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Posts Tagged ‘United States

Thoughts on the 2014 World Cup

I am not a soccer fan.  Have never been.  When I was a child, we played some form of soccer at recess when I was in school but I never played it on a team.  I played all other major sports: football, baseball, and basketball.  In fact, my time in my neighborhood revolved around the three big sports here in the United States.

After every World Cup, we get to hear how soccer is rising in the United States.  Just the week I heard a soccer guy say that more children in the US are now playing soccer than playing baseball.  He feels that in 20 to 30 years, the US will have a dominate soccer program at the World Cup level.  One British soccer coach said that the Yanks will outplay England in just a few years.

For me, I don’t care.  I am not a soccer fan.  It is a boring sport to watch.  I suppose if I played soccer, it might interest me more but it is boring to watch matches that are 0-0 for the entire game.  Give me 24-14.  Give me 10-6.  Give me 99-92.  The 2014 World Cup final featured Germany and Argentina.  I was working while the match was being played but I didn’t even know who won till nearly 2 AM.  I had to come home and pull up Fox Sports on my computer to know.  And even then, I don’t really care.  I just wanted to know the score and sure enough, Germany had to win in extra time because the match was scoreless.  When Germany beat Brazil 7-1, I thought that that was a great score but 0-0 is boring.  I want to see goals to keep my interest.

The flopping is also a bothersome point for me.  Players will roll over the ground claiming to be hurt while barely getting touched by an opposing player.  This act of lying is troublesome from a Christian worldview.

Do I think soccer will take off here in the United States?  I think it can become a big sport but it will not out gain the NFL anytime soon.  The NFL is huge!  Soccer can make gains over baseball because (like soccer), baseball can be boring to watch (exceptions would be the playoffs and the World Series).  I actually think the real sport that soccer can challenge here in the United States is not football, baseball, or basketball but hockey.  No one here in the South plays hockey and no one that I knows even cares who won the NHL Stanley Cup (LA Kings won it).  Here in the South, football is dominate and especially college football.  Entire towns revolve around their local football teams.  I know of towns that nearly the entire town turns out for their Friday night games.  Football carries most sports programs in the South.

Soccer?  Well time will tell.  A high school football game will average 10,000 people while a soccer game might have 100.  A college football game (here in my area) will average 85,000.  A soccer game might get 1000.  The top MLS team in attendance are the Seattle Sounders (40,000) but most MLS teams average under 20,000.  The top NFL team in attendance was the Dallas Cowboys (88,000) with the NFL average over 70,000 per game.

I don’t doubt that the World Cup will generate some interest for a while for soccer fans but it will be a long time before soccer is a dominating sport here in the United States.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/14/2014 at 12:03 PM

Posted in Sports

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How Far Should Government Go?

I am currently reading an excellent book on the Civil War.  The book is entitled, Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction.  I first heard of the book on Dr. Al Mohler’s excellent podcast where he featured the author in an interview.

One aspect of the Civil War that I believe we still see ramifications from today is the issue of how far should government go in intervening in our lives.  One of the primary motives for the Southern States seceding from the Union was the election of Abraham Lincoln and the battle for the West.  In this book, Mr. Guelzo argues that the fight between the North and the South was over western expansion in the United States.  The seeds were planted for the war at the founding but the Missouri Compromise in 1820 and then the Dred Scott case in 1846-57 led to the war.  The South feared that the North would allow the South to be slave states but with western expansion would not allow slavery in those states.  Thus the South knew that it was a matter of time before slavery would be banned in the entire United States as the other free states would continue to elect anti-slavery Presidents.  In those days, the President appointed nearly all officials in the States from cabinets to law officials.  Typically, the South had enjoyed freedom because of the lack of an anti-slavery President.  Lincoln, however, was viewed as an abolitionist.  Despite Lincoln’s letters to Alexander Stephens and other Southern leaders affirming his belief that the South should be allowed to practice slavery and despite Lincoln saying over and over again in speeches that he did not wish to end slavery but merely contain it in the South, the South knew that Lincoln would have power to appoint Republican leaders who would oppose slavery.

So the South opted out.  First with South Carolina on December 21, 1820 and other States begin to follow.  The South saw no other way to allow them to be slave holders and still be free from government oppression.

Lincoln ordered all federal troops out of the South but Fort Sumter.  His gamble was that the South would attack the Fort and then he would have the cause he needed to fight the South.  At this time, the North wanted to just let the South go without a fight.  They believed, in time, the States would come back into the Union.  Lincoln wanted war.  His gamble paid off as the South attacked the Fort and the Civil War came.  Lincoln would later claim that the South started the War of Rebellion but the South believed they were attacked by the Federal Government.  The debate rages to this day.  I am of the belief that the South was attacked by the Union.  While a war likely would have come, the fact is that I believe the Union attacked the South.

The question remains with us about the powers of the Federal Government.  Lincoln believed in an expansion of the Federal Government’s powers.  He believed that the Federal Government and not the States or local governments should be in power.  He believed the office of the President should be the most powerful office in the United States.  Many, even among the North, called him “King Lincoln” or “Emperor Lincoln.”  Some have suggested that Lincoln might would have sought to remain in power had he not been killed.  We can only speculate.  The facts do show that Lincoln disliked the idea that the States, and not the Feds, controlled their states.

The Bible does not give us much into these issues on the power of the Federal Government.  Romans 13:1-7 tells us to submit to our governing authorities.  1 Timothy 2:1-2 tells us to pray for those in authority and in the context (vv.1-6), we should pray for our leaders to be saved.  1 Peter 2:13-17 tells us, much like Romans 13:1-7, to submit to our leaders.  I believe we should do this unless the government violates the Word of God and conscience.  I believe in freedom.  I believe in justice.  But I believe that our highest duty is not to our government but unto Jesus (Philippians 3:20-21).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/24/2013 at 10:00 AM

Book Review: Flyboys by James Bradley

I greatly enjoyed James Bradley’s first book, Flag of our Fathers, as he traced the story behind the famous (or infamous) picture from Iwo Jima that his own father, James Bradley, had helped raised.  Bradley did a great job of showing how the flag raising was not a big event to the Marines fighting on Iwo Jima, that his own father didn’t comment on the subject but a few times following WWII, and that the flag raisers had a hard time being called “heroes” by the American public.  The story was later turned into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood under the same title.

This book, Flyboys: A True Story of Courage, tells the story of six American flyboys captured during WWII by Japanese soldiers in a remote island called Chichi Jima.  Along the way Bradley tells the story of many other flyboys including future American President, George H.W. Bush, who was shot down in the harbor of Chichi Jima.  Bradley tells the story of the flyboys because it was the flyboys who won the war over Japan.  Following the Battle of Midway, the Americans turned their sights on the Japanese homeland.  American bombers rained down fire from the heavens over cities such as Tokyo.  It was the flyboys who delivered the first atomic bombs over Japan and helped seal the deal for the Japanese to accept their unconditional surrender.  However, along the way the United States lost thousands of planes and thousands of men over the Pacific.  While Chichi Jima is but a speck on the world map, during WWII, it was a pivotal place for American planes to bomb.  

Bradley does a good job in presenting the stories of the six flyboys.  He does as he did in Flag of our Fathers and tells some of their back stories.  He also tells what happens to many of the flyboys following the War.  He also tells what happens to the Japanese on Chichi Jima following the War.  Two points about this book.  First, Bradley, at times, can come across as painting the Americans as hypocritical in their dealings with Japan and Germany.  For example, Bradley points out that President Roosevelt condemned the Japanese for their bombing of citizens in China or in the Philippines yet the Americans had no trouble bombing the cities of Japan or Germany.  He points out that the Americans condemned the Germans for their bombing of London but had no problems with bombing Berlin.  Roosevelt condemned the Japanese for targeting citizens while fighting but had no trouble with his own pilots dropping fire bombs over hospitals or schools in Japan that clearly were not military targets.  Secondly, Bradley builds a strong case for the use of the atomic bomb against Japan.  He points out that the Japanese themselves praised the Americans for using the bomb despite the heavy losses of life because in the end it ended the war and brought Japan to her knees.  Untold millions would have been killed on both sides had the War continued in Japan.  Plus the Japanese military leaders had no plan to surrender until Emperor Hirohito announced his decision to end the war by accepting the Potsdam Agreement as laid out by the Allies near the end of Germany’s war.

Overall this is a solid book.  Well written and well told.  It will make you sick at times to read of the atrocities done by the Japanese who were all but abandoned by their leaders on their islands throughout the Pacific.  They turned inhuman in their own struggles to survive.  The flyboys often found themselves the victims not of men fighting a war for Japan but men fighting to survive.  The story of the flyboys truly is a story of courage in the face of much danger.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/28/2013 at 6:36 PM

Maybe Just What We Need

I believe that a time may soon come when we in the United States will face a major economic depression.  We cannot continue to spend money that we don’t have and expect that our financial situation can remain the same.  We are sitting on a ticking time bomb that is going to implode.  The national debt continues to sore as Congress continues to spend trillions of dollars that we simply do not have.  Were it not for the fact that the United States can print more money, we would be heading down the same economic road that many European nations are heading down.  Greece is just an example of what will happen if China should ever refuse to allow American dollars to be the standard for trading.

I think much good could come out of the United States facing an economic crisis.  First, it would force the Church to prayer.  The American Church is often found on her knees during crisis (see 9/11 for example) but we often do like the Israelites and quickly turn away during times of blessing.  I am not equating the people of the United States as godly.  I believe I live in a pagan nation full of sin.  I don’t expect us to turn the tide of sin through morality or through politics but only through the gospel.  I do believe that God has a remnant in this nation who are crying out to Him.  As in the days of Elijah, God has a faithful bride who seek Him (Romans 11:1-6).  Yet the American Church is asleep.  She is too busy with the business of being “the church” that souls are dying without Jesus.  We are asleep in the light.  We are not seeking God.  We are not hungry for revival.  We are like the Church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) who were rich and prosperous but in reality they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked (v. 17).  We think we are alive but are dead (Revelation 3:1).  If the United States economy collapsed, the Church would cry out to God.  He would be our source instead of Mammon (Matthew 6:24 NKJV).  Like the Israelites, the Church would pray (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Secondly, the clergy-laity system would hopefully collapse.  We would still have leaders but perhaps if professional Christians were forced to work instead of living off the “tithes” of the people, the Church would begin to see Ephesians 4:11-16 come to pass.  True elders would rise up who led by example and not by titles (Hebrews 13:7, 17).  The Church would have to take an Acts 4 approach to the Church in order to help each other survive.  This would force out the mindset that we pay one person to do “the ministry” while we laity work in the world.

Third, the seeker church would be gone.  What good is cool lights and hip sermons if in fact the basic needs are food, shelter, and survival?  The gospel would take root in the Church and not the drive to gain an audience to support paying bills or salaries.  The Church would have to look to the Lord and He would bless His people so that they could help the poor (Galatians 2:10) and not to get rich.

Fourth, competition among churches would decrease.  We would have to come together if we faced an economic collapse to survive.  We would need each other for the basics of life.  Denominations would be of no concern as we look to each other in the name of Jesus for prayer, support, and comfort.

Fifth, the prosperity gospel would decrease.  I am not convinced it would go away completely.  I think heresy thrives even under the worst conditions.  Yet I do believe that the empires of the prosperity gospel preachers would suffer greatly.  Their greed would be clearly seen as they would refuse to help anyone but their own.  For years they have been greedy but it would be clear when the economy collapses and they have nothing left but their own money.  They would hoard it up and seek to still gain more from hurting people even as they do now (Luke 12:13-21).

Sixth, the Bible would become precious to God’s people.  We would find comfort in our poverty as we look to the Scriptures for God’s help and God’s provision.  In death, we would find comfort that God has told us that death is defeated in Christ for His people (1 Corinthians 15:55-56).  The Scriptures would be our comfort and our manna from heaven as we would long to hear the voice of God in the midst of our suffering (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Lastly, the gospel would offer mankind the only lasting hope.  As people would see the collapse of the dollar, they would see that the United States is like any other nation and only temporary but the gospel is eternal.  The gospel alone brings true hope.  The gospel alone brings joy.  The gospel alone truly prepares people for eternity (Romans 8:18).  The true Church would rise up from the ashes of a collapsed America and would preach that Jesus is our only hope and only salvation.  Comfort is not found in money.  Comfort is not found in houses.  Comfort is not found in power.  Comfort is found only in repentance (Acts 3:19).  The gospel of Jesus Christ is the message of the hour that we need now and forever.  The gospel alone saves sinners (Romans 1:16-17).

Do I want this all to take place?  My flesh says no.  I enjoy my comforts.  I enjoy food and safety and my home.  I enjoy the freedom that we have.  I do know that only God’s kingdom is eternal and it will crush all others (Daniel 2:44).  I know that eternity is not about the United States.  It is all about Jesus and His kingdom.  Jesus is my Lord and my God and my heart and life belong to Him alone (Romans 10:9-10).  My duty is not to the United States but to the Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom.  A time may come when I may have to lay my life down for the gospel but so be it. I long to simply be faithful to Jesus until the end (2 Timothy 4:7-8).  Jesus said that we would not to fear but overcome (Revelation 2:10).  I want to be a overcomer through Jesus my Lord.  I want my passion to always be for Him no matter what I face in life.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/05/2012 at 9:54 PM

The Date That Will Live In Infamy

On this day 70 years ago, the United States was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.  I rejoice that 70 years later, the United States and Japan are great allies.  The Japanese are true friends to Americans and we Christians rejoice that God is moving in Japan.  My wife and I support a missionary to Japan and I read often how the Holy Spirit is moving upon the hearts of the Japanese as they hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Many are hearing the gospel for the first time!  It is amazing to me that 70 years ago, the United States went into a four-year war with the Japanese that in the end would cost millions of lives especially on the Japanese side.  If you have never read accounts of the battles of Iwo Jima or the battles of Okinawa, I would encourage you to read them.  A great book to read is Flag of our FathersAttack of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 which chronicles the famous flag raising that took place on Iwo Jima during the war.

I want to say thank you to our veterans here in the United States for our freedom that you helped give us.  Were it not for our fighting men and women, our nation today would either be speaking German or Japanese.  On both sides of the ocean, many thousands of Americans laid down their lives at the altar of freedom in order to help preserve our freedom so that we can worship God and live as free people.  70 years later many of those who fought in World War II are gone.  Few today remember with their own eyes the horrors of war with Germany and Japan.  We know freedom because of what they witnessed personally.

Again, thank you to all who fought to protect us and to preserve this nation from the wills of tyrants.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/07/2011 at 8:15 PM

Posted in In the News

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