A response to a conversation started on Facebook after I commented to support Minnesota Vikings fans after a tough loss. Follow that here.

Okay, here’s some perspective from a non-NFC north fan.

I’ve lived in five NFL markets: Pittsburgh, Miami, DC, Detroit, and now the TC. Again, I’m a Miami fan.

The Pittsburgh fan base is one of the most loyal, faithful, authentic groups in the league and in my opinion one of the top 5 in the league. I have every reason to hate them and they Miami. The Stellars (w. pa. accent) essentially ended the Miami dynasty in the 70’s and the two cities are complete existential opposites. Yet never once was I drilled by a Pittsburgh fan for my Miami aqua #13.

Miami fans are among the most definitively fair weather in the league. Most of the true Phins fans moved away in the 80’s when the racial issues killed the city’s authentically blue collar population. Its not that the remaining don’t care but why would you spend time on a mediocre team when you can enjoy one of the largest party towns in the US where you can party way better on South Beach among far more visually pleasing scenery and cheaper with less emotional cost. Plus you’re only 90 minutes from Margaritaville. Nothing better illustrates the Miami situation than the fact that every home game this year has been a ticket sales sellout including next week’s pre-playoff, playofff vs the Stellars; but none has been an actual gameday attendance sellout.

As for the Skins, I think for the most part you can apply the statements about the Stellars to them as well. Miami ended their perfect 72 season with a SB W vs the Skins and about a decade later they pummeled a David Woodley led Phins team in the SB. The Skins are old school, the DC community is as unique an existence as there is in the NFL, and they love their team regardless.

No team better represents the state of their city/state better than the boys in Honolulu Blue. The fans are there in Motown, but they’ve been punished like very naughty children since anyone still alive can remember. Why would anyone still go to a Detroit game? I mean 10+ years with #20 only got them one NFC title game. What makes anyone with any common sense believe anyone on the current roster is going to lead them out of NFL purgatory? Yet, like robots they tune their DTV Sunday Tix package (games are blacked out like the sun rises) to the Lions and are safely asleep by halftime. Ford Field is gorgeous but in the end if the girls in the shoulder pads aren’t attractive why is anyone gonna care. That said, the minute the Lion-Cubs grow into men for a decade or so, watch out, the fan base will rise from their slumber and be one of the most rowdy in the league. They’re so bad they don’t even have the energy to notice I’m even wearing my Danny Marino threads.

That takes me to the TC where the first time I suited up in my Dolphins stocking cap and #13 and headed to class at NCU I was promptly informed by a well educated person wearing purple that “Miami sucks!”. And the echo resonates nearly half a dozen times a season since I came in the fall of 1999. While I’m not so much arguing that in fact “Miami doesn’t suck,” I am oft left wondering why anyone in the TC would even care if that statement is true. I say that to illustrate a point about Vikes fans, of which I can honestly say there are the faithful. But most of the vocal “fans”, for what ever reasons there might be good or bad, are so bitter about history in general that they are not able to rationally deal with losing a game even in the midst of a decent season. They have a great tradition and are very rarely truly awful but if you lived in a vacuum and landed on earth in December of any of the last 10 years except 1998 and spoke with the average Vikes fan, you would feel like they were supporting a team suffering through a Detroit Lions-like slump. Whether that frustration is a sign of passion or being sore losers (I don’t care how long its been since Tark played at the Met or if the Vikes ever won a “big game”) its a tired act the MN fans put on every year. I can fully see how Vikes can be annoyed by the Cheese or Halas Hall each year. But so many of the loudest Vikes fans couldn’t tell you who won the SB in 1977. That was the last time the Vikes played on Super Sunday, albeit, a loss to the Fighting Jon Maddens. The bottom line in my experience is they don’t even really know why they’re so bitter, its just an inherited sin of their fathers. Are the fans good? Maybe. Are they loyal? Sure. Are they tolerable. Just barely. Again not all are this way but every real fan is bitter when their club loses so, as hard as it is to believe, EVERYONE hurts when their team disappoints.

I know what its like to watch a team in your division rise from ashes to dominate the NFL. Remember I grew up with Indy in the AFC east. To know that the Pats and the IndyPonys have risen from classic NFL mediocrity to be two of the 3-4 premiere franchises just makes me ill. Plus our franchise’s greatest player was denied SB glory by the NFL’s most pure chokers, the Jills, through out the early 90’s. Top that off with an owner who threw $$$ at the Marlins to earn WS rings with money he made selling stadium naming rights to our building that only made profits during FB not Hardball games. And how Marc Anthony? That’s another blog. But never once have you heard me present scenarios for me to disown my team or create my own personal global warming bonfire with all the Dolphins gear I’ve collected over 28 years. Yet both have been bullet point items in many dissertation speeches presented to me by Vikes fans.

Nothing against Vikes fans or any other team’s supporters but this is just one guy’s experiences.

Here’s VLog #2 for those who are bored with their summer.

Here is the first in what I plan to be a series of VLOGs on my training for the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon. Sorry its so blah, but oh well. I’ll learn and I’m too lazy to do another one. Plus isn’t doing things in the moment what VLOGing is all about?

Here is a link to the blog of our friend and Comrade Tim Austin where you will find pictures of the lil’est comrade.



When considering the wide range of experience that a human being goes through during his or her existence, the truth of their personal theology is revealed. When existence that is usually internal synapse and sinew is exposed for all to evaluate, you often find out more than merely what one is made of. Laid open in life’s aftermath is something profoundly different than mere theory or science. Self evaluation in these moments is often far more devastating than the events pursuant to a cause initiating such searching. People of professed faith often state creeds or verses of sacred text that might favor a mantra more than a true statement of belief. During these moments of bare nakedness I find myself less resembling the Jesus of Gethsemane and more like the questioning, doubting father in Mark 9. Instead of selfless surrender to the one Hope I profess to have, I find more often a selfish, self-supporting, wandering, doubter calling out in disparate late moment need.

“It is nearly killing me! Help me. . . if you can.”

Painful divorce. Senseless death. Mind-numbing loss. 1-2-3! Deploy airbag! Jesus be near, NOW!

Please do not misunderstand what I am saying and bear with me as I progress through my own internal logic diagram towards a coherent statement. I think it quite obvious that Christ and his Holy Spirit are those on whom we are supposed to call in time of disturbance or unrest. This, I think, even my most diametrically opposed comrades would agree on. None the less, it is foundation which must be poured so that no one can confuse what is being stated as something other than what it is. That being a person who values a side of cognitive coherence with his meal of spiritual submission while working out his salvation with a very localized sense of fear and trembling.

It is within this context of working out my end of this salvation process that I find myself challenged and sadly lacking. Please again, do not purpose to me various flaws in my soteriology. Simply stated there are things we’re responsible for in the process of becoming more like Christ and those are the stairs of which I am stumbling up and down in this post. In Christ in his place of prayer in a garden historical moments before his salvation act was put into play, I see the model of a human life so otherworldly from the one I am able to approach. Because He was and is God he was fully aware, not merely of his pending physical torture, but also of coming face to face with being made sin for an entire history of people living and yet to come. From this he was not able to escape his human emotion as exhibited by his prayer for God to potentially intervene. But in the next, in my imagining, excruciating, exhaled, exhausted statement he offers the submission that I find so lacking in my own life.

“Father, not mine, but your will be done.”

And from there all of history is different, regardless of your understanding of the historical value of the synoptic gospels. At some point Jesus, fully God, gave himself to his Lord and Father. Willfully, though not without a recognizable humanity that questions even the most loving father. At various times in my life, profession of faith and creed have been self serving and passionately fear based responses to distasteful circumstance. But a question arises in my soul in these moments. Where does my human hard work and desire to get the job done while relying on no human assistance infiltrate my spiritual humility to acknowledge basic existence, Christian existence, is only but a gift hinging on the next God given breath? No intent is here being offered to spiritualize the basic things like getting out of bed and taking a shower or shifting in a seat while watching the 6 pm news. Interestingly though, when those precious human faculties are take from us by disease, accident, or age we suddenly crawl humbly to a merciful God begging his hand to make sacred those abilities that were wholly our own but a few days, weeks, or months ago. In a humorous and not intentionally offensive mental metaphor, I picture myself driving in a car nearly externally wall papered with Christianese bumper stickers, maybe even a God is my co-pilot somewhere on the rear. Sticky note Bible verses are at every eye level on the interior and are completed with a ‘Smile! Jesus Loves You!” air freshener on the mirror. But never is Jesus consulted before or after every voyage in that car. I travel on and on in all directions. Is God in the seat next to me? And Jesus surely loves me, but what of me towards Him? Let me not pretend I feel for His nearness as I operate that vehicle and certainly not on a sunny day. But when the accident happens, without fail I call out, “Help me, if you can.” Hoping for the Jesus air bag deployment. Hoping.

Of course as the vehicle spins slowly in freeze frame I do not expect that God desires us to offer the blood tinged sweat of Jesus as we cry out “not mine, but your will be done!” But I do think that He might like more than the occasional deductible payment in acknowledgement of the debt we owe. Instead He gets the auto pay, direct deposit version from us for weeks and months and years between incidents with maybe a few verse-a-day recitations and Passion Live album sing alongs while commuting so we do not have to change our life to model His. A life that, when made flesh and lived among us, was not a marketable “counter culture” figure head nor a slogan engineering entity, but instead was the One and Only full of unfailing love and faithfulness which led Him to bare the scorn of our sin and close the divide between us and our heavenly Father. And all to often I realize how separate I allow myself to get from that Love and Faithfulness which shines in the darkness that masquerades itself as light when life is going by so smoothly.

Obviously these thoughts are tied to the first chapter of the Gospel of John. In that text there is a statement about darkness that I miss often when I breeze through that early text before the testimony of the Baptist in regard to our Savior. The later portion of verse five says, “..and the darkness can never extinguish it.” But my NASB has a footnote that reads, “and the darkness has not understood it.” That sounds more familiar to my experience. Because my life exists in a darkened world its all too easy to misunderstand the Light, misunderstand my Savior, my salvation. Salvation is always salvation. Not just on days where the water is deep and the wind is strong. Not just on days when ease of life is mistook for self sufficient light.

Reading through an old book that I was to have consumed as a freshman in college ten years ago this fall, I found John Fischer and his writing in Fearless Faith. His question resonates within this internal conversation.

How much does my faith in Christ have to do with what I actually put my faith in? How connected to the things of this world do I remain place of willful and prayerful reliance on Christ and Him crucified, dead three days, and risen again? How much of my existence is based on my grasp of who I am in this world verses who I am in the eyes of my Savior? I am in deed far short of the model set by our Lord and no one I have ever met who has truly set out on that goal has ever felt differently. To pursue Him is only to find out daily more and more how Great he is and how small I am. None the less there is more than the way I have known the true Light that is the Life for man.

Being deeply wounded or afflicted in our day to day existence is authentically painful. But often my fear is certainly greater than my faith and that is the greater pain now realized. I cannot really have immobilized faith. More truthfully that would be doubt realized. Jesus response to our recognizable friend in Mark 9 reveals the offense I feel guilty of when he tells the man, “What do you mean, if I can? Anything is possible if a man believes!”.

There is no certain answer that I can know about the journalism questions of life. The five W’s and an occasional H of our human challenges and struggles will crush and rebuild us over and over again and in that I have no doubt. Who, what, when, where, why and how are never so easily deciphered as the issues they cause. Inside of these questions however is the life we are living. No one completely ever knows except God himself. Questions like the ones connected to an old man’s suicide or a young girls sudden unexplained death will most likely go by our sphere of understanding no matter the examination process we put them through. People who operate much like myself will certainly lose sleep at various times in those foggy paths.

My roommate and HQBR comrade Sports Dave and I have often stated that theology is not so much written as much as it is lived. Everyone is living an orthodoxy regardless of their awareness to that. As I experience more of the devastating quandaries this human life creates, it has become more and more of my desire to live a theology of belief. That is so simple and really silly and my seminary friends will all quickly lunge forward with their far more polished or at least examined views. There are choices we all make and within my life there is a thirst to be something closer to consistent. Something closer to not just a lonely everyday sameness, but a regular functioning believer despite circumstance. Choosing to believe will create a new frame to my everyday life because I will always be living what I believe whether I acknowledge that or not. Pairing down those beliefs is a never ending task that is a part of that working out my salvation that I spoke of earlier. Trembling and fear need not be regarding my situation, but instead in awareness of a great and mighty God who did for me what I profess to believe he did. Forward progress is difficult to discern in something as challenging this, but it is my hope that the orthodoxy I live is not made up of trite scripture quotation but the feel of my Savior speaking his words to me through the truth that was hidden in my heart as I grew in Him through out my life. It is with an intellectual understanding being connected to my spiritual need that I pray the words of the father in Mark 9.

“Lord, I believe, forgive my unbelief.” For with that unbelief lessened, it might be that my Lord is more of a savior and less of personal flotation device.

Hello friends and followers of HQBR. Recently your comrades at HQ have moved across the Twin Cities Metro area to lovely Robbinsdale. After two years at our home in Minneapolis the collective feeling was that we needed to move on to something different. It was apparent we needed a change of pace and a new place to call home. After much searching we came across a lovely place to call home. Following several weeks of deliberation we also decided upon a new name for our home.

With some input and feedback from friends across all boundaries of our lives, we decided to go with the suggestion of our dear friend/comrade John Davenport. Thus, the residence we now occupy will be referred to as “The People’s Co-Opperative” or “The Co-Op” for short.  We have not aligned ourselves with any one political group.  It is merely something that serves to satisfy our collective sense of humor. Please fear not for your dear Co-op brethren and the People’s Munchkin! It does however christen an new era in our lives where we would infact like our house to be your house. If you live in the TC Community we would love to have you over. The new era in our lives was opened with a barbeque last Saturday which marked out the plan of our co-operative housing alignment to be a meeting place for our fellow comrades.

No changes will take place regarding the name or web address of our blog so please continue to contribute to our collective media production here at HQBR. We look forward to your participation in future meetings at the “People’s Co-Operative”.

As a sports fan you know its coming. The day when your favorite jersey wearing heroes will unlace the footwear for the final time and walk down the stadium tunnel and out into the parking lot of the rest of their lives. Some will sit behind a desk and explain the details of a box and one defense or the intricacies of a triangle offense to a couple million viewers before the prime time broadcasts of the game they played for over twenty years. Others will only be seen at celebrity golf events. But more often than not, most will simply fade from public eye and be briefly remembered during video montages cued up by TV producers for filler during playoff halftime shows.

Some of these legends get their last moment of some thing special before they saddle up for the sun set ride like John Elway was able to enjoy. Others like my favorite gun slinger, Dan Marino, go out in an agonizing super nova of pain which included 6 pics and the most lop-sided playoff loss in franchise history. Elway solidified his legend. Marino only served to encourage the naysayers  who say a title is  everything. And who can really disagree? What do we think of Patrick Ewing? What about Hakeem Olajuwon? The difference? Stats? TV time? Legendary series? Try this: The Dream= 2 worlds championships, Knee Pad Pat= Zilch.

Here’s another: Clyde Glide vs. Scottie Pippen? Both on the 50 greatest list. Clyde went for 20.4 ppg, 5.6 apg, and 6.1 rpg. Scottie: 16.1, 5.2, and 6.4.  But all we remember is Scottie and MJ taking down Clyde and his Rose City Rippers in their classic finals matchup. But thats fair enough. History is ALWAYS written by the victors.

As I sat in front of the TV last night and watched game five of my beloved Celtics and the astoundingly athletic Chicago Bulls, something struck me as I watched the minutes tick down to around 360 seconds left. The C’s were down 11. They looked absolutely dead on their feet. Slow on defense. Lazy on offense. No legs in their jumpers. Arms no longer stretched out to clog up the lanes. This was the end of a short lived season of glory. Old man teams don’t come back from 3-1. Thanks for the moment last season KG, Ray, and Paul. At least we kept ahead of the Lakers for a few more years. Oh me of little faith.

Then the Truth made himself known. Paul was absolutely invisible for three quarters. He was a dead man on defense after chasing a long list of young legs around the New Garden with the old parquet for what was already most of five games before game five was at the half. But lest we forget, it was not KG or Ray or Kobe or Gasol who was the MVP in the first finals played in the New Gaaaaden. #34 wrote himself a new page in C’s lore that may not be his alone but history will certainly remember he was the biggest player on that stage. But the collective fan memory is a short sighted vision. Now Paul is old and struggling (sad a guy going for well over 23 a night in five playoff games is “struggling”). His legs have simply played too many games in 18 months (thanks TNT announcing team for that bulletin board post). The John Salmons and Derrick Roses and Ty Thomas’s of the world are simply too much for him to guard and then still perform the classic Pierce finishes that leave Celt’s fans grinning and opponents saying that was the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen! But the truth is, Pierce is still (and you can write this down) “the mo f-ing truth!’. (thanks Shaq Daddy for that immortal quote). With time running out on his season Pierce awoke to find the stroke. That nasty nearly impossible step back, drive way basketball garbage shot that he got to fall three times. Three times with everyone on both benches knowing he was going to win or lose the game himself. Three times with KG and his huge bottom lip and Brad Miller and his now crooked tooth watching. Three times with young studs Ben Gordon, Rajon Rondo, and Rose all looking on as Pierce performed doctorate level work in NBA legend building. You see its not always if you’re the high scorer as Gordon learned in game three. Its certainly not how many points you score in the first quarter. But when the game is on the line and everyone in every time zone on the planet knows you’re getting the rock, and everyone in the galaxy knows exactly where you’re going to be when you shoot it and exactly how its going to look when you do? And then you do it three times? That is why every kid in every barn yard, back alley, or driveway the world over shoots every twilight shot they can from their money spot until its too dark to see the rim.

Chicago is a great team and against almost anyone else playing right now, I would be on their side. Gordon is an assasin. With a few more takes into the NBA playoff lane Rose will learn how to be the unstoppable finisher that the entire league will love and fear for the next decade. The mere sight of Joakim Noah makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth, but he is the type energy/heart  guy EVERY elite Association team needs to win a championship. Miller and Hinrich are talented all around players with a touch and an ‘tude that makes thump your chest proudly. Sure the Rondo/Miller foul will live in infamy and would most certainly have provided a second overtime encore had a flagrant been whistled, as it should have been. But lets not forget the lid was on the coffin with just under nine to go in regulation. Noah had just uglied a bad carrom in to the hoop for a 10 point Chi-town lead and Boston had to call a 20 second TO with about 7:40 to go. With Gordon heating up and things getting uncomfortable for the hometown team, Ray fouled out with three minutes left on foul that seemed awful soft for the playoffs, ironically a double call on Miller as well. Pierce was still MIA. Then with everything building to a fiery conclusion Paul gave us all a world class dose of foreshadowing with 10 ticks left to tie the game. His 16 foot stepback was nuthin’ but twine and KG’s lower lip was as swollen as ever. Finally, lets not for get that Mr. Gordon had a clear and solid look at a shot with time expiring that didn’t fall. Everything Chicago needed to go right happened on Tuesday night. The Bulls might have got hosed but they have no one to blame but themselves and a large spoonful of bad playoff medicine.

Boston is mostly likely going to come up short in their title defense this year. Should they get past Chi-town sans KG and Leon Powe, the awaiting  Superman, Bron-Bron, and Kobe all figure to be too much for a repeat of their 2008 magic. But for three glorious possessions as time dwindled down in overtime Paul Pierce showed that this is still his team. This is still his building. Gordon and Rose will have their day, maybe even in this series. But Tuesday night Paul summoned up the courage to shoulder “legendary” like so many before him did, for maybe the most legendary of all non-Yankee franchises in pro sports. I will not revert to any more henious puns about his nickname in relation to his performance, but for all guys my age who only saw the 80’s big three when they were arthritic and past prime, Paul is our guy. We knew all along he just needed some support and he would show the entire world what he could do. Even if it was the last time we get to see that nasty beast of a fade away rain down like drops of gold into our playoff memories, we’ll always have that performance. Pierce is not that old but teams like the Bulls and guys like Dwight and Lebron are just too good to keep away for much more than a few years. After Tuesday I can be proud of #34. In a few years when that number goes to the rafters next to 33, one down from 32, and kitty cornered from my personal favorite, 00, no one will doubt that is where it belongs.

Thanks Paul, I am very thankful to have seen the Truth these last few years. I am a believer once again.

Let’s get 18! GO C’S!!!


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