Posted by: bigmikey | March 14, 2008

How to Be Happy, Additional Thoughts

Okay, first of all, don’t take the alarm clock thing too seriously.  If you have to be up before 6, that might be a little tough. I’ve gotten a few comments on that and I don’t want anyone to put too much focus on it.  My intent is to help us all go to bed and wake up peacefully. Life will go on if you still need an alarm.

Secondly, I was probably asking for it by blogging on happiness, but just after I published that post I got really sick with the flu.  My neck and head ached so much I had a hard time sleeping and lying down caused me quite a bit of pain.  So I got pretty grumpy.  I was in pain, tired, weak, chills, the whole thing.  I didn’t want to read, talk, or hardly even think. 

At one point I wished I could be quarantined, shot and burned.

As I’ve recovered physically, it has taken some time to recover emotionally.  Frankly, I’ve been “down.”  That has been very interesting and it’s been a great lesson for me.

The lesson is this: happiness, too, is a work of God’s grace.  When God withdrew his hand of blessing, enough so that I was weakened and sick, I was able to clearly see that happiness and optimism are not innate character traits I possess.  Rather, much of my happiness is indubitably linked to my relative health and welfare and whatever other joy I experience is simply a gift from God, a result of his work in my life, lifting me up.  Again, it is a gift, a work of God’s grace.

Note the Teacher’s exhortation from Ecclesiastes: “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:24-26).

Well then, how can I be happy if it is a work of God’s grace?  I mean, how to I do I set about winning the grace lottery if grace is “undeserved favor”?  How can I have it if it is out of my control?

Here’s a simple thought:  it can’t hurt to ask.  You know, just admit your need and ask God for the gift of grace and the grace to be happy in all circumstances, even a household influenza outbreak.

There’s an encouraging scripture to mention here: God resists the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.  Yeah.

Posted by: bigmikey | March 4, 2008

How to be Happy. (Well, it works pretty good for me.)

If you’re in a big hurry, this is the main idea:  Happiness is a series of small obediences.

Step One: Tonight, before going to bed, start to pray about what time God wants you to get up and ask him to get you up. 

When I was a bowling coach, we used to teach people to swing the ball properly by over-emphasizing the first quarter of the swing.  “What’s well begun is half done” – and it’s absolutely true.  Get the first hour or two of your day right and the rest will go pretty well too.  Or, if you find old Irish proverbs more inspiring than crummy coaching cliches, try this: “Lose an hour in the morning and you’ll be looking for it all day.”

I haven’t used an alarm clock for years, even before I had kids.  Bear in mind, I love sleep.  I made myself into a total slug-wuss during college.  Slept all the time – totally slugly.  Over the years, I’ve changed a lot and it’s probably because I’ve prayed about it a lot and asked Jesus to change me.  Life is kinda important.  Don’t wanna sleep through it.  Praise God he’s been helping me with that. 

Significantly, I have noticed that while sleep is pleasurable and beneficial to a point, my life is more satisfying (i.e. “happy”) when sleep is kept in perspective and Jesus’ mission is my main priority. 

To reiterate: tonight, pray about your sleep and what time God wants you up.  Ask him to wake you naturally.  I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to get up and praise Jesus when I’ve been woken out of a deep sleep by the RRA RRA RRA RRA of a crummy alarm.  You’ll be happier just by getting the alarm out of your life.

Step Two: Before going to bed, begin to pray about how you’re going to start your day.  Ask for Jesus’ help and direction.  He wants to give that to you.  I’ve found it really helps to firmly fix in my mind my first few steps in the morning, even if it’s nothing special.  Typically, my thinking as I lay my head on my pillow looks like this: Okay, I’m going to get up around 7.  I’ll start my oatmeal and read the Bible, then get ready and head off to the high school… or, then check my email and start studying…  I just find I wake up with more purpose if I have a clear plan when I fall asleep.

Step Two and a Half (When you get up): For us followers of Jesus, I think it’s best if we read the Bible before doing the other media, whether it’s radio, internet, whatever.  Some friends once told me their rule, and I think it’s pretty good: No Bible, no breakfast – no read, no feed.  It’s something little, but it helps me out.  About the internet: you’ll be a lot happier if you read the Bible first.  Like me, you can keep trying to learn things the hard way, or you can stop being a knuckle-head and really seek joy in Christ.  I know, I know – it’s the first week of free agency and you want to see what moves your team made.  It’s better to be well-informed on the moves God has made or is likely to make.  Read the Bible.

Step 3: Work hard all day on whatever God puts before you.  Take a 5 minute break every hour or whatever.  Something like that.  Whatever God puts before you, do the best you can with the time you have.  

Step Three and a half (While you’re working): If at any point you start to get the feeling God wants you to do something different – to start or stop this or that, call this person, get a drink, anything – DO IT.  Especially if it doesn’t necessarily make sense.  You’re not an idiot for doing something you don’t understand.  You’re an idiot if you ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  You will always lose when you do that.  You miss out on so much.  This, I believe, is the crucial step that many believers misunderstand.  We’re not experiencing the adventure and joy of following Jesus because we’re not on his mission, moment by moment.

Step Four: Don’t complain, ever.  Be glad you have a job, a house, a car, a wife, kids, all that.  If you’re reading this blog, chances are you are not some African peasant living on a subsistence diet of crushed yams that you farmed yourself and stored in a hole in the ground, hidden away from your bastard yam-stealing neighbor or the evil, despotic warlord of the region.  So your life is pretty good, even if you work for the man in a stupid cubicle with a conniving boss and canoodling, adulterous co-workers. 

If you ever have to choose between buying medicine so you can live or buying food to feed your children, well then, by all means – go ahead and grouse a little.  Until then, shut yer yap, work hard, and be glad about it.

That’s pretty much it.  Pray hard the rest of the day and you’re home free if you’ve started well. 

Addendums:

  • Take one bona fide day of rest a week.
  • Avoid television whenever possible.
  • Give money to noble, Christ-honoring causes.
  • Give up the illusion of control.
  • Read this blog regularly.
Posted by: bigmikey | February 22, 2008

Heh heh heh.

Last night my wife confronted me.

“WHY did you underline the passages in Proverbs about a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife?!”

Long pause.

For the life of me, I couldn’t think of what she was talking about.  I highlight a lot of stuff – I’ve got eight different colored pens and eight different colored highlighters.  It’s easy to forget what I’ve highlighted or why.

Did I preach on marriage and need to find those verses fast? Nooo.  Did I recently counsel a troubled couple and point them to those verses, conveniently highlighted in my Bible?  Again, nooooo.

“What Bible are you talking about?” I asked.

“Yours! Over there on the mantle.” she huffily replied.

Glancing over, I realized this was a Bible that had been left at the church about a year ago.  No one ever came back to claim it.  Not finding anything else handy, I took it to a small group the other night.   

I carefully explained it wasn’t my Bible.

But Jen wasn’t getting off the hook.  This was too fun.

“You’re pretty defensive,” I commented.  “Do you have something to confess?  Have you been quarrelsome and ill-tempered?”  I smiled down at her knowingly, tilting my head to imply compassionate sagacity.

“You’re not funny,” Jen muttered before shoving me in the arm and walking away.

Laughing, I encouraged her to repent.  I’m still waiting. 

I wonder how long it will be before she finds the Proverb that says, “Throw out the mocker and out goes strife, quarrels and insults are ended!”

There are many common misperceptions about God.  In this series, we will consider three of them: God the Cosmic Cop, God the Universal Professor, and God the Intergalactic Grandfather.  In our final piece we will consider the implications, tie it all together, and briefly explain a more realistic understanding of God as a holy and grace-filled Father.

God the Cosmic Cop is the favorite God of fighting fundamentalists (i.e. separatist baptists and backtothelanders who eschew a thoughtful hermeneutic for the security of rules), repressed Irish Catholics (Why are they so angry? Because God is!) and neo-fundagelicals (I don’t know who these people are, but I read about them here and I thought it would make me sound smart to reference them!  Also, I’m a preacher so I try to do everything with 3 points.).

God the Cosmic Cop is angry.  He’s been walking the beat and all he’s seen is human filth.  You know what I’m talking about.

Right now God the Cosmic Cop is watching you and slowly breathing out raspy threats between clenched teeth: Before you reach for that sin you have to ask yourself one question. ‘Do I feel lucky today?’ Well, punk, do ya?

God the Cosmic Cop knows you’ve been sinning and he’s waiting for just the right moment to kick you in the teeth.

God the Cosmic Cop cannot be pleased, but he can be appeased by our most strenuous efforts toward obedience.  If we somehow fall short, we should just go punch someone else in the face for falling shorter.  That doesn’t please God either, but at least it shows the world that God, and we, are serious about sin. 

Those who bow to God the Cosmic Cop can never be justified by grace because God is too angry at sin to be gracious so they kill themselves, each other, and any other convenient victims to maintain a veneer of self-righteousness.  Therefore, their favorite verse is, “Come out from among them and be separate” and they love to celebrate their doctrinal purity.  Whenever possible they also rejoice in their moral purity, especially compared to the philistines of whatever theological tradition is a convenient target at the time.  Since righteousness cannot be established by grace, it must be supported by a sense of superiority over others.

We must be saved, this line of thinking goes, our doctrine and moral purity is so much superior to everyone else’s!

When I accepted a call from God and our denomination to plant a church in Bemidji, I began to call some of the local churches simply to explain our intentions and to attempt, in some way, to ameliorate any possible defensiveness or “turf mentality.”  I wanted to position our future church as part of the larger body of Christ, here for the cause of the gospel.  One pastor of a local separatist church was clearly skeptical of me and my faith tradition.  “Well, I wouldn’t let you in my pulpit,” was his jocular remark, “but I welcome the competition!”  That, I suspect, was his very best effort at being friendly and accomodating.  How does one reply to a comment like that?  I still don’t know – aaaaawwkwAARD!

Since God cannot be pleased and at most can only be appeased by our very best efforts to angrily denounce and condemn sin and doctrinal impurity, especially in others, worshipers of God the Cosmic Cop live in a constant state of stress and repressed guilt.  They do not dance, no one wants them to sing, and they produce no art.  No, it’s not that they produce art of low quality, they really produce no art.  None.  No paintings.  No original music.  No sculpture.  God is angry, humans are filthy dirt, salvation is based on self-righteousness and the condemnation of others, life is a bitter stew of condemnation, strife, denunciations and repressed guilt – there is nothing to celebrate.  There is no art.

Their sermons are angry tirades against sin punctuated by red-faced huffing that “God is holy!” and afterward they all sing Onward Christian Soldiers. 

It’s a pretty meager spiritual existence.

Posted by: bigmikey | February 14, 2008

Pep Fest

I was subbing at the high school yesterday and the last half hour of the last class was devoted to a pep fest for the Bemidji nordic ski team.  I know some of the students on the team and I’m all for them and their athletic success, so please don’t misunderstand me.

The idea of going to a pep fest fills me with indescribable loathing. 

Well, I’ll try to describe it anyway:  I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help but feel shame and embarrassment for the pep fest participants.  Granted, these feelings are born of my own experiences at Monona Grove High School and are in no way related to any experience I’ve ever had in Bemidji.

Nonetheless, this is what I picture:

  • Cheerleaders in short skirts flouncing mindlessly to silly cheers while internally every fiber of their being cries out for approval – “Please, please, someone like me!”
  • A smarmy, anal school administrator playing MC so s/he can practice whatever Jedi mind-voodoo s/he learned at her/his last leadership seminar ($599 for three days, materials included).  Meanwhile, the leadership mind-voodoo is undermined by the provocatively retentive character and posture of said administrator, resulting in mass snark among the student body.  And I’m not sure if it’s the worst part or the best part, but why oh why do these administrators always remain ABSOLUTELY clueless about the impact they are having on the crowd??
  • A few well-intentioned but goofy cliches from the coach which are meant to be inspiring but, well, they’re cliches.
  • Some absolutely agonizing cheer like “We’ve got spirit yes we do…”  Oh, I wish I could die.
  • And those poor nordic skiers, herded up front to be celebrated in their bright, new Bemidji Ski jackets, filled with a tense mixture of accute self-consciousness and bravado. 
  • In all honesty, I think the pep band could be pretty cool.  I love snare drums.  Of course, it really depends on how greasy, balding, or bloated with self-importance the band teacher is.  I happen to know Bemidji’s band teacher and he’s a pretty good guy, so no problems there.

Unfortunately, ten minutes before class was dismissed I had to send a student from the room for disrespectful behavior so I spent that whole time documenting the “incident” and missed the pep fest.  In hindsight, I’m actually sorry I missed it because it would have been interesting to see how on-target my prognostications are.

However, I did come to a helpful realization, and this is my point:  There are many people who face going to church with that same sense of dread, shame and loathing that I feel when confronted by a pep fest.  For those people, church is just goofy and ridiculous.  It makes no sense and most of what happens there is embarrassing. 

Two primary thoughts: One, we worship a God they do not know, and sometimes that can’t be helped.  Some of them will always miss the point because they are blinded by the prince of the power of the air and being so are unable to perceive the glory of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

Two, some of them can be helped to overcome these feelings of dread and loathing if we are mindful of a couple things. 

First, when we assemble, let’s repent of our self-regard so we will not be guilty of mindlessly flouncing for someone else while internally we are driven by a deep, unacknowledged need for human approval.  Picture pastors or worship team members who are secretly seeking strokes.   “How can you believe?  While accepting glory from one another, you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God” (John 5:44).

Second, resist the temptation to use leadership mind-voodoo, even if it works great for Johnny Bright Guy, Motivational Speaker.  If it isn’t real TO YOU shut up and sit down. 

Third, don’t patronize your listeners with goofy cliches, or what I once heard referred to as “frothy God-talk.”  This includes using the Lord’s name as some type of punctuation while praying, “And Lord, we just gather Lord, in the name of the Lord, Lord, and we want to ask Lord, that you Lord, would give favor Lord…”  If you pray like this, God probably isn’t offended, but to the rest of us you sound, well, ridiculous.  I hope that doesn’t sting too much.  The last thing we want is for anyone to feel self-conscious about how they pray.  You just need to talk to God normal is all.

Fourth, there are techniques available that will elicit emotional responses from a crowd.  Let’s face it, crowds will sometimes do weird things.  I was once at a Promise Keepers event in Dallas where men on both sides of the auditorium were shouting back and forth at each other, “We love Jesus yes we do we love Jesus HOW BOUT YOU?”  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Jesus and have done a lot of socially uncomfortable things for him.  But that takes the cake.  So … stinking … lame!  I’m guessing there were some cowboys in the audience who went along with the crowd, albeit uncomfortably, only later to wonder if they needed to have their testosterone levels checked.  When people come to worship with us, they need to know they can trust us not to use group think to get them to do or say something stupid.  Americans are an independent bunch and where they need to be challenged we should challenge those tendencies with truth, not with crowd manipulations.

Fifth, let’s celebrate what God is doing in the lives of people in a way that draws attention to God while honoring people.  But God is first.

Finally, if you can do some cool snare drums and stuff, go for it.  I think Jesus really likes that.

In response, I would love it if you would share some of your “best” embarrassing church moments.  If there isn’t a lesson there, at least it’s entertaining!

Posted by: bigmikey | January 31, 2008

The Gospel for my iPod.

ipod nano

My mom got me a really great iPod for Christmas.  It’s a nano.  I love it.

My iPod was designed by Apple for a certain purpose: to play my music for me.  However, there was a problem.  The first time I tried to use it on my new computer there was a glitch and the software on my iPod got corrupted.  It would no longer download music or messages, it would not play, and certain command prompts resulted in performance completely unrelated to what I was trying to get it to do.  For all intents and purposes, my brand new iPod was ruined before I ever listened to a single song.  In order to restore my iPod to functionality, I had to completely wipe and restore the software.  It seemed risky, but the alternative was to try to take it back or just throw it away.

We are like that iPod.  We were made by God, for God but we desired to be like God and took for ourselves the knowledge of good and evil.  We were not designed to run that system configuration and the result is that we have been corrupted.  We are disconnected from God and subsequently no longer download His songs or His truth.  We do not play God’s music.  We do not obey God’s command prompts and instead we perform errant tasks.  When God tries to communicate to us we display error messages: You are unable to connect to this network because the server is busy.  We are pretty little gadgets without functionality.  We should be thrown away.

The gospel says that Jesus came to uninstall the law of sin and death corrupting my person and to reinstall the righteousness of God.  He has uploaded His followers the Spirit of God.  It is a gross understatement, but Jesus came to wipe, restore, and upgrade both my hardware and my software.

Posted by: bigmikey | January 26, 2008

I think I could.

There’s a big church up the road.  They do great ministry. 

They also do some things I wouldn’t do.  They make some … compromises.  I think it makes ministry easier, more efficient, if one does not concern oneself with certain difficult circumstances.  Like divorce.  Or remarriage.  Nasty little messes one might find in a growing church.

Some of you who are reading may begin to wonder which church I speak of.  That would be missing the point.

Ah, yes.  The point.

The point is this: I think I could do that too.  I think I could compromise, in a lot of ways, under the right circumstances.  Like, say, for success.  Or to keep the money coming in. 

The thing I hear big church pastors say all the time is this: you don’t know what it’s like to have to lay people off because there isn’t enough money.  Apparently, it’s incredibly stressful.  Like, take-a-trip-to-the-hospital-with-strange-ailments stressful.

And I think about people who are close to me, who have been loyal to me, who have worked their hearts out for the ministry at House of Prayer because they are passionate about Jesus – I think about what it would be like to “make it”, financially, to have some of those people on staff. 

Would I compromise to protect their jobs?  Would my convictions change for the expediency of “ministry”?  Could I simply grow tired, exhausted really, of confronting sin? 

I think if nice pastors stop confronting sin, we fall back on the idea that we’re still not condoning sin.  You know, we denounce it from the pulpit and stuff.  I mean, we’re against sin and everything, but if we tried to get involved in every divorce in our growing ministry… well, that would be too hard.  We’re not for sin, but we’re no longer against it, really, either.

I can be like that.  I get tired of the hurt.  I get tired of being afraid.  I am a people pleaser.  I feel incredible pressure to conform to what people like.  I’ll be honest.  Lately I’ve learned that if I stand up to sin, it makes it a lot easier if I can get approval from others who appreciate the stand I’ve taken. 

I simply can’t imagine what it would be like to lead a large ministry with lots of dollars coming in and the pressures that come from dealing with all the different groups of people – elders, parents, staff, converts, divorcees, disgruntled church leaders, small group leaders, etc…

I don’t know if I have the character, the integrity, or the moral strength to shepherd a flock like that. 

Tonight a woman called and spent some time asking me in-depth questions about HOP.  She’s looking for a new church and she sounded really excited about this thing we’re doing. 

Before the conversation ended, I urged her to seek the call of God for her life and I said that we’ve got a really precious thing going now.  I wouldn’t want her to come unless she had a clean bill of health from the elders of her previous church.  I tried to convey how toxic bitterness is and how all the anger we feel towards people who have disappointed us is just a sign that we need the gospel, not them.  We’re angry because we’re self-righteous, and that’s not Jesus’ heart. 

As the conversation ended she said, “You’ve given me a lot to think about.  I don’t know if you’re going to see me in your church.”

And I felt really badly about that.  “Was I too hard on her” and all that second-guessing.  I did the right thing and I still didn’t feel good.  She said some things that raised some red flags for me and as the under-shepherd of this flock, I need to protect what God is doing.  But the fact that I felt so badly just revealed my heart.  I don’t like to hurt people.  I like approval.  I want our church to be “successful.”  Frankly, I want this lady to come to our church and give a crapload of money and it wouldn’t hurt if she was percussionist to boot.  We could really use a drummer right now.

This is all I can do:  I can confess my sin.  I can be responsible for who I am and cooperate with God to become who he wants me to be.  And I can shepherd HOP today.  And today we’re a small church.  Which is pretty nice.  Finally, I can cling to the vision God has given me for HOP and use it as a shield against the temptation to compromise.  Yeah.

That’s it.

Posted by: bigmikey | January 24, 2008

Follow-up on the Packers.

Green Bay got beat at Lambeau in sub-zero temps by the tougher team.  That’s all there is to it.

Go Giants.

Posted by: bigmikey | January 13, 2008

I Was Wrong.

 

Apparently, turnovers are not the X factor.  Toughness is.  And we now know that Green Bay is the Team of Destiny.  After turning over the ball twice in the first couple minutes, Green Bay recoved in fantastic fashion, displaying both physical and mental toughness.

Good gravy.  Did Green Bay pound the Seahawks or what?  I am as big a Brett Favre fanboy as there is, but this win was about team depth.  Ryan Grant had a great day after struggling (understatement!) early and Brett Favre looked great but make no mistake, this game was won by the tougher team – especially at the line of scrimmage.  Green Bay’s skill position players were terrific, but it was the big uglies who made the pretty boys look that pretty. 

It was more than I could have hoped for.  The interior of Green Bay’s offensive line totally obliterated the Seattle defensive line.  That was domination.  Did you see the inside zone play WORK?  It was repeatedly terrific.  As far as I could tell, Kerney never got near Favre and Seattle had only one sack.  I did see Julius Peterson come free a couple times because of zone blitzes or stunts that weren’t handled well by the line, but each time Favre made the Seahawks pay for blitzing with decent gains. 

As for the defensive line, after the first two quick scores, they completely controlled the line of scrimmage.  I think Alexander wound up with something like 20 yards.  Did you see Williams knifing through blockers to stuff the running back and apply pressure?  That guy was outstanding today.  He and Pickett controlled the line.  Cullen Jenkins also had a great game with a sack and a half.  I didn’t notice Kampman but I expect he was nothing less than solid and KGB did his part as well.  This is how dominant the defensive line was:  I didn’t see the linebackers much all day.  The runner was getting beat down before the ‘backers could even get there.  That, my friends, is the savory aroma of dominance.

The Green Bay secondary was notable for several reasons.  They played a much better game than the Seattle secondary but more importantly, they outplayed the Seattle wideouts.  I think Atari Bigby is becoming the player they expected Nick Collins to be at the safety position.  Bigby had big hits, the forced fumble, and he was all over the field.  Tramon Williams made a couple nice plays that stood out while Al & Charles were everything we would ever expect them to be in coverage.  The thing I noticed though is how much more aggressive and physical the Packer corners were than Seattle’s.  Harris & Woodson are both tough dudes.  The Seattle wideouts got man-handled at the line of scrimmage and they were repeatedly thumped after catching or attempting to catch the ball..  They’ll fly home pretty sore.

What’s more, I thought Green Bay’s team depth really showed up on special teams.  The Pack consistently had great field position with excellent blocking by the receiving units and the coverage units were even more impressive.  They simply ran through the Seattle blockers and kept the Seahawk returners well-contained.  I thought this was as dominant as Green Bay’s return and coverage units have played all year without breaking a spectacular play or forcing a turnover.  It wasn’t flashy but it was consistently excellent.  Again, Green Bay was the deeper, more physical team and that showed on special teams.

Maybe Seattle isn’t that good – after all, they only beat 2 teams with winning records this year.  Or maybe they were beat up after their game against the Redskins and Green Bay was simply healthier and better rested.  And maybe Green Bay is the superior team.  Might be a bit of all three.  It was clear after the game tying drive mid-way through the first quarter that Green Bay was much more physical and that only became clearer as the game went on.

I thought it was a great win on what was once an improbable march to the Super Bowl. 

Bring on the Giants and pass the Packer kool-aid!

Posted by: bigmikey | January 12, 2008

I’m Going on Record…

PackersThis might be playoff fever, but if Green Bay wins against the Seahawks today, they will beat Dallas in Dallas.

The key to both games is the same:  Protect Brett Favre and sack the opposing quarterback.  The Packer d-line has thinned out with the loss of Jolly, but Jenkins is healthier than at any time in the year, Williams is playing for some serious coin at the end of the season, and KGB and Kampman are their usual pass-rushing selves.  I expect more pressure than we’ve seen the last 2 or 3 weeks and it will be nice to have Pickett out there holding off blockers and moving up and down the line to make tackles.  That dude is a load. 

If they can get to the QB against Seattle, they will definitely do it down in Dallas. Both Dallas and Seattle have a receiver group that I respect, though Dallas is clearly the more dynamic team with TO and a healthy (?) Terry Glenn.  We know we can count on Al and Charles, but getting to the QB will take a lot of pressure off the nickel and dime d-backs.

If the line can protect Brett from Kerney et al, the receivers will be able to make plays against a pretty good Seattle secondary.  On the whole, I respect the Seattle defense more than Dallas, though both are clearly dangerous.  Our receivers can definitely make plays against Dallas. 

As usual, turnovers are the x-factor.

Here’s what I don’t know: How will we do running the ball against either team?  I so dearly hope that Dorsey, I mean Ryan Grant, pounds the ball down their throat today.  Geez, just writing about it I can tell I’m getting playoff fever.  Maybe this is the day our young guards show up and start to earn a reputation.  I would love to see the inside zone play WORK. 

Here’s another thing I don’t know: How good is this Seattle team?  On paper, their defense looks really good, the running game appears to be anemic but the passing game is very sharp with Hasselbeck throwing to a four-deep crew of decent but not dynamic receivers.  They’ve only beat two teams with winning records but they’ve been really hot down the stretch.  Hhmmm.  Holmgren is a great coach but he’s always, always struggled on the road. 

I don’t know if I can fight it off much longer, playoff fever is burning me up.  It’s gone from my guts, to my heart to my head in the short time I’ve been writing this piece.  I’m going to give in to the playoff fever and make the call:  Seattle is a bunch of chumps.  They can’t win on the road and they can’t beat good teams.  Green Bay 34, Seattle 20.  Next week, Green Bay beats the Giants, that’s right, the Giants at Lambeau.  Don’t worry about the score.  Take the Packers and lay the points.  It’ll be a blowout keyed by Green Bay special teams and a dominant run game.  After that, take Green Bay in the Super Bowl, 27-24.  It doesn’t matter who wanders out of the AFC.  It’ll be Brett Favre in a sentimental retro special and the rookie kicker is going to win it with less than 2 minutes to play.

Go Pack!

Pass the kool-aid!

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