Sunday, October 15, 2006

Orange Bowl Brawl

Video of Saturday's brawl between Miami U. football players and those from Florida International University can be seen here.

It's a disgraceful and pathetic scene, but despite professions of shock from everybody in the sportsworld whom I've seen or heard comment on it, I don't think anyone is really surprised. Big time college sports programs recruit semi-literate, semi-articulate non-students because they have the physical talent to win football and basketball games. No one should be surprised that out of every fifty such athletes a half dozen or so are genuine thugs.

There were at least that many players on the field at the Orange Bowl who should lose their "scholarships" and shouldn't play another game in the NCAA, and the announcer named Lamar, who seemed to warm so much to the action, should have just worked his last game in the braodcast booth as well.

The editor at the link has this comment:

The reaction of the Miami fans and organization might be even more shameful than the actual brawl. You have the announcer claiming he wants to go down the elevator and join the brawl. Quotes from Miami message boards include "I LOVED IT that may be the start of the U returning this will be a HUGE boost for recruiting", "we needed this in the worst way", "The reason we dominated the second half was due to the fight. Finally the players let out the emotion that has been controlled by a reserved Coker", and many more along the same lines. The fans in the Orange Bowl were cheering. The announcer wanted to leave the booth and join the brawl. Is this what Miami stands for? If so, the ACC should be redfaced that they were ever allowed to join the conference. Utterly ridiculous display by the Miami players, fans, staff and anyone associated with the program.

Viewpoint agrees.

The Flesh and The Spirit

Back in April I posted If I May as a response to Living Like Jesus and in that post I mentioned The Deeper Journey by M. Robert Mulholland. Here's a quote from the back cover of the book that sums up what the book is about:

Robert Mulholland exposes the false selves that we hide behind and helps us discover the true self that comes from being hidden with Christ in God. If the goal of the Christian journey is Christ-likeness, then we must reckon with the unhealthy ways that we root our sense of being in things other than God. Along the way, we will discover a growing sense of intimacy and abandonment to God. Not only will we encounter the joy of discovering our own self, we will also find a greater love for others and compassion for the world.

Mulholland also mentions that the apostle Paul spoke of the same concept by contrasting "life according to the Flesh" (the false self) with "life according to the Spirit" (the true self) in Romans 8.

I mention this simply to provide some background for the following from Great Cloud of Witnesses in Hebrews Eleven by E. W. Bullinger where he addresses the problem somewhat differently. Whether his is a more effective approach I'll leave to those of our readers who have also read The Deeper Journey to decide.

Interestingly, this gem is found in the end of the chapter entitled Sarah: Faith's Conclusion.

We have already remarked on the place which Sarah occupies in the Divine order manifest in this chapter. This is clearly seen from the structure on page 109 where Sarah is placed in direct correspondence with Rahab.

In these correspondences the same characteristic of faith is obviously emphasized by the Holy Ghost.

In Sarah and Rahab we have FAITH'S CONCLUSION. This is common to both women. Sarah "judged Him faithful Who had promised" (v. 11). Rahab said, "I know...for we have heard" (Josh. ii. 9, 10).

Moreover, both women stand in connection with the two examples of FAITH'S OBEDIENCE, forming two corresponding pairs, with Abraham and Israel respectively.

But we must now give the text in full (verses 11 and 12).

"By faith, Sarah herself also received power for [the] foundation of a posterity, and [that], after the ordinary time of life, since she esteemed Him faithful Who gave the promise. Wherefore, even from one, who was as good as dead as to such things, there sprang [a posterity] even as the stars of heaven for the multitude, and as sand which is by the sea-shore, which cannot be numbered."


The birth of Isaac was the introduction of a new element in Abraham's household.

It corresponds with the introduction of the New nature in the believer today. Ishmael corresponds with the Old nature, which, when the New nature comes, it finds in possession.

Its introduction at once brings to light, and arouses to greater life and strength, the activities of the Old nature.

There was no conflict in Abraham's house till Isaac was born "not of the will of man, or of the will of the flesh, but of God" (John i. 13).

"But, as then, he that was born according to the flesh persecuted him [who was born] according to spirit, even so it is now" (Gal. 1v. 29). "The flesh lusteth against the pneuma (or New nature) and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other" (Gal. v. 17).

"The mind of the flesh is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. viii. 7).

In Abraham's house this enmity was at once manifest.

The birth of Isaac did not improve Ishmael, or change his character, or his activities.

There was only one remedy, and that was "cast out the bond-woman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with MY SON, even with Isaac" (Gen. xxi. 10). The bond-woman was an Egyptian, and savoured of Egyptian bondage; and the only remedy was to "cast out" both her and her son.

But what was possible in the allegory or type is impossible in the antitype.

The old nature cannot be "cast out" from believers now, but we have to reckon it to be so, by faith.

This is to be for us FAITHS CONCLUSION, Faith's reckoning (Rom. vi. 11), Faith's judgment (Heb. xi. 11).

This is what Abraham considered in Rom. iv. 19. "He considered his own body as already having become dead, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; but staggered not at the promise of God, through unbelief, but was strengthened by [his] faith, giving glory to God" (Rom iv. 20). This is to find its exact counterpart in us who believe God, as Abraham did.

This is to be faith's consideration, faith's judgment, faith's conclusion for us.

All that we are called on to do now, is to believe God; to consider our Old nature to be dead, and unable to conceive, beget, or to bring forth, or produce anything for God.

It requires great faith to do this; because, all the time we are conscious of its presence and its power. Our faith, therefore, has to be "against hope," as Abraham's was.

All the while they where believing God's promise, he and Sarah were faced with the undeniable fact that all was "against hope."

It is even so with us. We are faced with the ever present fact of the workings of the Old nature; and, therefore, we must, "against hope," "reckon ourselves to be dead [persons] to sin, but alive to God, through (or in) Christ Jesus."

To attempt to improve our Old nature is to give a flat denial to 11.

To attempt to change Ishmael is direct disobedience to God (Gal. iv. 30).

To "consider" our Old nature as being alive and able to produce anything for God is a refusal to reckon it as being dead.

To "mortify" its members, in the popular sense, is to consider them as not being "already dead", but to recognizes them as being very much alive. But to "mortify" in the Scriptural sense is to consider them as good as dead! This is the meaning of the word in this connection, as is clear from our context, Heb. xi. 23 and Rom. iv. 19.

Abraham could not have considered his own body as already actually dead, or that he could mortify it by any activities which he could put forth; but only by considering it "as good as dead."

That is what we are called on to do in exercising FAITH'S CONCLUSION.

We are not to seek to improve our members by mortifying them by any process of rules for daily living. This is only to treat them as though they were alive. But we are to treat them "as good as dead," and as being as incapable of doing good, as they are capable of doing evil.

But this can be done only by believing God; and, by faith-obedience, reckoning ourselves as already dead in ourselves. Until this is done, there can be no peace. For it is as being "justified by faith, we have peace with God.". This is the conclusion of the whole argument of Rom. iv. as continued in ch. v. 1.

Until this is done, there can be no joy, no happiness, no "laughter".

As long as Ishmael was in Abraham's house there was only grief (Gen. xxi. 11). But when God's faithfulness was realized, then Sara could say "God hath made me to laugh" (Gen. xx1 6).

Yes, it is the same God Who hath "made us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light," Who makes us thus to laugh.

But if we stagger through unbelief, and do not come to FAITH'S CONCLUSION and believe Him, "against hope," and in spite of all our feelings and experiences, then there is only one alternative for us: we shall go on our way in grief and unhappiness, mourning for what we have done or not done, instead of "giving thanks unto the Father: for what HE HATH DONE (Col. i. 12). We shall sink under the burden of the incessant confession of our trespasses, because we steadfastly refuse to believe what we hear from God, that "you being dead in your sins...hath He quickened together with Him (Christ) HAVING FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESPASSES" (Col. ii. 13).

Oh, that we may have Sarah's faith, and "against hope" be strengthened by faith, and have our mouths filled with God-given laughter, and give glory to God, because we have judged Him faithful Who hath promised.