Thursday, January 31, 2008
PSALM 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
It is hard to put into words how much I hurt when we lose. Sometimes, it is a playoff loss and we shed a lot of tears over a senior playing his last game. As a coach, I live with the emotions of winning and losing weekly. In sixteen years, I have tasted the highs of state championship wins and the devastation of last second losses.
In some strange way, these experiences are a blessing. I have had to learn about failure. I have to find a way to put the pain aside and keep moving. I have to learn how to keep loving my family and performing my duties.
I don’t find many people who deal a lot with failure. The parents at my school are very successful. As Americans, we love to win and have experienced success a lot more than failure. In 1999, I was coaching a team that experienced losing in a regular season game for the first time in four years. In 1998, that same team had a perfect season (15-0) to claim the State Championship!
At our team meeting the following Monday I told them, “If all the game of football had taught you was winning, then you missed out on one of its best lessons”. We have to learn how to lose. Coach Bear Bryant is often quoted as saying, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.” And even though this quote gets a lot of laughs from the crowd, it hides a truth in life. We often lose, especially when it comes to really living life as God intended. I never want to like losing, in fact I hate it- but I better learn how to live with the reality that I am going to lose at times.
In Psalm 51, David had experienced devastating losses. In spite of historic wins and unprecedented success, David did the unthinkable. Not only did he commit adultery, but he also added deceit and murder to his dark thoughts and actions.
The entire Psalm outlines the spiraling cancer of sin and guilt. This proud champion had stopped depending on God and was slipping into unrelenting depression. After being confronted by Nathan, David realized his only hope- ‘I have to go to the Lord and cry for mercy’.
In spite of the intense feelings of failure, David reached out for his only hope. All he could offer was a broken heart. In tears and anguish, he humbly pleaded for a Savior!
Have you ever felt that broken? You had such good intentions and a great start, but once again you failed. You hear the voice of cynics telling you that you are a miserable failure. There may even be the voice of your enemy telling you that you will never win. Don’t give up! Cry out to the Lord and let Him get to work repairing all the brokenness and picking up the fragments of failure.
Our Lord is a God of new beginnings. He created the beauty of new mercies each morning and spoke the idea of forgiving seventy times seven! He wants to cleanse us and give us a new start. That includes…..today!
After a loss, you feel incredible depths of despair, but you have to get up. Christ will help you as you reach out to Him. He forgave David and He wants to restore you. There is an old saying, “It matters not if you try and fail and try and fail again. What matters is if you try and fail and fail to try again.” The day after a loss, I am up and ready to start working on a win.
Lord, I pray that for the next 30 days, You will show yourself as the God of New Beginnings. Help me experience the cleansing of grace and a willingness of spirit. These have to come from You, because I fell like such a loser. Teach me Your ways and give me Your heart!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Original post Sept 14, 2007
Google “Intelligent Design” and you will see an amazing battle being fought today in the context of academic institutions. If you are a professor in most colleges and universities and even hint of a favorable attitude toward intelligent design and you will be blacklisted and viciously attacked by peers and media.
What is the problem? There is a world-view battle raging between Neo-Darwinists and Theists over the boundaries of science and what should be allowed in the context of debate.
Is it a fair fight? The answer is “NO”- the Darwinists pull a great sleight of hand in the debate. Their basic premise is that evolution is science and ID proponents are theologians. Evolution is good science while I.D.’s (or they like to call them “creationists”) lack any scientific credibility.
What is the trick? Well, evolution is not exactly what they purport it to be. No one debates micro-evolution. It is accepted and proven that species do successfully adapt to environmental changes. But that is where the science ends and “speculation” begins.
There is no consensus that “macro-evolution” is proven. Macro-evolution extrapolates the concept of micro-evolution in theorizing that , over time, these slight, successful variations produce new species.
So when Darwinists say evolution is science and intelligent design is not, it is an unfair comparison. Both materialists and theists accept evolution, but both differ as to what the universe is telling us about origin and diversity.
Is it random chance or intelligence? There is good and reasoned debate on both sides.
There needs to be a legitimate debate about the theories of origins and there needs to be respectful hearing of both sides.
Isn’t it ironic how history has flipped? The famous Scopes trial was about the unwillingness of conservative Christians to include evolutionary theory in the classroom. In the famous portrayal, Inherit the Wind (more drama that truth), the Christians are shown to be bigoted and mean. The hero is the lone science teacher who just wants a fair debate in the classroom.
Looking at the trail of fine scientists who have been villainized over mentioning design including denial of tenure and media attacks- the question is “Who are the bigots now?”.
Two corrections- I live in Franklin not Brentwood and I played 1982 through Spring of 85
"My senior year, after the season and while we were practicing to play Oklahoma in the Bluebonnet Bowl, I was over in the cafeteria at Bryant Hall eating lunch and the dorm director came over and said, 'Coach Bryant wants to talk to you on the phone.' I said, 'Oh no, what's this all about?' That's not good when he's calling you at lunch.
"I picked up the phone and he said, 'Let me ask you something Billy. After the bowl game, do you want to go out and play in the Hula Bowl out in Hawaii?' I said, 'Well, yes I guess I would.' He said, 'I'll go ahead and arrange that. Somebody called me the other day wanting to know if we had anybody that wanted to play in it.'
"What was so amazing was the power that he had. Somebody had called him and said, 'Coach Bryant, do you have somebody you want to send us to play in the Hula Bowl?' They only had spots for four defensive backs, and they trusted and respected (him) so much that they were willing to take whomever he sent out there. He could have sent a linebacker out there and said he's playing safety, they'd have never known.
"It was a phenomenal trip. I got out there and Archie Manning was the quarterback on my team (South) and Jim Plunkett was the quarterback of the other team along with Joe Theismann."
-- Bill Blair, Brentwood (Safety, 1968-70)
"Coach Bryant had made a deal with me to play football and baseball when I went (to Alabama). It was that as a freshman there was no baseball. As a sophomore, you can play until spring football practice starts, and as you move on we'll see how that works out.
"Well, starting into my senior year, I was slated to be the starting quarterback and I got a broken toe and Scott Hunter was progressing and coming along and started beating me out. We each played about half the time my senior year.
"Before that spring practice, I was supposed to be able to play baseball. (Coach Bryant) had a meeting with me one morning at about 6:30. Of course, anytime you get a call and they say, 'Coach Bryant wants to see you,' you don't sleep the night before.
"So I met him and he said, 'We've got this deal and I wanted to know if you still want to play baseball?' I said, 'Coach I'd really like to play if it doesn't jeopardize my position playing football.' He said, 'No, I gave my word on that. I just wanted to make sure because I'm getting ready to start making out the lineups.'
"I was feeling pretty good and I got up to walk out, and I was almost out of the room when he said, 'Oh, there's one more thing – you better win the damn conference.'
"Alabama hadn't won the SEC baseball championship in 40 years. So I spread what he had said around to the team and (baseball) Coach (Joe) Sewell and damned if we didn't win the conference that year (1968)."
-- Joe Kelley, Brentwood (Quarterback, 1966-68)
"My senior year (1969) we were ranked. We had just beaten Ole Miss 33-32.
"We came up here to play Vanderbilt and we wanted to score quick and (Coach Bryant) wanted to play everybody. Well, we got beat (14-10). In the dressing room afterward, of course, nobody took their helmet off or said a word.
"He used to wear a pair of hunting boots in the wintertime. He set one up on a bench, untied it and set it to the side, then untied the other. He picked up one of them and threw it at one of those big mesh fans.
"And then he started. He said, 'Let me tell y'all something. Tonight you embarrassed me, the state of Alabama, the university, your mother and daddy, your grandparents, your siblings. The only persons you didn't embarrass were yourselves.
"We're going to get on the bus, we're going to go back, and I'm going to find out who wants to play. I'm going to try to run every one of you off. And when I do, I'm going to go over to the university and I'm going to get some of those 150 pound kids that would give their life to play for Alabama. Now, we'll get beat next week (against Tennessee), but you better not bet against us the week after that.'
"Nobody opened their mouth.
"Also, I remember when we went down to Baton Rouge to play LSU (1967). Before the game you always got off the bus and walked around the field before you went into the field house. They had that Tiger in a cage right there at our dressing room where we came out.
"They would poke that Tiger and he'd roar and they had those microphones all throughout that stadium. It was real eerie.
"Coach Bryant walked out in front of us and everybody was uptight a little bit. He looked over at that Tiger and said, 'Hell, that damn Tiger's older than I am. I wouldn't be afraid to get in there and rassle him around.' It kind of broke the monotony up."
-- Hunter Husband, Nashville (Tailback and tight end, 1967-69)
"The thing that stands out to me about Coach Bryant was what he talked to us every day about was not really the Xs and Os of football, but it was about stuff like show your class, display good character, respect your parents, be nice to folks and raise your kids to do that and everything will work out okay.
"You hear more about the inspirational stuff and the motivation before the game and so forth. But he truly every day tried to prepare us for growing up and getting a job and getting fired, and your wife running off and your dog getting run over to be able to handle the things in life that you've got to handle to keep moving on."
-- Jim Bob Harris, Brentwood (Defensive back, 1978-81)
"I had the privilege of being with Coach Bryant his last season at Alabama. I have more special memories than I could ever recount.
"When he walked into the team room, everyone sat up straight and put both feet on the floor. I used to be amazed because he seemed so hard to listen to on TV with that raspy, deep growl, but in the meetings he was animated and you understood every word.
"He would read to us a lot. He liked little quotes and neat stories.
"He always preached kicking game first, defense second, and offense last.
"He always told us how we were going to win and we believed him.
"He loved playing and winning with class.
"The team was honorary pall bearers at his funeral. I will never forget that ride to Birmingham in a Greyhound bus behind his hearse. Every inch of Interstate 59 was covered with people, including the overpasses. They stood quietly and held signs. I fought back tears the whole way.
"Growing up idolizing Bear Bryant was not a bad thing, it changed my life.
"Getting to play for him for one season was something I never will forget.
"Has it been 25 years?"
-- Jay Mathews, Brentwood (Quarterback, 82-86)
"I got married in college and I had to get his blessing basically. This was my junior year. We had beaten Auburn and still had a chance to win the national championship.
"My brother (Gary) told me it was going to be hard because he got married when he was playing at Alabama, and I didn't think it was going to be nearly as hard as what it was.
"I went by his office about five times before I had the guts to walk in. When I told him I wanted to share some plans with him he said, 'All right.' I said, 'I plan on getting married the weekend after we play the Sugar Bowl.' He said, 'You're gonna do what?' I said, 'I plan on getting married.' He said, 'You know who we're playing?' And I said, 'Yes sir, we're playing Ohio State.' The way he said it, 'No, we're playing Woody Hayes, and I've never played that you know what, and my quarterback's getting married?'
"I immediately started thinking, 'Oh my gosh, he's going to tell me no.' Then he said, 'Let me ask you some questions. Do you love her?' I was like, 'Oh, yes sir,' and it ended up being fine.
"I've got a great picture after that game of him looking down at me at the press conference and he said, 'Nice wedding present, wasn't it son?'
"I ended up getting MVP of that game so I actually played well. But I was a nervous wreck before thinking, 'If I don't play well, Oh my goodness.'"
-- Jeff Rutledge, Phoenix (Quarterback, 1975-78)