Friday, January 2, 2004

January 2, 2004

11:36 PM Before I forget, how ’bout those Rebels? Lots of cheering at our house, and a big sigh of relief when the game was over. For those who didn’t watch the Cotton Bowl, Ole Miss beat Oklahoma State 31-28. Sorry to see Eli Manning graduate. It’s a matter of family tradition with me. My father taught me to love the Ole Miss Rebels 40 years ago when we listened to the games on a big Telefunken radio in his study at home. We would listen to the games and feast on Vienna sausages, Ritz crackers, those marshmellow, Graham cracker cookies covered with chocolate, and sometimes we’d open a tin of sardines or smoked oysters. Back then there was no cable TV so it was the radio or nothing. But sometimes we’d drive over to Oxford from my home in Russellville, AL, to see the Rebels play. I saw all the great ones in the 60s, and when Archie Manning came along (68-70), I was in high school and we went to Oxford and Jackson to see him play. Dad was a lifelong Ole Miss fan, and it has passed down to me and also to my boys. So we care, it really matters to us how the Rebels do. The feelings run much deeper than football. It’s something about my father and something about my family and tradition and the South and a few other things that are deeper yet. It’s a good thing to have a heart-felt allegiance to a team, even if (like the Rebels), you have to wait many years for a day like today. For some it’s Ohio State, for others it may be Wisconsin or Illinois or a small college somewhere that hardly anyone else knows about. Loyal fans of the Cubs and White Sox understand what it means to be a fan and carry on the tradition and to keep the faith, as the sign says, “if it takes forever.” 11:31 PM Pat Robertson says that God told him that President Bush will be re-elected in a “blow-out” next November. Maybe so, but I recall that back in 1988 Pat Robertson said that God had called him to become president. He lost the Republican nomination—to the first President Bush. I happen to like Pat Robertson and appreciate a great deal that he says, but this does illustrate the dangers of saying, “The Lord told me” or “The Lord showed me,” especially when it involves things like presidential elections. Although I suppose (looking at it purely from a political point of view) that he is more likely to be right in 2004 than he was in 1988. 11:17 AM Peggy Noonan explains why Brooklyn is right and Manhattan is wrong when it comes to public displays of religion. 9:57 AM Chuck Colson is encouraged. So am I. Not that the future is all that rosy—it’s not. I recall the story of a man who picked up Richard John Neuhaus at the airport. On the way to the appointed speaking engagement, the man bemoaned how bad “these times” are and how hard it to keep the faith. Pastor Neuhaus replied with great wisdom: “What you say may be true, but these are the only times we are given. And despair is a mortal sin.” Here is the final paragraph of Colson’s column:

And finally, don’t get discouraged in the struggles ahead. Remember, God measures us by what Mother Teresa said years ago, and is engraved on the sign on my desk: “Faithfulness, not Success.”

When our Anchor for the Soul team delivered books to NYC shortly after 9/11, we spent one night at Prison Fellowship HQ in Virginia. We toured Chuck Colson’s office and saw the sign he mentions. 9:54 AM Ben Shapiro explains why Christianity is good for America. 9:45 AM Nice note from a friend who attended the Prayer Prayer on New Year’s Eve:

Good morning Pastor Ray and Happy New Year to you and your family. Just to let you know I survived 2003. I attended my first Prayer Party and of course it was not what I expected(not sure what I expected) however I enjoyed it. After listening last night I walked out of Calvary thankful for my aching shoulder( I arrived for the party right from physical therapy) and sore chest. I’m thankful that was the only problem I was facing right then. A minor problem after listening what others had been brought thru in 2003 … “You Can Stumble But You Won’t Fall ” Psalm 27:23-24….that is better life insurance than Mutual of Omaha, Prudential, or any other. Chinese New Year always has a name ,”the year of the ——-” I can call the year 2003 the year of Learning To Really Pray. Thank You Dear Friend!

9:44 AM Cotton Bowl countdown: 3 hours, 16 minutes. 9:38 AM Anthony DeStefano explains why heaven is like The Wizard of Oz.

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