I’m in the middle of a busy stretch and was hoping no one noticed that I didn’t blog last week. But then my dad called last night and wondered where I’ve been so I decided to start my week with a few observations from the last one.
1. The Browns finally won a game yesterday. You know things are bad in Cleveland when your best hope for a championship goes 11 months between victories. I haven’t seen one play from scrimmage yet this season, so for all I know the rookie Brandon Weeden looks like a middle-aged Johnny Unitas (Weeden is pretty old for a rookie), but I did catch a clip of Coach Shurmur’s locker room celebratory talk after the game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the players throw the rest of the season just so they won’t be lectured by him again. He basically told the team “I told you so.” If you had only trusted me you could have known this sweet feeling of victory earlier. Who does this? Even Joe Biden thinks Shurmur needs to get a grip.
2. Speaking of which, I saw SNL’s opening skit on the vice presidential debate, because as everyone knows, this is the official commentary that interprets the debate for the nation. Case in point, I was surprised to learn recently that Sarah Palin never said “I can see Russia from my house.” That line was spoken by Tina Fey playing a spot on Sarah Palin, but four years later I no longer remember the difference.
I was surprised that SNL glossed over Biden’s boorish behavior and instead focused on how often Ryan sipped a glass of water. I did notice that Ryan went to the well a few times, but this small fact was entirely overshadowed by Biden’s obnoxious condescension. I think Ryan deserves credit for not throwing his water in Biden’s face, but SNL found a way to make the debate more about Ryan’s dry mouth than the immaturity of our vice president.
3. I was talking with a group of pastors last Monday about how best to talk to people about homosexual practice, and one of them said something important. We will do much better if we always speak with tears rather than anger. We should allow our hearts to break over this sin and what it does to the sinner and to society, and respond from that brokenness. This will not only help ourselves get past the anger that we often feel, but it will help us gain a more sympathetic hearing with those who need the gospel.
4. I enjoyed a fun lunch with a few college students on Wednesday. At one point I must have said something witty, because one of them said “I’ve got to tweet this” and pulled out their phone. I felt honored, and soon I was trying for more tweet worthy zingers. I realized that we don’t have many truly private conversations any more, and that we are continually being rated. What, you don’t think “Move over Miguel Cabrera, Jesus is the original triple crown winner” is worthy of tweeting? Okay, how about “Do you know why race walking is great preparation for dating? Because you’re disqualified if you don’t keep one foot on the ground.” Still nothing? Okay, let me eat my fish tacos. You try to say something I might want to tweet.
5. Speaking of ratings, Amazon recently introduced its author rankings. This evil system allows already neurotic authors to follow their yo-yoing place in the world, with the full knowledge that publishers and readers can see if they matter, too. Read a funny article about this here.
6. One book that matters is David Brooks’ The Social Animal. I didn’t much care for his commitment to evolutionary psychology (I doubt that reptilian ancestors explain why I do or think anything), but there are moments in this book that are sheer reading delight. He pokes fun at the politically correct upper class, who send their children to private schools which them to tolerate all points of view and then are genuinely surprised when they meet people who have other views. Don’t start this book unless you have a large block of time to finish it, because after the first five pages you won’t be able to put it down.