Yesterday at the Awana Quizzing, I heard the lady up front tell us that, “It’s too bad we don’t have trophies for you all, you were all winners. You know, in God’s eyes you’re all winners.”

Now, I know, I have a bad attitude, but still, give me a break here. First of all, we’re not all winners, if we were we would have all won. Instead, there is only one first place, which means, by definition, that no one else won.

Not to mention that this is a complete insult to the teams that actually studied and put forth the necessary effort to win. The winning team learns by this that all that extra effort to win was a waste because even those who didn’t try were winners in God’s eyes. How rude.

Second of all, who is she to tell me what God thinks? Why would God think I was a winner if I just came in last place? Granted, He sees me as a winner in Christ, we have the victory, we are overcomers, etc. But when it comes to this little contest here, I don’t think God considers us all to be winners. Perhaps there were some kids there who didn’t even care or study, does He think they are winners?

The lack of competition in Christian circles has always bothered me. I think winning and losing teach us so much that to minimize the lessons of losing by saying we’re winners is a travesty. I have learned more by losing and being made fun of than all my winning combined. I say, mock the loser, maybe next time they’ll try harder! How about a little Christian booing every once in awhile?!

If we can’t learn to win in a stupid little contest, how will we learn to win the good fight of faith?

I was out riding my bike and I was coming up to a huge snowbank and a kid was playing on it. There was something about my split second impression of him that made me think “get ready for a snowball.” Sure enough, when I got past him I heard the familiar buzz of a snowball over my head which exploded on the road.

Another split second of thought–should I stop, should I Go pound him, should I just keep going? I slowed up, turned around and said, “You think that’s funny?” He, being the dork he is, said “Yah.” I said, “You want me to come back there?” No answer. So I shouted back, “You better watch it child.”

There’s something in the air out there my friends. Something out there which is making everyone an idiot. I used to be harassed on my bike once or twice a year, but it’s getting downright dangerous out there. Why is it that people who are just living, minding their own business, are picked on? Why are we so powerless to do anything about it?

It’s bugging me why it’s always the people who are acting normal who are the bad guys. If I had gone back there and shoved the kid, thrown a snowball back, or whatever, I’d be in court tomorrow. The jury would explain to me “he’s just a little kid. You can’t go getting mad at him. Surely you did dumb things when you were a kid.” Yeah, I did and a fair number of people confronted me on it and caused me to eliminate many of the disrespectful, dorky things kids get away with today. Someone’s got to tell them and I’m determined to make that someone be me.

This whole homosexual marriage thing is getting a bit out of hand if you ask me, and even if you don’t, that’s still what I think. Bush has proposed a constitutional amendment to enforce marriage.

Question–why do we have to pass a constitutional amendment to enforce what the law already is? Shouldn’t those who want to change the law and the very definition of marriage have to get a constitutional amendment? Why do those who already follow the law have to make an amendment to continue to do so?

One of the warnings that the end is approaching given by Paul to Timothy is that “they will forbid to marry.” What will probably happen is that the amendment deal will pass and homosexual marriage will be out. So then they will make some sort of other arrangement which will seem equal or better to marriage. Marriage will be one more headache to live without. Many couples are living together now anyway and all of this will continue. I tell ya, it’s all very disturbing. At the same time, the end is near and that’s got to excite you!

Yesterday in Chicago they blew up the infamous ball which Steve Bartman knocked away from Moises Alou in the playoffs last year, 5 outs form the world series. That’s good, better the ball than poor Bartman. Forget those things which are behind and press on–a new year of pain begins soon. I can hardly wait.

I got a phone call from my sister down in Il this morning. Some people we know are Cub fans who have connections and they wanted to know if we wanted to buy any tickets. Boy oh boy. We’re so close now, only 40 more days until opening day!

So I got some nice seats all picked out for a few games in September. I did a statistical analysis of the Central Divsion and saw that they will clinch their division then. Riiiiight.

So anyway, I have hope, I have something to look forward to now for the stupid Cubs. Knowing me, by the time my games in September come the Cubs will either be 20 games up in first or 20 games back of first. Either way, my plan will no doubt backfire. My plans always do.

Aint that life though? Heaven will be so cool because we’ll be able to make plans and they’ll always happen. Ah yes, milk and honey, milk and honey.

Here’s the deal, I don’t want to discourage anyone by not liking The Passion movie. If you want to like the movie, that’s fine. But I think we need to be careful when these things come up. We are so anxious to jump on the bandwagon and our whole faith will be tied to this movie–if the movie doesn’t go over well, which who will say it did even if it did, so goes our faith in the world’s eyes. Mel Gibson is a man, yet he is now my spokesman and yours to the world, that bugs me a bit.

I don’t mean to discourage and be the party pooper, but caution is always necessary in our crazy world. I don’t mean to dump on Gibson, he put up his own money and he did what he thought he had to do. I think he did fine, it’s the best I could have expected from anyone other than me! We need to be careful though, that’s all.

I don’t mean to be a party pooper but I will not align myself with other churches who are coming together because Mel Gibson made a movie. There was an opportunity made available to me to put our church with all the other churches in Rhinelander and come together and do all this stuff because of the movie.

I will not align RBC with other churches just because everyone else is, nor will I not align because everyone else is. I won’t do it because I don’t think it’s right for a church to stake it’s reputation on any man or man made thing. RBC will be aligned with the Bible and Jesus Christ.

Here’s my take on The Passion of the Christ: It was a fine piece of movie, well done, probably the best movie on a Christian topic I’ve ever seen production wise. The story begins in the Garden with Jesus praying. Then we get into Gibson’s mind a bit as he shows his personification of evil who tempts Christ and tries to get him to back out. A snake then comes out of the evil guy and goes over to Christ and crawls around on him. Christ continues to pray, then stands up and crushes the head of the snake with his foot. All very nice, except for, of course, that’s not exactly in the Bible. I know what he means, but still.

When Judas betrays Christ a demon head comes swiping through at him. As Christ is being whipped the evil personified guy comes again and this time he’s carying a very strange, smiling baby. I have no idea what that was.

Besides the mysticism aspect, there was also some Catholic treatment of Jesus’ Mother. It wasn’t strong, but it was there. All the disciples called her “Mother.” Which, fine, but even Jesus said she wasn’t his mother so I’m willing to bet they didn’t call her that.

There were also some flashbacks to Jesus’ growing days with his mom, his dad was never present, which are also not to be found in the Bible.

The other aspect is that it doesn’t really portray the Gospel as we, or at least I, know it. It was all about love according to Gibson’s take on it. The only mention of dying for sin was at the beginning where the verse from Isaiah 53 is on the screen–“he was wounded for our transgressions.” Everything else was about love. I do not wish to downplay the aspect of love, but I do also wish to emphasize the aspect of sin, which the movie does not.

For all the trouble to go through to make this movie and then not clearly show why Jesus did what he did seems a failure.

However, in saying all this, I wasn’t going to like the movie to begin with. I do not like the trend of making God’s Word into another form of entertainment. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God–faith does not come by a movie.

However, this movie will do more good than the last 25 years of Holloywood film making put together. Is it the answer to all the world’s problems? No and in fact will probably just muddy the waters. If you are truly excited about the message of Christ’s suffering save $8 and go tell a friend about Jesus.