Monday, June 18, 2018

June 18, 2018 - Mascots

Over the years I have wrestled (well maybe that is a strong word – more like contemplated) with naming an official mascot for InBounds Ministries. The logical choices have been the typical “Lions” or “Eagles” or even something like the “Crusaders.” The idea being that one wants to evoke the idea of power, speed, overcoming, taking flight, etc… I have even gone as far as thinking of something crazy like the “Iguanas” since, like the theory on reptiles, we should grow until we die… BUT, none of the mascots ever fully stuck in my mind; yet, we are a sports-based ministry so the thoughts continue…

Some odd mascots I have heard over the years:

Wichita State Shockers… due to some of their athletes “shocking” (harvesting) wheat in the summers…

The Utah Jazz??? Jazz in Utah??? This is due to the team moving from New Orleans and no one changing the name…

How about my hometown Evansville Purple Aces? Apparently derived in the 1920’s when an opposing coach against the Evansville College Pioneers stated in a loss that they had not 4, but 5, Aces up their sleeves…

I could go on with names… it is a fun internet search, but I need to get to the point… although I will say that one jumped out at me in my search due to me very recent trip to an Indian reservation… Being in the incredible culture, I remembered the importance in names…

Scottsdale Community College has Artie the Fighting Artichoke; an absurd mascot voted on by the student body in protest to the college using funds intended for Indians to instead lure athletes. This makes me want to get a t-shirt from there…

But no, the mascot I am now sold on for InBounds is not the Artichokes… but instead one that gives a picture of strength in the midst of adversity. Throughout Scripture we are reminded that life will be full of “storms” and that we can face them with confidence and joy… yes, even joy!

The typical approach we have toward trials is to avoid them… to run from them. But the Scriptures give a different slant… check out how James says it in chapter 1 (from the Message paraphrase): 2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

When study animals we see different ways in which they react to storms. For instance, a cow will sense a storm coming and try to outrun it; yet they are not super-fast and inevitably end up spending longer in the storm than they needed to…

But, (and hear comes the mascot explanation) the BUFFALO will turn toward the storm and walk through it; thus getting to the other side more quickly and in better shape than the cow… This is taken from the “Better Life Coaching Blog”:

Wilma Mankiller, the first ever female chief of the Cherokee nation and owner of one of the best surnames in history once said,

Cows run away from the storm while the buffalo charges toward it – and gets through it quicker.  Whenever I’m confronted with a tough challenge, I do not prolong the torment, I become the buffalo.

While out west, I was absolutely mesmerized by the incredible stories of this amazing creature (and hearing through the thoughts of an Indian man.) I’m not sure what you have going on in life right now… but I can say that, like the buffalo, you are equipped to make it through the storm… because God is on your side and is going through it with you! Don’t fear, Jesus is in the boat!

Monday, June 11, 2018

June 11, 2018 - Players' Nicknames (What would yours be?)

It’s Sunday night, (technically Monday in the eastern time zone… but I am in a hotel in WY), and I have had my mind going during much of my time on the road today about this week’s devo… writing tonight in case I am too tired tomorrow night at the next hotel stop on the journey home…

I spent the last few days on the Ft Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana; what an incredible people with an incredible culture! It is one part of the culture that caught my attention for this week; I’ll get to that in just a moment…

What do you think of in the basketball world when you hear Magic? His Airness? The King? The Pistol? The Glove? The Poet? The Eraser? The Round Mound of Rebound? The Wizard of Westwood? and the list could go on and on…

These are nickname of players, and even one of a coach, that are very descriptive of their styles of play/coaching. (Can you name who each nickname belongs to?

Magic is of course Magic Johnson; known for his incredible creativity and passing.
His Airness is most certainly Michael Jordan… you can even picture him seemingly suspended in the air as he soars for a dunk.
The King, LeBron James, known for ruling the court since he was a teen.
The Pistol Pete Maravich and his shoot-from-the-hip style of play.
The Glove is Gary Payton, who played defense so tightly that he seemed to fit his opponent like a glove.
The Poet Alex English, who was beautiful to watch as he moved with such fluidity and grace.
The Eraser Marvin Webster who swatted away shot after shot.
The Round Mound of Rebound Charles Barkley barreling down the court like a train or eating up space in the lane.
The Wizard of Westwood John Wooden, the mastermind of the UCLA dynasty.

What about Dr. Bird and Elfman? (Me pretending to be a mix of Dr J and Larry Bird; and Mark Mays, who in spite of short stature could absolutely fly…)

I’m sure you can think of many others from not only basketball but also other sports… William “The Refrigerator” Perry… Mark “The Bird” Fidrych… Smokin Joe Frazier…

I love nicknames and the Indian culture reminded of the beauty of descriptive names. I was given a copy today of a new English translation of the Bible that is written with the goal of reaching the Indian (Native American) people of our land… written in a way that gives cultural relevance to the reading. I have loved reading through some passages, especially in seeing the names…

Peter = Stands On The Rock
Isaiah = Creator Will Help Us
John the Baptist = He Shows Goodwill 
JESUS = Creator Sets Free!

I love these descriptors and it caused me to wonder what people would say of me? What would they say of you? How would people describe us if giving us an Indian name?

I know we would want to be thought of in a positive way for our Christianity but fear that most of how that would be expressed about church-folk is names like:

Do Not Like ___(fill in the blank)____
Do Not Do ___(fill in the blank)____

CREATOR SETS FREE (JESUS) is very explicit in how we can and should be known:

John 13:34-35 “I am giving you a new road to walk,” he said. “In the same way I have loved you, you are to love each other. This kind of love will be the sign for all people that you are walking the road with Me.” (First Nation Version)

Oh, may we play the game of life in such a way that we could each be called “Loves Like Jesus!”

Next week I plan to share my new affinity for Buffalo… (in fact going to propose to our staff that the Buffalo become our mascot.)