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!"

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!"

Cows!

The neighbor’s cows broke free this afternoon. We had an authentic Nativity scene in our front yard today! The picture is a little out of focus, but the colors to the left are the wise men and shepherds bowing before baby Jesus. Here is the view from our front porch.

Oh, the things we see in Tennessee!

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Be wary of seminary graduates who think they have to justify all of their years of study and accumulating knowledge! This site cracks me up! If you don’t have a sense of humor, don’t go there!

Preaching Hezekiah

When I did my research for my OTI paper, I was amazed at how much extra-biblical evidence exists surrounding the biblical account of Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem. In all of the sermons I’ve sat through, and all of the Sunday school lessons I’ve endured, I don’t even remember hearing about Hezekiah, let alone the siege. And there is so much about it. Not only that, but the whole account of Hezekiah and his reforms, sparking a revival in Judah, will definitely preach!

Then there’s the Siloam Tunnel, which is attributed to Hezekiah’s reign. Construction began with diggers starting on opposite sides, digging toward each other. When they followed the plan, they stayed on track, doing pretty well. When they got closer to each other, they could hear the pickaxes of the other group. Rather than follow the plan, they started following the voices – and began zig zagging. When they took their eyes off the instructions, they began to go astray.

If that won’t preach, I don’t know what will!

Why haven’t I heard of this before?

It’s broken! Please fix it!

For the second year in a row, I will not watch the supposed college football national championship being forced down our throats by the BS (yes, I mean B.S.) championship system. It’s too bad, though. The match-up is one for the ages.

It’s my little form of protest, I guess. The system is broken, and it needs fixing. How else could you describe the injustice against Auburn this year and USC last year? Don’t get me wrong – I am not an SEC apologist (sans Tennessee), in fact, I really can’t stand most of the teams in the conference. But Auburn deserves a shot at the national championship. They dominated one of the strongest conferences in the nation, allowing only one rushing touchdown all season (before the Vols scored 3 in the SEC championship game) – and that was to Kentucky, with their third-string defense in the game.

Simply put, the BCS is a scam. How can they say the national championship is being determined on the playing field when the teams that deserve to play don’t even get a chance to prove themselves by actually playing a game? At least with the old system, the match-ups weren’t decided solely on the whims of the pollsters.

The powers that be in the BCS machine say that the team that was “supposed” to win has always won. Not so this year. They can’t say that with certainty because not all of the worthy teams are in the Big Dance – of course, there’s only one game in this dance. Will there be a shared title again this year? Sounds like the system works, doesn’t it?

It’s time for a playoff system. No doubt about it.

And what about the Cal fans? After 45 years, the Golden Bears were finally destined for the Rose Bowl. Their hopes were crushed by the invitation of Texas to play Michigan. The way the system is, Cal should have received that bid. I know the slight would anger me if IU were skipped like that, and missed out on the “Granddaddy of them all.” I agree with the Golden Bears on this one.

I encourage everyone to watch something else on January 4, 2005. I wonder if CBS will run a CSI rerun?

Marwedisms II

I had to take the kids with me to school yesterday so I could take my final quiz in Greek. After I finished, we walked to Dr. Marwede’s office, and he was standing in his doorway, talking to another student. Aiden walked right up to him and said, “Hi, what’s your name?”

Dr. Marwede responded, “My name’s David. What’s yours? Let me guess, it probably ends with…Todd.” And he gave his goofy grin. I think it’s so great that kids are a welcome sight on campus! It definitely makes my life easier!

OK, so Dr. Marwede didn’t say this, but it was an Emmanuel prof, so it gets grafted into the Marwedism list by an act of Congress:

“Ishmael just didn’t make the cut…no pun intended”
– Dr. Rollston, in discussing Yahweh’s preference to Isaac over Ishmael

Oh, the seminary laughs just keep on coming!

The Aces drama continues

More information has come out about one of the students kicked off the UE basketball team. Someone has had some sticky fingers for awhile, it seems.

Good job, Coach Merfield, on handling the situation fairly. You gave him a second chance, and he blew it. You are to be commended.

Do colleges run criminal background checks on their prospective athletes? Should they?

I love Ft. Wayne!!

Ft. Wayne, Indiana, is now my favorite Hoosier city. It is because of them, and their super-powerful, ultra-mega, gargantuan talk radio station, 1190 AM, WOWO, that I am able to listen to IU basketball games live over the radio. I guess they turn up the juice at night, and the signal is strong enough that I can receive it at home (in the valley), and even better in my car! Thank you Fort Wayne, I love you!

Speaking of receiving radio stations from far away, I ran across an AM station broadcast in New Orleans last night after the IU game. Some guy was preaching his conspiracy theory about the Bible’s very specific prophecy about things happening right now. While I can see how some of the prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments, I don’t think it’s as extreme as this guy was teaching (I know the preacher’s name, but I don’t want to give him unnecessary publicity. If you really want to know more about him and his interpretation of prophecy, email me and I’ll send you the link.). True to the form of other extreme interpreters, he is a big-time conspiracy theorist. I guess Satan isn’t enough of an enemy for the Church, there also has to be a clandestine group of people secretly planning and controlling the events of the last two hundred years. These people planned everything from the French Revolution to World War I and II. This group is, of course, in cahoots with communist countries and secretly influencing democratic governments as well. In addition to that, the U.N. is the end-all, be-all of evil (I agree the U.N. is far from perfect – look at the oil for food debacle – but there are worse things in the world).

Of course, the United States and Britain comprises God’s chosen people. How do we know this? They said they themselves are Christian nations. And the British claim was confirmed by a Council in the 15th century. The 15th century? I’ll address that more in a moment. Another thing, according to this preacher, that makes the US and Britain God’s chosen countries is they threw off the yoke of false teaching by the Catholic church (the pope is, after all, the Antichrist). Anyone against the Catholics surely had to be the true Christian!

But if the Councils in the 15th century affirmed the religious heritage of Britain, doesn’t that mean they relied on the authority of a false teacher? Doesn’t that make such claims false as well? That makes too much sense, though, doesn’t it? But who said anything about making sense? I digress…

So, according to this guy, the US and Britain are the first nations to truly be Christian. Nevermind the Ethiopian, Orthodox, and Syriac Christians converted their nations centuries ago, back when the earth was flat. It is up to the West to save the rest of the world by throwing off the evil scheme inspired by Satan himself. At least, he said something like that.

The common argument I keep hearing about our religious heritage in the States is that America has always been a Christian nation. Maybe our country was established on some Christian teachings and basic beliefs that show a Christian worldview. Just because the founding fathers mention God doesn’t mean they were Christians – at least not the way we think of Christians practicing today. Many of them were deists – humanists who believed there is a Creator God who endowed His creation with a certain framework. Then, as watchmakers do, left His creation to run on its own – completely removed from the unfolding of its history and its people. We need to make sure we know our history before we start arguing from it.

Even if all of the founding fathers were evangelical Christians and the U.S. was established as a Christian nation, that does nothing for our practicing of faith today. Don’t get me wrong – I value our freedoms, and I believe they are God given. That freedom allows me to practice my faith. But, I cannot allow the fact that my country’s history is Christian to allow me to think that I am, by default, a Christian, and have no personal responsibility for my spiritual development. Such thinking can be destructive.

Sometimes I think people are barking up the wrong tree when court battles are fought over the presence of the 10 Commandments on the courthouse steps. Maybe we should be focusing our resources and passions on impacting others through the church, rather than through the government. If we impact the culture through each person, the presence of the 10 Commandments won’t be an issue. If we try to force the issue by means of the courts, doesn’t that put us in the same boat as those who are “legislating from the bench,” forcing the country to legalize gay marriage? I don’t think that’s what Jesus called us to do when he said “make disciples.”

That is the end of my rant, and the end of the history lesson. In the next class we’ll discuss the role of Star Wars in the blockbuster movie phenomenon.

Be sure to do your homework.

OK, I’m going to bed now. I didn’t expect to type this much. I just wanted to type about Fort Wayne, Indiana!

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.