Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Who's Number 2?

Florida 41, Ohio State 14. LSU 41, Notre Dame 14. Coincidence?

Imagine for a moment you have a vote in the final college football poll. As is typical for a college football season -- since college football doesn't decide their champion through a playoff system -- you are left with as many questions as answers.

Who do you select as #2? Do you go with LSU? How about USC which crushed the team ranked #2 going into the bowls, Michigan? Is Boise State deserving, considering they are the only undefeated team in the NCAA at season's-end?

Had I a vote, here's how it would look:

1 - Florida
2 - LSU
3 - USC
4 - Boise State
5 - Wisconsin

Incidentally, if the poll looks anything like mine, that would mean Arkansas's four losses this year would have been to teams finished the season ranked #1, #2, #3 and #5.


Hey Woodward Park'ers, do me a favor and keep Barbara Lawley, our wonderful secretary, in your prayers today. She is going in for major eye surgery this morning at 9:00 A.M. (the procedure is scheduled to take three hours).


Jimmy has some pictures posted of his new baby girl. Go here to see Jenniva.


N.T. Wright, in a recent Q&A with Christianity Today's Tim Stafford, offered this insightful analysis of the presentation of the gospel in a post-modern world.

"For generations the church has been polarized between those who see the main task being the saving of souls for heaven and the nurturing of those souls through the valley of this dark world, on the one hand, and on the other hand those who see the task of improving the lot of human beings and the world, rescuing the poor from their misery.

The longer that I've gone on as a New Testament scholar and wrestled with what the early Christians were actually talking about, the more it's been borne in on me that that distinction is one that we modern Westerners bring to the text rather than finding in the text. Because the great emphasis in the New Testament is that the gospel is not how to escape the world; the gospel is that the crucified and risen Jesus is the Lord of the world. And that his death and Resurrection transform the world, and that transformation can happen to you. You, in turn, can be part of the transforming work. That draws together what we traditionally called evangelism, bringing people to the point where they come to know God in Christ for themselves, with working for God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. That has always been at the heart of the Lord's Prayer, and how we've managed for years to say the Lord's Prayer without realizing that Jesus really meant it is very curious. Our Western culture since the 18th century has made a virtue of separating out religion from real life, or faith from politics.When I lecture about this, people will pop up and say, 'Surely Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world.' And the answer is no, what Jesus said in John 18 is, 'My kingdom is not from this world.' That's ek tou kosmoutoutou. It's quite clear in the text that Jesus' kingdom doesn't start with this world. It isn't a worldly kingdom, but it is for this world. It's from somewhere else, but it's for this world.

The key to mission is always worship. You can only be reflecting the love of God into the world if you are worshiping the true God who creates the world out of overflowing self-giving love. The more you look at that God and celebrate that love, the more you have to be reflecting that overflowing self-giving love into the world."