NBA Off-Season Wish-List

Here’s my wishlist (or prayer list for the fundies) for the NBA:

1.  That the collective bargaining agreement totally destroys the league, making last season the final season ever played in the NBA.  As a result, EuroLeague expands into America (and China) and creates the World League of Basketball.  Many NBA franchises simply enter the WLB.  This is my wish just to screw with Ricky Rubio for waiting to jump to the NBA.  And, as a double bonus, we would always be able to say Lebron’s choke in the Finals killed the entire NBA.

2.  If the NBA does not collapse, Steve Nash needs to get traded to a contender.  Multiple MVP’s and he’s finishing his career on a team that refuses to make the play-offs.  That’s silly.  Nash should be traded for Miami’s draft picks, Ilgauskis and Mario Chalmers.  Nash is good in 4th quarters, it’s a good fit.

3.  Miami makes a run at the following players by luring them with the hope of getting one last championship before they quit:  Jason Kapono for his shooting, Nash, for running breaks, any point guard from Minnesota, just because the weather change would be funny, Ron Artest for the drama, and Greg Odom, just so he can kindly escape the curse of knee injuries in Portland.  And, pulling out of retirement, Shaq, Reggie Miller, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Tyronne Lue and Chris Webber.  All good finishers in games.

4. Move the New Orleans franchises to Seattle.  Sorry, but it just makes sense.  And the fourth quarters in Seattle are on TV so late, the whole east coast would never see Lebron in the 4th quarter.

5. Eliminate the zone defense.  Just like the rules changed to widen the lane because of dominant big men, we should get rid of the zone defense because Lebron doesn’t like playing in it.  The wider key to make it harder for bigs, was a marketing move for cute little guards, the NBA should be ready to change the game for the Lebron to be marketed as well.  Also, get rid of 4th quarters altogether, make it 3 periods like hockey.



Feiler, Walking the Bible

I picked this book up as a surplus sale on my pilgrimage to Powell’s Books last summer.  I had wanted to read one of Bruce Feiler’s books for a while, and it didn’t disappoint.  Feiler writes all sorts of books by immersing himself in a culture or an experience and sharing his story.  He is not a religious man himself, but his experience is interesting in a socio-historical kind of way.

So, in Walking The Bible, Feiler takes a trip around the middle east, retracing the story of the Bible, from creation to the Israelites’ conquest of the promised land.  It’s an incredibly thorough adventure with loads of interviews, interesting encounters and dangerous encounters with authorities.  It makes for an enjoyable ride.  The first half is way better than the second though, as Feiler ends up spending about 200 pages talking about modern Israel, which was not interesting to me at all.

Here are some interesting tidbits,

  • p.3, “I realized my unease might be a reminder of a truth tucked away in the early verses of Genesis: Abraham was not originally the man he became. He was not an Israelite, he was not a Jew. He was not even a believer in God – at least initially.”
  • p.19, “When god began to create the heaven and the earth, the earth was unformed and void…and darkness was upon the face of the deep. In Hebrew…the word for deep is tehom, which means chaos. In Mesopotamia, chaos was represented by a sea monster, Tiamat. Tiamat is the root for tehom. We’re only in the second line of Genesis, and already we have a direct link to the cult of water in Mesopotamia.”
  • p.58, “In antiquity, Chaldea was famous for one thing: astronomy…Josephus went further, suggesting that Abraham taught astrology to the Egyptians, who then taught it to the Greeks, which would make Abraham the father not just of western religion but also western science.”
  • p.106, “in America there was an idea that the bible is a kind of machine; if you prove that two of the screws really existed, then the whole machine existed, and if you take out two of the screws, the whole thing collapses. But the Bible is not a machine. It doesn’t have screws.”
  • p.317, “Another rebellion ensues, in which Miriam and Aaron, Moses’ siblings, speak out against their brother because ‘he married a Cushite woman,’ an apparent reference to the land of Sudan or Ethiopia, meaning they were upset that the woman was black.”


Reading List in June

As schedules change and my responsibilities move around I am always changing the structure of my reading.  Without a doubt, reading is a growth activity for me that keeps me fresh and growing.  Right now, at the stage The Grove is at, I’ve got quite a few different angles to be working, so my reading has to be varied as well.  So, I’m going back to an older schedule that I used to use.  When things are going well, I am reading about 40 pages a day in structured time, plus reading Scripture, plus specific research for teachings plus current magazines during downtime and some reading with the kids too.  It’s a major input source for ideas.

So, here’s what I’m reading next:

  • Monday: Church Planter by Darrin Patrick, for church development
  • Tuesday: Linchpin by Seth Godin for leadership development
  • Wednesday: Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson for spiritual development
  • Thursday: The Complete Works of Josephus for historical/biblical development
  • Friday: The Brothers Karamazov for story development
  • Weekend: Kindle reading, currently Ben-Hur just for fun
  • Kids Books: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe & The Big Book of Basketball


Taylor, What Does it Mean to be Filled with the Spirit

I read this book to help me frame my teaching this past Sunday on the Holy Spirit.  Preaching the Holy Spirit is difficult, because if you haven’t experience spirit filled life, it’s not enough to just hear about it.  It’s something that you just cannot possible understand if it hasn’t been felt.

Richard Taylor wrote this little book you can read in one sitting with the simple goal of showing what it means to be filled with the Spirit.  Taylor died a few years ago after being a professor at Nazarene Theological Seminary and authoring several books in the area of holiness theology.

So, this book is basically built on Ephesians 5, and gives a short and simple walk through what it means to be filled with the Spirit – in real world practical ways.  It’s a great book – understandable and useful for everyone!

Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

My copies of the Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis are a bit over 20 years old, so it’s a lot of fun now to be turning around and reading them to my kids.  Khobi specifically has asked to go through the Narnia series, so that’s what we are reading.

The first book is called The Magician’s Nephew, and it tells the story of the very beginning of the world of Narnia.  It starts out a little slow and weird, but it gets going and then tells the creation story in the most beautiful way imaginable.  I am sure the kids don’t quite catch the parallels to the beginning of Genesis, but when they read them again as young adults, the stories will surely come alive in a new way.

Lewis is an amazing writer and thinker and this children book is stunning work with remarkable depth in the midst of a fun and interesting story.