Monday, December 15, 2014

MONDAY MORNING REFLECTIONS - TIME'S PERSON OF THE YEAR

 
 
BY STEVE DUNN

Each year Time Magazine names a Person of the Year.  Men like Albert Schwietzer, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bob Dylan, and George Bush have had this distinction.  So have women like Queen Elizabeth and Miley Cyrus have held this distinction.  Some choices have seemed odd, some have made us question the Byzantine criterion that goes about selecting them. Some have been politically a matter of taste or party. Some, like Adolf Hitler, have made you want the year to simply be forgotten.

There is no ambiguity or objectionability to this year's choice - the Ebola Fighters.
 
Time magazine's editors decided to honor the "unprecedented numbers" of doctors and nurses who responded when Ebola overtook an already-weak public health infrastructure, and Time Editor Nancy Gibbs outlined how governments were ill-equipped to respond, WHO "was in denial and snarled in red tape" and first responders were accused of crying wolf as the disease spread.

Reported  Time: "Yet many doctors and nurses, especially those from Doctors Without Borders and Samaritan's Purse, responded and worked alongside local physicians, nurses, ambulance drivers and burial teams, Gibbs wrote. Some were driven by God, while others did it for country and some simply had "the instinct to run into the fire, not away.".

The fact that these medical persons would risk life to go into such Third and Fourth World basket case nations make them heroes of the first order.    And they have reminded many of  us our moral responsibility to the "least of these" who are neighbors in shrinking global world.  

I am proud to add my vote of confidence to this year's decision by Nancy Gibbs and her colleagues.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

THE TRUTH ABOUT CHRISTMAS

BY STEVE DUNN

"Christmas is the end of thinking you are better than someone else,
because Christmas is telling you that you could never get to heaven on your own. God had to come to you.” - Tim Keller

We live in an arrogant world in arrogant times.  "It's all about me" is the self-talk of fallen humanity.  "Me-first" is measure of relationships.  "I deserve the very best" is the ambition of our actions.  Humility is viewed with suspicion.  Entitlement trumps sacrificial servanthood.  The Golden Rule  is considered the philosophy of losers and the naive.

Twenty centuries ago Paul wrote these words explaining the meaning of the first Christmas:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5.6-8

The first sin was that of idolatry, to replace our Creator God with ourselves.  To be our own God.  Twenty centuries later, humankind continues to pursue this lie with deadly results on our planet and its people.  Christmas was the First Strike that God launched to to set things right again.

And it came, ironically, through the humble instrument of a baby in a borrowed manger of rough-hewn wood in the presence of the "least of these."

This is what Christians affirm and celebrate when we celebrate Christmas.


© 2014 by Stephen L Dunn
Permission is given to reprint this post as long as it is not included in material that is for sale, that it is reproduced in its entirety including the copyright notice, and that a link is provided to this blog.

 

 

Monday, December 8, 2014

MONDAY MORNING REFLECTIONS - EIGHT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ENOUGH

BY STEVE DUNN

Saturday evening the Ohio State Buckeyes won the Big Ten Championship by demolishing the no. 2 defense in college football, that of the Wisconsin Badgers.  59-0 was the final score.  That win catapulted them past no. 3 Texas Christian into the National College Football Playoffs.
Already people are second-guessing this move. The Big 12, of the five power conferences, was shut-out of the four team format.  It really was impossible to exclude undefeated Florida State, the ACC Champions; but all other contenders had one loss.  In a four team format, somebody was going to be disappointed.  I really was prepared to the be a fan of the disappointed team.  Now the Buckeyes have the chance to upset No 1 Alabama.

It seems that the new system, which was to replace the highly disliked and more subjective BCS, still is not perfect.  I agree with those who have already said an 8-team format would have been fairer an d less subjective.  If that had been the case this year, the playoffs would have looked like this.

1. Alabama, 12-1
2. Oregon, 12-1
3. Florida State, 13-0
4. Ohio State, 12-1
5. Baylor, 11-1
6. TCU, 11-1
7. Mississippi State, 10-2
8. Michigan State, 10-2
9. Mississippi, 9-3
10. Arizona, 10-3
11. Kansas State, 9-3
12. Georgia Tech, 10-3
13. Georgia, 9-3
14. UCLA, 9-3
15. Arizona State, 9-3
16. Missouri, 10-3
17. Clemson, 9-3
18. Wisconsin, 10-3
19. Auburn, 8-4
20. Boise State, 11-2
21. Louisville, 9-3
22. Utah, 8-4
23. LSU, 8-4
24. USC, 8-4
25. Minnesota, 8-4

Mississippi had been no. 1 for a good part of the season would still have fallen out but instead of Urban Meyer's boys facing Nick Saban's squad, Michigan State would have had the honor.  Oregon would be playing late-blooming Mississippi State. Florida State would have taken its unbeaten record up against jilted TCU.  And my no. 4 Buckeyes would have faced no. 5 Baylor.  We would have faced Alabama in round two.  We can play "what if" but I suspect that eight-team format would have been more satisfying to NCAA fandom, players and coaches.

So now I am rooting for the Buckeyes to upset Bama.  And with the discovery of a third string quarterback that any of the teams would have been glad for, maybe it's not a dream.