Robin Ventura

Today, the Chicago White Sox announced former third baseman Robin Ventura will be their new manager after Ozzie Guillen left for the Miami Marlins. Here’s the official release from the team.

In the hours since the team announced Ventura’s hire, social media has been abuzz with fan reactions. A quick look at the comments on various Chicago media personalities’ Facebook posts reveals a pretty stark contrast in fan reactions, ranging from tempered optimism to unbridled anger primarily at General Manager Kenny Williams. Count me among the optimistic.

Sure, he d0esn’t have any managerial experience at any level, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has great ties to the White Sox organization (most recently, he was hired to be a special assistant to player development head Buddy Bell), is highly respected by Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf, was very productive as a player, and is still a fan favorite after all these years. Folks who are simply against him because he has a lack of experience need to give him time. After all, it’s Kenny Williams’ butt on the line, as the folks at South Side Asylum propose.

No matter how you feel about this hire, give it time. Ventura will be hungry to prove himself as a manager and will hopefully win over a clubhouse that needs a steady, reliable managerial presence.

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Bears vs. Packers

Tomorrow is the first of two annual Bears/Packers match-ups. Needless to say, I am stoked. For the past 20 or so years, these have been the Bears games I’ve looked forward to the most. Thankfully, they’re usually on TV even up here in MN.

In my opinion, this rivalry is the best in the NFL, and one of the best in American professional sports. Here you have two of the oldest NFL franchises, who have won a combined 22 NFL championships and have 48 members in the Hall of Fame (thanks, Wikipedia). It doesn’t get much better than this.

I love this rivalry, but more importantly, I respect the Packers. And yes, I enjoy Aaron Rodgers.

I don’t understand how my fellow Bears fans can hate the Packers like some of them do. Sure, the Packers have won more Super Bowls, including last year’s. And I know they had a certain #4 that owned us for so many years. But they’re a fun team to watch, and the history and tradition are not unlike our own.

Also, what good does hating them do? I like jokes and banter, but serious trash talk and hate are pretty lame. The game is played and won on the field, not in front of the TV or in the stands. Whatever the outcome is, sit back and enjoy the 60 minutes of gameplay. It’s always a blast!

Also, the Bears hold the edge 92–84–6. So there’s that.

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This Is Happening

Check out the dudes in Barcelona, live tonight!

Yes, that means I’m not really watching The Office until later. It’ll be worth it.

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Jason Wright

Chances are, you’ve never heard of Jason Wright, unless you’re a big fan of Northwestern, the San Francisco 49ers, the Atlanta Falcons, the Cleveland Browns, or the Arizona Cardinals. Or you play too much Madden.

Jason Wright has quickly become a hero of mine. Why? Read this, and prepare to be inspired and humbled.

Here’s a guy who, despite having millions on the table to play in the NFL, chooses to further educate himself, not for his own edification, but to serve others who are far less fortunate.

I’d love to be like that.

But I get caught up in the day to day struggles and worries of life, or I make excuses, or even just plain ignore the needs of the world around me.

I look to my own needs before those of anyone else.

I put myself first.

I make myself the god of my own life.

That’s not what God calls us to.

Those of us who have been called by Christ are called to live differently.

To follow Jesus like Jason Wright does.

To seek God’s will for our lives, not our own will.

To be those who care about the needs of the world around us.

To pass up that which the world values for the glory of God.

To trust that the empty cross and empty grave change everything.

Behind the Name

There’s the Common Doxology.

Then there’s the Uncommon Doxology.

The Uncommon Doxology is what I’m striving to create with this blog.

Praising God through music, sports, movies, relationships, heck, everything He’s given us.

I’ve found that praising God doesn’t begin and end on Sunday morning, but is what we’re called to 168 hours a week. That’s a lofty task, but we’re not alone.

How do you praise God best?

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Music Monday

Today’s selection: Please Don’t Go, by Barcelona

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On Pat Robertson, Alzheimer’s, and Marriage

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/17/us/pat-robertson-remarks-on-alzheimers-stir-passions.html

In case you haven’t heard, Pat Robertson yet again said something controversial. I know, big surprise, right?

Basically, his argument (as I understand it) is that if someone’s spouse has Alzheimer’s, divorce is ok, as Alzheimer’s is inevitably fatal and the healthy spouse needs companionship. Where’d he come up with that idea?

To be clear, I don’t think anyone argues how painful it is to watch loved ones age, especially if they have a disease like Alzheimer’s. It has to be one of the worst things ever to see your spouse succumb to such an illness. Divorce can’t seem like that bad of an option when things are terrible and a person desires the companionship of another.

Regardless of the circumstances, I think Robertson’s stance is, in many ways, awfully un-Biblical. One of the most read passages at virtually any wedding is 1 Corinthians 13, which mentions that love “is not self-seeking.” One person divorcing another for the sake of their own companionship sure doesn’t sound very loving, especially in the face of a horrible disease. And what about Paul’s words in Ephesians 5: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…” Christ loved the church to the point of death and hell, taking on the sin of all humankind for all time. Undoubtedly, that’s a high standard for husbands to live up to, but it’s what God intended for marriage, in spite of any illness, difficulty, or anything else.

What do you think?

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Debut

Earlier this week, as I was doing some job-searching, I came across a church looking to hire someone to lead contemporary worship. It looked like a pretty cool opportunity, until I saw that the position is only 10 hours a week. Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a position like this with the limited number of hours offered for it.

Now, this isn’t a debate about whether or not churches should have a contemporary worship service, because a) contemporary is a word used for a wide variety of services and b) debating worship styles is about as effective as debating Pepsi vs. Coke. Totally useless.

My question is this: how can a worship service be planned, rehearsed, and executed successfully and with high quality while only budgeting 10 hours a week for it?

I do understand wholeheartedly that many churches don’t have the budget to hire a full-time person to lead a contemporary worship service. I also do not want to assume anyone’s motives, but I do question how seriously a church cares about the quality of their worship if this is all they budget for. Are they trying to lessen the workload of someone who also leads traditional worship? Are they trying to start from scratch? Is there demand for this style? Or are they following the crowd?

Personally, I believe that many churches do have good motives for having a contemporary style of worship. But I also believe that many of them do not realize that if they want to have meaningful worship, it takes more than 10 hours a week, especially if its building a contemporary worship ministry from the ground up.

On one hand, I’d argue that some of these churches might be better off if they either used volunteers or hired people from their congregation to lead, and perhaps that’s the plan. If that’s the plan, why pay money to post the opening?

On the other hand, maybe some churches shouldn’t add contemporary worship just because they believe it’s the thing to do. Sure, it’s awesome in many contexts. But if it’s not true to your community, don’t do it. And please, don’t do it because you think it’ll put more butts in the pews. That’s disingenuous.

What do you think? Is it better to offer a variety of styles but run the risk of lowering the quality of worship; or, is it better to stick to what the congregation/community can do best with the leadership it has? Am I setting up a false dichotomy between the hours budgeted for a positon and the results of the worship?

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