Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My 2006 NFL Predictions

It's hard to believe that we are less than a month from the start of the 2006 NFL season!!! For me, summer is the worst time of year for sports because there is no football. I don't like NASCAR, and baseball is a sport I follow but don't really watch. Now that the preseason has started, however, it's finally time to talk football.

At first glance it appears that the 2006 season will be another split-decision for me. My hometown Tennessee Titans look like they're still going to be pretty bad. It's hard to believe that just a couple of seasons ago they were 12-4 and nearly knocked off the Patriots in the playoffs at Foxboro. On the other hand, the Pittsburgh Steelers, whom I have rooted for since I was a kid the late 1970s, are in excellent position to defend their Super Bowl title.

With the salary cap and free agency, teams can drastically change their fortunes almost immediately, for better or for worse. This makes it challenging to make preseason predictions, because teams change so much from year to year. Fortunately, I enjoy a good challenge, so here are my predictions for the 2006 season. Of course, an injury to a key player can send these predictions down the toilet, so I don't promise that I'll stand by them come November.


AFC East
New England Patriots (11-5)
Miami Dolphins* (10-6)
New York Jets (6-10)
Buffalo Bills (5-11)

AFC North
Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)
Cincinnati Bengals (9-7)
Baltimore Ravens (7-9)
Cleveland Browns (5-11)

AFC South
Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)
Tennessee Titans (6-10)
Houston Texans (3-13)

AFC West
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)
Denver Broncos* (11-5)
San Diego Chargers (8-8)
Oakland Raiders (5-11)

* Wild-card teams

First Round
Denver over New England
Kansas City over Miami

Divisional Round
Pittsburgh over Denver
Indianapolis over Kansas City

Conference Championship
Pittsburgh over Indianapolis


NFC East
Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
Washington Redskins* (10-6)
New York Giants (9-7)
Philadelphia Eagles (7-9)

NFC North
Chicago Bears (11-5)
Green Bay Packers (8-8)
Minnesota Vikings (6-10)
Detroit Lions (5-11)

NFC South
Carolina Panthers (12-4)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers* (10-6)
Atlanta Falcons (6-10)
New Orleans Saints (2-14)

NFC West
Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
St. Louis Rams (5-11)
San Francisco 49ers (3-13)

* Wild-card teams

First Round
Tampa Bay over Dallas
Chicago over Washington

Divisional Round
Carolina over Tampa Bay
Seattle over Chicago

Conference Championship
Carolina over Seattle

Pittsburgh over Carolina

Friday, August 11, 2006

My Last Word on the Alcohol Resolution (Hopefully)

On his blog Ben Cole has posted a transcript from Albert Mohler's radio program of Mohler's response to a question about alcohol. Of all the statements about this issue that I have seen from SBC leaders, Mohler's is by far the most reasonable. In fact, I agree with some of what he says. For example:

And yet I will tell you up front that I know there are believing, faithful Christians who enjoy a glass of wine or do drink some beverage alcohol. And I cannot say in all persons in all circumstances it is sin for them as Christians to do that. There's no verse in the Bible that says 'thou shalt not drink alcoholic beverage, period.' So intellectual honesty...demands that we say there's no proof text in the Bible that says thou shalt not ever drink an alcoholic beverage.
Mohler concedes that the Bible does not forbid the drinking of alcohol, BUT... (you knew there was a "but" coming):
I just have to say I believe the safest position for a Christian is total abstinence...I belong to a church and denomination, and I serve as president of an institution that before God believes that the best position to hold is a total-abstinence position, in accountability to other Christians, and in accountability to the churches.
I have no problem with Mohler believing that total abstinence is the "safest position" for a Christian. He is entitled to his personal views based on his own understanding of Scripture, history, and culture. In fact, I personally agree that total abstinence is the best choice for a person (not just a Christian) to make. Where I disagree with Mohler is over the propriety of any church, denomination, or institution that would presume to tell a believer which choice he or she should make regarding alcohol. Remember, Mohler has already acknowledged that the Bible does not forbid the drinking of alcohol. So on the basis of what authority does Southern Seminary forbid the drinking of alcohol? Upon what authority does FBC Anytown rely for requiring its members to abstain totally from alcohol? Upon what authority does the Southern Baptist Convention base its resolution against the use of alcohol? Do we look to the Bible as our authority in matters of faith and practice, or do we look to human reasoning, interpretation, and tradition to supplement the Bible?

In the absence of any biblical prohibition against the drinking of alcohol, we have no right to require that others abstain or to condemn the use of alcohol by others. We may study the biblical statements about alcohol, the historical context, and our own cultural context and conclude that abstinence is the best position, but it is not up to us to do the Holy Spirit's job in the lives of other believers. We can try to persuade others that our view is correct, but we cannot try to govern their beliefs or actions apart from clear biblical teaching. As a rule of thumb, anytime we find ourselves saying, "There is no biblical statement or principle that clearly forbids _________, but..." we should allow others to make their own decision about the issue and not look down on them as being less of a Christian than we are if they make a different decision than we do.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tagged Again

Apparently Art Rogers believes that since I am now unemployed I have too much free time on my hands, so he tagged me with the "Book Tag."

  1. One book that changed your life: The Present Future by Reggie McNeal
  2. One book that you've read more than once: The Life of Andrew Jackson by Robert Remini
  3. One book that I'd want on a desert island: Other than the Bible, How to Build an Airplane Out of Palm Trees (I don't know if it's a real book, but it's what I would want.)
  4. One book that made me laugh: Anything by Lewis Grizzard
  5. One book that made me cry: None, but probably the closest would be The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
  6. One book that you wish you had written: The Purpose Driven Life (for obviou$ rea$on$)
  7. One book you wish had never been written: Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
  8. One book that you are currently reading: Breaking the Missional Code by Ed Stetzer and David Putman
  9. One book that you've been meaning to read: The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll
I'm going to tag Kiki Cherry, Jeff Richard Young, Wes Kenney, and Kevin Hash.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Disturbing Statement from Bobby Welch

In the August 2006 issue of SBC Life there is an open letter to Southern Baptists written by former SBC president Bobby Welch in which, among other things, he discusses some of his impressions of the 2006 SBC Annual Meeting in Greensboro. In this letter, Welch makes some disturbing statements regarding the vote on the (in)famous resolution against alcohol [all emphasis is mine]:

Additionally, the Convention voted almost unanimously that they wanted pastors and people who are leading them not to be persons blinded by a theology that encourages and promotes drinking alcoholic beverages of any kind....

Undoubtedly, the greatest surprise to almost everyone was that several Southern Baptist pastors actually came to a microphone and publicly promoted the drinking of alcoholic beverages and wanted the SBC to do the same! Actually, I never thought I would see that take place, and it is not only a surprise but an outrage!
I would like for Bobby Welch, or anyone else, to provide one statement made during the debate over this resolution in which a person who spoke against the resolution actually promoted or encouraged the use of alcohol. I personally do not recall anyone who spoke against the resolution making any statement to this effect. The basic point of most of the statements from those opposed to the resolution was that since the Bible never requires God's people to practice total abstinence we also should not require total abstinence.

Bobby Welch's statement is disturbing because it means one of two things: either he did not understand what those who spoke against the resolution were saying, or he is deliberately misrepresenting their statements in order to discredit those who opposed this resolution. To be honest, I find it difficult to believe either option. Bobby Welch is an intelligent man, so it seems reasonable to assume that he understood the arguments being made by the opponents of the resolution, even if he disagreed with them. Furthermore, Bobby Welch is a Christian, a preacher of the gospel, and a leader of our convention. The honesty that should be characteristic of such a man and the fairness with which he presided over the past two SBC Annual Meetings are not consistent with a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts to discredit those on the other side of an issue. And yet, since those who voiced their opposition to the resolution were NOT promoting the use of alcohol, it is obvious that Bobby Welch either did not understand what they were saying or he is being dishonest about what they were saying. I have no way of determining which of these options is correct, but either option is disturbing for Southern Baptists. Our former president either cannot understand plain English, or he is lying. Actually, I suppose there could be a third option: he simply was not paying attention during the debate. Again, however, this would be disturbing because he was the presiding officer during the debate. None of these options is acceptable, and none of them fit with what I know about Bobby Welch, but I cannot think of any other way to explain his statements in this letter. With these statements, Bobby Welch has done neither himself nor the SBC any favors.

I really wish that the discussion of the alcohol issue would cease. Not only is it becoming an increasingly divisive issue, but the more that our convention's leaders talk about this issue, the more that my confidence in them diminishes.


Until I have reason to presume otherwise, I am giving Bobby Welch the benefit of the doubt and am choosing to believe that he simply misunderstood what the opponents of the resolution were saying. While this is disturbing (because their statements were clear), it is not as disturbing as his making a deliberate misrepresentation would be.