An excerpt of Peter Rollins' 'Orthodox Heretic'
LATE THAT EVENING A GROUP OF UNKNOWN DISCIPLES PACKED THEIR FEW BELONGINGS AND LEFT FOR A DISTANT SHORE, for they could not bear to stay another moment in the place where their Messiah had just been crucified. Weighed down with sorrow, they left that place, never to return. Instead they traveled a great distance in search of a land that they could call home. After months of difficult travel, they finally happened upon an isolated area that was ideal for setting up a new community. Here they found fertile ground, clean water, and a nearby forest from which to harvest material needed to build shelter. So they settled there, founding a community far from Jerusalem, a community where they vowed to keep the memory of Christ alive and live in simplicity, love, and forgiveness, just as he had taught them.
The members of this community lived in great solitude for over a hundred years, spending their days reflecting on the life of Jesus and attempting to remain faithful to his ways. And they did all this despite
overwhelming sorrow in their heart.
But their isolation was eventually broken when, early one morning, a small band of missionaries reached the settlement. These missionaries were amazed at the community they found. What was most startling to them was that these people had no knowledge of the resurrection and the ascension of Christ, for they had left Jerusalem before his return from the dead on the third day. Without hesitation, the missionaries gathered together all the community members and recounted what had occurred after the imprisonment and bloody crucifixion of their Lord.
That evening there was a great festival in the camp as people celebrated the news of the missionaries. Yet, as the night progressed, one of the missionaries noticed that the leader of the community was absent. This bothered the young man, so he set out to look for this respected elder. Eventually he found the community’s leader crouched low in a small hut on the fringe of the village, praying and weeping. “Why are you in such sorrow?” asked the missionary in amazement. “Today is a time for great celebration.”
“It may indeed be a day for great celebration, but this is also a day of sorrow,” replied the elder, who remained crouched on the floor. “Since the founding of this community we have followed the ways taught to us by Christ. We pursued his ways faithfully even though it cost us dearly, and we remained resolute despite the belief that death had defeated and would one day defeat us also.”
The elder slowly got to his feet and looked the missionary compassionately in the eyes.
“Each day we have forsaken our very lives for him because we judged him wholly worthy of the sacrifice, wholly worthy of our being. But now, following your news, I am concerned that my children and my children’s children may follow him, not because of his radical life and supreme sacrifice, but selfishly, because his sacrifice will ensure their personal salvation and eternal life.”
With this the elder turned and left the hut, making his way to the celebrations that could be heard dimly in the distance, leaving the missionary
So in 2004 the Lakers trade 12 year veteran Shaquille O'Neal for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and a trip to the lottery.
Butler turned into Kwame Brown who turned into Pau Gasol; and the lottery pick turned up Andrew Bynum.
Together, Pau, Bynum, and Odom win back to back titles.
Last year the Lakers deal Odom for a trade exception with which they used to trade for Nash this year. Then they trade the second best center in the league in Adrew Bynum (who recently turned 12) for the first best center in the league in Dwight Howard.
So eight years after the Lakers trade Shaquille O'Neal, they have Howard, Nash, Gasol, and 2 championship rings to show for while Shaq is doing commentary on TNT.
Did Mitch have a master plan? No. But he took a 12 year, aging superstar and turned it into 12 more years of contending for championships, and that can't just be luck.
what if i just disappeared
packed my bags and my tears
would you really even care
that I'm gone and not found anywhere
First, 2 predictions.
The bet the farm prediction: There will be rumors of a Kobe retirement this off-season. It's too convenient - Phil's gone, Kobe's just getting older, and the team is dysfunctional. Again.
The bold prediction: Kobe will in fact announce his retirement this off-season. I don't think he'll actually stay retired as his competitiveness will force him to go for ring 6, but a year off now that Phil's gone might be good for his body.
That brings me to - Why Kobe will never be considered better than Michael...
It's not that Jordan never failed and our most recent memory of Kobe is being swept by Dallas; remember when he had 24 turnovers in 95 when Orlando beat Chicago in 6 games?
It's not that Jordan might just be more popular than Kobe. I don't remember Michael getting MVP chants on road games.
It's not that Jordan has more rings, because let's face it, Kobe still has a shot (albeit slimmer) of surpassing him.
It's not that Jordan was the man for all six of his rings and Kobe was arguably only the man for two of his.
The reason Kobe won't go down in history as the greatest player ever over MJ is because he's failed to defend the championship twice now. Part of Michael Jordan's mystique is that he was always successful in defending the championship. He retired for the first time after Chicago's first three-peat, and the team got prematurely dismantled after the second. Jordan is 4-0 when defending a championship. Kobe a mere 3-2.
I'm sitting inside of Peet's Coffee and Tea at the Bella Terra where I usually spend most of my free time. I was just asked by a "normal-looking" young lady for financial assistance. I was halfway into telling her I had no cash, a knee-jerk reaction more often true than not, when I realized that I was halfway into a lie. I don't normally have cash; I handle everything with plastic, and generally don't realize my wallet is heavier than normal until whenever I reach for the plastic card. But this time, for whatever reason, I remembered... yet I followed through with the lie.
Why is that?
Why was I not willing to help a fellow person in need, literally just minutes removed of reading how God is a loving God, regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or status? Why was I passionate about feeding the hungry and serving the poor one minute and the very next minute when given the chance to live the life I claim to want to live, I decline?
Quickly all the conservative-leaning excuses rushed to my head. What if she was just lying to me to make a buck? Or if she really did need it, how was a hand-out supposed to help her in the long run? Surely, I am being more loving by "helping" her learn to earn a living rather than asking for a hand-out!
Halfway through my sorry excuse of a lie to this young lady, I regretted it. My heart hit the ground before the words were finished leaving my mouth.
As she walked away, I could tell she was disappointed. I wonder if her disappointment has less to do with my answer and more because I gave her the answer she was expecting. Could it be that she was disappointed by lack of surprise? It's not that I let her hopes down, they might've been already. It's probably that I didn't give her reason to keep have hope at all.
I was shocked and paralyzed by my own depravity, unable to even whisper an apology. All the "logical" answers I once used to form my ideology seemed lacking. When I was given the opportunity to love, unconditionally, selflessly, I chose not to, and no logical answer or excuse can change that now.
Perhaps she was not the one that needed something when she asked for my help. Perhaps I did, and I denied, ultimately, myself.