alt dot nerd dot obsessive

The blogger phenomenon is exploding as people begin to tweak the concept with their own creative ideas. The second Gulf War was an immense help, proving that underground journalism can be faster, more efficient, and better than the real thing. Forget imbedded journalists, how about the actual people living through the hell of war. Blogs have been able to tell stories of the war like traditional journalism can’t. They give more than a 30 second news byte, and let you get as much or as little as you want. Power to the people.

And now blogs are going to a new level, playing with the bounds of reality. The beauty of the Internet is that no one knows if you’re telling the truth. Pedophiles and abusers have been using that fact for years. Hollywood has even cashed in, using the anonymity of the web to promote movies to an increasingly over-advertised audience. Flight Risk is a new weblog, supposedly written by a girl on the run from her wealthy family, trying to avoid an arranged marriage. Debate rages as to whether or not this blog is for real. If it’s a fake, it’s been painstakingly researched. Acquisitions Editors are hoping to get in touch with the writer, whether or not it’s true. Other suspect the book deal has already been made, and this is pre-release hype, drawing people into a compelling story online and then getting them to buy the book.

Fake or not, it makes for good entertainment. And a brilliant use of the web. If only I could turn these thoughts into a brilliant tale of mystery and intrigue and sell some sucker on the book deal.

This leash is demeaning to us both

The exhausted mother and her three kids were coming down the sidewalk. I’ve seen them before. The toddler in front, sucking a pacifier, flailing his arms and running ahead. The preschooler followed, carrying a backpack and pretending to try to catch up to his little brother. The young mother comes last, probably younger than me, baggy eyes, sleepy infant clutched to her chest.

The toddler keeps running ahead towards the curb. The preschooler is five feet behind, knowing he should stop his brother, but also knowing that it shouldn’t be his responsibility–he is only a preschooler. The mother and infant are another five feet back, the strung out family trying to catch up.

A bus enters the intersection. The toddler continues towards the curb–oblivious. A stranger reaches out, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” The bus stops. The child is stopped. The mother catches up. Everyone moves again.

Right, that’ll work.

Christianity is for Losers. If you don’t nod in agreement to that statement, you don’t get it. That summarizes the Christian faith. As much as we deny it by our actions and expectations, Christianity is not a faith for the successful or the winner. The true athlete testimony shouldn’t come from an ace quarterback who just won the SuperBowl, a winner for Jesus who can spout platitudes to his Lord. The real testimony should come from the loser, the one who has to live with his inadequacy, the one who needs his Lord so much more.

Being a loser is a prerequisite for being a Christian. We don’t have it all together, and that’s what the Gospel is all about. Getting dressed up for church is only obscuring the truth. We are sinful people. We’re all screwed up, and no paisley tie is going to make up for it. The idea that you have to clean up your life before you can come to church is heresy. The church should have room for the prostitute on her way home, the teen fresh from the abortion clinic, the date rape boyfriend, the suit tithing from his embezzled funds, the SAT cheater, the divorced mother, the anorexic tween, the drunk wino, the abusive pastor, the college student day dreaming of last night’s porn, and the self-righteous deacon who wants to usher them all out.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That means we suck. I suck, you suck, we all suck. We’re the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked. And don’t tell me you’re worse off that I am, cuz you’re not. We’re all in this together, pal, so get off your high horse. There is none righteous, so don’t even try. When you do try, it’s crap. No one is impressed.

It is then and only then that the cross of Christianity makes sense. Because we can’t do it ourselves, because we can’t meet the demands of a just God, because we look like shit–Jesus died on the cross. It’s only through him that we have salvation. We didn’t deserve it, but he gave it to us anyway. We didn’t wrack up enough Jesus points and cash in for the ticket to heaven. It’s not about being good, it’s about getting what you don’t deserve–grace.

Christianity is for losers. And we’re so lost, we still don’t get it. The rest of the world thinks being a Christian is about being nauseatingly perfect. Instead we’re just plan nauseating. (Inspired by Jeremy Klaszus’ essay “Christianity is for Losers” in Deeper Walk Vol. 2)

There you have it … whoo.

I’ve become a Minnesota Wild fan. I admit it. It pains me to say that, because they spanked my favorite team 4-0 while I watched from the fourth row. And any time that happens to the Detroit Red Wings, you become a little bitter. Like a good Red Wings fan, I loathe Colorado. I still resent the New Jersey Devils for sweeping the Wings in 1995, their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals in 29 years.

But the magic of the hometown Wild and their rabid underdog effort has numbed that bitterness. Their stunning comeback against Colorado helped salve the shutout wound I nurse. Against the Canucks they’ve showed determination against a team that should be better. They’re a team of nobodies and cast-offs, a few veterans and rising stars, but no big names. Their trading cards would be worth the going rate for an average card. And they’ve got their own Pavel Datsyuk (my favorite Red Wing) in Marian Gaborik. Although like any team they can let you down (what is with blowing a two goal lead in the third and losing in overtime?!), they’re fun to watch. And they’re in the playoffs, and I must have my playoff hockey.

I’ve always said that Detroit is hockeytown. But Minnesota is the state of hockey, and that’s OK. Until the next time I’m in the fourth row.

Center holds it! Holds it! Holds it!

Local sports announcers are the lowest form of the journalistic professional. They’re the FOX of network TV, the Jerry Springer of talk shows, the Left Behind of novels, the “All American Recreation” of commercial jingles. They suck.

When announcing a game their bias for the local team nearly outshines their horrific search for the newest and worst sports metaphor, which they then repeat ad-nauseam. The poor local sports fan with no cable TV is unwittingly subjected to their Neanderthal quips, their praise or condemnation for the referee based on a call going the local team’s way, and their unbridled excitement for a home team goal–compared to their poorly masked shock at an opponent’s score.

Last night the Wild faced elimination against the Vancouver Cannucks in game six of a seven game series. Mike Goldberg continually reminded the hapless non-cable viewer that the Wild hope to win so they can play another day, making an instant cliche of a player’s off-handed remark before a previous game. When the Wild scored their fifth goal, Goldberg belted out, “Fire up the jets, we’re going to Vancouver!” referring to the nth time to the airplane each team would charter to return to Vancouver if a game seven became necessary. The all-time best was when Vancouver scored their only goal and Goldberg said in total dead-pan, “Shoots, scores.”

A game seven loss for the Wild would be painful for Minnesota fans, but it would also be a mercy killing. We wouldn’t have to listen to Joe Blow until October.