Friday, November 21, 2003

November 21, 2003

5:25 PM “I’m on my way to see the Rebels play.” Well, not me, but two of my boys are on the road to Oxford, Mississippi, to watch the Ole Miss Rebels play the LSU Tigers tomorrow afternoon. Those who know our family know that we live and die for the Rebels—a tradition that started 35 years ago when my father took his four sons to see Archie Manning play in the late 60s. The game tomorrow is the biggest game for Ole Miss in 40 years—maybe 50 years. Rebel fans from everywhere are coming to watch Eli Manning (the Rebel QB and Archie’s youngest son) play his last home game. The stadium holds 60,000, they sold another 6000 SRO tickets, and they say that 30,000 more people will be at The Grove (the traditional tailgating area at the center of the Ole Miss campus). My sister-in-law Betty managed to find a ticket for Nick somehow. (They’re going for $600 on Ebay.) He called a few minutes ago from Tupelo, Mississippi to say that he and three other Samford students are driving over to Oxford. He was going to spend the night in Tupelo with my brother Alan but they decided to go Oxford and enjoy the night before the big game. “Where are you going to spend the night?” I asked. “I don’t know,” Nick said, “Anywhere we can.” I think they’ll try to stay at one of the frat houses on campus. But that’s only part of the story. Mark called two hours ago saying that Alan called him today to say that a stockbroker friend had offered him a ticket. Little did I know that Mark and Nick had been conspiring all week for Mark to come down to the game, if they could find a ticket. Alan found one today, called Mark who called me and said he was going to the game. “Who’s going with you?” “No one.” “You’re going to drive all the way to Mississippi for a game tomorrow and then drive back?” “Yep.” Plus he has to be back in time to do his Christian ministry assignment for Moody on Sunday night in Tinley Park. “How much money do you have?” “Ten dollars and a credit card.” We talked about it for a few minutes and I said the only thing I could of, “You’d better leave town before your mother finds out about this.” He laughed and said he thought that was a good idea. So I told him to come out to Oak Park and I would give him whatever cash I had, which wasn’t much. Meanwhile Marlene came home and was preparing to go to an OPCA basketball game. I had planned to go with her but I told her I had to stay and give Mark some money. When I told her about his trip, she just rolled her eyes, shook her head, and said, “Our boys are crazy.” Yes, they are. And they learned to be Rebel fans from me. I told her I was sorely tempted to go with him. She said, “Just leave me a note if you’re going to go.” I mean, Mark needs company on that long trip, right? And I would have done it except for one small fact: I’m going to be preaching in the first service 39 hours from now. That’s cutting it too close for me. Plus the game is on CBS tomorrow afternoon which means I can watch it from the comfort of my living room. So Mark came by, I gave him some money (Marlene gave me her cash—which was less than mine) plus a Shell card plus we told him to take one of our cars instead of his—which broke down in Wisconsin last weekend and wasn’t repaired until Tuesday. I prayed with him for a safe trip and I told him to have fun, take it easy on the road, enjoy the game, and bring back a victory. He said he’d do his best. So at this moment Nick is almost to Oxford and Mark is somewhere on I-57 outside of Chicago heading south. He’s on his way to see the Rebels play. I’m happy for him and I’m glad I don’t have to drive anywhere tonight. 11:34 AM End of the week renovation update: Doors! That’s the big news. New doors everywhere … and more massive doors stacked up next to the dining room, waiting for installation … Coming soon: wiring from the control center under the sanctuary to the gym so we can broadcast the sermon (or the whole service) live from the sanctuary to the renovated gym… . The stonemasons are making fine progress on the new portico. They will work overtime tomorrow to take advantage of the warm temps. Lots of work going forward all at once. Exciting to see the project move closer to completion. 10:42 AM Human Events has just published a list of the Ten American Biographies everyone should read. Fascinating list. Would be a good goal for the new year to read all ten in 2004. 10:35 AM If you wonder why there is continued terrorism in the Middle East (and around the world), read this. 8:18 AM Chris Jahns passed this along:

They walked in tandem, each of the ninety-three students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With rich maroon gowns flowing and the traditional caps, they looked almost as grown up as they felt. Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and moms freely brushed away tears. This class would not pray during the commencements ——- not by choice but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it. The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling. They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families. The speeches were nice, but they were routine…….until the final speech received a standing ovation. A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then, it happened. All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED!!!! The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said, “GOD BLESS YOU, each and every one of you!” And he walked off stage…The audience exploded into applause. The graduating class found a unique way to invoke God’s blessing on their future with or without the court’s approval. In God We Trust, United We Stand.

6:42 AM How should Christians explain their opposition to “gay marriage” in light of the Massachusetts decision? Or said another way, how do we speak truth to an increasingly pagan world? I’m not primarily thinking of how to talk to the radicals on the Gay Rights side. My focus is on the vast undecided middle group that feels very uncomfortable with “gay marriage” and with homosexuality in general but has been intimidated with the threat of being called “intolerant” by radical activists. What do we say to them? Fascinating question. Here are two useful discussions: one from the World Magazine blog, the other from a Catholic blog (Read the post by Mark Shea and then click on “comments” to get the responses. There are dozens of them, even though the zero makes it look like there are none.). 6:41 AM Only 6 more days till the Pastor’s Stroll.

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