I have “a branding problem” for my blog.
And I think it has everything to do with… well, Me (or at the very least - my name).
Every writer/blogger wants their stuff to be read, liked and even interacted with (well, most of the time… but I want to be careful with what I wish for). :)
And outside of a few friends, family and a few people on Facebook… my blog on the net and Facebook generates very little interaction and traffic for the most part.
It’s been a shot to the ego (which is probably good for me). But it’s also a shot to the heart. Especially when your blog is named after you.
Maybe it’s because I don’t write enough - which is true in itself. Or maybe it’s the stuff I write about. Or maybe I have become a bit irrelevant - which makes a domain named “ChrisKozacek.com” even more useless, and humbling.
Maybe it has nothing to do with branding, or a name…
maybe it’s just my writing…
or, just me.
Anyway, I’ve asked a few people if they’d help me rename my blog (and if you’d like to offer a name, I’d like to hear it). It’s a start, maybe with no different results - but I want to try it. “Cracked Round Peg” was the best I’ve ever had it terms of interaction and traffic, it was doing really well until I ruined it with how I used it (Sorry again to all affected… always). Maybe there will be nothing in renaming it… I don’t know. We’ll see.
However, before burying this current blog - writing in my own name has definitely accomplished many things that I wanted it to and I wanted to briefly share a few.
- I felt good and free to write honestly and authentically without feeling like I had to hide who I am… for the first time in my life.
- I had to own my thoughts… there was nothing to hide behind.
- It has helped me navigate through many things both good and bad that I’m not sure I would ever have felt I could write about before - let alone with my name plastered all over it. I think it’s easy to write comments, thoughts and stuff on the internet with no filter when you can hide behind a hidden online identity, but things change when everyone knows who you are.
Thanks to all who have been with me here. I never want to diminish what your support has meant. This is in no way an indictment on your support or voice, and everything to do with not feeling like I do a very good job overall with writing good and interesting stuff.
I’m truly sorry if this post comes out sounding more as a “pity party” or a “Tell me I’m great” post…
…than a post sharing honestly where I am with it and how I’m feeling about it.
Shame on me if that’s all it is.
I truly pray that it is not.
I love it when the Broncos win… I’m a fan.
I have cheered for Tebow over his entire career in college and now the pros too… I’m a fan.
Now, it’s one and the same.
…but sometimes with “Tebow-ology” and the Evangelical crazein full force - I admit there is a small part of me that is ok when we lose now.
For no other reason than limiting the Facebook, blogs, websites and sermons from filling up with comments on how “God’s hand is certainly upon Tebow and the Broncos… because we won a Football game (that we shouldn’t have won)”; or likening him to Biblical characters such as “Gideon or King David”; or coming up with a Divinci Code like stats matrix with the whole “Tebow 3:16” - to show God is working.
I’m afraid we might be going beyond admiring a good football player, a good person, a man of faith - and turned it into “Christian Hero” worship.
So this begins what has been my journey into the insanity of “Tebow-mania”, just this week… but has been brewing in my mind for awhile.
I start with this picture I first ran across on a blog, and then it came up again a few times on Facebook before the Broncos vs. Patriots game. Most of the commentary on it was vilifying Brady for holding the Super Bowl Trophy, while praising Tebow for praying and not getting caught up in all that worldly Super Bowl Trophy stuff.
Tebow… good. Brady… evil.
So, was it wrong for two other strong Christians (Manning and Brees) to be holding the Trophy when their team won the Super Bowl? Isn’t that the goal of actually playing Football?
Speaking of Manning and Brees, and wanting to throw Kurt Warner in here too… If God is supposed to, or does help the strong, faithful Christians in the league (no, only Tebow you say… my bad) - why have these 3 guys only won one Super Bowl a piece?Warner lost 2 of them, Peyton lost 1 and Brees has only been there 1 time. Yet Brady has won 3 already. Remember Brady, the evil one.
If God gets involved in football games, I truly am curious why he didn’t help them win more - or win the Ultimate prize which would give them the biggest platform to use to talk about Jesus? Or which faithful follower He helps win since there are usually some on both teams in any given game??
And who could forget last week’s “Tebow 3:16” stuff. I saw all the “Is it a coincidence stuff”… who knows? God can use whatever he wants.
I’m all for people being exposed to the Bible, and if some of the stories are true - maybe God did use it. But I’m not sure what I think of using a Tebow 3:16 moniker, isn’t he still just a human being? And what if people looked up other 3:16 verses in the Bible outside of John 3:!6, would it change the impact?
Then we have the “Tebowing” craze. Or the WWTTD bracelets. Or the Broncos Jerseys worn by fans with the “number 15” and “Jesus” as the name. Or I found a picture of Tebows face replacing Jesus’ in a famous picture of Jesus. Yikes…
Are people actually praying while they are “Tebowing” (I’ve heard it does make some think a little more of prayer, for that, it’s a good thing)? I’m curious too if people really think “What would Jesus do” while wearing “What would Tim Tebow do?”
It’s so crazy seeing “Praying real hard right now for Tim and the Broncos…” on Facebook in the middle of a Bronco game… Or seeing entire passages on Facebook statuses to “claim” a Tebow/Broncos win.
But before I am too harsh on others for praying for a game, I’d be a hypocrite not to say that over my life time - I can’t imagine the amount of hours that have stacked up on praying for wins in my teams sporting events.
But that’s the point, believers - playing and praying on both sides… how does God choose?
I strongly believe in prayer, but can it not go beyond a football game? That’s what we as believers are “praying so hard for”?
(This may be a harsh photo and I’m not sure it’s really fair to God or Tebow, but it didn’t take long to find this kind of sentiment - not so much against Tebow, as the “Christian craze for him” and the hypocrisy it seems to incorporate in terms of praying for a football game, yet ignoring real world issues.)
And now we have a Massachusetts Wiccan Sect coming out to ask the sprits to help the entire New England Patriots team defeat Tim Tebow and the Broncos. What!?? Are you serious? Football is now a world wide spiritual battle field in terms of the winning team… is the spiritual winner!? OHHH-K.
(btw, now that the Patriots killed the Broncos tonight, would it be consistant to give credit to whatever spirits the Witches conjured up to defeat Tebow, the Broncos and mighty God? Not trying to be flippant here, just wondering if we’ve thought through what it means if the Broncos lose, after claiming God’s favor for wins?)
This is a lot to put on a kid… a football player… a flawed human being.
No doubt I think he’s handled it well, and I think the platform he’s been given is awesome.
But, I’m concerned that the Christian community has put him on a pedestal he doesn’t belong on (maybe without realizing it).
And if/when he falls off the pedestal, or starts sucking in a few more games, or shows a flaw somewhere - I hope we don’t do what we often do to our own… Throw them under the bus, or forget them all together.
And all the critics who are quiet now during some of his success and heightened fame, will laugh and say I told you so.
…and cool enough, that won’t be the end of the story for Tebow. As Rick Reilly’s article on ESPN this week points out, Tebow is so much more than football. His calling goes far beyond football.
How he lives his life I believe is an example, he does a lot of great things for others. He lives his faith publicly, yet authentically. Definitely to the delight of some, and discomfort of others. He loves Jesus.
I want to be careful not to worship him or his celebrity status.
But I do admire him.
I’m thrilled to have his Jersey.
Happy to cheer for a good guy.
Rooting and hoping for a long, prosperous career with the Denver Broncos.
I’ll always cheer for my team.
Whether here or somewhere else, I will also be a fan of yours too.
Win a Super Bowl… or two… or three…
But most of all -
Jesus, help Tim be faithful no matter what happens in a silly game called American Football. Also, help all your followers to be faithful, no matter what happens to Tebow, or in a Football game either.
New International Version (NIV)
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
So grateful for all I have in this life…
HAPPY THANKSGIVING Everyone!
A few of my favorite quotes on being Thankful:
“Thank you, dear God
For all You have given me,
For all You have taken away from me,
For all You have left me.”
“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude.
Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”
[John Henry Jowett]
“Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed
or those we enjoy now.”
[A. W. Tozer]
“O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”
“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”
[Charles Haddon Spurgeon]
While at the Broncos vs. Lions game yesterday, my wife snapped a picture of a guy from behind dressed as Jesus (robe, sandals, long hair and even a crown of thorns - with a Tebow jersey and a wooden cross underneath to complete the ensemble).
I wondered if he did it to make fun of, or to be respectful. I doubt most people’s initial reaction would be the thought of respect. Sure enough, they showed him on screen and it his antics pretty much proved lack of respect and then tried to do a Catholic Cross that failed miserably.
I wonder, if this was making fun of any other God (you know which ones bring the most fury) - would mainstream society be ”outraged” and calling ”for an apology” or ”demanding this fan be banned from games forever”? But because it’s Jesus, is it ok because it’s held in large pockets of society that “Christians are oppressive and mean” (a far cry from how Jesus really was - but that’s a different post). Or what if it wasn’t a God, but making fun of someone or something marginalized in society today?
What should the response be? What should Christians response be?
It takes a lot to offend me, but even I wasn’t sure what I thought of it…
My buddy Brandon reminded me that when we are told to “turn the other cheek”, it is actually in response to being offended, not necessarily getting beat up.
I wanted to take a minute to reflect on this great and special week for me.
If you’re on my mailing list for YFC, you know that my role at GA was to coordinate the Pastoral Care/Counseling Team and the Medical Team for the week. Not only is this something that is so close to my heart, but it was an honor to help serve our YFC Family in this way. The people that served on both teams were absolutely awesome and pleasure to work with. Professionals through and through.
I loved getting to meet so many people who either I correspond with through email, phone, etc…, but never get to face to face; or those who knew my wife Corrie when she was a Missionary in Ghana with YFC. It was fun to spend time with former bosses, who remain friends, who have shaped my ministry experience through the years.
There are three things I took away from GA that has really furthered my gratefulness to be a part of YFC right now…
Thank you all for your prayers, and for any financial gifts you gave to help my conference costs.
We were married on September 12, 2004. A great 7 years already… I’ve learned a whole lot more in our 7 years together, but thought it would be fun to reflect using the number 7.
Anyway, to the list of 7… before children -
- There are “quality of time people”, and then there is Corrie. I’ve never been around someone who has wanted more of my time than she did, and still does. It was quite the adjustment, early on, for this introvert…
- A Man actually can be cleaner and more organized than Woman. :)
- CSI, Psychological Thrillers, True Crime and 9-11 Documentaries are not relaxing bedtime shows for everyone… who knew?
- Find the right Video Game (Lego anything on the Wii, FIFA Soccer), and Video games are “all good” and full of continued participation!
- For Corrie, almost everything has sentimental value and should be kept as such. Napkin from our first date… sure. A rock on the ground that was in front of us from the time we first laughed together… you bet. Her baby teeth… ok ok, this whole point is deeply exaggerated and I’m done making fun of it now. :)
- The telephone is far more important to use each day than I would have ever given it credit for. Not sure why anyone needs to talk to me or anyone else that much in a day… but, that’s my social girl!
A bonus six I’ve learned… after having children -
- That whole keeping sentimental things… just got a thousand times worse. :)
- Ditto for organization and cleanliness.
- If there is anything that needs to be discussed, any stories told, any fun conversation to be had after the kids go to sleep - it better be quick cause she is out like a light most nights.
- Lego anything on the Wii takes on a whole new escape from reality and important role for relaxation. :)
- Phone calls/texts to me and others are an incredibly important part of “adult interaction” each day. Unlimited minutes and texts have become a non-negotiable part of the budget! :)
- There are certain areas in which we have very different parenting styles and limits… For example, Corrie believes strongly in allowing our kids to explore and be confident. I prefer that they stay near me and never get hurt. Two minutes around our kids and you’ll see which parenting style has won out on that… ;) We have great kids… so, so blessed.
Lastly… No. 7 (for both lists).
I’d be lost without her. She is my best friend.
I am so blessed and grateful for my wife.
I know I got the better end of this deal.
Happy 7th Corrie… thank you, for wanting me.
Corrie and I have had the honor of listening to a higher-than-normal number of stories from people who are really struggling and hurting here in the last few weeks. So, to avoid drawing out the stories anymore than those going through the struggles wanted… would you join me in praying for them? We pray for those…
I have no doubt there are so many more requests, even in your mind as you read this… Let us also pray for your needs. It may not seem like it…. But, I truly don’t believe you are invisible to those who care, or to God. It may only be my belief, but it’s what I hold onto.
“Hey, just wanted you to know that we found your son wandering in the the parking lot. So we brought him back in for you.”
The range of emotions that flooded our minds at that very moment.
While at a restaurant tonight (as a side note - supporting an awesome adoption cause of our buds, Jeremy and Jennifer), our son (who is 3) got up and proceeded into the play area to play with friends. We saw him go in, but apparently not back out. An alert patron at another table graciously brought him back in and let us know what had happened. He went looking for my car, by himself.
Why? We still don’t know.
After the anger of him going out by himself, and joy and gratefulness of learning he is now back with us safe had subsided… the what-ifs started quickly in our minds.
…he’d gotten hit by a car in the parking lot?
… wandered even farther away and got lost?
… worst of all, someone had picked him up and taken him away - possible forever
Beyond a nightmare.
All the times he may scream and cry, throw tantrums, hits others, pee on the carpet while potty training, break a beloved item in the house, won’t go to sleep, shouts no at everything, etc… - it pales so far in the moment of that thought tonight…
…What if he was badly hurt, or worse… gone?
Is it worse/better to know they are missing and find them, or to have never known they were missing at all - until they return?
Feeling… like the worst parent(s) ever.
Yet so, so very grateful he’s in bed asleep - safe, in the next room. (just wanted to share this with our online community. thank you for reading this and sharing in this situation with us - no matter where you came into this story.)
We just finished watching Cyberbully on ABC Family. Yes, go ahead and make fun that I watch kids shows and movies… Awesome. Done yet? :) Ok, so stay with me now…
Cyberbullying is real and it sucks… and it can wreak havoc on the spirit and soul - and the body too. Whatever anyone thinks of the acting or anything else about this movie, it was an important topic to take on (and personally I thought it was pretty well done, for the record). Glad ABC Family went there. I wish I had faith in it’s impact on Cyber-bullying overall… not sure it’s just that simple though (but great job going after it anyway).
The internet provides a great way to go after people, all while hiding behind a masked identity. In other words, no accountability for what we say or write. We can write and say whatever we want without any real repercussions on our part… just create an alternate identity and away we can go. But even on Facebook where it most likely is our own identity, we can Cyber bully cause we don’t have to look anyone in the eyes when saying what we say. Our words can be pretty dangerous, and the internet has given us a way to spew some venom, without much accountability. For me, even more as a parent, this movie was tough to watch sometimes. You can imagine how badly you want to jump in a protect your kids, or other kids from this happening. It’s just so wrong… It also got me thinking about other venues online where I see crap spewed all the time…
For example, take a quick look at the comments section on controversial articles on big news sites like CNN, FoxNews,Google, Yahoo, etc… or how about a politically charged post on someones Facebook wall? Or lately, a blog post about Casey Anthony? Or a debate about Homosexuality? Or posts on where Rob Bell and his followers are going? Who are true Christians and who are not? God’s love for Republicans and hate for Democrats… or quit honestly vice verse - both sides can get pretty hateful towards the other. I could go on and on. The internet gives us the ability to say our peace (or non-peace), without really realizing the impact of our words on others… or worse maybe… actually realizing the impact, and being proud of it in all the wrong ways… I’ve done it. It’s wrong. Truth, in Love. I believe we should be different… we are called to be. Doesn’t Love demand more. True Love… is more, right? [ref]
1 If I speak in human or angelic tongues,[a] but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.