Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

Marwedisms

I need something to calm myself down, so I’m posting my favorite quotes from Dr. Marwede (I’ve decided to call them Marwedisms) from today. Here they are, in no particular order:

“Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!”
– I’m still hoping he’ll sing a theme song someday. No luck today, though.

“They don’t have cars in (biblical) Greek!”

“A hippopotamus looks like a horse, doesn’t it?”
– As he shakes his head in a horse-like motion.

I don’t know what I would do if I had to take Elementary Greek so early in the mornings without Dr. Marwede! I always learn something from him (although it might not always be Greek).

What’s wrong with athletics in the state of Indiana?

I’m still fuming about the events in Indiana collegiate athletics that have transpired over the past 24-48 hours. Dwelling on these gets me to riled up, so I’m only going to hit each issue very briefly.

IU loses to North Carolina in a game they could have – quite possibly should have – won. They made a strong showing, in spite of poor shooting and free throw percentages. I’d rather have seen them won than have just a “strong showing,” though. Robert Vaden’s late-game heroics; 3 3-pointers in less than a minute, made me think of Todd Leary’s performance in the ’92 Final Four loss to Duke. It was, however, a false hope.

IU’s potential mediocrity on the basketball seems to be the least of the administration’s worries. Once again, they are searching for a new football coach, after firing Gerry DiNardo. They said they wanted to restore the winning tradition of IU football. Let’s look at that “winning tradition” for a moment, shall we? In their 100 year history as a program, the Hoosiers have been to a grand total of 8 bowl games. They even have a losing record in those games, with a 3-5 record. It doesn’t look like they will be improving upon that record any time soon. While the Hoosiers did end the season with a terrible record (3-8), and a humiliating loss to Purdue, there were some very bright spots, including upsetting two teams that were then ranked in the top 25 – Oregon and Minnesota. It really appeared that DiNardo just needed more time to turn the program around. It takes a whole lot of energy to reverse the downward momentum of a program that has had such a track record for losing for so long. Now, they have to start all over again. And in three years, they’ll be firing someone else because someone at the top has this idea that the Hoosiers were once a national powerhouse in football (with only one Rose Bowl appearance – a loss) and the program won’t turn around quick enough. What this program needs is consistency, not a revolving door of coaches.

Maybe they hope to hire Ty Willingham, whose dismissal pours salt into the already gaping wound of Indiana intercollegiate programs this week.

Then, of course, there’s the Purple Aces, who had to kick three players off the team for theft. I believe Coach Merfield made the right decision. After all, they admitted to the crime. I wonder how the decision to do something like that came about…

“Hey, man! I’m bored. Everyone is gone for Thanksgiving.”
“Yeah, me too. Wanna have some fun?”
“Sure. What’s your idea?”
“Let’s go break into someone’s stuff and steal a laptop!”
“Dude, sounds like fun. I don’t care if I get kicked off the basketball team and ruin my opportunity at an education worth much more than a computer. I really want to have some fun. Let’s do it!”
“Let’s go.”

Real smart, guys.

The Aces still won without them, and are off to their best start in five years.

We need to leave Tennessee…now!

That’s it! I’ve had enough of the South. I can’t take it anymore. I figured something like this was going to happen, but not so soon.

My son has become a NASCAR fan.

To be more specific, a Jeff Gordon fan. I can recognize a handful of drivers and their cars – Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – but that’s about it. I have no real favorites in NASCAR. I really don’t think it’s as exciting as open-wheel racing. I know Aiden likes racecars, though. So, I made sure he got to watch the beginning of whatever race was going on this past Sunday.

So – he sees the number 24 car and asks, “Who’s that car?” I told him, and he proceded to tell me that he wanted Jeff Gordon to win. I didn’t think much of it until he kept cheering for Gordon and got mad at me when I started to cheer for Tony Stewart (just to see what he’d do). He even began to pout when Gordon didn’t win the race.

A little concerning.

Then, to compound things, my parents took us to the NASCAR Cafe for dinner last night – kids eat free, and the atmosphere was cool with the race stuff all around. They also were carrying the basketball and football games. It’s pretty good food; worth a return trip. But I digress. As we were leaving, Dad pointed to a picture and asked Aiden who the guy was.

“Jeff Gordon!” he yelled at the top of his lungs. Now he recognizes the guy’s face. No car or #24 was anywhere to be found in the picture. He has adapted too quickly to the culture here.

I’m going to go tell Christy we need to pack up our stuff and move back to Indiana, where basketball is king.

Anyone have any extra boxes?

Church & Thanksgiving

I’ve been to my share of church-wide Thanksgiving celebrations. None of them are on Thanksgiving, few were even close to Thanksgiving. We talk about the church becoming our new family…what better group of people to share a day like Thanksgiving (or Christmas) with than church family members. I think family traditions are important. I vividly remember the Thanksgiving dinners at Grandmama’s and Grandpa’s, with the mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and way too much turkey. I don’t necessarily think the church should discourage such traditions and memories. I do think, however, that churches could encourage all of us to expand our definitions of family and perhaps create new traditions with the family we share in the body of Christ. I have only recently begun to develop some strong ideas about the church’s role in the holiday season, and the church as our family.

Couple this with my continual dreaming about a new church reaching a new generation in Evansville, and here’s what I’ve come up with so far: a church-wide celebration of Thanksgiving. Everyone comes together on Thanksgiving, bringing one or two favorite dishes, which can become regular staples at the dinners. After sharing the dinner, it would be great to have a worship service focusing on thanking God for all He has done for us. I even think an open mic would be appropriate so people could share with the rest of the family.

After dinner and the service (or before, depending on the time), the football games would be on, so people could watch them together. I think even having a “Turkey Bowl” flag (or touch) football game later that evening could be a fun, community-building tradition. I think it is important for churches to help create memories the community can share – that helps encourage the community to stay together and grow closer to each other. Shared memories encourage shared lives.

If people have commitments with their extended families, they would be more than welcome to invite them to the church Thanksgiving meal, sharing their traditions with the expanded church family. Of course, there would be no pressure to join such a celebration. If a family chooses to celebrate their own Thanksgiving with their own traditions, I think that should be accepted. No pressure should be placed on anyone to attend a gathering such as this – especially when it involves going out of town to visit family members. In an area near a college, however, there will be many people too far away from home and family to return home for a Thanksgiving weekend. To them, the church truly would become their extended family.

I was excited yesterday (no, not just because of the pumpkin pie) because I saw a little of this dream expressed by someone else. We had our Thanksgiving dinner with around 40 other people from our church. Amazingly enough, all of us were “transplants,” with no extended family in the area. The church, in essence, was helping us realize that the Christian family is far more than our biological heritage. It’s our spiritual heritage as well. We became a little more of a community yesterday.

Now we just have to work on the Turkey Bowl. I heard that Evansville used to have the Refrigerator Bowl at one time…but that’s a different story.

Just wait till I talk about my Christmas thoughts.

More than meets the eye!

I just read on Sci-Fi news that they’re working on a new Transformers movie! A guy who grew up a Transformers fan is supposed to be the driving force behind it. Hopefully it will be worth the wait! Most of these revival films aren’t worth the film they’re printed on. I really hope this one is different!

Wonder if they’ll have the originals: Ironhide, Starscream, Bumblebee, the Dinobots and Constructicons, etc. or the “New Generation” with Goldbug, Arcee, and the rest from the first theatrical release. Hopefully they won’t use just the new ones (ReGeneration?)!

Here’s hoping for a quality film worth seeing in the theaters!

My Youth Minister

“Moses parts the Red Sea, Jonah lives in the belly of the whale, Daniel survives a night with the Lions…

And Todd Bussey gets married?

That’s how my youth minister from middle school and high school opened the letter announcing his recent engagement! And there was much rejoicing!

Having been at Crossroads/Cullen Avenue for 20-odd years, Todd has, unfortunately, become a rare breed in the current climate of churches and their ministers. I look up to him as an example of what a minister is and what a minister should be. Don’t get me wrong – I know he’s not perfect…none of us are. I just know that if I could look back on my life and say I had a ministry that impacted people like Todd’s has, then I’ll feel pretty confident that I made a difference.

So, this perpetually single guy, who has made a difference in countless lives (including my own), is finally getting hitched! I want to do everything in my power to make it to the ceremony in December. After all, he came to my wedding (of course, he had to – he co-officiated the ceremony), and I would give anything to be able to share the joy of that day.

We’ll see how it all pans out. I only have a few weeks to arrange the details.

Congratulations, Todd! The Lord does provide – in His timing!

IU a Mid-Major?

OK, it’s not quite that level yet. It could feel like it by the time the conference schedule rolls around.

Barely squeaking by against Indiana State, who is predicted to be in the bottom of the Missouri Valley Conference, is nothing to be happy about. Not with the rest of the non-conference schedule looming like a huge shadow over the entire Hoosier state.

Connecticut, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Kentucky, NC Charlotte, even Oral Roberts (predicted to win the Mid-Con) and Missouri are all huge obstacles to overcome this year before the Big Ten even begins. Ten years ago, I would have said, “Bring ’em on!” After watching IU fall apart against one of the toughest non-conference schedules in Division I, it pains me to look at the upcoming schedule.

It pains me to hope for a winning record before the Big Ten season.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on the “Fire Mike Davis” bandwagon. He inherited most of this mess. IU has been pretty much impotent since the days of Damon Bailey – which was mid-90s! Even with some very good talent – Luke Recker, Jason Collier, Neil Reed (I wince to even mention any of those three) – they would fold under the pressure against the likes of a Kentucky. You could see the defeat in their eyes, and could tell they didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to pull it off. Of course, I know I wouldn’t have done any better. Any of those guys would wipe the floor with me. My skill level, however, is not the issue here.

This year, there’s another highly touted recruiting class, similar to the hype of the Cheaney/Graham/Graham, etc. class. Here’s where my concern about Davis’ coaching comes into play. All last season, he kept saying, “We’re young. It’s taking them a while to get what I’m saying.” You know, by mid-season, I don’t think you can use the “We’re young” excuse anymore – especially when you have two seniors who were pivotal in getting you to the Championship Game in ’02. Those excuses, coupled with Davis’ explanation of his coaching style during the press conferences at that same Final Four (essentially, “I coach like the NBA…I have a direction they need to go, and I just let them play”) doesn’t really add to a good showing from this incoming class. They’re young. They’ll need guidance on the floor. Rather than using that as an excuse, they need to be coached, they need to be led! You can’t just let them go out and play. Somewhere, fundamentals need to be re-introduced.

I didn’t get to watch the game tonight. Local broadcasts from Indiana are kinda hard to get in Northeastern Tennessee. I did, however, manage to pick up the Ft. Wayne radio station (go figure?) for the last 2 minutes of the game. I can’t say what the team looked like, but I do know they were sweating it out till that last set of free throws.

That was against the Sycamores…

not exactly a national powerhouse.

Hopefully that was the only wake-up call the Hoosiers needed for the season. If not, it’s going to be another long 12 months until the beginning of next season. A win is still a win, though. No matter how disappointing it may be.

I’m not ready to start the countdown to football season yet. That’s another area that supports the mid-major idea. IU, like most mid-majors, is essentially a non-football school. Someday soon, I hope they surprise everyone like Northwestern did a few years ago. It would be nice to see them become bowl eligible sometime this decade. I’ll still keep cheering for them, though.

“Never daunted, we cannot falter. In the battle, we’re tried and true. Oh Indiana, Our Indiana! Indiana, we’re all for you!”

At least UE is starting strong. Go Aces!! “Evansville, we hail to thee…”

Rho, Rho, Rho Your Boat

In Greek this morning, Dr. Marwede reminded us that Greek words can end in three consonants: “Nu, sigma, or…” he paused for an answer from the class. As usual, no one said anything. “Blank, blank, blank your boat.” He paused again for an answer. Finally, Melissa said, “Row.”

Good thing we have an Elementary Education expert in our midst. I think we would still be trying to figure it out if she weren’t there. Way to go, Bob!

I really think he should have sung the line. I really want to hear him sing something – maybe a TV theme song!

On another note, I really appreciated chapel today. There was a definite flow to the way the service progressed. That’s the kind of stuff I think is important. Maybe that’s why I get critical of worship services sometimes – I don’t see any unity within the order of worship. I believe a service should take us somewhere, like a drama. That doesn’t mean the worshipers should be manipulated, though. I realize there can be some tension there, but what’s life without tension? That would be too easy, wouldn’t it?

It’s too bad I can’t play guitar or piano, or any other instrument other than brass. I think I would have enjoyed being some type of worship minister. Fitting together a worship service, like pieces of a puzzle, has always intrigued me. Maybe someday I’ll learn something that will help!

Why do I hate puzzles, then?

I have learned that I really do enjoy some of this archaeology stuff. I guess in following the puzzle motif, I find it interesting how different archaeological finds are pieced together to come up with an answer about what happened, or what a culture was like. I find myself really getting into the inscriptions from Assyria about Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah and how it coincides with the account in Kings, Chronicles, and Isaiah.

I’ve even contemplated subscribing to Biblical Archaeologist, or something like that. What’s up with that?

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to dedicate my life to any such research/discoveries. I just find it interesting. And no, I don’t think archaeology is sexy!

I’m just a nerd, OK?

Quote

I found this quote when I was preparing for my “Spiritual Formation” group presentation (we got an A, thank you very much! I’m sure my cookies were the deciding factor). We were a little long-winded, so I had to cut this quote out. I want to make sure to comment on it in my journal for the class:

“Biblical Christianity is not a business. It is medicine for people sick unto death. It is healing by the Great Physician. Too often we want people to think in the narrow categories of American, Aristotelian, linear logic — we want to chart Jesus on a graph. We can’t do that. He won’t let us.” ~ Patrick Morley

That’s me! I know I have experienced God in many ways that I cannot explain or understand. I know from the Scriptures – especially the OT that God can be unpredictable at times (actually quite a bit). That doesn’t stop me from trying to categorize and predict what He will do, or where He will lead.

When I enrolled in Milligan, I laughed at the idea of pursuing a full-time vocational ministry…

After graduating, I scoffed at the idea of ever pursuing a Masters degree, especially if it involved returning to the Tri-Cities region…

In my youth ministry days, I said there was nothing else I would be doing the rest of my life; I would ESPECIALLY resist the idea of preaching on a regular basis…

I was wrong on all counts!

Shows what I know.

That’s why when I tell people about my dream (vision?) of reaching the west side of Evansville, I am always hesitant to expand upon it, because I don’t know where God is leading this yet! My ego and my pride tell me that I should be the one to move my family back to Evansville and start the church. I’ve even come up with names…either River City Chrisitan (or Community) Church, or Lamasco Christian (or Community) Church – if you don’t know what Lamasco is, you have to look on a map of the Evansville area from, like, 1860, or something like that. Believe me, it’s important to West-siders!

I look at all these plans and ideas that I have, and then remember what my experience is – God’s plans are not necessarily my plans. Why else would I be at Emmanuel School of Religion? I definitely need to sit back and wait on God’s leading and His design before trekking out and doing what I think should be done. I do know that God put this passion to reach the west-side of Evansville within me for a reason. What that reason is, I’m not entirely sure.

It’s time to buckle up and enjoy the ride. I’m sure God is going to take me places I hadn’t even dreamed!

I hope I don’t get motion sickness.

1st Attempt

I’ve meant to begin my Journal for quite a while now. Hopefully this will be a nice supplement to the newsletter I’m supposed to start sending out for my SMI support-raising.

We’ll see, my finely feathered friend…

We’ll see, indeed.