So Real — Community

April 18, 2013

On The Porch

So Real

A community reveals its true character when it celebrates a holiday or landmark occasion; or when times are good, yet the needy are not forgotten or set aside; and especially when one of its own citizens faces a sudden need or crisis.  How Fredericksburg responds is a shining example of a godlike character.

We have seen it all before -– how we jubilantly take to the streets for our nation’s major holidays; how we volunteer for the great local cause organizations, be it Habitat for Humanity, the Food Bank, or EmpowerHouse, to name a few of many.

But an off-the-radar cause is the one that truly epitomizes a community’s heart and soul in such an organic grassroots way, it makes you think beyond good neighborliness, friendship, family support, and community quality.  It reaches your core beliefs in humanity, goodness, and even one’s concept of God.

In seeing responses like this unfold many times in my past 21 years here, I have come to truly believe in man’s goodness to man, despite world-wide news of man’s inhumanity to man.  I have come to believe that good will conquer evil every time.  My mindset on this is not just some defensive belief in order to avoid despair about the human condition but is truly so real that it takes on an aura, a healing energy, a soul-soothing almost tangible quality about it.  It is real love and community fellowship at its best.

Please indulge my vagueness, but I am talking about how friends and family and neighbors are responding to a crisis that I am viewing from close-up.  It is the essence of Fredericksburg’s good people.  It is proof that people are your best medicine, the tonic that lifts the human spirit and helps in so real a manner to heal all wounds.  It is the latest personal reminder of why my wife and I have lived here for longer than any single place that either of us has ever lived before.

So real is their goodness that my ever-evolving concept of higher power or godliness has come to a simple but real definition for me.  If you were to take all of the good in all of our people, cast away our flaws and banish all evil, then assemble that goodness into one shining light of energy, then you would have God.  The signs are all there and all so real in the neighbor who helps you take on a daily task, the friend who sends a sweet thought your way, or the compassion of a loved one.

Little acts of human kindness add up, for me, to my conclusion.  Fredericksburgers – along with many good people from afar who are enamored by our community (and maybe yours, too, wherever it is) – make it real, so real.  It is a wonderful, jubilant human feeling to either receive or contribute to that essence of goodness.  It is an abstract blessing that becomes as real as the comfort of a good meal, a soft shirt, a task completed, or an outreaching hand offering assistance.  And we – people who need people and who have that kind of network — are truly the luckiest people in the world.

So I think about these things and share them with you with a purpose -– to point to those who have needs but may have no one to turn to:  the homeless, the traumatized war veteran, the gravely ill, the abused child.  Their suffering is so real, and we, the entire community, have a moral duty to them…

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SACROSANCT

December 21, 2012

Sacrosanct

Christmas cards arrived one after the other bearing pictures of children. With each card, I teared up at the images of those precious children in my life – grand nieces and nephews, and the children of friends. I can’t imagine anything short of a long and complete life for any of them.

It’s been weeks since Newtown, CT became our sister city and the entire world adopted Sandy Hook Elementary’s children. Children – our most sacrosanct priority. We hold them dearly. We protect them with nurturing and laws, starting with our Constitution. It contains 27 Amendments that are sacrosanct, except not all of them are. Some are open to reason for the good of us all.

Take the First Amendment. It allows us to make whatever movie we want, write any song lyric, make and sell and play virtually any conceivable video game, or view pornography if we choose. But wait, we do have restrictions even on Amendment One: We can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater, or threaten the life of a public servant, or give or receive child pornography. And all for good reason.

So what makes the 2nd Amendment (that one broad-stroke sentence) totally, unequivocally sacrosanct to some? Why is there no room for reasonable restrictions within this law when there is room within others? There is nothing in that lone sentence to suggest that limiting the lethality and speed of a weapon, or requiring some information about its seller and owner, will infringe upon the right guaranteed therein.

Having friends on both sides of the “gun control” debate, I hear intelligent reasonable arguments from both sides. A friend in suburban Connecticut posted his priority of life over unrestricted gun ownership. A former high school classmate commented on gun ownership, responsibility, and the types of environments where citizens carry guns, as he does in rural Tennessee. Yet, these two intelligent, reasonable people from entirely contrasting environments are able to discuss the issue civilly and believe we can get to what is reasonable. Why we struggle to reach a consensus when it comes to our children’s safety, and our rights, is uncivil to them and to me. No guns, period; or, more bigger, badder guns are not reasonable answers. Arming the entire USA may make a good western movie but not a safer culture. Stripping away our right to bear arms may make us vulnerable. Somewhere in between is the answer to this one factor in gun violence, of which there are many.

What about armed guards? At Columbine, two experienced former police officers described the scene: “There was an unknown inside a school. We didn’t know who the ‘bad guy’ was but soon realized the sophistication of their weapons. These were big bombs. Big guns. We didn’t have a clue who ‘they’ were.” The guards wisely avoided a shootout. And what about firepower? Jesse Clear, who supplies ballistic rubber media to firing ranges (which safely encapsulate the fired projectile and its byproducts — lead dust, ricochet shrapnel, back-splatter), wrote on Fredericksburg Patch, “Neither style weapon — nor its accoutrements (30-50-round magazines, 100-round drums, unjacketed or hollow-point bullets, stockpiled ammunition) have any business in the hands of civilians. If one wants to outfit themselves with such an arsenal, I suggest they join a WELL-REGULATED Militia — as detailed in the 2nd Amendment — Marine Corps, Army infantry, Seals, Delta Force, Virginia National Guard, or any big-city police SWAT team.”

Other answers do exist, some simple, some complex. As for schools, sophisticated entry systems that protect buildings from invasion (visit schoolsafetysystems.com) are economically feasible. We just need a polled consensus to mandate our elected officials, not wait for them to move off square one. We need to make public safety sacrosanct. After all, when you tuck your child into bed, read her a story, or lead him in prayer, the only thing that truly matters is their peace. Everything else is open to reason.

As the Preamble to our Constitution says, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Wise words from wise and reasonable men in 1787. Here’s to a wise and reasonable 2013.

I HATE YOU, SANDY

October 30, 2012

Image

Photo by Maura Grogan Redy, Avon-By-The-Sea, N.J.

The only Sandy’s I have known in my life are intelligent, good-hearted women – like Sandy Howson, or Sandy Conti Mitchell. Neither of them has the attitude or gall of you, Hurricane Sandy. Just when we thought we’d waltz uneventfully through the hurricane season, you stepped in, unmercifully. It’s kind of insulting to give you a human name, especially one so aligned with decent people. And lest you think I’m having fun here, I better set the record straight — I’m dead serious. I hate you, Sandy.

Sandy smacked our friends to the south and teased us here in Fredericksburg before heading north and inland to show off her arrogant power and thoughtless disregard for human life, property, and nature’s bounty. Far worse than some obnoxious party crasher, Sandy killed people, disrupted millions of homes, destroyed countless beaches, sucked away billions of dollars in potential tourism revenues, and wreaked general havoc for nearly a quarter of the nation’s population.

My home state of New Jersey is devastated. My niece, Maura Redy, in Avon-By-The-Sea, reported on facebook the day after Sandy, simply, “Our little town (with an iconic frown face).” New York City is besieged by the volume of task ahead in the aftermath of this b#*@. Subway tunnels, buildings, and the lower Manhattan electric grid were all flipped off by this Sandy. NICU babies had to be transported in the middle of the stormy night to other hospitals. A surge of house fires destroyed part of the Rockaway community dear to my brother-in-law Jim Corry, who grew up guarding its beaches as a young Irish lad.

Friends and family in every coastal state north of us reported either relief or horror at what they saw had happened in their communities. Here in Fredericksburg, we can only be thankful that it wasn’t worse. The damages were minimal here; the power outages confined and brief. We are hopeful that the homeless all made it to safe harbor. But when we think outside of our Burg, there is cause to pause and pray for the victims of this nasty, gargantuan beast inaccurately named Sandy.

What may be a countless number of victims in terms of fears and actual losses is too haunting to grasp. Billions upon billions of dollars in damages and potential losses now stare the Mid-Atlantic States squarely in the face. To recover will require gritty leadership at every level. In the wake of Sandy, we are tempted to equate her wrath with that of 9-11.  She, being a storm, is exempt from the negative human attribute of evil (but are We not evil if we fail to come to grips with our human role in climate change?).  Yet, our recovery from her will require the same commitment shown when we countered the evil of terrorism on that sunny September day in 2001.

But we will. As New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie both said, “We will. We always do.” We always stand strong and recover. We, as a nation, always come back. Sometimes Uncle Sam may feel like Rocky Balboa, absorbing punch after bloody punch before knocking out his opponent, but in the end, he gets the job done.

We can do our part in all the usual ways. We know the drill. And we all can pray. It’s our way of doing things. And it works. November is an odd month to be lamenting loss, so we need to turn it around, get out and vote on Election Day – for those who still can; gather at your local Veteran’s Memorial on Nov. 11 or 12 to salute our fallen; and, above all, give thanks for our blessings, our friends, our families, and for those brave people up the coast from us.

Happy Thanksgiving. Be safe. Be kind. Be giving.

Wild about the wild card?

October 9, 2012

Prior to adding the second Wild Card to each league’s post-season, there was sometimes more incentive to finish as the Wild Card rather than win your Division; or, at least settle for second with an “Oh, well” attitude.  It all depended on what the post-season match-ups would be, and the system rewarded a team that did not win its division by putting them on par with the three division winners to start the playoffs.

Yes, the Wild Card team would have to face, theoretically speaking, the best of the three other post season teams in its league, but that’s just on paper.  Everyone who understands the super-marathon that is the MLB season knows that whoever is hot and healthy heading into the playoffs has an upper hand, especially when it comes to pitching (which is what wins championships).

One journalist proffered that the Wild Card Rangers would have probably won a best of three playoff series against the Wild Card Orioles (based on their head-to-head season match-up, won by Texas 5 games to 2) from April to August.  But that was before Texas swooned and Baltimore valiantly chased the Yankees down to the wire for the Division title, coming up two games short but gaining oh so much pressure-play experience.  Baltimo’ had the Mo at that point.  The Rangers had lots of questions.  The Orioles answered those questions and maintained their momentum by winning that one-game October play-in.

This year’s divisional format does have a flaw in sending the higher seeds on the road to start the five-game series.  A 2 home – 2 away – 1 home format is more deserved for the divisional winners, but MLB doesn’t like the extra travel day and prolonging of the post season.

While I’m at it, here are three other points to improve MLB: the All-Star game should be about seeing the mid-term’s best players (and the occasional swan song veteran, like Chipper Jones this year) on the same field; maybe even have celebrity guest managers for both sides.  The outcome should not determine home field advantage for the World Series — that just introduces a lot of ugly possibilities on which players play or don’t play, and for how many innings, in the All-Star game.

The World Series home field advantage should be determined by which league’s representative won the previous year’s World Series, making this year’s team victory a victory for its entire league going into the following year’s World Series.

As for choosing a team to root for, consider this: if you want good odds, choose the Yankees, who have won nearly 25% of all World Series ever played! If you want to honor an individual player, chose the Detroit Tigers, whose Miguel Cabrera became the first player to win baseball’s coveted Triple Crown (league leader in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in) since 1967.  But if you like the hard work-brings-success story, go with the Washington Nationals, who went from empty seats to Natitude and MLB’s best record in just eight seasons.

My pick: Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and their Bronx Bombers one more time.

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind…

July 23, 2012

Bob Dylan wrote that lyric not knowing that a blogger in 2012 would apply it to a post endorsing wind energy.  But here I am referring to Dylan after reading several facebook comments in response to an image that shows a hypothetical (and satirical) “wind turbine spill” not hurting the environment.  There were reactionaries to the post — one person cited the dead birds accountable to wind turbines.  I recalled all the wind turbines in the Palm Springs, CA area and along the PA Turnpike between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.  Those recollections reassure me.  I have faith in my California and Pennsylvania brethren.

Weighing the knee-jerk reactions of intelligent people, I figured that facts would be a better weapon than emotion to assess the merits of wind power.  I did a little Googling and fact-stealing to come up with my support for wind power.

Take the link below. It will lead you to good data about wind power.  Here you go:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/wind-turbine-kill-birds.htm

Still, there were bold opponents, like ‘Maisie Beme” who wrote, “haha. the dead birds will wash ashore though…”

And “Clay Kent” who believes, “Despite its useless and service as a extermination tool to kill birds. I’m just sayin’.”  Translation: wind power doesn’t work but it’s good for getting rid of birds.  Just sayin’, no hard feelings.

What’s a proponent to do in the face of such intelligent arguments?  Turn to our knight in shining armor, ‘Real GB.’  Now here’s a facebook commentator whose wind power advocacy counters the naysayer bird lover with real information!

Fear not, bird-o-cide, implies ‘Real GB.”   They call the wind Mariah and she’s good, real good, as ‘Real GB’ writes:

“Study showed little threat to birds. Bigger threat: Climate Change. A poll of over 1000 people showed 85% support more money being invested in renewables. Myth: Wind power is expensive Fact: Onshore wind energy is one of the cheapest low carbon energy technologies. Wind is competitive with new ‘clean coal’ fired power stations and cheaper than new nuclear power. You can continue to grow crops under turbines and decommisioning is simple and clean. Big oil/gas spend $$$ trying to disprove renewable technologies but wind power is growing at an exponential rate globally. Tidal is the UK’s biggest source of untapped energy and is cm predictable. The one question that no government / industry will answer: When fossil fuels run out, where will we get our energy from? So far our heads are burried in short term profit but the sooner this is addressed the less unpleasant it will be. Of course industry wants to disprove all forms of renewable because it means that there profit is gone forever! ExxonMobile make $1,300 PER SECOND! Its fossil fuel companies who are keeping people in fuel poverty not the renewable industry!”

That’s real, GB.

That dude was ready for this debate.  Now it’s the opposition’s turn.  Show me some facts.  Stun me with hard data… Or come on around to our side — The Truth.

The truth is out there — blowin’ in the wind.Image

Guns don’t kill people. Gun laws protect people. Where is the conflict?

July 22, 2012

My brother shared a graphic image today on facebook.  It said, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”  Then it said how many people own guns and how many of them did not kill anybody (yesterday in Aurora, CO.).

Why is the gun control debate postured as a mutually exclusive zero sum game? Why can’t we support the Second Amendment but limit the caliber and type of guns allowed for purchase?  Why can’t we do a better check on gun buyers and limit the number of purchases to a reasonable amount not indicative of secondary market sales to criminals?

I do not own a gun but reserve my right to own one if I choose.  I do not think I should be allowed to buy a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, a nuclear bomb, or a surface to air missile.  Or, even an assault rifle.  Deer are not that challenging.

Someone like my brother might say if a person with a permit to carry had been in that theater, the killer would have been gunned down before doing all of that harm.

I agree.  If my friend Jim B had been there, that gunman would have been down after emptying his first 20 rounds.  Of course, if there had been a ban on assault weapons, he would have been able to get off fewer than six rounds before Jim B nailed him.  With a six-round, non-automatic chamber, the people in that theater would have had a better chance of escape.  The body count would have been much lower.

It is hard to buy a house or get a loan.  It is easy to buy a gun.  It should not be possible to buy an assault weapon.  The Second Amendment can have sensible limits for public safety without trampling my brother’s rights.  Or mine.

So why is it an all or nothing proposition to people like my brother?  Why the “give them an inch, they’ll take a mile” mentality?

I don’t know.  We are from the same genes but are wired much differently.  Our life experiences are not similar at all, after age 17 (we are both in our 60s now). We see things through different lenses.  Not everything, mind you, but many things.

Take the Second Amendment.  We both support it.  People kill people.  We both agree.  The difference is that I believe we should limit the power and speed of the guns allowed.  Our rights will remain intact.  And I believe that people with assault weapons can kill more people faster than people with simpler hand guns can.  Our society will be safer if we make it harder to kill more people faster.  Who has a problem with that?

It is not all or nothing, brother.  It is rights versus responsibility.  We have the right to bear arms.  We have a responsibility to protect each other from demented individuals.  These two concepts do not compete with each other.

It all makes me wonder how genetics work, how experience matters, how our minds work.  One of us likes our gun laws as they are.  One of us wants to change them.  In Aurora, CO, one outcast made the latter point gruesomely clear.

My brother is a conservative.  I am a liberal.  I don’t claim to know everything that he has seen or done in life, but I do know how my own experiences have shaped my thinking and my politics.  Relevant to the Second Amendment issue, my thinking has been shaped by the crime scenes I have stood at; by the court hearings I have testified at; by the murder of a colleague of mine by another colleague of mine; by my firing of a 44 magnum at a shooting range; by my years working in the criminal justice system; and by my friendships with warriors from every branch of our military and from law enforcement who have told me stories.  I don’t take violence, or its causes, or its mitigating factors, lightly.

Which is why my faith in our Congress is at an all-time low.  Despite the past 60 or so public shootings that have made the news, despite even the shooting of one of their own members of Congress (Gabby Giffords), our cowardly Congress still will not pass stricter gun laws.

Why?  They, too, are wired differently than me.  They fear the NRA (despite its rank and file membership’s favorable view on banning assault weapons), and they answer to money because they like their privileged jobs we pay for and the big money they receive from the lobbies to campaign to keep their jobs.  They are wired weirdly and they are irresponsible.  They have the right to be!  Just as the shooter in Aurora had the right to buy an assault weapon.

Which introduces to we, the responsible people, a difficult challenge:  do we have a better chance of convincing our lawmakers to tighten the gun laws, or a better likelihood of voting the odd-wired, irresponsible ones out and replacing them with reasonable people?

Either way, we have our work cut out for us.  There’s a lot of resistance, even within my own gene pool.

Would you approve of your child?

July 18, 2012

Hypothetically speaking, your 18-year-old child comes to you and says s/he is ready to leave the nest and make his/her own way in pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

S/he answers your questions on a wide range of topics.  Your child tells you s/he is conservative or tells you liberal; tells you s/he wants to speak English or, if the family’s native language is not English, the language s/he was raised with; explains s/he is willing to work hard at whatever career or job and pay taxes that will help her country remain safe, strong, just, and helpful to those who fall through the cracks for whatever reason.  S/he says s/he wants to find true love with someone of the same, or different, color; the same, or different, gender.

Your child goes on to say s/he believes in God or disbelieves in God, is of a particular religion or no religion at all.  S/he assures you that you have done a good job as parents and that s/he hopes to have or not have children someday, in some way; that s/he wants the choice, or no choice, on his/her decision regarding reproductive rights.

You get the picture…

Will you approve of your child and wish him/her well, whichever path s/he chooses?   Or will you want to define his/her life, liberty and pursuit of happiness so that you feel good about it?

Freedom begins at home.  Encourage your child to become who s/he is and pursue what makes him/her happy.

Angst Away! Why we post politics on facebook

July 11, 2012

A friend of mine contacted me on facebook, bothered by the growing number of political postings I have made lately. Another friend defended me.  I looked back on my past month or so of facebook activity and saw that, yes, I have become pretty involved in the Obama-Romney campaign, as have many of my friends from across the political spectrum.

I suppose that my one friend’s criticism has to do philosophically with what facebook is for and what we want to see from each other using facebook.  Some of us hate the game apps and the ‘share if you really care’ mandates, things like that.  Others get tired of pictures of food and posts like “Yum, look what I made!”

There are pretty much no rules for facebook, but my friend’s comment, which also favored my more frequent postings about bourbon and beer, got me to thinking: why do we post politics on facebook?

I can answer only for myself and I hope some of you will respond with your thinking on this, because to me, part of facebooking is to inform, think and act; part is entertaining; part is mindless escape; and part is socializing and staying in touch when we can’t meet face to face so often.

But the politics, specifically?  I spent the past hour pondering that question, just me, myself, and I.  First, there is the angst — what is happening to our country and to our discourse? What’s next? Will the other shoe drop?

My thirst for answers and awareness is another reason for my political posts and comments. Maybe if I post this quote or that link or the latest graphic, someone armed with facts will clarify things for me, validate my understanding or correct my misconception, all for the better. Maybe it will all help me make sense of what is going on and what I can and should do about it.

But it’s not so easy. My friends are all smart and engaging; some liberal, some conservative, some unknown or undeclared. Most of us use the same tools to comment on politics — great quotes, slanted articles, cherry-picked facts, gotcha statements, paraphrased comments from high-profile people, compelling graphics, or funny but stinging posters.

Occasionally, someone blows my mind with some deeper, critical thinking, that either reassures my position or effectively challenges it.

But little I see or read here ever makes it crystal clear. There remains so much gray area, so much emotional reaction. My angst remains.

There is also our competitive nature. We don’t like to be wrong so we sometimes ignore or spin an unwanted ‘fact’ or rebut it with one we dig up somewhere. And it is very difficult to know who is accurate and who is not, and when they are on target.

Having lost trust in some of our so-called experts and political leaders, and in our journalists, we turn to each other for answers, and posting on facebook is one way we lean on those we trust.  In doing so, we also exercise our sense of civic responsibility, helping to get the word out on the issues and events that will shape us all.

A good thing I’ve noticed is that facebook friends seem to have an intuitive sense of an imminent tipping point, where the next adversarial comment might stir the pot too much; we tend to back off or concede the point that all that can be said has been said, and we move on. Sometimes one of us will break the ice with comic relief, or a positive comment on friendship. It’s sweet and mutually respectful, and is often followed by a brand new post, something lighter, something trivial, or something we can all agree on that raises the number of LIKE clicks on a series of threads. Or, like the comment that kicked off this blog today, one of us will call somebody out. In this case, it came from a friend I highly respect and care about. Knowing how he thinks, it made me think, and when I think, I usually end up writing about it; thus this blog today. (Thanks, CP.)

For the record, friends, I welcome all opinions. It is how I learn about the issues and policies, about how people think, and about how we interpret information. I wish we could all get all of the information and that we could trust its sources and its veracity, but we can’t.  It makes me appreciate all who care enough to participate in the conversation, as well as all who opt out and instead facebook about other things within this funny old life on planet earth.

It’s a long three or four months until the election.  It could get pretty intense. For my part, I think I will limit my comments in response to others’ posts and also limit my political posts overall.  This way, each one I do make might be more meaningful or useful to raising awareness or contributing to the discussion. It might also quell some of my angst and raise my productivity at work. And maybe, just maybe, I will finally clean the pool.

But first, one more thing on this.  The graphics we all post sometimes contain a condescending statement that questions the mentality of the “other side”.  Don’t take those to heart. We post them for their underlying messages, we post them in part for entertainment value or for humor, just as we watch Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert for that same recipe of ingredients.

In the end, we all care about each other and our country and our world. We have children and grandchildren who rely on us. We have friends and family, co-workers and clients, households and communities. People we love and people we cross paths with.  We have to find the right answers for all of them, collectively.  What makes it tougher is that we are all wired differently. No two people witness an experience exactly alike.  We are each a unique being, of whom it can be said the best of our common denominators is the goodness within our heart.  And that gives me hope for our country and our world.

On that note, I’ll return to facebook and post a link to this blog. Tonight, I’ll have a bourbon or a beer… and I’ll let you know when I do.

Peace.

Rob

PROfessionalCRASTINATOR

April 25, 2012

I’ve neglected my wordpress blog.  No excuses. Former Navy SEAL Rob DuBois stays busy on his, and his book, Powerful Peace, is about to be released!  

TEBOWING WITH SAINT PETER

January 13, 2012

It was a Sunday in September when God noticed that church attendance throughout North America was way down.  What really got his godly thinking cap tighter were the rushed sermons of preachers nationwide as the clocks ticked toward the 1:00 NFL kickoff time from coast to coast.

God summoned Saint Peter.  “Peter, I’m being eclipsed by this football fanaticism; it’s blasphemous and embarrassing.”

Peter thought a moment and said, “Well, Lord, let’s make some lemonade from those lemons.”

“Like do earthquakes under every stadium?” asked God.

“No.  No  No.  Disaster has reached its tipping point.  It no longer draws the faithful closer.  You’re actually losing fans with each calamity.”

“What then?” asked the Lord.

“Remember Machiavelli?  I know you didn’t like him, but his philosophy makes sense right now:  ‘Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.’  I mean, let’s embrace this NFL phenomenon.  Let’s find us a messenger from within its ranks, and use him.”

Thus, God and Peter scoured the rosters of every NFL team and stopped at the name ‘Tim Tebow’ of the Denver Broncos.

“He’s our guy, Lord,” said Peter with conviction.  “Impressive in college with the eye-black scripture and two big championships.”

“OK, then.  Draw up a plan how we will bless him as our messenger.  We’re up against a popular institution that applauds violence, profanity, exhibitionism, off-field immorality, greed and money, disregard for the welfare of its retirees, commercial sponsorship that advocates alcohol and sex… I could go on, Peter.”

“If I may be candid, Lord, much of that description can refer to the current state of affairs in many of your churches worldwide, including that big Roman one and the ones with their own laws toward women.  Just sayin’.”

“We’ll address that mess later.  First, we have to bonk these football fans over the head with our message.  Get them to pay attention.  Then convert them to a better Sunday purpose…  Once you have them on Sundays, you can win the week.”

And so Peter, the reformed betrayer, came forth with his plan, tilted, “Tebowing – a 20-week plan to expand God’s fan base”.

NFL fans know the rest of the story.  A five of six-game winning streak followed by a three-game streak of darkness – a symbolic crucifixion – and then the resurrection of Tim Tebow and his Denver Broncos team with a miraculous victory over Pittsburgh.

“I really like the references to John: 3:16, don’t you?” asked Peter, referring to Tebow’s passing average of 31.6 yards per completion and 316 total passing yards on ten completions against the Steelers.

“That’s a good start.  Now we have to find a way to meaningfully beat Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, not just win the game.  Maybe a final score of 3-16 in our favor; we need momentum before the Conference Championships,” ordered God.

“Have you done this often, gotten involved in sports outcomes?” asked a curious Peter.

“Not nearly as often as humans think I have,” responded God.  “Last time was against Belichick, as a matter of fact.  After he had done that dirty spy-cam trick, I just had to shake Eli loose and let Tyree make ‘The Catch’.  I didn’t want people to think I favored New York, which is why the 2001 Yankees won three straight amazing walk-offs at home in the Bronx after 9-11 had delayed the World Series, but Arizona won Game 7 in the desert, despite how much I love Mariano Rivera…” God’s voice trailed off.

“Wait a minute.  That was six seasons before the Giants upset the undefeated Patriots.  Couldn’t you have given the Yanks the earlier title and let the Giants come up short later?”

God frowned.  “Peter, sometimes you still underestimate me and my family!”

“How so, my Lord?”

“Look.  I AM GOD.  Chronology means nothing to me.  I knew in 2001 that the Giants would play Belichick seven February’s later.  I could tell you who will win NASCAR’s Chase in 2085!  In 2001, I could not see having a tickertape parade in New York City after 9/11 and did not want to leave that decision to the Yankees and the Mayor… Besides, Spy-Gate would really irk me, and Eli Manning would become my kind of human being.”

“What other outcomes have you done?”

“Really, only a couple dozen over a span of two centuries of American sports, each with a moral lesson or reason intended.  Flutie’s Hail Mary was one…  for all the good short men who walk the Earth.  I owed them that after Napoleon.”

“OK.  Then if you already know who will win what, why all the drama about Tebow this week?”

“Peter, you doubting me again?  I know who will win if I let it go naturally.  I’m trying to decide if I should intervene or not; what the takeaway would be versus letting Mankind do its own thing.  Or if there’s a better way than football to herd in the flock and regain some loyalty back.”

“Gee, I don’t know, Lord.  The NFL is about as big as it gets in America.  But if you’re looking worldview, then soccer might be your best arena.”

“Nah.  It’s got to start in the USA before they spend trillions more on another war, which is why I’m keeping Tebow out of politics, using his Philippines’ birth certificate [FYI – Timothy Tebow was born in the Philippines to American missionary parents] –- so that right wing-ding GOP doesn’t draft him for President and claim I endorse more conflict… After that, we’ll have to find a Middle Eastern Tebow to stop all that nonsense going on in my Son’s old neck of the woods…  Or, maybe I’ll just let it all go on, “Man being Man”, to paraphrase a baseball phrase, and see how they roll.”

“OK, Lord,” Peter sighed.  “Sounds like you have a lot on your chalice plate.  Meanwhile, I’m on my way to Foxborough to put the MASS back in ‘achusetts.”

“Good work, Peter.  I’ll give you a sign just before the opening kickoff.  You’ll be the first to know which way I decide to go with this one.”

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Struggling with your faith, as I am?  Believe in something much greater than anything you know or understand, but can’t put it into words?  Me, too…  Is Tim Tebow part of a Godly plan?  I don’t think so, but let me know what you think?