Would Jesus Wear A Mask?

The big debate in today’s world seems to be about wearing or not wearing a mask in response to COVID-19. I am amazed how people will lose their minds over this.

It’s just a mask.

So if there were a pandemic like COVID in Jesus’ day, would he wear a mask?

During the time of Jesus, there was plenty of sickness and disease around. The most commonly feared sickness was leprosy. You can read a lot about that one in the Bible. There were also a lot of Old Testament laws regarding what to eat and what not to eat which was ultimately meant to be a way to protect people from disease. No one protested that these things were unconstitutional or violated their freedoms.

So what about Jesus? Would he had worn a mask?

There is a lot of confusion about Jesus because he was both fully man and fully God. It’s hard to know how he would he have been affected. You won’t find anywhere that he was ever sick but he did get tired (John 4:6), hungry (Mark 11:12) and thirsty (John 19:28). There aren’t any references to him being sick.

The first thing I thought about this was if he did get sick he could just heal himself. So why bother with a mask?

When the religious people (Pharisees and Herodians) questioned him about paying taxes to Rome, his response was to render to Ceasar whatever belonged to Ceasar. (Mark 12:17) He didn’t incite or encourage a riot or political debate about it. If the situation would have called for it Jesús would have worn a mask. He certainly wouldn’t have made it a politician thing or said if you wore a mask you were not one of his followers.

While Jesus was God and probably wouldn’t have NEEDED to wear a mask, he would have done it for others and promote safety for people who weren’t God.

It is sad to see such a insignificant thing has caused such a ridiculous debate in our times. Jesus would have supported public safety. While he wouldn’t have mandated anyone to wear a mask, he would have followed the laws and mandates of the government.

Wearing or not wearing a mask wouldn’t have been a spiritual thing with Jesus. You wouldn’t have been viewed as weak or living in fear if you wore a mask. He wouldn’t have questioned your faith about it. Jesus would have done whatever would have been a good example for the people to do.

Whether you choose to wear a mask or not to wear a mask, let it be. There’s no need to loose your mind about it. Jesus sure wouldn’t have.

He Was THE Voice of Georgia HS Football

There are some things that enhance a fan’s experience with sports. Perhaps the lasting impression for most of us are the voices of the people who report about the game. They are the voices of the game.

For me, I will never forget the voice of Brent Musburger in the 1976 NBA finals when the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns battled through three overtimes in Game 5 where the Celtics prevailed 128-126.

The voice of Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football. Who could forget him?

And without a doubt, the voice of Al Michaels in the 1980 Team USA win over the USSR on the miracle on ice in the Winter Olympics with his “do you believe in miracles?”

I also have the memories of UGA football games with the legendary Larry Munson. His voice was the identity of Georgia Bulldogs football.

Last week we lost the man I called THE voice of Georgia High School football.

Tommy Palmer was that voice. Anyone who knows anything about Georgia High School football knows his name. His voice was a constant part of my experience every Friday night in the fall. Whether I was driving home after a game or listening at home, I would tune into his scoreboard show. His slow Southern drawl and moments of humor made it more than just reading the scores from the games. He also recorded podcasts each week for the Top Ten Teams and Top Games. Tommy also provided commentary for the state championship games.

I don’t remember when I actually started listening to Tommy but he was a part of my Friday night routine and a voice I will never forget.

Palmer revealed in May that he had been battling cancer since Aug. 17 and would enter hospice care after being given the diagnosis the his cancer was terminal. I had heard he was ill but I did not know it was that serious.

Palmer grew up in Claxton and worked in radio for 60 years, starting at age 16. He began work in TV in 1981. He began producing and hosting the Scoreboard Show in 2005. It reached a network of more than 50 stations in the state and took callers after the games who shared details of games they attended. Palmer also would interview coaches.

I never met Tommy Palmer but I have shared some emails and Facebook posts with him. I also shared a copy of my book “Passing Toward The Prize” with him. I also read his own book “The Daisy Boys Club” which is a great read about his life growing up in Daisy, Georgia.

The 2020 season won’t be the same for me without Tommy Palmer.

Friday Flashback: My First High School Football Game (November 21, 1975)

Every year at this time I look forward to the new Georgia High School Football season while looking back to the past of games I have attended. Since moving away from Georgia in 2012, I have not attended any high school football games in other places I have lived. Georgia was my home for over 40 years of my life. With all the teams, players, games and stats being stored in my head from all of those seasons, I can’t really see myself getting involved in another state. Today I reside in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and live within ear shot of a high school football stadium but I don’t have the same feel for high school football here as I did with my time in Georgia.

I attended my first high school football game on November 21, 1975. I was 11 years old. It was a game between the Clinch County Panthers and Charlton County Panthers. The teams were playing in a region playoff game at Memorial Stadium in Waycross, Georgia as a neutral site.

At the time we were living in Homeland, Georgia where my dad was the pastor of a small Pentecostal church. I attended Bethune Middle School in Folkston which was part of the Charlton County school system. My dad had attended high school and played football at Clinch County so he was quite interested in attending this game which was the first time his alma mater had played in a playoff game.

During the regular season, the teams had split their games with Clinch County losing at Charlton County 15-10 and the Panthers winning at home 14-7 during week eight. This created a need for the teams to have a playoff since they both had 5-1 records in Region 2-B.

The neutral site of Waycross Memorial Stadium might as well had been Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium for me. If you have ever been to this stadium, you know how that stadium is configured having once been the home to a few minor league baseball teams. It was an old stadium with some of the seats under the roof which had been behind home plate during its baseball days. My parents let me sit on the Charlton County side which was only a section over. I even went to the concession stand and got me a hot chocolate which was needed on a cold November night in South Georgia. I enjoyed my warm beverage while watching the game. The game was a defensive battle between the two rivals which bookended the Okefenokee Swamp. The Panthers actually dominated the game but not the scoreboard as they came up short 6-0 to end their season. My dad was disappointed in the outcome as he talked about it on the drive home how his Panthers had dominated the game but weren’t able to win the game. I didn’t share his disappointment as I was happy on the inside since I had been rooting for the Indians to win the game.

Waycross Memorial Stadium, Waycross, Georgia

The win for Charlton County was short-lived as they lost to Lincoln County the following week 13-0 in the state playoffs. The Indians eventually won the first of their four state championships in 1999. Clinch County won their first state title in 1988. They have won eight state titles.

I still fondly remember that first game and that was a start of a long history of following Georgia high school football over the years. I would attend three more different schools after we moved from Charlton County in the summer of 1976 with stops at Waresboro, Villa Rica and finally finishing at Tompkins High School in Savannah.

That first game began my interest in Georgia High School football. I have attended many games over the years but you always remember your first experience. Incidentally, the last Georgia High School football game I attended was in December 2010 at the Georgia Dome with my dad to watch his Clinch County Panthers defeat Savannah Christian 24-14 in the state championship game.

Passing Toward The Prize – Revised Edition Available Now

The revised edition of Passing Toward The Prize has been released today. The original book was published in 2017. Today, after some revisions, the book has been re-released. Here are some details about the revised book from the author:

WHY HAS PASSING TOWARD THE PRIZE BEEN REVISED?

The original book had some sensitive scenes with the two main characters (Colton and Belle) having given into temptation. While this was a very realistic issue for teens, I decided that it may have been too much for readers. I really fought with changing that part of the book because I felt it was a real issue for teens but I decided to change it so that it was assumed that the characters had given in and their struggle to prove their innocence. I am hopeful that making this change might make the book more acceptable to churches and youth groups.

SO THE STORY IS ABOUT THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL?

Yes, very much. It is still a story about a preacher’s son trying to live up to the expectations and disappointments of others as well as the struggles with peer pressure, temptation and racial discrimination.

YOU MENTION RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AS ANOTHER THEME IN THE BOOK. HOW DO YOU VIEW THIS ANGLE OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN LIGHT OF RECENT SOCIAL EVENTS?

Discrimination of ANY kind is not right and should not be practiced. It is true that my book has the point of view of a white person dealing the discrimination from fellow black students. Again, this is a real issue and regardless if it is white, black, Hispanic or any other group, this storyline works to show what can be accomplished when people come together regardless of their skin color. I still think it is a story worth telling from any point-of-view.

THERE IS ALSO CONFLICT BETWEEN COLTON AND HIS FATHER IN THIS BOOK. DOES THIS REFLECT YOUR OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE?

Yes, it shows the never ending struggle for a son to gain approval from his father. I did experience this with my own relationship with my father. It was a struggle for us to have a real father-son relationship until the very end. My father passed away in 2018 but he actually read the book during his last days. He never said what he thought of it or if it had any impact on him. I can only hope he read the book to the end.

ARE THERE ANY SEQUELS PLANNED FOR THIS BOOK?

Right now there is a sequel in the outline stage. It will take on the story of Colton’s daughter Carrington and her struggles with becoming a female football player. She will be much like Esther from the Old Testament story.

THIS REVISED VERSION OF YOUR BOOK IS SELF-PUBLISHED LIKE THE ORIGINAL BOOK?

Yes, I tried for a year to get this revised version published through a traditional publisher but there were no takers so I decided to go through PublishDrive to review and send this book out again.

HOW WELL DID THE ORIGINAL BOOK DO?

Not well I’m afraid. I spent a lot of expense in a promotional campaign and networked with several of my pastor contacts with expectations that they would help me in promoting the book in their churches but that never really happened. It was disappointing but it could have had something to do with the sensitive parts of the book I mentioned earlier. I was also under the naïve impression that simply putting a book on Amazon would be enough. That was a rookie mistake. One highlight I won’t forget is that my friend, Tom Mobley, mentioned the book in one of his radio broadcasts of a high school football game. That was pretty awesome.

With this revised book release I have more realistic expectations and hopefully it will do better but I’m not going to quit my day job.

REFRESH OUR MEMORY ABOUT THE STORY

This is the story of Colton Preston. He is a preacher’s kid who lives with his parents in a small Georgia town. Colton is a rising star on the high school football team. He has friends and a girlfriend there. His world is turned upside down when his father decides to move the family to Savannah, Georgia. Colton must now deal with a new church and new school while missing his girlfriend, Belle. Colton tries to adjust to his new school and new team but faces racial obstacles that challenge him more than his talented arm. If you loved “Facing the Giants” and “Remember the Titans” you will love this story.

WHERE CAN WE GET THE BOOK?

The book is currently only available as an ebook but it will soon be available in a print edition.

Here are the places you can download the book for $4.99:

Apple Books

Rakuten kobo

Bookmate

When It’s More Than A Game

This week players from the National Basketball Association (NBA) walked out of their postseason Disney tournament in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Honestly, my first reaction was: “Oh, is the NBA still playing?”

Yes, the NBA is still trying to finish their season which was delayed by the shutdown from the pandemic (which, incidentally, is still going on).

So these millionaire professional athletes decide they aren’t going to show up for “work” in protest of the shooting. While I fully support protests, I honestly don’t know what good it does for professional athletes to refuse to go to work. To bring attention to the issue? Well, I kinda think it has already gotten lots of attention.

So what happens to the normal people like you and I if we called our places of employment and tell them we aren’t going to show up for work to protest the shooting of Jacob Black in Wisconsin? Do I really need to answer that? We would be lucky that we had a job to go back to. And in the end, would our walk out really do any good? Does it really do any good that the NBA walked out?

Nope.

I can tell you that politicians aren’t going to give a darn if any of us walks out on our jobs to protest anything.

The NBA or any other leagues not playing isn’t going to hurt anybody. Sorry, but that’s just the reality. Nobody cares that a millionaire athlete refuses to play a game or practice with their team. Sure, it’s a good emotional gesture at the moment but it’s soon forgotten as the media moves on to the next sound byte.

So, go ahead and walk out. Kneel or lay down during the playing of the national anthem. It’s going to take more than that.

Hey, I love sports and I write a lot about it but in the end it is still a game. It’s hard to take someone serious who walks out on playing a game.

The 13 teams still playing in the NBA Disney tournament resumed practice on Friday and will start playing their games again on Saturday.

So what was accomplished?

Bacon Serves Up Title For Macon

In this weirdly bandaged baseball season, the Macon Bacon made the most of it by giving Macon their first baseball title in 58 years.

Just in their third season, the Bacon used a double-play to defeat their coastal rival Savannah Bananas 6-5 to win the Coastal Plain South Championship on Sunday.

It was the first professional baseball title for Macon since the Peaches won the 1962 South Atlantic League (SALLY) championship with a team which included then-minor league player, Pete Rose. The Peaches defeated the Knoxville Smokies three games to one for the title.

The Coastal Plain League is a collegiate wood bat league, which is an outlet for college players to get extra work and be seen by pro scouts during their schools’ offseason, was originally supposed to have 15 teams scattered from northern Virginia to south Georgia.

Because of the pandemic, many of those teams opted out.

Seven of the 15 teams in the Coastal Plain League have been playing this summer. Two teams in North Carolina and two teams in Virginia make up the northern pod, while the two Georgia teams and one South Carolina team make up the southern pod. Each team was scheduled to play roughly 20 against the other teams in their pod, and roughly 20 exhibition games against assorted lower-level summer-collegiate teams.

The Bacon took a 6-0 lead early with a three-run homer run Josh Hood home blast in the third inning. The Bananas made things interesting with scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the 6th to make it 6-4. For the rest of the game, it was a pitchers duel. The top of the 9th came around, and the Bananas were able to put another on the board to make it 6-5. Runners were on the corner when the Bacon were able to turn a classic 6-4-3 double play to win the game.

Although the league season is done, the Bacon-Banana rivalry will continue with the Breakfast Bowl which features a nine-game exhibition between the two teams set to begin Thursday in Savannah. The teams will play single games Thursday through Saturday for the next three weeks. Five games will be in Savannah and four in Macon.

Don’t Laugh But…Is Bubble Ball The Safest Pandemic Sport?

When I first saw this game on a Disney Channel show several years ago I laughed at how silly it looked. Today my reaction is more of an “I wonder….” since months of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected us and the sports world.

Is this Bubble Ball sport the safest pandemic sport?

Probably but don’t expect to see a pro league anytime soon. It’s mostly a recreational, team-building sport that most really don’t take serious although there are some serious leagues scattered around the world.

Bubble football was first created in Norway by Henrik Elvestad and Johan Golden in 2011,[8] when it made an appearance on their TV show, Golden Goal.[9] The game was spread in the UK by Lee Moseley who self-financed.[10] By 2014, the sport had reached New Zealand[11]. Now in the US it is overseen by its governing body, the BBA.

Players play in half-encased inside an inflated bubble which covers the player’s upper body and head. Just having a sport which covers the face gives it an advantage in safety precaution against COVID-19. This game is typically played in teams in large indoor spaces or outdoor fields and follows the same objectives and overall rules as regular soccer.

Watch a video of the sport here.

The Bubble Football World Cup was scheduled to take place in London in May 2018; however, I have not been able to find any reports on the results or if the event was ever held.

In the U.S., the only organized competition that pops up is the Bubbleball Business Association (BBA). It was established 2014, Bubbleball Inc. is a distributor of highest quality bubbleball equipment. The organization claims over 100,000 participants spanning dozens of communities, and the Bubbleball Business Association (BBA) made up dozens of businesses, distributors and educational partners, we support development of community bubbleball programs, businesses, events and tournaments domestically in the United States and internationally.

You can read more about the BBA here.

I’m not sure any forms of bubble ball is quite ready for the big leagues yet and will have a hard enough time to be taken seriously as a real sport but, as a thought, it does look like a sport that is pandemic safe.

Pandemic Is Sacking Football Season

When the pandemic halted sports in March, it seemed at the time that football season would be safe. Now as we approach kickoff, several leagues, conferences and teams have surrendered to concerns over safety and uncertainty of the effects of COVID-19. COVID-19 concerns contributed to four of the 10 FBS conferences canceling their season in 2020. The Big Ten, Mid-American Conference, Mountain West Conference and Pac-12 are out. A total of 54 schools have postponed their fall football season.  That leaves 76 of the 130 schools still in. The ACC, American Athletic Conference, Big 12, Conference-USA, SEC and Sun Belt, along with a few independents, still planning on playing.  

Honestly, I have thought that the entire year of sports should have been shutdown. I am a sports fan and hate to admit it but I think that would have been the smartest thing to do. Instead, we are getting a patched up version of our favorite sports. Major League Baseball is playing in front of cardboard fans, the National Hockey League is finishing their season playing without fans in Toronto and Edmonton and the National Basketball Association is playing in Disney World.

Now college football conferences have been dropping the fall season. I have also seen several high school football teams either postponing or cancelling their seasons. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is still pressing ahead with playing this fall and, honestly, rather stubborn about it. What will be the quality of the season if they play? What will it mean is yet another SEC team wins the “national championship”? Will there even be a national champion this season?

The National Football League (NFL) is also pressing ahead with their season. They cancelled the preseason schedule but appear to moving forward with the regular season without any delays. Most teams will play with limited fans in the stands. Some teams may need to pipe in some fan noise.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Dude Reviews Zagg’s Slim Book Go

When I upgraded recently to my iPAD 10.2, the search was on for a new keyboard case. Anyone that knows me knows how obsessed I am about finding the right keyboard for my devices. For three months, I tried (and returned) many keyboards. Some came close but none checked off all the boxes of what I wanted.

Here are some of the MUST haves that were on my list:

  • Detachable keyboard
  • Backlit keys
  • Slot for Apple Pencil
  • Easy kickstand

After months of searching for the right keyboard case to fit my specifications, I found it. From the moment I opened the box, inserted my iPAD and started typing, I knew this was going to be a keeper. The Zagg Slim Book Go is THE keyboard case.

Here are some of the PROS and CONS about this keyboard case:

PROS:

  • Lightweight – The case is very lightweight. It won’t weigh down your backpack or if you want to carry it with you to lunch. The iPad is completely protected inside the case but it isn’t bulky.
  • Easy typing – I am a very fast typist so they keys have to be constructed for my style. At first, I was a little skeptical of the rounded keys but they have actually not hindered my typing at all.
  • Sturdy but not stiff keyboard – The keyboard is light but sturdy. I can use it in my lap without any problems although it does take up my entire lap.
  • Backlit keys – Very useful for low light conditions. There are seven different color combinations for your preference.
  • Easy detachable – There is absolutely no struggle with detaching the iPAD from the keyboard. Nothing complicated about it at all.
  • Holder for Apple Pencil – There is a slot for the Apple Pencil on both the iPAD case when you want to remove the iPAD or on the keyboard. Unlike other cases which attach a holder on the outside, this is safely stored on the inside when the case is closed.
  • Multi-device pairing – Although not a feature I was looking for, it is a nice thing to have when you are switching between your iPAD and iPhone.
  • Kickstand – This opens differently than most other cases with kickstands. Opening the stand from the top down makes it a lot easier to use on your lap.

CONS:

  • Magnet could be stronger – I like it that the keyboard easily detachs from the case but it probably could be a bit stronger. It is barely magnetic. The Apple Pencil isn’t as secure either with the magnetic holder. This is weakest part of the product.
  • Not completely perfect for lap use – While you CAN use the keyboard case in your lap, it isn’t exactly the same as a laptop. The good news is that since you can detach the keyboard, you can prop up the iPAD close by and use the keyboard in your lap.
  • A bit pricey – At almost $100 it is fairly expensive but it is worth the price. A lot better than blowing your money on Apple’s keyboard cover. I think they could come down on the price a bit. It took me a few paychecks to have the funds to purchase this one.

Let me tell you from someone that gets obsessed with keyboards, you need to try this one! If you are looking all the options I required, I am pretty sure you will be satisfied with it as well and your search will be over. It is a very versatile keyboard case. I didn’t want to limit my case to only be limited to a laptop-only configuration. I wanted to be able to use my iPad as a tablet when I wanted to read or play games then configure it for when I want to type a document.

I can honestly tell you that I have had no thoughts of returning this keyboard case. No doubts about it and I am no longer doing any exhaustive searches for other keyboard cases. For me, this is the right case.

For more information about Zagg’s Slim Book Go: https://www.zagg.com/en_us/slim-book-go-apple-ipad-10-2

Don’t Fall When Ministers Fall

People fail. It happens.

When a minister that you listen to falls into sin, it is disappointing. A punch in the spiritual gut. If you aren’t careful, it can shake your faith too.

A few days ago I learned that a popular minister confessed to acting inappropriately to his female employees. I was shocked. I still am. I enjoyed listening to his teaching – not so much his preaching – and I even went on a tour of Israel with him (along with 349 other people). I have to admit that the report of his fall threw me a bit.

I should know better. I have been disappointed by many ministers in my lifetime.

It’s a miracle that I have continued to be a believer at all. From having a father that was a minister who once told me his members were more important than me to my last pastor who kept looking at his watch when I needed someone to talk to. This latest disappointment reinforces my feelings about church and the ministry. I don’t foresee that I will even return to a church.

Again I have to remind myself that it is more important to follow God than to follow men. These ministers are not substitutes for a personal relationship with God. They aren’t God. They are human and humans fail. It’s just that we hold ministers at a higher level of expectations.

So what is a believer supposed to do when a minister falls? For me, I am removing this minister from my lists of podcasts and I won’t listen to their teachings in the future. It is important to keep focused and maintain my own relationship with God. I know what I am supposed to do and I need to continue to do it.

Yes, I know we are supposed to forgive and we know that God does forgive but we have to be honest that things won’t ever be the same. This minister is now on a “sabbatical” which means he will return when all of this dies down. He will ask a tearful forgiveness and continue his multi-million dollar business in ministry.

When a minister falls into sin and disappoints us, we don’t need to go down with them. What it should do is remind us to keep the faith and work on our own weaknesses. We all have something that wants to bring us down. I have been disappointed by ministers and the church way too many times to let this bring me down.

If I could tell you anything about this it would be that if you like a minister, you need to be very cautious and tie your faith into that preacher or church. It’s okay to like preachers and have your favorites but you’d better be vigilant. Put your faith in God, not man.

Fallen ministers usually trip up in one of three ways: sexual temptation, greed or pride. These things aren’t just limited to ministers but we all must be conscious of them as well but when these things trip up spiritual leaders, it really takes the wind out of us.

Don’t focus on the preacher or the church! It’s about God. Talk to Him for yourself. Just because a minister has a ministry on YouTube or Television doesn’t mean they are right. Just because they promise “blessings” if you will “sow a seed” into their ministry doesn’t mean it will happen. Don’t fall for it.

If you ever listen to someone, make sure you have your brain turned on and alert for those keys words “I believe” and “sowing a seed”. If you are not strong in your faith, you could fall for whatever version of Jesus they are selling.

Many years ago, I drove over a hundred miles a few times to attend a dynamic church in Atlanta, Georgia. The preacher had a TV ministry and it was an amazing experience. Years later it came out that he was having inappropriate relationships with women in the church and a DNA test revealed that his nephew was – in fact – his biological son. When all this came out I wondered if all of what I had seen and heard had been a lie. A show. Playing church.

If there’s one thing about this that I have seen is that if a minister is sinning in secret that God will eventually reveal it. He’s not going to put up with that crap.

Keep the faith. Don’t follow your faith in someone else.