Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Bears’

With the first week of the NFL playoffs finished and the Bears now knowing who their playoff opponent will be coming off their bye week, I give you the ten reasons that the Bears will prevail against the Seattle Seahawks this coming Sunday afternoon.  This list is especially for you Mitchell Blair and Jared Goertzen.  Enjoy your ill-earned week of joy and jubilation before the kleenexes get broken out in a weeks time.  So without further ado, the list:

10. The Seahawks went 7-9 in the worst division in NFL history while the Bears went 11-5 in a division that sent two teams to the playoffs.

9. The Saints lost because of a banged up and aging secondary and overwhelming crowd noise in Qwest Field.  Neither of these things will be an issue for the Bears on Sunday.

8. It is not possible for the Bears to go 0-13 on third down again as happened in their first meeting.  Since that game their 3rd down efficiency has climbed dramatically with a more balanced attack.

7. The Bears have fixed their offensive line woes since the first meeting with the Seahawks and have given up far fewer sacks since the embarassing losses to Seattle and Washington. Ugh.

6. The Seahawks are going to have to cross two time zones to get there instead of having the team have to cross three to get to them.  Matt Hasselbeck would barely be drinking his first cup of coffee when he’ll be getting swallowed up by Julius Peppers.

5. The Seahawks will not be playing in the mirror image amphitheaters that make up Qwest Field in Seattle.

4. The liberal media won’t allow someone related to Elizabeth Hasselbeck that kind of positive attention two weeks in a row.

3. The Detroit Lions previously cut their #1 receiver (Mike Williams).  Even Matt Millen knew this guy was unreliable.

2. The NFL won’t let a man with as many child support payments to make as Marshawn Lynch has tarnish their image in a Superbowl week.

1. We’ve seen this confident group before (make sure the volume is up enough to hear Hasselbeck’s famous last words):

P.S. – If you really want the Seahawks side of things I’m sure you’ll find all kinds of tin-foil hat crowd type Seahawks hype over the Mitchell Blair’s blog.  Sad really. 😉

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I guess this will be a few football related posts all in a row now. Not that there’s anything wrong with that I guess, it’s just never been the be all and end all from what I’ve done in the past. I’d wager a guess that’s what’s being posted right now because the start of NFL free agency a couple minutes ago, and the beginning of another baseball season – thanks for the subscription to MLB.TV family – is about all that’s keeping me sane right now.

That being said, my expectations for my Bears are pretty low going into the season, but with the rumors flying around online as lately as just a couple minutes ago with a real chance of Julius Peppers, Chester Taylor, and Antrelle Rolle all winding up in Chicago within the next week, my hopes are at least a little higher. Adding two pro-bowl defensive players and a solid complimentary RB would go a long way to fixing this team if they can manage to scrounge up a mediocre offensive linemen or two. At least the advent of free-agency brings hope to one area of my life.  I know Peppers has had motivation issues before, Rolle has had injury problems and Chester is no one’s saviour, but any kind of talent is better than no talent at all. Here’s to hoping reality doesn’t come crashing down all around my Bears related dreams!

UPDATE:

Well, it’s official . . . the Bears got two out of three on my wish list in Peppers and Taylor.  Whether you like them much or not or even if you think they over-payed for them you have to at least admit they are a better team today than they were yesterday.

The Bears had an awful season this year despite high hopes with a franchise QB in the fold for the first time in fifty years, but despite that they’ve made very few changes.  In fact the only real change they made has probably got them more flack in the Chicago media than any of the non-changes they didn’t make, that being the hiring of Mad Mike Martz as the offensive co-ordinator.  I’m a regular listener of the Boers and Bernstein Show on 670 The Score in Chicago and they’ve absolutely been tearing the Bears a new one ever since the hire.

I for one, maybe the only one, think it’s a great move.  The guy won a Superbowl as a head coach and after he was done making all-stars out of junkyard scraps like Az-Zahir Hakim, Kurt Warner, and  Marc Bulger in STL he went to DET of all places and turned Jon Kitna and Mike Furrey into a combo that looked like Montana to Rice.  He’s always coached up QB’s and turned otherwise anaemic players into contributors and that sounds pretty much exactly like what the Bears offence was this past season.  I’m not saying they’re Superbowl bound in 2010.  I’m not saying they’re making the playoffs.  I’m not even saying that they’ll be good enough for Martz to keep his job, but at least they’re trying something with a guy who’s proven he knows how to design a highly potent offence and can work with QB’s who throw INT”s and still win football games.

And with that, it’s time for some sleep.  Hopefully to dream of a Bears Superbowl next year as I get ready to cheer for the Colts in this one.

thrillAnyone remember that old CBC show “Thrill of a LIfetime“?  No, this isn’t me having a Grandpa Simpson moment.  It was kind of the original reality TV show where people would have their dreams come true as made possible by this TV show.  It was usually reuniting with family members or going scuba diving and such.  Things that we kind of take for granted now, but were a big deal in the 80’s when the show was on.  It’s not as though I was a fan or anything, I just remember the horrible, horrible theme song that still resonates in my head like an clanging gong at a funeral.  Which reminds me of another song which sticks in your head that you wish would leave you well enough alone like a mangey stray dog that deficates on your lawn: “Womanizer” by the infamous Britney Spears.  They’ve been playing it a lot lately on BBC Radio 1 which I recently started listening to on my XM radio.  It’s amazing how no matter what they say it sounds educational because they say it with an english accent.  It makes basically everything they say a lot funnier too.  Speaking of funny things on Radio 1 and “Womanizer”, my favourite new DJ Chris Moyles made a parody of “Womanizer” called “Lorry Driver”.  I thought it was a funny song when I heard it and then today I actually found out what it was about.  Apparently a “Lorry Driver” is the refined brittish way of saying trucker.  It’s definitely worth checking out if you have a few minutes and want a good laugh.  Anyways, where was I, oh ya “Thrill of a Lifetime”.  I guess I did have a Grandpa Simpson moment after all.

Back to “Thrill of a LIfetime”.  I’m not going to be on the show, seeing as it was cancelled long ago, but I am going to be going on a similar kind of adventure.  This coming weekend I am travelling to Minneapolis to watch my beloved Bears play the Minnesota Vikings on NBC Football Night in America.  So if you’re watching the game keep a look out for me.  Normally the chances of you seeing me would be slim in a stadium that seats 70,000ish people but – and this is where the “Thrill of a Lifetime” part comes in – I am sitting front row on the 50 yard line right behind the Bears bench!  Hopefully I can make sign that will get me on TV and you can all wave at your screens and say, “Hey, I know that guy in a Bears jersey who’s being beaten mercilessly by those Vikings fans!”  I hope to get to more Bears games in my lifetime, but I never expect to have seats like this again.  It will be a lot of driving in a couple days (14 hours there and 14 back), but it should all be worth it.  If by chance I don’t make it back alive, Jenn has my will, and know I likely died a happy man.

At first you may be thinking, “Wow, that’s a really interesting idea for a post. How original! There are lots of people I’d like to meet, but would I want to barbecue with them? I wonder what interesting people Ben would invite?” You may be thinking these thoughts, unless your name is Brad in which case you are wondering when I’m going to give you credit for ripping off your idea for an interesting and original blog post.  Well like I said last time, I haven’t had much original thought lately, but it’s likely better off ripping off an interesting idea from someone else than having no ideas at all.  Brad wrote about the five people he’s never met that he’d like to have over for a backyard barbecue, however I don’t have a backyard so I barbecue in my front yard.  I’m just finishing up “Everything Must Change” by Brian McLaren, and I’ll have a lot more ripped off thoughts to share with you after that.  It’s nice to have some thoughts of any value again.  Anyways, on to the list:

1. George W. Bush – This isn’t to say I’m a big fan of his.  He’s made a number of good decisions and been helpful with aid and helping with AIDS in Africa, unfortunately anything good he’s done has been totally overshadowed by his numerous mistakes.  Realistically though, I think it would be really interesting to sit down and talk with a man who seemingly the entire world disagrees with and despises, but yet is able to stick to his guns; literally and figuratively.  I think he’d have a lot of interesting insights to offer and realistically who does a more hillarious “W” impression than George himself.

2. Damien Rice – This is to say I’m a big fan of his.  Oh Damien, you have been hurt.  Who hurt you Damien?  Who?  Damien Rice is easily my favorite musician alive today.  His heartfelt and desperately honest music and lyrics have touched me and made me think about life in ways few other people have.  His song “Dogs” was one of the few things that helped me through my two weeks in the hospital while my son Payton was life threateningly ill.  If nothing else, I’d love to have him there to say thankyou for what he’s done for me without even knowing it.  I’d love to ask him to perform a couple songs, but I wouldn’t ask him for it.  We all need a place and a group of people that we don’t have to perform for.  Maybe my front yard patio could be that for him.

3. Steven L. Anderson – Pick your jaws up off the floor.  I don’t want to clean that up.  If you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while you’ll remember my disdain for Steven L. Anderson and his angry, bitter, spiteful, misleading version of Christianity, but with him around the conversation certainly would never get boring.  I’d like to be able to sit down with a guy like him and ask him where he gets his thoughts, convictions and general rage from.  How did he become who he is and why is he convinced the world would be better if more people were like him.  I’d love to sit him down with my next invitee and just watch the fireworks.

4. Irwin McManus – Irwin is generally a fairly soft spoken man, but if you start talking about spiritual things I think you’d get to see the Latino side of him get fired up and lose it on Steven L.  I think the exchange would be priceless.  Irwin is one of most wonderful, godly men that I’ve never personally met but feel I know because of how much I’ve heard him speak.  I think his soft heart and clear thinking are such a breath of fresh air in Christian circles.  He loves God and wants to help other people learn to love God too.  That’s a man I would like to get to know.  He also loves good coffee and steak . . . what more can you ask for in a friend?

5. Solid Snake – Okay, fine I’ll pick a real person.  Seriously though, how awesome would it be to have barbecue with Solid Snake?

5. Mike Ditka – Okay, who would win a fight between Ditka and Steven L. Anderson?  By the way, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who feels the need to constantly use their middle initial in their name who was a balanced and well grounded person.  I’d love to meet Ditka.  He’s crazy, but he’s fun crazy.  Not just that but he knows football and loves football.  He is the only coach to ever lead my Chicago Bears to a Superbowl.  He’s the only Head Coach in anything to ever win a championship while hating his Assistant Coach so much that they still haven’t talked to this day twenty-three years later.  That’s a man who stands by his convictions.  This isn’t to say it’s right, but he didn’t get the nickname “Iron Mike” for nothing.

Anyways, there’s my front yard barbecue invite list.  If any of those of you who are invited happen to read this and are interested in coming, just leave me a comment with your email address and we’ll work out the details.  My house isn’t that fancy and my barbecue isn’t that big, but I’d love to cook you a slab of dead cow to eat; between bread or not.  If you’re vegetarian than tofu burgers it is.

Anyone on the list that shocks you?  Anyone that you are surprised that I didn’t invite.  Just because Brad only invited five to his backyard barbecue doesn’t mean that I couldn’t invite more.  I’m not tied to anyone’s ideas.  Does that make mine an original now?

lectionary-ses.jpgEver have one of those “it seemed like a good idea at the time” kind of moments?  That’s what I’m rumblin’, bumblin’, stumblin’ my way through right now.  Before I explain my canundrum though let’s step into the wayback machine and travel about 6 months into the past.  The year is 2007.  The Boston Red Sox are preparing for the playoffs as the Evil Empire attempts to make a feeble final month rally to win the A.L. East, the Chicago Bears are naively talking about building on their solid 2006 season, and Rhianna’s “Umbrella” covers the airwaves as tearful drops of frustration soak the faces of real music fans everywhere.  Meanwhile, I’m at a staff meeting where we decide that it would be a really cool idea to try to follow the traditional church calendar for the next year and preach through the lectionary as we follow it.  It would be so great to not have to “hum and haw” over what to preach about next and just follow what the church has traditionally studied throughout it’s history.  It would give us ties to our roots, give our church a greater appreciation for the rich history our faith has, ensure we touch on all the main topics in the bible over the course of the year, and selfishly allow us to be somewhat subversive by Mennonite standards as we preach through the liturgical lectionary in a non-liturgical faith tradition.  Oh, what rebels we would be!

Well, it’s current day again now – January 2008 – and the thrills of rebellion have dimmed a bit as the realities of preaching through the lectionary have set in.  It hasn’t been all bad by any means, the last couple passages I got handed I actually worked with reasonably well, but this time is a desperate struggle.  I realize that I haven’t personally given birth to a child yet, but I think this process has been similarly painful as I attempt to give birth to this message that right now feels like a pair of 16lb. breach twins – duty and necessity – being delivered “naturally”.

I’m preaching on Sunday and the process of preparing for it has been extremely trying.  I’m supposed to be preaching from John 1:29-42.  You know the passage where John declares Jesus to be the “Lamb of God” after he hears the voice of God and sees the dove rest upon Jesus.  He then goes on to declare Jesus as the “Lamb of God” to Andrew and Peter and they decide to follow Jesus as their Messiah.  It’s not that this story isn’t important, but I’m just not so sure what I’m supposed to do to “preach” it other than just read it as it is.  Unfortunately just reading it as it is only takes about 1-2 minutes and that would leave our service ending far too early, and some may suspect that I’m just wrapping things up early so I can watch the NFL playoffs pregame show.  I could go into some deep study about the historical and theological signifigance of the name “Lamb of God”, but really, that’s not likely to change anyone’s life or even interest many of them.  I couldn’t even blame them for being bored and sleepy if I were to break out a message like that.  The angle I’m running with right now is the “where/how do we find God”.  John struggled with recognizing Jesus as God until it was supernaturally revealed to him, and it took John pointing Jesus out to Andrew and Peter before they caught on.  Similarly, different people “find God” in a lot of different and weird ways and we need to be open to accepting and experiencing them ourselves; looking for God in unusual places.  I’m not totally appauled with this angle on the passage, but I certainly don’t feel good or excited about it either.  It feels kind of contrived.

The real shame in all of this is that preaching – studying and figuring out how to effectively share what I learned with others – which used to be one of my greatest loves has now become a somewhat odious task.  I’m not passionate about preaching this passage.  It doesn’t really touch anything in me.  I feel somewhat disingenuous standing up and preaching this message with conviction when I don’t really have a whole lot of conviction about it myself.  If being a preacher were just a job and you just had to be a convincing public speaker to do it, I think I could do this passage some justice.  After a hundred plus sermons under my belt I know how to deliver a message, but to me preaching is about baring something of myself and sharing it with others.  I’m not so sure I’m at that point with this sermon.  It just doesn’t resonate.  It just isn’t sitting right.

So, I guess the lesson to be learned is the old proverb “the grass is always greener on the other side”.  Preaching the lectionary sounds great for the reasons I listed before, but it can be real handcuff too when the passages you’re “tied to” don’t really seem to have much to them.  Which, when I think about it, is a real shame because God’s word through the Bible has such a great story to tell.

Well, I guess I better get some sleep so I can finish off that sermon tomorrow.  If only I could really hop in that wayback machine so I could make a cake with the key to these homiletical handcuffs in it and send it care of “me”.  That way I could spend this time bemoaning the fact that I’m not sure what to preach instead of I’m not sure how to preach it.