a sanctified, holy, or righteous life in faith (practically speaking) for the most part, from the time of your regeneration until the time of your glorification. This perseverance in sanctification, holiness, or righteousness in faith, while not perfect is inevitable for the truly born again and will be to the end of this life for the elect. It is not as though the elect should not fail to persevere (for the most part) but they cannot do so. If therefore a person appeared to be a saint earlier in life, but failed to persevere in faith and righteousness until the end of life, it proves he was never a saint or never born again, never had faith in Christ, and never had a holy and righteous life in faith to persevere in.

      The second side (the negative or doom and gloom side) of the third point is that if you are not elect and created for salvation-meaning you are elect and chosen for damnation-you cannot be born again, have faith in Christ, live a holy or righteous life in faith for even one day, much less to the end of your life. Because God is sovereign and can do as He pleases with His creatures, God is free to mislead a person into thinking they are one of the elect, help them live much like the elect, but at the judgment reveal that they were convinced by God that they were one of the elect even though they were not. No matter how convinced someone is in thinking he is one of the elect, assurance of salvation and eternal life is impossible to secure. How could anyone know for certain that they will persevere to the end proving they were elect without actually having persevered to the end.

      After many years (actually decades) of studying the Calvinist doctrines of grace, I am convinced that the best refutation of the five points of Calvinism is an accurate and honest explanation of the five points of Calvinism.

      Unfortunately most new converts to Calvinism are not aware of the flip side to the five points of Calvinism early on. Those who introduce Calvinism to the non-Calvinist believe that the new believer is not ready for the meatier stuff of Reformed theology. That, they say, should come only later when they can handle it. They reason that the positive spin of each point is like simple arithmetic. The negative side is more like algebra or some other more complicated, difficult and higher form of math.

      The truth is this; the negative side is not more difficult to understand for the new convert to Calvinism, it is more difficult to accept. The positive spin seems more palatable whereas the negative side is difficult to swallow and some even choke on it. Full disclosure, early on and sometimes even later on, is a major hindrance to those committed to winning the non-Calvinist over to Calvinism. Admittedly, sometimes proponents of Calvinism do not lay it all out on the table because they themselves have not turned the coin over to see what is on the other side. Sometimes they ignore it. Sometimes they deny it. They are on the Reformed road and are trying to get others to join them. However, they have not gone very far and sometimes do not choose to go but a few blocks down the Reformed road.

      Some would like to believe that each of the five points of Calvinism are only five points of grace. It is too much (for them) to think that these five points also represent a very hard and harsh message of doom and gloom.

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