Download Opera, the fastest and most secure browser

Friday, January 26, 2007

Major League Soccer Ten Year Plan

    I was watching Fox Soccer Channel's Fox Soccer Report last night  and they told the story of a Boca Jr fan who was sueing  a River Plate fan.  It turned out that the Boca fan wanted a huge Boca tattoo on his back but the Tattoo artist was a River fan.  Being an avid fan to say the least, the River Tattoo Artist tattooed a huge genitalia onto the Boca fan's back.  The Boca fan didn't realize it until he proudly displayed his new "Boca" tattoo to his parents!  That would be a shock!     All this somehow got me thinking of what I would set forth as a 10 year plan if I was the MLS Commissioner and was allowed to take whatever means necessary (save wholesale brainwashing) to build the MLS into the #2 Major League sport in the United States. (Don't ask me how I made that transition) Anyway, here is my list: 1.  I would stop or significately reduce the MLS' attempts at wooing the Spanish speaking population.  Spanish speaking fans are already fans of soccer (herto referred to as football).  And they are extremely dedicated to their home club.(As seen in the story above)  While they might, eventually adopt an American team as their own, they will never replace their home clubwith an American one.  No amount of propaganda will cause them to become fans of a certain MLS club.   They will respond to good football on the pitch.  Therefore, I would refocus the efforts of the MLS to building support in the English speaking portion of the United States. The vast majority of those people are not currently football fans, yet they are the ones who will eventually cause football to leap frog over the NHL, NBA and MLB into second place behind the NFL. Spanish speaking fans may help fill stadiums (although I am not even convinced about that) but they will not accomplish the larger goal of nationwide interest. 2.  I would begin making plans to move the MLS season to August through May with a one month Holiday break from the weekend of December 15th to the weekend of January 15th.  This would require that retractable ceilings be added to every stadium in the MLS except Houston and LA. 3.  I would increase the cooperation between the lower leagues and the MLS with player loans.  This would give the opportunity to certain players to play year round and would develop players more quickly. It would bring some MLS players to the lower leagues, thus increasing the level of play and the potential development of those players.  It would allow good players in the lower leagues to train and possibly come off the bench in MLS matches or Tournement matches during their off season. (Since the lower leagues would still play during the summer)  And it would give added incentive for fans of the lower league teams to follow an MLS team that has a player from their club on loan or who has had an MLS player on loan to them.  Just more reasons to attend matches and watch them on television. 4.   I would add at least three more teams to the MLS.  Two being in the States (St. Louis and Minneapolis being my favorites) and one in Cananda (Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver or Quebec City {the French aspect of Quebec might be very interesting from a fan perspective} being possible locations). 5.   I would begin to plan for changing the format of the MLS seaason to a system that would begin with Qualifiers where each team plays the others two times (eliminating East and West).  The top 8 teams would then be entered in the MLS Cup Finals where they would be drawn into two, four team groups, playing a round robin tournament.  The winners of the two groups would then play a home and away series to determine the MLS Cup Champion.  This combines aspects from the World Cup, the Champions League and typical American structures.  I truly feel that having the MLS Cup at neutral locations has the same debilitating affect that we see in the Super Bowl.  If we want this sport to be a sport of the fans similar to how Baseball used to be then we must eliminate the one off MLS Cup at a neutral site concept.  If we want it to become the sport of the elite (which it may never become) then keep doing things like we are.  Life-long memories of Championships are made to a degree by watching it on the television but they are really life-changing events when they are experienced in person.  And even moreso if it would happen in your home stadium.  Wow! Think of the memories!  My Kansas City Wizards won the MLS Cup.  But the memory that still gives me goose-bumps was the match that got us there which I attended at our home stadium, Arrowhead.  That is what I think of when I remember that amazing season, not the Final. 6.   I would work out an exclusive television deal with ABC for at least 20 years.  With the requirement that the matches would be shown on ABC, live.  At least two each week with two others being shown on ESPN and ESPN2.  And all Finals matches being shown live on ABC.  MLS matches must be shown live, weekly on free TV for the  mass public to have any chance at becoming fans.  Fox Soccer Channel, GolTV and the others are great channels but the only way to reach the the American viewer is to have the matches live on free TV.  There is no other way. 7.   I would change the schedule of the matches to one Thursday night match to be carried live on ESPN or ESPN2.  One Saturday night match to be carried live on ESPN or ESPN2 and six Sunday afternoon matches, two of which would be carried live on ABC.  The first would begin at 1pm Central Time and the second at 4pm Central Time.  The hour in between would be a show that would highlight the Thursday, Saturday and other Sunday matches and would provide previews of the upcoming Sunday matches.  There would be at least six teams that would have no scheduling problems with NFL teams since their cities do not have NFL teams.  These would be the Galaxy, Chivas, Real, Columbus, Toronto and the other Canadian team.  And by balancing the start times to be opposite any conflicting matches and games this schedule should have no problem of working.   Americans are used to setting aside Sunday afternoons to watch sports.  The MLS must use this to attract American fans. Trying to get them to add yet another day to their sports schedule is not the best choice.  We also should not be trying to syphon off NFL fans specifically anyway (as far as those who attend games).   Most of them will not make the transition. And that is fine.  There are plenty others out there.  But I truly feel that when there is a dull American football game on and the typical fan is channel surfing, he/she may stop and watch a bit of a MLS match if it were on.  And after getting to know the sport, it makes watching football very difficult. American football is painfully slow and people generally hate commercials. But the MLS must have its product there, ready and available.  These fans are not going to go out searching for a football match to watch. The MLS must provide them the opportunity, and that will be best provided on a Major Television Network (ABC is the one that has a huge sports heritage and does not carry any NFL games) on Sunday afternoons when they are already watching or available to attend a sporting event. 8.  I would work out a television deal for the lower leagues to at least get the away matches shown on local television.  Even if that means cable access to begin with.  I would outfit every stadium with multiple professional cameras and crews and make sure that every away match is shown live for the fans of the away team to contnue to cheer on their club in their homes or at the local sports bar.  Most of these teams are in much smaller cities and the fans are more likely to get together and support their club than would be fans from a larger metro area. 9.   I would have the MLS invest more money into the lower leagues in order to increase interest in football throughout the nation and in as many cities as possible on a professional level.  This will only help the MLS in the long run via fan base and player development. 10.  I would start soccer academies at every MLS club and work toward the reduction of college soccer in the United States.  There would be no need to eliminate it but the goal would be for every potential player to forego college and attend an MLS Academy.  I would stress the educational part of college through the many local universities in each of the MLS cities but if they are serious about football, they should be trained by the best and not wasted on the college game.  Until we have better player development starting by at least by 12 years of age, we will never rise to the top as a league or as a national side.  The goal would be to advance an MLS team to the club team World Cup and have a serious run at winning the World Cup in 2014.     Those are my ten suggestions for the next ten years concerning the MLS.  Your comments would be greatly appreciated.  Day-dreaming is fun sometimes. Nicholas

Friday, January 19, 2007

The New Nazarene An Apology

Guys, After reading and re-reading everything here and on the other blogs regarding my interactions I want to apologize for coming into this conversation with a wrong attitude and not much positive input. I have associating certain people together that shouldn't be.  Often times I have lowered the conversation by stepping over the lines of propiety and I apologize for that as well. I am not God by any stretch of even my own imagination and I have learned and need to continue to learn to leave much more up to Him. My prayer is that all of those who entered my blog will accept this apology with the sincerity it is offered. I am posting this in place of "New Nazarene" previously posted. God be with you. Nicholas Edinger

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Beckham to LA!

I don't have many thoughts on this yet but David Beckham has  agreed to sign with the LA Galaxy for about $250 Million.   The largest in sporting history. Here is a link to the story:

Monday, January 8, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me!

 Well, this may sound like a fairly self-absorbed thing to be posting but it really isn't as it seems.  I actually don't really care much about my birthday, the same as most 38 year old males, I would guess.   In fact,until my 8 year old (who does still care about birthdays) remindedme as I woke him from his sleep, I had forgotten.  It had also notbeen in the forefront of my mind when a family called to requesthosting our monthly teen fun night, which I had been remiss toschedule at less than a week away.  I simply thought I had againbeen rather fortunate.  I also was not thinking of it as I was askedgive a ride to a couple of the girls in our youth group to theirschool to retrieve a homework assignment (late, evening, on aSunday, no less).  So my son, the two young ladies and myself began the journey to the school and then out to the location of our Fun Night for January.  It wasn't until I noticed the darkness of the dining romm and heard whispered tones coming from within, that it dawned on me.  But it was too late to run. "SURPRISE!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" Well, I was surprised.  And greatful.  And humbled.  Here were 20+ teens, a number of parents, my wife and younger son, several young adult sponsers and even the Church Secretary and her family presenting me with a cake decorated with a soccer ball and a Puma soccer boot.  In that moment I was reminded once again, not about how amazing I must be as leader and teacher to warrent such adoration and praise, rather, how fortunate I am to be serving such gracious people who, despite all my shortcomings (and there are many) still find the time and energy to celebrate a day that even I had not remembered.  So, thank you to all of them for a wonderful night.   This event does allow me to delve into something a little more theologically deeper.  :) In order to postpone my arrival to the house long enough to get ready, two wonderful young ladies had to devise a plan to stall me.  Their choice was to concocted a story about needing a book from school.  I bit, hook, line and sinker.  And, outside of a few hardcore Baptists, I would doubt anyone would raise much of a fuss about their devious techniques.  But I will.  Just for sake of discussion. (I love you both!!) Commandment number 9 states; "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." We, more often, just state it as "Do not lie."  But is that what this Commandment really means?  Did the young ladies who lead me to the school break the 9th Commandment? Let me relate a few stories from the Bible to you. In Genesis 22 we have the story of Abraham and Isaac.  Some would say that God, Himself, was deceptive because He never intended that Abraham would actually sacrifice Isaac in the first place.  But we don't know that.  If Abraham's heart had not been right, God may have let him go through with it.  We don't know.  Also, some say that Abraham was deceptive when he told Isaac that the Lord would provide a lamb when he was assured of no such thing.  They would say that Abraham lead Isaac up to the mountian under false pretense.  Was this a breaking of the 9th Commandment? (obviously, they hadn't been given yet but right and wrong isn't based on the Ten Commandments but on God Himself.) Then, in II Kings 6, Elisha has God strike the Arameans blind and then tells them that they are on the wrong road and in the wrong city, when in fact they were on the right road and in the right city.  Then he tells them he will lead them to the man they were looking for when in fact he is the man they were looking for and he leads them to the King of Israel instead.  God doesn't ever condemn these actions and in fact, one could argue, actually fascilitates them and is complicit in the lie of Elisha by causing the blindness in the first place.  Did Elisha, and God, break the 9th Commandment? Then in Joshua 2 we have the story of Rahab who was a prostitute, which is quite controversial to begin with.  She hides the spies in her brothel and tells the soldiers that they had been there but she didn't know who they were and at dusk they left the city and she didn't know where they had gone.  All the while they were hiding in her pad.  She lied on three different counts, yet, when Jericho fell, God saved her from the destruction and Joshua honored her.  Did God and Joshua honor Rahab for breaking the 9th Commandment? And, of course you have the more modern story of Corrie Ten Boom who saved many Jews from the Nazis through deceit very similar to Rahab.  Has Corrie been lifted high as an example of being a true Christian in a very difficult situation all based on breaking the 9th Commandment? Or could it be that we have over simplified or maybe even complicated this command of God?  We have done this with the 6th Commandment.  It reads 'You shall not murder." but many mistakenly state it as "You shall not kill."  Two completely different statements with completely different implications.  Have we done this with the 9th Commandment as well?   You may now expect a brilliant dissertation on the true meaning of this commandment.  However, the fact is that I don't know.  I have thought about  it in the past but never more closely as I have this past week after using the Elisha passage in my Wednesday night talk and then being a "victim" of deceit last night.  My initial thoughts are that bearing false witness is something much different than what we have made it out to be.  If I play the time-honored joke on someone where I say "Hey, what's that on your shirt?" while pointing to a spot close under the chin, duping them to look down and then flicking their nose, is that breaking the 9th Commandment?  I just can't imagine that is what God had in mind. And I do not believe that God is one who would break His own commands nor do I think He would honor someone who had, without repenting. So what does the 9th Commandment actually mean?  I hope someone out there will help me out here.  I would hate to think that I would have to punish nearly everyone in my youth group, church and family for breaking the 9th Commandment in the execution of my surprise party!  I don't intend to but it begs the question, nonetheless.   So, what say you?

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Pelosi and the Children

Well, Pelosi has been sworn in as Speaker and with it she exploited 
her grandkids stating that everything they would do in the new
Congress would be for the children.  As if we really beleive that.

But that brought to mind my least favorite bumber sticker.

"Is it good for the children?"

The only way this is even a relevant question is if you are not a
Christian.  If you are a Christian then the question is moot.  But
it feels good so people take it seriously.  If you do take it
seriously, then you are essentially saying that what is Christian
is not necessarily good for children, which is dumb.

Anyway, Pelosi has to make this point today, precisely because
she knows that what they will do may not be good for the
children.  It is a pre-emptive strike.  Hmmm.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Need For Change

I am not sure when the Nazarene Church began to consider
themselves an Evangelical Church. At its inception at the beginning
of the 20th Century, The Church of the Nazarene considered itself
a Holiness Church. This seemed to be a church closer to the New
Testament model than the current Evangelical model. And now
with the insurgence of the seeker churches, that model is being
driven farther from a Biblical construct than ever before.

By looking into the expressed and realized purposes of the
current church in the United States we should be able to
evaluate if we are acting Biblically in this area or not. Now, I am
not addressing the form of church government or control or even
issues pertaining to pastor lead or congregational lead services.
The thing I am concerned with first is whether the Church knows
it objectives or not and whether they are achieving those objectives.

From here on I will refer to individuals as Christians and the
organized church as the church. For the Bible gives different
commands to each.

Also, this is a thought process that I have decided to put out in the
open. It is something that i am still working through so you will
not get a bunch Scripture references at this time though I have
many written down and all analysis is derived directly from
Scripture or sources who have derived their analysis directly
from Scripture. Therefore, your comments are highly valued
for this discussion.

Here is a list of what I see the typical Evangelical church feels
is their objectives as a church. (I am attempting to refrain from
using the term 'purposes') These are not in any particular order
because I believe that every individual church emphasizes one
above another but that it is not universal.

Worship (corporate)
Instruction (equipping)
Charity (Ministering to the needs of the poor, sick, and elderly)

Some of these are certainly called for in Scripture, while some
are but not for the church but for the individual and others are
called for but may be applied differently today than when they
were first issued and some are not ever mentioned but all are
hindered by our misapplication of the call to "go into all the
world..." which has become the foundation of the Evangelical
Church, leading to churches filled with more non-Christians
than Christians.

So, if this is the case, then what direction should a church go?
What changes in model or philosophy should a church make?
One that many churches are taking to heart either entirely or at
least in part is the 'purposes' outlined in "The Purpose Driven
Church". Here is a list of the 'purposes' Pastor Rick Warren feels
the church is called to fulfill;

Worship (Know and Love God)
Fellowship (Love Others)
Discipleship (Grow Spiritually)
Ministry (Serve Others)
Evangelism (Share the Gospel)

Of these, some match the first list of the typical Evangelical
Church, although, his definitions of these are not Biblical. Some
are not called of the church but rather, the Christian. This is an
error with Warren but also with the current Evangelical Church.
The only one on his list that I can see as a Biblical objective of the
church and that is defined correctly is the third 'purpose'.
Discipleship - Growing Spiritually.

Instead of going through each one of these objectives listed so
far and pointing out the errors as I see through my studies, I am
going to list what I see as the Biblical objectives for the church
and through that you should be able to see where that differs with
what I have already listed. This is not specifically about the
"purpose driven" concept because what got me into this study
was not that but simply seeing first hand and trying to work
within the objectives of a typical Evangelical Church. As I found
conflict with what the Holy Spirit was directing and what we were
actually doing, the whole picture seemed to come into focus. I only
include "purpose driven" because he attempted to address this
same issue but has moved the church to a direction farther from
Biblical truth than it was to begin with.

Here is my list of what I see as the stripped down Biblical
objectives of the church. I have not gone far enough to actually put
them in a particular order;

Fellowship among Christians
Worship through song
Charity within the church

Fellowship among Christians:
The church is to be a place where Christians are able to develop
close relationships with others and where each one can use his/her
talent in order to build up the other. If we are called to develop
close relationships with people within our church, then it stands to
reason that the people within the church should be Christians. Not
that we are not to have relationships with any one who is not a
Christian but the relationships that are close and that we rely upon
should be with persons who are Christians. So how are we supposed
to build relationships that are proper with those at church if many
who are there are not even Christians?

Worship in Song:
Narrowing the definition of Worship to merely music is a
destructive mistake, however, this does not mean that Worship
through music through music is not important. In fact, it is the
only time that I can find Worship specifically mentioned in
reference the the church. All other objectives are for the edification
of the Saints (which in itself is Worship in the proper use of the
term). So having a time to Worship God through song is necessary.
How we do this is certainly open as far as I can tell. There is a list
of specific instruments but to limit the church to use of these
instruments alone, I think is a misuse of Scripture. Besides, even
the churches who claim that music needs to adhere to a specific
style (church music) ignores the very Scripture on which they base
their convictions. Apparently, we can't use drums because they are
not in "the list" yet neither is the organ or the piano. Regardless,
the point is not the style but the fact that God is being Worshiped
through music. But this does bring us to the subject matter in the
songs we sing. Clearly, if they are meant to be Worship to God then
they should be praise TO him or songs about HIM. Singing a song
ABOUT Worship seems a bit daft to me. This is an area that
should be seriously evaluated.

If I were to list these in order of importance, I would certainly list
this one either at the top or close to it. There is no other place that
proper equipping can take place better. Personal devotions, parents
teaching children are also methods of equipping. However, due to
different people having different gifts, the best place for this to
happen is in the church where the Holy Spirit has positioned people
to perform these tasks. This is not confining this area to the pastors
at all. All who have the gift of prophesy and teaching should be
involved in the instruction that happens in the church. This seems
to be the area that is of least importance in today's Evangelical
church. Which stands to reason when many of the members of the
church are not even Christians yet. You are stuck at evangelism
and conversion, not able to move to equipping the saints. This is
the area we fall the shortest.

Here is an interesting area. While I would consider the Great
Commission to be strictly for the Christian, there is precedent
for churches to send out missionaries and support missionaries to
places where no church exists. And this can be accomplished must
more efficiently through the larger church than through individual
churches So a church needs to be actively supporting missions work
around the world through whatever mechanism their church
provides. But this is not simply a humanitarian effort. If churches
are not being planted and the preaching of the Gospel not the first
and foremost objective, then an evaluation of the missions of the
church needs to be made. Paul, Silas, and Barnabus amongst the
others preached the Gospel and were ministered to by the
churches. They weren't out there planting soup kitchens,
orphanages, or hospitals, they were planting churches. Which
brings us to the last objective of the church.

This is possibly the most misapplied objective of all of them. The
church as far as I can find, was never called to assist the poor,
the sick, the elderly, the widows or orphans in general. When the
church is called to these sorts of activities, it is to those WITHIN
the church to whom they are called to minister. And, again, how
are we to do this when many in our churches are not Christians?
We, in this area also continue to apply commands meant for
Christians to the church. The more the church spends time
and resources doing things the church is not supposed to do, the
less it will spend its time and resources on the things that it is
supposed to do. The result from that is Christians who are not
equipped to do the things they are called to do. The very things
the church is doing that it isn't supposed to do! So, we can see that
it is not the church's objective to help the homeless, the poor, the
sick, the orphans, or the elderly, it is the calling of certain
Christians to do those things as God has equipped them and as He
has provided the opportunity. It is the Church's objective to equip
the saints to do these things. Now, if a church has the resources
and Christians want to use the organization of the church to help
accomplish some of these things that an individual would never be
able to accomplish alone, then that is proper. But for a church to
make it an expressed objective of the church itself is not Biblical.

What I don't see as an objective for the church is Evangelism. No
where is the church called to evangelize. All Christians are,
missionaries are, but the church is not. And since evangelism is
the root of the Evangelistic Church, there needs to be a major
change in focus. It is the church's Biblical objective to equip the
saints to evangelize. Only AFTER a person comes to the saving
knowledge of Jesus Christ should he/she be welcomed into the
church. This doesn't mean that we keep non-Christians from
entering our churches but if they do come it should be from their
own valition, not because they were invited. We have diluted
the Christian's responsibility from "making disciples" (leading
people to Christ personally) to simply inviting people to church
where the pastor can lead them to Christ. Only once in the Bible
is it mentioned that a person might come to know Christ at
church. ALL other times it is somewhere other than church. Even
as bizarre a place as a hill dedicated to a pagan god! And the
reality, even today, is that most people who are Christians were
not saved at church despite our best Evangelistic efforts. In a
rudimentary poll of the young people at my own church, not even
one was saved at church, not one! 0% is a pretty good indictment
of that method of evangelism! That is not to say that our church
is a total failure, its just to say that the conversions through our
church were happening the way God intended despite our focus
on doing it our way.

Therefore, why should we keep fighting for doing it our way
instead of trying to change back to what God intended and what
obviously works? I say we shouldn't, everyone who the Holy Spirit
touches about this subject should use the power they have to begin
to make the shift back to the Biblical objectives of the church. This
will be painful and will take a long time, even on the local level,
much less the national and international level but it needs to be
done nonetheless.

In closing, there was an article that I found very useful. You can
read it here:

The final two paragraphs sum it up so nicely. He also touches on
the idea that Worship is 24/7/365 in the life of a Christian through
obedience. This is the main focus of 2007 for my Youth Ministry.
This church is from a Calvinist background so they may consider
Nazarenes as heretics but if you can get past that, the main points
are awesome and there are lots of great Scripture references to
use in your consideration of this topic.

Please comment about this topic, as there is much to hash out as
far as what this should look like in the 21st Century. All I know, is
that the Holy Spirit has been bringing this back to me over and
over again, from many different angles and perspectives and the
urgency I feel from the direction of the church and the impact that
will have on this country and therefore the world is no longer



Facebook Badge Azahel