Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Falcons Number 21

Twenty-one is the most outstanding number in Atlanta and Georgia sports history. Falcon hall of famer Deion Sanders. Braves hall of famer Warren Spahn won more games than any other lefty. Hawk hall of famer Dominique Wilkins. Tech All-American WR Calvin Johnson won the Belitnikoff Award. Tech basketball All-American Roger Kaiser. UGA Heisman Trophy winner Frank Sinkwich. Central Charger kicker David Murphy. The number has been retired by the Falcons, Braves, Hawks, Tech, and Bulldogs.

Tom Moore 1967 Vanderbilt RB
Lynn Cain 79-84 Southern Cal RB (above)
Jimmy Turner 86-87 UCLA CB

Eric Metcalf 1995-1996. RB/KR. Son of the equally great Terry Metcalf.

Elijah Williams 1998-2000 Florida CB
Darrien Gordon 2001 Stanford CB/KR
Juran Bolden 1996-1998 and 2002-2003 Mississippi Delta CB

DeAngelo Hall 2004-2007 Virginia Tech CB. A Deion wannabe, the volatile DeAngelo talked his way out of town.

Christopher Owens 2009-2012 San Jose State CB
Desmond Trufant 2013-2014 Washington CB

NFL: Chargers all-pro QB John Hadl and RB Ladanian Tomlinson. Raider deep threat Cliff Branch. Dolphins RB Jim Kiick was the reason I chose the number. Bengal RB James Brooks also wore the number at Auburn and Warner Robins High School. Hall of Famer Dan Fortman.

NBA: Tim Duncan, Dominique Wilkins.

Tech: CB Donald Patterson. QB Danny Myers. RB Jonathan Dwyer.

Braves: Who to Trade?

At the start of every baseball season when I get a Braves pocket schedule I always send one to a co-worker in Birmingham. I've been doing it for almost 15 years, so it's kind of a ritual.

Meant to mention how sick I was when Terdo was thrown out trying to take second on the fly to CF. Then he made another bummer play in the next game. Hopefully he's not like so many players we had in the 70's and 80's that would fail to make the correct play. In Gwinnett he was usually one of the guys making the plays needed to win games. Maybin had been thrown out aggressively trying to score from third on a short fly, but he had earlier made several good plays to help the team.

Friday is a work holiday. I have to go to the Congress Center to pick up Peachtree Road Race numbers on the way to the Ted. I don't have to go early but probably will out of habit. Also there's the pre-game Star Wars parade. Not sure if I'll join in. All I can figure out is to wear all black to be Luke during his all black Return of the Jedi phase. With the race on Saturday (the doctor said I can only walk) I'm not sure how long I'll stay at the game.

I liked DOB's response to the Twitter novice who said this Nats series is a must-win.

ROB: A lot of people have been talking about the Braves "selling" since opening day.  The Braves remaining trade-able assets are not going to get the return people think they will.  I don't think 2 months of Jim Johnson, Kelly Johnson, Pierzynski and Juan Uribe will bring back much more than a C level prospect.  The other names mentioned - Grilli and Maybin are under contract for next year, but there is no certainty what value they will provide in '16 that would make them attractive pieces.

The true upside to "selling" would be clearing playing time in the second half for younger players.  If this team is going to finish around 70-75 wins, I would rather them find out in August and September what they have in players like Bethancourt, Peraza, Terdo and Cunningham.  Also, give Chris Johnson 2 more months to play everyday at 3B to determine if there is any value left, or if his contract is a complete washout.  I think it would be a shame to have another non-playoff season AND then go to spring training with question marks around young players and positions.

It is a rant for another day, but I think spring training is a completely inefficient way to attempt to evaluate which players should be on your club.

ME: Susan touched base with Ceil recently. I think Susan is hosting a group of women who want to get organized. C went twice but didn't go last night. We had all three kids for dinner, a rare occurrence these days. Ceil grilled beef and chicken kabob, hot potato salad, and green beans with homemade peach cobbler and ice cream for dessert. Then we all watched American Ninja Warrior together. After painting the living room we are trying to de-clutter a little. We have positioned the sofa right where Staci suggested so many years ago.     

With my customer closed for two weeks I am finally able to get caught up a little. My scrapbook calendar has been ignored for months, and I'm adding a little to that as well.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Love Wins?

Friday I was just able to see the Supreme Court had come out with their decision and there was a lot of response from both sides, but I really wasn’t able to read about it until later that evening. It’s interesting to see who on Facebook is celebrating. I thought it most unpresidential for the White House to be lit up in the colors of the rainbow. The Obamas have forgotten they are mere guests in The White House, which is in truth the house of the people. People have forgotten that in 2008 both Obama and Hillary were against same sex marriage, and how Bill Clinton had signed a law forbidding it during his presidency. Time magazine has already written that the tax exempt status of the church  should be next to be repealed. Many are saying – including the dissenting Supreme Court justices – that with this decision there’s no reason polygamy will remain illegal.

When Christians stood by the Word of God, at least three times I read professing Christians reply “I think God just wants everyone to be happy.” Such a response does not reflect much knowledge of God’s Word. As little as I read and study, even I know better. Sunday morning Bryant Wright addressed this very point, quoting Judges 17:6 where “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” Back then people who were raised in the church made their own idol to worship. They should have known better but still did whatever they pleased. This is exactly what is happening today. Bryant said this Supreme Court decision spells the end of casual Christianity – people won’t be able to support popular positions in business and politics AND follow God and His Word. We no longer live in a Christian society but a post-Christian society, Bryant said. In truth we live in an anti-Christian society.  

People will have to make a choice: following God or the world. To stand with Christ will mean persecution. It already does - persecution and ridicule. Bryant had a pastor friend leading his church through a study of Corinthians. People began to be offended, and the elders called in the pastor and told him he couldn’t teach such things. The pastor folded over Corinthians and asked “you mean I can’t teach from Corinthians?” Same with Romans and Leviticus. The elders stuck to their word: if the pastor kept offending people. The pastor prayed with the elders, then said he would continue to teach God’s word. He was immediately fired. Bryant told the story of a businessman who had worked for the same company for over 30 years. When he would not approve of his new boss’ gay lifestyle he was fired. What the AJC didn’t say about JFBC was that it was the last sermon in a 9 part series about Christian Marriage in Today’s World. Bryant went out of his way to detail that, recapping the previous 8 weeks. He wasn’t just addressing the subject because of the Supreme Court ruling.

With so many major businesses celebrating the decision by displaying rainbows on their websites (Google, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, American Airlines, Uber, Vevo, BuzzFeed, WattPad, The Verge, Hillary, RED, and others) a good tweet read “That’s nice, they’re all remembering God’s promise to not wipe sinful humanity off the earth with another flood.” Someone replied: “I see it as more of a double dog dare on God…” The word of the day may have been “Love Wins” but too often I saw the winning side wagging fingers and proclaiming “F___ you!” and “In your face!” If this is love I wouldn’t want to see hate.      

The best thing I read was from a seminary professor who said at times we err on the side of the Law and we sometimes err on the side of grace – and how since we are going to err, it’s better to err on the side of grace. But all the grace in the world doesn’t help when your enemy intends to destroy you. When Christians and Americans and our government should be coming together to fight the rise of radical islam (who say all gays should be killed) instead we squabble over 150 year-old flags and the definition of marriage – an institution created and defined by God, institutionalized by government, and corrupted by man.

Busy day Friday. Had a big project that I wasn’t even able to get to. We celebrated co-worker Debby’s 40th anniversary with a Chickfila salad lunch, cake, and flowers. As we ate we discussed how the next big anniversary was Sandra’s 30th in a year or so. Some people don’t realize how discouraging anniversaries can be. I am already dreading my upcoming 30th anniversary in 2017. Perhaps it will be forgotten like my 20th anniversary was. My 25th was also a letdown - just a small affair. Other departments celebrate longtime anniversaries by inviting the entire building to the corporate breakroom, but we just keep it small. Thirty or forty years is quite an achievement. Considering how I have to help out people in every department you’d think everyone would be invited to my celebrations. But they aren’t. Perhaps it’s time to get another job.

Debby has also worked in other departments: transactional sales, purchasing, and at the processing center. Forty year employees are given a framed penny from the year our company was started: 1842. It is a nice gift. I hear the supply of pennies is running low. Debby also selected a nice clock for her anniversary gift. There weren’t a ton of stories, but I told of when I first met Debby in 1991 when the Braves went to the World Series.

Friday afternoon Ceil went to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market and was late getting back. I worked late and stopped by two thrift stores on the way home. Saturday we did some housework. My back started hurting. Ceil went to help arrange flowers for a wedding. Anna went shopping at Perimeter Mall. Later I ate a late dinner at California Pizza Kitchen with the family who’s taken Matthew to a three day Christian gathering at the Gwinnett Arena.

We saw young Jim Watterson Jr. at JFBC. After services at Johnson Ferry Ceil had to go finish cleaning up the wedding flowers. I drove M down to PCC and later Ceil picked him up. I watched the Lifetime movie starring Will Ferrell. I heard Drew Kelly won the SPdL ice cream contest.

BRAVES: People say they aren’t trying to win, but they’re certainly not standing pat. They’ve made 45 roster moves so for this season. They have employed more pitchers than any other team – 26 so far. When one pitcher doesn’t pan out they demote him and bring in someone else. They spent another ten million to get a young prospect in the Gosselin trade, and veteran Bronson Arroyo may be able to help bolster the pitching staff in August and September. But many loudmouth fans show their ignorance by complaining after a loss. Just last week the Braves were a half game out of first after sweeping the Mets. I didn’t hear much complaining then.

Falcons Number 20

Back in the day DB/WR/KR Tom McCauley was one of my favorites. His twisting, snaking 77 yard punt return for a touchdown was legendary. Not a break-through-one-wall-of-tacklers-into-an-open-field type return – McCauley snaked his way from one side of the field to the other, avoiding tacklers the entire way. A tall, lean, fast white boy (above and below).
Honorable Mention: Allen Rossum 2002-2006 Notre Dame CB/KR.
Others: Bob Riggle (66-67) Penn State safety
Vince Kendrick 74-75 Florida RB
Earl Jones 80-83 Norfolk State DB
Wendell Cason 86-87 Oregon DB
Evan Cooper 88 Michigan DB
Brad Edwards 94 South Carolina safety
Michael Booker 97-99 Nebraska CB
Rodney Thomas 2001 Texas A&M RB
Brent Grimes 2008-2012 Shippensburg CB
Dwight Lowery 2014 San Jose State safety
NFL: Hall of Famer Barry Sanders, one of the two greatest running backs of all time. Lion Lem Barney. Hall of Famer Cliff Battles. Cowboy DB Mel Renfro. Patriot receiver/kicker  Gino Cappellietti.
Bulldog greats Jimmy Poulos and Brandon Harton.
Miami All-America QB Bernie Kosar.

Braves: Catcher Bruce "Eggs" Benedict. World Series hero turned knuckleballer Mark Lemke. Pitcher Clay Carroll. Mike Marshall. Todd Hollandsworth.  

Tech: All-ACC forward Tom Hammonds had his number 20 retired by the Jackets. Standout backs Robert Lavette and Jerry Mays. Dawg beater Roddy Jones. Dawan Landry.

NBA: The Glove, Gary Payton.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Falcons Number 19

The General Bob Lee 1973-1974 Pacific QB upset the Vikings on MNF, and was the toast of the city for two years.

Others: Mike Brunson (1970 Arizona State WR/RB). Corey Dixon (1994 Nebraska WR). Shawn Mills (2001 Southern Miss WR). Laurent Robinson (2007-2008 Illinois State WR).
Drew Davis (2012-2014 WR Oregon).

NFL greats Johnny Unitas, Lance “Bambi” Alworth, and QB Bernie Kosar.

Tech retired 19 for Heisman runner-up Clint Castleberry.

UGA: All Americans defensive backs Scott Woerner and John Little. Record breaking QB/WR Hines Ward.

Braves: infielder Denis Menke. Outfielder Terry Harper. Veteran pinch-hitter Craig Nettles. Playoff hero Francisco Cabrera. Pitcher John Burkett caught fire in Atlanta. Free agent signee Vinny Castilla moved Chipper to the outfield. The ever popular Adam LaRoche. Volitile shortstop Yunel Escobar.

NBA: Knicks hall of famer Willis Reed: 2 championships, 7 all star games, won MVP.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Falcons Number 18

 Kicker Mick Luckhurst (1981-1987 from California) was one of the most popular Falcons for that era. Some aren't blown away with with his percentages, but back then he was one of the best in the league. After retiring Luckhurst went into business insuring hole in one contests.

Others: QB Bruce Lemmerman (1968-1969 San Fernando Valley State) later made a name for himself in the Canadian League. QB Wade Wilson (1992 East Texas State) provided a veteran presence. Receivers Jamin Elliott (2006-2007 Delaware) and Freddie Martino (2014 from powerhouse North Greenville).

NFL: Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning. Chiefs RB Emmitt Thomas. MVP QB Roman Gabriel. WR Charlie Joiner broke a record or two. Hall of Famer Robin Tote.

Tech: Heisman Trophy runner-up Billy Lothridge. The late great Kim King. RB Anthony Allen. Chris Reis.

Three UGA All-Americans: Bill Paddock, QB John Rauch, and Bacarri Rambo.

Braves: Tommie Aaron set the record for most home runs by brothers. Claudell Washington Slept Here. The great Zoilo Versalles. Omar Moreno. Trench Davis. Funnyman Steve Lyons. Slugger Ryan Klesko. Veteran OF Garret Anderson.

NBA: Celtic hall of famer Dave Cowens: 2 championships, MVP, ROY, 7 all star games. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Falcons Number 17

As a kid quarterback Bob Berry (1968-1972 from Oregon, both above and below) was my favorite player. He was the first to lead the Falcons to respectability. A former Viking, Berry wore a comically large double bar face mask that utterly fascinated me.
Other number 17's: Punter Scott Fulhage (1989-1992 from Kansas State). The well-traveled Steve DeBerg (1998 from San Jose State) LOOKED like a veteran backup QB. Receivers Kevin Youngblood (2006 Clemson) and Tim Toone (2012 Weber State).
The most prolific kick return man in NFL history graced the Falcon roster last year: Devin Hester (2014 Miami).

NFL: Eagles WR Harold Carmichael set the record for most consecutive games with a catch. QB Billy Kilmer played with the 49ers, Saints, and Redskins. Washington LB Ritchie Petitbon. Cowboy QB Dandy Don Meredith. Hall of famers Turk Edwards and Red Badgro. MVP QB Jim Hart.

Braves:  “Channel 17” Andy Messersmith, Glenn Hubbard, Felix “The Kitten” Millan

Tech RB Orwin Smith set yards per carry records.

NBA: Celtics hall of famer John Hondo Havlicek won 8 championships and played in 13 all star games.

UGA: QB Matt Robinson. All American Greg Blue.

COMMENT: 17 is an above average number. I wore it for several years on the SPdL Blues softball team.

On Defining Marriage

In light of today's Supreme Court ruling, I yield the floor to my good friend Fred O. Pitts, current pastor of Clairmont Hills Church in Atlanta. Some of my readers may know his wife Cindy Connor Pitts from Macon.

Earlier this week Fred O posted the following essay on his blog, which I post here in full. If you read this I pray you will read the whole thing, with an open mind.

Thoughts on Changing the Definition of Marriage

Marriage has been, as far as I understand, heretofore always defined as joining male and female throughout human history. The Supreme Court is expected to soon make a ruling on the idea of broadening that definition to include same sex couples in the definition, at least here in the U.S., as has already recently been done in some states and some other nations. As one who is a follower of Jesus and believes that the Scriptures are God’s clearest word to us about life, I want to share three observations from my understanding of my faith in Jesus.

First, I acknowledge that although I would prefer to maintain the historic definition, a country that is governed by a democratically based republic can change its laws. However, to me it seems a bit dishonest to redefine a word from what it has historically meant rather than create a new word that describes a similar (in that two people make legal promises to one another) but different (in that it involves same sex couples rather than male and female). It would be, in my mind, similar to the color green demanding to be called blue. Though close on the spectrum, they are different, and why shouldn’t green be proud to be green rather than demand to be called blue? The mere fact that a modifier (e.g., “same sex” or “gay”) has to be placed in front of the word “marriage" shows that there is a distinction, and I think that distinction will remain. While I think it would be proper to have a different term, the country through courts and/or legislatures will do whatever it wants. In the first century, when Christianity began and grew throughout the Roman Empire, the early believers had no thought of having the influence to change laws; they sought to change hearts. And the record shows that all kinds of people came out of all kinds of behaviors that the Bible calls sin, including the practice (as opposed to feelings) of homosexuality. So I don’t think it is the end of the world if the law changes, any more than when other laws about sexuality and marriage and divorce (and other areas of behavior) have been changed over the years that legalized more lax standards than had previously been in place. Having said that, I do believe that any nation that continually ignores God’s plan in all of life, as our nation has been doing for years and years—not just now—will be subject to consequences that perhaps we are already seeing throughout the world. The consequences may be sent by God or simply allowed by God as some of his protections are removed. We see such things noted throughout the Old Testament and there is no reason to believe God’s hand is not active today in the affairs of nations. As it says, we reap what we sow.

My second observation is that I don’t know any mainstream evangelicals who advocate mistreating homosexuals or denying them their civil rights. Yes, you can find fringe people on every side of pretty much any issue, and as a society we love to focus on and highlight such people, but it is more honest to look at the main behavior of any group. Put the practice of homosexuality aside for a moment—the Bible teaches that all sexual relationships outside of marriage are outside of God’s plan. I know many people who have had sex before or outside of marriage. I know couples that live together before marriage or never intend to be married at all. I think they are living outside of God’s plan for their lives, but I would not mistreat them or refuse to serve them if I worked in a store. I wouldn’t put a scarlet letter on them or ask them to move to the back of the bus. To disagree does not mean the necessity of dislike or mistreatment. Addressing the topic that many have been concerned over, I don’t think anyone would refuse to sell bakery goods to someone simply because he or she is homosexual; I think that the ones who have qualms about providing a cake for a wedding ceremony for same sex couples believe that they are participating in a worship experience in some way by providing a cake or by doing the photography. I am not sure exactly what their consciences are saying to them, and those who decline to perform such business services may have different personal reasons to some degree. But I think you would see a narrow distinction of what Christian business people would refuse to serve—those things that to them put them in a situation of participating in what they may consider worship against their consciences. Few if any that I know would go beyond that very narrow distinction to include not serving a group of people as part of a normal business practice.

As a pastor, knowing that I am indeed not only participating in but leading a worship service when conducting a wedding, I do know that I could not in good conscience conduct a wedding ceremony for a same sex couple because of my understanding of God’s plan. But it’s not just same sex marriages. The truth is, I have turned down heterosexual couples, too, who asked me about conducting a wedding when they really weren’t interested in a Christian wedding, and I have referred such people to a Justice of the Peace as a better option from my viewpoint.

My final observation is that as a believer in Jesus, I take him to be my Lord. I seek his opinion to form my own. When I discover that his opinion differs from mine, I am committed to altering my own opinion. My natural inclination is to want to let everyone have their own way and to avoid controversy and conflict. It is true that the practice of homosexuality goes against what is natural biologically. But I prefer to be a “live and let live" kind of person. I get no joy out of telling heterosexual couples that sex outside of marriage is sin from God’s perspective. Neither do I get joy out of telling homosexuals that God says that the practice of it is not his way. Yet, I believe that I have been given a trust from God to be faithful to his word. As a Christian, the clearest word from God is found in the Bible and in the person of Jesus who is revealed there. And his word seems pretty clear, in both the Old and New Testaments, that marriage is defined by God as between male and female. Among the earliest words in the Bible we read, “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” In the New Testament, Jesus affirmed this definition, as did those apostles who came after him. The truth is, that would be all that is necessary to understand God’s word to us, but both Old and New Testament also clearly say that the practice of homosexuality is, like the practice of heterosexuality outside marriage, outside of God’s will. (Please notice that I don’t put the practice of homosexuality as a different category all by itself; I consider it as part of the larger category of sexual sins that are indicated in the Scripture.) Now, some say, “Well, I don’t believe the Scripture, and I don’t follow Jesus.” Well, go back to observation one. I am speaking here not of how the country should stand but how the Body of Christ should stand.

Some try to explain away words in the Old and New Testaments that are translated as relating to homosexuality. While I don’t think that criticism holds up, the truth is, even deleting those references from our consideration, in both the Old and New Testaments there are descriptions that are hard to mistranslate and misunderstand that speak to the the issue (e.g., “A man should not lie with a man as he does with a woman”).

I acknowledge that this presents a difficulty for those who have homosexual desires. Jesus speaks of those who remain celibate because of the kingdom of God, and I know many heterosexual Christians who have remained celibate all their lives because God never led them to a person to marry, and they desired to live as they understood his call. While sexuality is a gift from God, it is not the ultimate value of life. Jesus himself was celibate, and had God not been gracious to send me a wife, it was my intention to follow in Jesus' pattern from what I understood his word to say.

It seems to me that sometimes, rather than saying, “God, please show me what you say,” we approach the Bible with a preconceived wish of what we want God to say. We wish for it to say something, so we see how we can make that happen in our interpretation. I think most of us would admit that we do that from time to time. (In this case, it is often because we have family, friends, and acquaintances who have homosexual desires, and who doesn’t want our loved ones to enjoy a marriage relationship?) Others simply believe what their trusted teachers say. So if they hear a teacher say, “The OT passages that speak to forbidding the practice of homosexuality are part of ceremonial laws like not eating pork or shellfish,” some say, “Glad to hear it! That takes a load off my mind” without even reading the passages. A passage in Leviticus 18, for instance, speaks of more than a dozen sexual practices that God says are not to be practiced by his people, and I daresay most believers would still think pretty much all of those prohibitions are still valid—but not this one, in their view. So, some believers approach the Bible already with a preconceived desire of what they want it to say and read it with that bias, some listen to who they consider trusted teachers without being careful to test them; others simply are ignorant of what the Scripture says. Still others would say, “The Bible is an old fashioned book, and I just don’t think God cares about our sexual practices, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual.” If this last one describes the way you feel, you would do well to stay away from any Bible reading at all, because if you read it you will discover that marriage and sexuality and faithfulness as well as the symbolism of how they picture the relationship between God and his people are mentioned over and over and over again. One of the Ten Commandments touches on sexuality, and it is obvious in reading the Bible that sexuality is a pretty big deal to God on several levels, including the fact that it was created as a gift to be enjoyed, but like many gifts, it can be and often is misused. It seems out of all the ways to approach the Bible, the most honest is coming to God for his idea, not asking him to bless what we want to believe because of what culture believes in this generation. What will we do when culture changes again in another generation? Will God keep changing his mind to whatever culture says at the moment? Is he really “God” if that is all he does—simply mirroring what society wants rather than telling us what is right and wrong? And, if so, how does that jive with the many biblical injunctions not to follow the standards of the world? These are questions with which we must grapple as believers.

I sure hope I am wrong, but I am afraid that in the next decade half or more of all churches will declare that “same sex marriage” is the plan of God. Some will be delighted by that. In my own life, my overall concern is being faithful to God and his clearest word to us. While I will never mistreat others and will always seek to be loving to all, I cannot tell someone that this practice is right in they eyes of God. This issue will never be the focus of my ministry, but I will share God’s truth on this subject as I seek to do on all subjects as they come up. It seems already evident that those who remain faithful to God’s word will be criticized and worse in the days ahead for saying what almost everyone has believed in past generations, but I cannot be concerned with what the changing tide of opinion says. I will not stand before the men of this generation on the Day of Judgment; I will stand before Jesus to give an account of my life as well as what I teach. He tells me to love everyone but to also remain faithful to share his truth.

Many Christians, in my mind, are confused. (I am sure they think the same of me.) They say things like, “Well, people are greedy, and I don’t see a lot of churches talking about greed, so why do we talk about the practice of homosexuality—why do we single it out?” Well, to start with, I think most churches do talk about greed as sin, as well as many other sins. But certainly, every church has greedy people as attenders and probably as members. But we don’t go around saying, “It’s okay to be greedy!” We say, “Like every other sin, you should repent of your greed and lay it aside.” If a church were to start teaching that it is no longer sin for people to be greedy, or murderers, or liars, or adulterers, she would lose her legitimacy.

We hear people say, “Every sin can be forgiven.” Of course that’s true (okay—except for the unpardonable sin). That’s the beauty of the gospel we proclaim. But when Jesus forgives, he doesn’t say, “I forgive you for that sin; why don’t just keep doing it every day, more and more?” He says, “I don’t condemn you… go and sin no more."

Yes, our nation can and will do what she wants in regard to marriage. While I would like to see the age-old definition upheld, that’s not my primary concern. No, I don’t think anyone should be mistreated or refused business in general because of the lifestyle they live, and I don’t think that is happening a lot, either. (The exceptions some make are very narrowly defined as to their understanding of their own role in what they consider worship, in my view.) But I think in the church, we must do our best to rightly divide the word of truth and declare with love and clarity what God says about his plans for all things, and for all categories of sexuality. And I think those who love him will want to put his teachings into practice, even when it means we deny ourselves things we desire—which is pretty much the case in turning aside from every sin that tempts us.

Disagree? I am sure this isn’t the only area for that! As far as I am concerned, we can still be friends. (If we quit being friends with everyone we disagree with or who we believe is practicing some sort of sin, we wouldn’t have any friends left at all.) Your disagreement won’t make me dislike you or treat you poorly. But the fact that we can disagree doesn’t mean the church should not patiently, lovingly, and clearly state the truth on this issue as well as she does on other issues to which the Bible speaks with as much clarity. And for those who count themselves as believers in Jesus, confess him as Lord, and take the Bible seriously as his word to us, I will confess that your disagreement puzzles me. It makes me wonder how you decide just when and how God speaks about any issue at all.


Thursday, June 25, 2015


MONDAY: Anna and I left early for Athens. Stopped her by Dunkin Donuts and she saw two girls she knew. There was a crowd checking in to the dorm but we saw several more people we knew. I rode over to the student center with roommate Emily’s dad – the girls took the bus. One of the orientation leaders was one of Will’s former baseball teammates. Meetings all morning, including one with the art department. During lunch I walked back to the down and drove my car over to the shaded student center deck. More meetings after lunch but at 2:30 I headed home. Stopped by the office to take care of some college scholarship stuff. It took 2-1/2 hours! By then I was worn out and hot and sticky from the day, but I stopped on the way home to mail four eBay packages. I also got a haircut. Got home at 8:45.      

TUESDAY: Drove back to Athens with hitting much traffic. I noticed my car was running hot so I stopped at Kroger for water. There was a resource fair so I went around gathering info on lots of different things: the bookstore, food service, golf course, Christian organizations, study abroad, etc. Emily wanted free T-shirts so I directed the girls to those places. We figured out Anna’s 11 am interview in the art building was a long walk, so I drove her and missed my meeting. I put water in my car and spent the hour working on emergencies at work. This completely drained my cell phone battery. Picked up Anna. She had been the first to arrive at the art building, so she got the first interview.

We ate lunch at the new Bolton Dining Hall. Huge, like a two-story church built from stone and wood and glass with views of the stadium and student center on one side and trees and a creek on the other. Lots of choices every day. We stayed downstairs. I got pork tenderloin, sweet potato soufflĂ©, potato salad, slaw, corn on the cobb, and Brunswick Stew. When Anna went to register for classes I stayed inside the air conditioning and explored the dining hall. In addition to the cafeteria type food we ate were the following stations: a Mexican taco bar, fresh fruit, breakfast items served all day (including eggs made to order), Italian, Chinese, sub sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs, milkshakes made to order, a dessert bakery and hand-dipped ice cream, and cereal. Instead of ice cream I tried a bacon cheeseburger, since I hadn’t finished the tough piece of pork. The all-important buns were right out of a grocery store pack, and the frozen patty was just ok. I was stuffed. I sat for another hour and people watched. Lots of football players eating, but none I recognized.

After an hour I tried to charge my phone on my laptop, and add more water to the radiator. Anna and Emily had to quickly pick up their bags from the dorm and get back to get their ID, so I drove them. After taking some pictures we headed for home. When I had to stop the Civic’s heat gauge would climb, so I would turn off the car at lights. We arrived home just after five, all hot and tired. C and MC were moving furniture in the living room. Going forward we will have less furniture in there so it will be less cluttered.

I had to drive M down to his church cornhole tourney. More traffic. The cell battery was still low so I was only able to catch up a little. Stopped by Wendy’s and two thrift stores. M brought two leftover PaPa John’s pizzas home. I checked the Civic and saw why it was overheating: I had forgotten to put the cap back on the reservoir. Solved that problem.  

I was still sticky from the day and the dog was restless, so I slept on the couch. I’ll compare last night’s sleep to other nights – I bet the quality was up. Took almost 8000 steps Monday and over 9100 on Tuesday. Also lots more stairs than usual. My leg wasn’t worse. It was the heat that wore me out.

Falcons Number 16

David Archer (1984-1987) from Iowa State began as a scab and carved out a place in Falcons lore. He is the best of only three to wear number sixteen.

Wide receiver Reggie Smith (1980-1981) from NC Central.
QB Scott Hunter (1976-1978): Alabama by way of Green Bay.

Why hasn’t a Falcon worn the number in the past 25 years? With receivers liking numbers in the teens you’d think a Falcon would pick the number. Maybe the equipment manager has a thing about the number.

Sixteen wasn’t cool until Joe Montana made it so. The Giants Frank Gifford was the toast of New York. Super Bowl MVP Len Dawson. The ageless George Blanda. Hall of Famers Ed Healey and George Musso.

A scrappy Bulldog named Kirby Smart. All American Lynn Hughes.

Tech: Darrell Crawford and John Steber.

Braves: Duluth's Brian McCann. Rafael Ramirez was the shortstop on the 82 division winners. Negro Leaguer Sonny Jackson. Former Red Reggie Sanders.

NBA: Big Bob Lanier played in eight all star games and is in the hall of fame.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Falcons Number 15

Veteran receiver Gail Cogdill 1969-1970 (Washington State by way of the Detroit Lions, pictured above) was the most productive Falcon to wear number 15.
Backup QB Mike Moroski (1979-1984 from Cal Davis, pictured above) was the longest tenured.

QBs Jim Miller (1997 Michigan State), Eugene Baker (1999 Kent), and Kurt Kittner (2002-2003 Illinois), and receiver Kevin Cone (2012-2013 from Georgia Tech) round out the list.

NFL super-sub Earl Morrall, Packers QB Bart Starr, Steve Van Buren, Bills QB/senator Jack Kemp, Rams QB Vince Ferragamo, Giants Super Bowl MVP Jeff Hostetler.

Braves: catcher Joe Torre, Auburn’s Tim Hudson, catcher Johnny “Quaker” Oates, outfielder BJ Surhoff, the flashy Denny Neagle, and Darrel Chaney.

UGA: WR Marlon Brown

Tech: Corey Earls

NBA: hall of famer Hal Greer

Korver in the House

LAST FRIDAY: Busy day at work. Ate at Moxie Burger, where the TV’s were tuned to the US Open. Drove down to Perimeter Mall. After over a decade of bad designs I am enjoying checking out sneakers again. Found several I liked: running shoes, Kobes, the new KD8, and more. Looked for the violet pair Anna had ordered but couldn’t find them. Anna and Matthew were down at a service at Grace Midtown, and earlier Will had gone rafting on the Chattahoochee. Back home I was tired and had a little computer work to do. Thought about the Dream but Ceil was watching TV.  

Missed ARod’s 3000th hit. When ARod came up to bat the pitcher was thrown a specially marked ball, marked R1, as I recall. That’s what was on the ball caught by Zack Hample. Minutes after the home run a representative from MLB came into the stands, checked the ball, and placed a special sticker of authenticity on the ball – so the MLB rep authenticated the ball. Hample posted pictures of the ball on the internet both before and afterwards – same ball. Saturday he was on ESPN and on the Today Show on Sunday.

ARod said he has never collected any other of his milestone baseballs, and won’t pay to get it back. The Yankees made lowball offers for the ball. Hample collects baseballs (he has over 8000) and plans to keep the ball. He says if he sells the ball the proceeds will go to a charity. Had ARod fouled off the R1 ball the pitcher would’ve been given the ball marked R2, and so on.

I first wrote about Hample almost two years ago: http://sacrificefly.blogspot.com/2013/08/zack-hample-ball-collector.html 

SATURDAY: Housework, eBay, and the US Open. C and M painted, then went grocery shopping. Watched the Braves and the US Open. Read news about Zach Hample, the ball collector who had caught ARod’s 3000th hit. He is a person I am well familiar with, from reading his block and other stories about him.

SUNDAY: Passion 10 am service where Louie interviewed Kyle Korver. The Hawk guard’s father and grandfather are preachers. With two young kids he catches up with sleep on the road. Louie remembered after Saturday night road game in Miami he saw Kyle at the 10 am service on Sunday morning. KK said when he was traded from Chicago at first he wasn’t happy about it. KK’s mother was there, and KK exaggerated her high school career, first correctly mentioning her 70 point game before saying “was it 80? Or 100?”

Before the interview two basketball goals and two ball racks were wheeled out. Kyle limped onstage in an ankle brace from his recent surgery and sat in a chair facing one of the baskets. After shooting an airball, Louie called up the GT tennis coach and Kyle beat him in a shooting match. Then they called up a little kid and asked if he wanted a warm-up shot. It swished the net. After their shoot-off the kid was declared the winner. LINK I think Kyle beat him even though he wasn’t trying as hard. KK had figured out quickly to bank the straight-on shots off the middle of the flimsy backboard, and the shot would fall through the hoop almost every time. Next they called up a Hawks player: Kent Bazemore. This fueled KK’s competitive nature. Bazemore hit 9 shots – but KK hit 23 - IN A ROW, before missing. LINK 

After the service all the dads were given a nice Bible, and there was free ice cream. We spoke to Becky Norman and all the Gilberts. Once again everyone from both families were together except W and MC – they were at Mt Vernon again. Back home C and M grilled burgers, served with baked beans, slaw, and fries. M and I tripped to a thrift store. Got back to watch the Braves and the exciting US Open finish. Anna and Matthew went down to Grace Midtown again.

Uni Watch ran a photo of my dad from 1945 along with a quick paragraph I had sent in. Click on this link and scroll down to about the 10th photo down. The whole article might be a little interesting. http://www.uni-watch.com/2015/06/21/our-fathers-ourselves/   Next year I’ll send in the picture of him in a football uniform, with a longer write-up. Everyone was supposed to keep the word count below 100.  

See the Hawks new uniforms? An improvement over the old ones, though I liked the old plain red ATL unis. The team can’t be happy with the AJC exposing the story a day early.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mr. 2999

So ARod got two or three hits last Friday night. One to go to 3000. Players can perform better when they’re not trying to hit 100 home runs a game.  They were showing the Grilli bobblehead to be given away July 3, a Friday night.

Thursday M worked outside and had a little sunburn. He had eaten wings before I got home. Will was at trivia and Anna was babysitting so C and I ate alone – chicken and peas. She ran to Whole Foods and I watched the Braves and worked on the computer.

Friday: Slept 30 minutes late this morning. My best sleep is right when its time to wake up. Stopped at the post office and RaceTrac on the way and was only 15 minutes later than usual. Not bad. Went into a long pricing meeting at 9 am. No fun, because I’m taking off Monday and Tuesday to take Anna to orientation at UGA. Sounds like C and M are going as well. My phone battery has been cutting off at 45% because it’s so old. Don’t want it to cut off on me. I’m trying to finagle a higher priced iPhone 6 instead of a 5, but we’ll see. Pricing meeting lasted three hours and there’s more to do.

Learned that the last player ever to not wear a facemask was Garo Yepremian, with the Lions. New to football, Garo quickly changed his mind after a fierce tackle by Ray Nitschke. Falcon Tommy McDonald was the last non-kicker.  

Bobbleheads: traded for a nice sliding Paul Molitor Brewers giveaway. Activity is busy now but will be slow in the off season. Gotta make hay while the sun is shining.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Falcons Number 14

June Jones (1977-1979) contributed more to Falcon history than meets the eye. Jones not only backed up golden boy quarterback Steve Bartkowski during his days as a partier. June counseled Bart and led him to Jesus. The more mature Bart went on to lead the Falcons to several playoff runs. Jones, from Portland State, later served as QB coach and eventually head coach. These many contributions, in addition to Jones' wicked Fu Machu, make June the greatest Falcon to wear 14.

Alabama's Steve Sloan (1966–67) competed against Joe Namath. Utah's Terry Nofsinger (1967). Jeff Komlo of Delaware (1982) and NC State's Erik Kramer (1987) were both Detroit castoffs. Stanford's Turk Schonert (1986). Bob Gagliano (1993). Penn State's Wally Richardson (1999). Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer from BYU (2004–05). 

Wide receiver Eric Weems (2007-11,14) - from Bethune-Cookman - may be the closest runner up.

NFL: Packer great Don Hutson. Giant and 49er QB Y.A. Tittle. Otto Graham of the Browns. Charger Dan Fouts. Bengal Ken Anderson should be in the Hall of Fame. Viking kicker Fred Cox.

Tech: Heisman runner-up Joe Hamilton.

UGA: All-American DB Terry Hoage garnered Heisman consideration. David Greene won more games than any other college QB. Also QB's Andy Johnson and Mike Bobo.

NBA: Oscar Robertson.

Braves: Julio Franco.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Falcons Number 13

Though several have worn the number, few number 13's have stood out for the Falcons.

Billy Joe Tolliver (1991-1993) was one of Jerry Glanville's favorites. That excludes him. Browning Nagle (1995) was a backup. Tony Graziani (1997–98) took a beating. FSU's Danny Kanell (1999–2000) is Mark Richt's brother-in-law. Oregon QB Joey Harrington (2007) never lived up to his promise. I bought TWO of his jerseys on clearance (one white, one black). Darius Johnson (2013) and T.J.Yates (2014) round out the list.
Punter Chris Mohr (2001–04) contributed more than any other number 13.

NFL: Dolphin Dan Marino. Ram Kurt Warner. Super Bowl MVP Jake Scott, a Georgia alum. Jet receiver Don Maynard. Steady Browns QB Frank Ryan won championships.

Braves: Ozzie Guillen.

Tech QB's Tevin Washington, Donnie Davis, and Taylor Bennett were efficient, not flashy, but not enough to take Tech to the promised land.

UGA All-Americans Catfish Smith, Jake Scott, and punter Drew Butler.

Wilt Chamberlain may have been the greatest number 13 of them all.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Falcons Number 12

Chris Chandler led the Falcons to their only Super Bowl, so naturally he is the greatest number 12 in Falcons history.

Chris Miller was a talented quarterback whose career was hampered by repeated concussions. Has he played after the turn of the century he would've retired much earlier.
At the time Nick Mike-Mayer was the most successful kicker in Falcons history. Michael Jenkins was an effective receiver who fell victim to the salary cap. Others: George Roberts. Kevin Cone. Luke McCown. Chris Renfree.

NFL: Tom Brady. Roger Staubach. Bob Greise. Joe Willie Namath. MVP John Brodie. Terry Bradshaw. USFL legend Jim Kelly made the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Tech: Point guard Kenny Anderson. Gary Lanier ran the wishbone to perfection. Stan Gann. Jack Williams. Running back Dorsey Levens.

UGA: All-American Zeke Bratkowski. Tavarres King. Cotton Bowl hero John Lastinger. Mike Cavan. Red Leathers.

Braves: twelve was never a good number for the Bravos. The number just looks odd on the back. Young Dusty Baker. Sliding Sid Bream. Tom Paciorek. Eddie Perez has worn the number for the longest time, as a player and coach.

NBA: John Stockton.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Falcon Numbers 10 & 11

Steve Bartkowski’s number ten has been retired by the Falcons. Beloved by fans – first as a young playboy, then as the graceful veteran. Often injured, Peachtree Bart led the team to a last minute loss in the NFC championship game.

QB Scott Campbell at least started a few games. Backup Leo Hart from Duke looked good but never did anything. Dennis Claridge was on the first Falcon team in 1966.

NFL QB’s Fran Tarkenton, Eli Manning, and Jim Zorn.

UGA: Eric Zeier was never one of my favorites. Always looked too serious, even now in the radio booth. Along with Fran Tarkenton and LB Thomas Davis, Zeier was one of three number 10’s to make All America in Athens. Also Ray Goff and Larry Rakestraw

GT QB Shawn Jones led the Jackets to the 1990 national championship. Larry Good was another standout number ten.

The Braves retired number ten for Chipper Jones. First-baseman Chris Chambliss provided a veteran presence on the 1982 division champions. Future hitting guru Charlie Lau. Catcher Greg Olson was flipped upside down in the 1991 World Series.

Knick hall of famer Walt Frazier also wore number ten.

Receiving beast Julio Jones is the greatest number eleven, but at least he had a tiny but of competition. QB Randy Johnson was one of two first round draft choices made by the expansion Falcons. He took a beating while in Atlanta.

Veteran QB Dick Shiner (above) came on board and led the Birds to several unexpected victories. Kerwin Bell was all-SEC at Florida. Kim McQuilken (Lehigh), Billy Joe Tolliver (Texas Tech), and Doug Johnson (Florida) were other backups.

Troy Bergeron was a star on the local arena league team but only lasted one year with the Falcons.

NFL hall of famers Norm Van Brocklin, Joe Guyon, and Link Lyman wore the number, along with Super Bowl QBs Joe Kapp, Phil Simms, and Drew Bledsoe.

UGA’s Aaron Murray, James Ray, Bobby Etter, and Jimmy Harper.

Braves Gary Sheffield, Edgar Renteria, Tito Francona, Darrell Evans, Ken Caminiti, and Mark Kotsay.

Tech legends Wade Mitchell and Leon Hardeman. Also Fred Braselton and QB Jim Stevens, who led the Jackets to a Bowl win after starter Eddie MacAshan was suspended.

NBA: Bob McAdoo. Karl Malone wore the number with the Lakers.

Wheeling & Dealing

Tuesday night Ceil went out to a birthday dinner, so after work I headed north to retrieve Matthew. Stopped by Park Avenue and saw several fun items: a decent pair of brown leather boots, a pair of the Nike Roshe Run shoes Anna liked, a Jason Heyward jersey, and a goofy pair of padded running shoes. None of the items were on sale but I might go back today to get the senior discount. NOTE: The boots and Roshes were busted and the goofy shoes not yet on sale, but I grabbed the jersey: a reasonably authentic looking Majestic navy road jersey with an official looking number on the back. HEYWARD is stitched with nice big letters but they might arch a little more than the real ones. Nice official looking tags. It’s nice and big – not tight – so I’ll probably start wearing it to games. My Uecker jersey is so nice that I hate to get it all sweaty. Now I can sell my navy Tiexiera jersey. I put a 1988 white jersey for sale on eBay for $40 and have seven watchers.

When I stopped at Goodwill I hit the mother lode: eight bobbleheads - the second largest amount I had ever scored. I had to go back and get a cart. Ben Sheets Team USA All Star Futures Game given away by the Brewers, a Brandon Webb 2007 Dbacks giveaway honoring his 2006 Cy Young Award, a big-headed Chipper Jones "Forever" bobblehead, , NASCAR's Dale Jarrett, DBacks catcher Chris Snyder, Tim Hudson of the Braves, and Thrashers all-stars Ilya Kovolchuk and Kari Lehtonen. I'll trade Huddy and the Thrashers for bobbleheads I don't have, but all the rest are keepers. Sheets and Webb are the most valuable. Since Tuesday is senior day I got a 25% discount, making it even more of a deal. Swells my collection over the 160 mark.

Matthew drove the 20 miles back to Roswell. Back home I watched Game Six with Will. Cleveland made a run at the end, and could have snatched the game had the Warriors not been making all their shots. Ceil came home and watched for a while. She showed us comedian Tim Hawkins singing songs atheists might sing in their churches, which were hilarious. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4syLS3-fdA I showed her Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers singing "Atheists Ain't Got No Songs" on The Late Show with David Letterman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wogta8alHiU  Nice that someone is making fun of the atheists.

Stayed up past 12:35 watching the game and cleaning the kitchen and doing some laundry (and working on the computer). These youngsters are listing the greatest Falcon for each uniform number. They started off poorly so I decided to make my own list – 99 short essays. Did you know the Falcons once had a receiver who played without a facemask? Wideout Tommy McDonald was near the end of his Hall of Fame career when he played in Atlanta in 1967. He hadn’t worn a facemask as an All-American at Oklahoma but later wore a single bar in the pros. He won a championship in Philadelphia with Norm Van Brocklin in 1960. McDonald was the last non-kicker to play without a mask in the NFL. I had always thought Bobby Layne was the last, and that by 1960 all players wore masks, but no.

Wednesday afternoon I worked until six and stopped once on the way home. The detour has been fixed so that’s one less worry. Will and Anna were out so it was a slow evening. Watched the Braves beat the Red Sox and worked on the computer.

Bobblehead Wednesday: Traded for Manny Machado (Orioles) and Joe Maddon (Cubs) and picked up two from 1999: Pudge Rodriguez (Rangers) and Chan Ho Park (Dodgers). The Braves just added another bobblehead game: Freeman and Gomes hugging. Before the game the pair should go out to the mound and hug for the crowd.

One of the position players to pitch for Cleveland the other day was David Murphy.

For some reason Maybin reminds me of the receiver in the Keanu Reeves’ movie The Replacements.

ROB: I was tempted to say that Cameron Maybin has turned out to be the player we had hoped BJ Upton would be.  That would be wrong.  BJ was supposed to be a much better player.  In a little more than 1/3 of the season, Maybin has 5 HR's and 12 SB's.  In his last Tampa season, BJ had 28 HR's and 31 SB's.

ME: Saw where David and Mary Hurt put their house up for sale. They just want to downsize but stay in Milton. David has a long commute and East Cobb would be closer but I doubt they’d move over here. We’d actually like to move up their way. Haley’s Miss Georgia Pageant is Saturday night. No TV but you can watch it on line. Missy Simms’ parents finally closed on their house and moved, and David and Ivy Anderson are living with Whitney while their new house is built.

Reading the John Grisham novel Grey Mountain, about the coal mining industry in Appalachia. Lots of people thought it was preachy, but so far it’s not too bad.

Frances Green Wayt passed away and the service is Friday. She married my maternal grandmother’s brother John Wayt Sr., who lived for years on Stratford Road just down from the Church of Christ Scientist before moving to Northside Drive. My uncle John Jr. founded the Atlanta Steeplechase and was the inspiration for the Mark Trail comic strip. I lived with John Jr’s wife Martha my freshman year at Tech, in her house on Jett Ferry Road.

Are you following the SBC convention news? The AJC is loading up with articles on church’s response to the gay marriage issue. The fishwrapper knows readers will fill up the comments section, which means more of the page views and clicks their advertisers love. Bryant Wright was quoted. Tony Compolo recently changed his stance. A black church in Dekalb County welcomed same sex couples and lost 60% of their members as a result. In related news, Monday night Passion City Church had a large women’s gathering in Piedmont Park.

A new Del Taco opened in East Cobb, and some coupons caught my notice. I tried it out for the first time Saturday morning. The burritos were hastily prepared and poorly wrapped. The taste was just ok. The big difference between Del Taco and Taco Bell is the sauce Del Taco puts on their food without request. I'll try it out a few more times before making a final decision.

1976 – that summer I was working at Baskin Robbins, between my junior and senior year in high school. Lots of business during the summer, especially on the weekends. The line might stretch out the door. Mercer had an all-American basketball player named Cindy Brogdon who played on the US Olympic team. She later transferred to Tennessee. One day she came into the store and ordered a pint of ice cream – and a spoon. Back then few people ate so much at one time, but she sat down and enjoyed the entire pint.

I would also go up to school every day. Weightlifting was Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday I would go down to the field and kick. If I didn’t kick year around I would get out of practice, and when I’d start back my leg would be sore and it would take a few weeks just to get back to where I’d been at the end of the last season.

That summer my family road tripped through St. Louis and KC up to visit my dad’s grandmother in Tarkio, in the far northwestern corner of Missouri.

This summer Anna is baby-sitting, though one of her main clients moved to Chattanooga. She has two days of orientation at UGA next week and our beach trip in mid-July. M will be out of town 2 straight weeks in July. School starts in early August so we’ll have to see. Ceil hasn’t said anything, but she usually spends a few days in SC during the summer, and A and M usually go.