Saturday, February 19, 2011

We've been on a real roller coaster

.......of temperatures, that is.

Wichita fell to -17 on Feb. 10, and surged to 78 just seven days later. That's a swing of 95 degrees in a single week!

Utterly absurd, I tell you. And yes, I had to write about both events for the Eagle.

We're not done with winter, alas. That'll be extra hard for those of us who like this case of spring fever.

Nuns playing football??

That sounds like the set-up for a joke.......but here's the video proof.

One of them is a friend of mine - Sr. Sophia Grace. We knew her as Kim Huschka prior to her entering the convent. She hasn't taken final vows, but she is so happy there I know that the religious life is her true calling. She's the one who runs the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, by the way.

This video has a great sense of humor, as you'll see.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Why is there so much suffering in the world?

"God has given free will to everyone, and therefore never forces anyone - but only indicates, calls and persuades." St. Angela Merici

I get so frustrated with people who blame God for the problems in the world today. They expect God to swoop down and take away all our problems, all our pain, all our worry. It's been a human expectation since Biblical times. Remember how the Jews expected the Messiah to come riding in with a great army and throw off the oppressive yoke of the Romans?

But Jesus came into the world pretty much the exact opposite way: a babe born in a stable manger. It is just one of many ways God shows us that His ways are not our ways. He does not think as a human does, so His wisdom all too often eludes the limits of our minds.

Yet the concept of free will shouldn't be so difficult for us to grasp. God has made it abundantly clear that He loves us. And what is love without free will? Love isn't love if it's given out of obligation. It's only genuine love if it's given freely, with no constraints. God wants our love, too, and He knows we can only truly love Him of our own free will. Otherwise, it's not love at all.

But free will isn't "free" unless it's untethered in all ways....and that's where so much suffering in this world comes from. Our wills clashing with each other, fueled by purely human drives: greed, fear, lust, revenge. With all that in play, is it no wonder this world can seem like it's falling apart so often?

And yet so many blame God, as if it's His fault. Ironically, the very component that is our saving grace --- His limitless love for us --- also is the source of freedom that too often enslaves us: our free will, corrupted by selfishness or limited vision into a force for destruction rather than redemption.

Catholics are taught that God can use all things for good, though too often we can struggle to see how good can come out of truly awful events or situations. The truth is, He's working --- somehow --- in every situation to draw good from it. We may not always see it, but perhaps it's enough to know that He's there....somewhere.

Until more of us are willing to exercise our free will in ways that please Him much more consistently, that may be a morsel of solace on days that try our souls.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Sunday? Eh

The wonderful aroma of baked beans fills my apartment as I write this. It's a side dish for the feast my oldest sister, Mary, is preparing for tonight's Super Bowl party at her place near Cheney Lake. I'll be going for the food, the fellowship and the commercials.

My beloved Broncos feel light years from the bright lights of games with Roman numerals attached to them, thanks to the nightmare that was Josh McDaniels (go back and read my initial posts on his hiring and Shanahan's firing). This is a return to my childhood, when .500 seasons were considered successes and the playoffs and Super Bowl were the domain of other teams, not Denver.

I'm probably going to be rooting for Green Bay today, if for no other reason than the Steelers grate me. All this talk about a Pittsburgh "dynasty" is laughable. A dynasty refers to one team dominating a sport for a specific period --- normally 3 years or more. The Steelers aren't even the team of the decade, let alone a dynasty. Oh, sure, the Steelers of the '70s, who won 4 Super Bowls in a 6-year span could wear that title. The Packers of the '60s. The 49ers in the '80s. The Cowboys in the early '90s.

One could even argue that the Patriots in the '00s fit that description, since they won three Super Bowls in four years. But I hedge on them, simply because every one of those wins was down to the wire. They didn't dominate in their Super Bowl wins. To me, that matters. When the Islanders and Canadiens and Oilers had dynasties in the NHL in the '70s and '80s, they won series 4-0, 4-1, 4-2.

Heck, Denver could have earned the "dynasty" title had the Broncos not been upset by the Jaguars the year before they won back-to-back Lombardi trophies. It was widely accepted that the Patriots were no match for Denver that season, and Packers fans told me the only team they feared that season was Denver. Three Super Bowl wins in a row earns you a "dynasty" label --- especially given how the Broncos dispatched Green Bay and Atlanta.

I hope the Broncos get back to being part of a "dynasty" discussion. One day, perhaps.

Friday, February 4, 2011

This may be one of the funniest live TV interviews ever (it's certainly jaw-dropping)

Having worked next to television reporters for years now, I can only imagine the reactions locals would have to an interview like this one. They'd be both appalled and delighted.. :-)