Sunday, January 22, 2012

WE ARE ..........

 Many of you have heard of the passing today of Joe Paterno, a college football coaching legend. The last several months of his life were tied up in a scandal which led to his termination at Penn State. This entry is about a time with less turmoil in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania, at least outwardly. This is from November 6, 2006.

Joe Paterno got hurt Saturday. The seventy-nine year old football coach at Penn State was injured in a sideline collision in PSU's loss to Wisconsin. He has undergone surgery to repair a fractured tibia and torn knee ligaments. He vows he will be on hand to coach this Saturday as the Nittany Lions take on Temple. In his 41st year coaching in State College, Paterno ranks second in both total wins in NCAA Division 1 and longest tenure at one institution. Paterno leads one of the most tradition-laden programs on the college level. Games at Beaver Stadium routinely surpass 100,000 in attendance. One of the great cheers/chants on the intercollegiate level reverberates throughout the fourth largest university venue on autumn Saturdays:WE ARE....PENN STATE.

The chant is revered by Nittany Lion fans and reviled by opponents. The Penn State student body and alumni define themselves by those four words. It is a very simple, very memorable definition.

My eighth and tenth grade Bible students are learning some self-defining statements as well this week. In the gospel of John, Jesus defines himself in what are called The Seven I AM Statements. The Savior of the world characterized himself as follows:
I am the bread of life.
I am the true vine.
I am the good shepherd.
I am the gate for the sheep.
I am the light of the world.
I am the resurrection and the life.
I am the way, the truth, and the life

The way Jesus looked at himself stands in marked contrast, in my opinion, to the way many viewed him then as now. I think the manner in which we look at ourselves through simple definitions can shed light on who we are as well. I asked my students to finish the sentence, "I am _________." Following is a sampling of their replies:
I am tall.
I am a babysitter.
I am clumsy.
I am athletic.
I am shy.

Andrea: I am Hispanic.
I am smart.
I am good looking.

Lauren: I am kind.
Kenneth: I am five different ethnicities.
I am a twin.
Ben: I am the older twin.

I thought the kids did a good job. They were willing to commit publicly to how they viewed themselves. For the most part, they couched their categorizations in positive terms. I like that. Soon, we will get into the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus gives the converse of one of his statements by saying, "YOU are the light of the world." And, none of us want to be seen in a negative light!

Applicable quote of the day:
"Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy."
Joe Paterno/ Penn State football coach

God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at


Jon said...

I am the best!!! HAHAHA

Jon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Askinstoo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.