Sunday, February 29, 2004
"Many Arminians are Christians."
-from a pastor (not Anglican)
You may make of this quote what you will.
Saturday, February 28, 2004
I saw The Passion this afternoon. Wow. It took a lot out of me. I managed not to cry, but I don't know if I'd be able to see it again, catching nuances, without doing so.
Well, technically, the Episcopal Church USA doesn't have any official statement of beliefs beyond the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds and that the New and Old Testaments make up the Bible. Other than that, I think most other stuff is pretty much open to interpretation. However, Fearsome Pirate is pretty unhappy with those of differing beliefs. He lists fourteen things he regards as heresies, which I present below in slightly-edited form (mostly for language). Remember, the things he lists are what he considers to be heresies, not orthodox teachings.
"1. Denial of the validity of baptism by modes other than submersion, or any similar such legalism
2. Denial of the validity of infant baptism
3. Denial that baptism is unrepeatable
4. That unless a man prays and asks Jesus into his heart/makes a personal decision, he will not be saved.
5. That if a man prays and asks Jesus into his heart, then he will most certainly be saved, even if he falls into public sin and does not repent (Once Saved, Always Saved).
7. That one must experience a second "baptism of the Spirit" in addition to Trinitarian baptism in order to be saved/have the Holy Spirit/be a mature Christian, and that this "baptism" consists of speaking in tongues/charismatic gifts/experiencing a burning feeling/etc.
8. Not holding orthodox Trinitarianism
9. Limited Atonement
10. Denial of original sin, that is, that little children, too, are born in sin and need salvation--and are not saved simply by virtue of being too young to be sinners.
11. Puritan-style iconoclasm
12. Open theism
13. Full preterism
14. That if you are sick and unhealed, it is because you don't have enough faith."
You, gentle readers, may (or may not!) be pleased to know that according to this definition, I am not a heretic! Actually that would be a pretty cool tag-line...hmm...
A few clarifications, though: false baptisms (such as non-Trinitarian) don't count (#3); Confirmation is a sacrament which should be done by believers, but is not a second baptism (#7); I believe in Original Sin, but I'm confused by his example (#10); I don't have an objection to partial preterism (#13); and it's possible that you may be sick because you don't believe, though not necessarily so (#14).
Well, as it is, I'm pretty sure I'm on the very extreme "Catholic" fringe of those in Navigators, both here at Tech and worldwide. I know my director and I disagree on quite a few doctrines, as do several of the guys in my Bible study.
I mean, let's be honest: I don't have too much of a problem with what's in the Augsburg Confession, or most Lutheran beliefs. I do think that a priest (that is, one who administers the sacraments) should be "regularly called" and consecrated by someone who is at least a priest, and preferably a bishop (which can have a fairly loose definition, I suppose). Obviously, if one isn't available, that doesn't limit God's ability to work, but it might be a sin to administer sacraments if not regularly called and not properly consecrated to do, provided another priest or bishop is available. Likewise, the Baptism should use water and the Eucharist should use unleavened bread and wine, but these are not essential if completely unavailable. Thus, if a non-Christian friend and I were lost in the desert, with only a Snickers bar and a Coke, and with little or no hope of rescue, I believe I could act as a priest and baptize him with some of the Coke, then consecrate the Snickers and remaining Coke to serve as the Eucharist. God is not limited by the sacraments. Cases don't have to be as extreme as I've described, but, for instance, if you're in a country where wine (I'll be generous and include grape juice here) simply can't be obtained, you could use something else.
Anyway, I've rambled, and possibly committed some heresy not envisioned by the Fearsome Pirate. I'll go to bed now.
Thursday, February 26, 2004
This is bloody unfortunate...
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
I've decided to give up "junk drinks" (soda, beer, etc.) over Lent this year.
Also, my friend Brian Lee has put together a Lenten Devotional blog as part of his leadership within the UVA Wesley Foundation, where he has thoughts from Wahoos, Hokies, Fighting Irish, and others on Lent, the passion, Easter, and such. Quick warning: it's not fair to cheat and click the archives link.
Sunday, February 22, 2004
Though on hiatus, I'll still be checking the Comments boxes. If you've got any prayer requests for which you'd like me to intercede, just leave them in the box to this message and I'll pray for it. Take care!
I talk too much, and don't listen enough. So, for a little while, I won't be blogging while I work on that. Any prayers you could offer up in support would be very much appreciated.
Friday, February 20, 2004
I'm sending the following letter to the Opinions page of the Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech's student-run newspaper. We'll see if they print it.
In the debate over homosexual marriage, it may be helpful to clarify a few things. Most importantly, marriage is recognized differently by different bodies. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam do not recognize homosexual unions, nor do the United States or the Commonwealth of Virginia. If the Feb. 20 article 'Couples fight for equal rights' is indicative, then the Blacksburg Unitarian Universalists do recognize them, as do the participants in non-'mock' ceremonies. It would seem as though whether two people are married or not is a matter of opinion, rather than fact.
As marriage is a matter of opinion, then it cannot be an inalienable right, but is rather a privilege, meaning that state recognition is a matter for government to decide as it deems best. If the government of the state, representing the people, decides either to recognize or refuse to recognize homosexual unions as marriages, then it may do so at its own discretion. Likewise, a company may decide to grant or withhold benefits to those not in state-sanctioned marriages, whether homosexual or heterosexual, in accordance with the law.
However, this also means that many other conceptions of marriage should be considered for recognition or lack thereof by the legislature. Is there a reason why polygamy should not be legal? How about incestuous relationships? Realistically, is there any reason why a person cannot simply marry himself? If state approval of marriage is to be framed in terms of commitment and economic benefits, then is there any reason why four thousand, or even 275 million people cannot enter into legally-binding marriages? By essentially defining marriage as a form of incorporation, then it would seem that the next logical step would be for stocks to be offered.
Ultimately, it is up to us, through our representatives, to decide what Virginia and the United States consider matrimony to be. If we are to expand it from being a man and a woman to two men or two women, then we ought to examine why three people or a brother and sister do not qualify."
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
As part of being a Bible Study leader, I meet with some of the guys in my study one-on-one every week. Usually, we talk about issues of the day, personal problems, and all that. However, one guy is pretty well informed in the Reformed (Calvinist) tradition, and I've basically been playing Devil's Advocate with him. Lately, we've been examining Roman Catholic teaching in the Council of Trent, and what Roman Catholics believe. His initial (and possibly current) position was that the Roman Church is not Christian, though individuals within may be. My position is that the Reformed and Rome see the same thing differently, like looking at the two sides of a coin without realizing it's the same coin. Lately, I've been looking at Anglican, Lutheran, and Roman theology in order to test him (iron sharpens iron). It's been good, and I think we're both learning.
Meanwhile, I've decided a few things on my own. Firstly, until Rome is ready to give up doctrines such as Papal Infallibility (and those dogmas resulting from it, such as the Marian ones) and probably praying to saints and the idea of purgatory, reconciliation between the them and HokiePundit is impossible. Once again, though, I must stress that I do not have the resources to provide for the entire Roman Catholic Church in the event of their theological surrender, so the status quo is, at present, acceptable. I've also been astonished (appalled?) to discover that Article XVII of the Thirty-Nine Articles seems to be in favor of Predestination. Well, the Anglican Church may be Reformed, but I'm not. Lastly, I've been looking at Lutheran doctrines (my dad is Lutheran, so it's okay!), and I have to admit that I've been intrigued. I'll read up some more, and see where things end up. I do have to say that I've never been a huge proponent of Apostolic Succession, and the rules of blessing the sacrament that are contained within. I'm also not yet ready to concede to the Reformed notion of Predestination. Obviously there is some form of it, but I still maintain that Free Will has a major role.
As part of this, I've been going through the Epistles and basically summarizing them line-by-line. Having started yesterday, I've only completed Jude, John's three letters, 2 Peter, and some of 1 Peter, but the pattern that I seem to be seeing supports destiny, but not necessarily Predestination. For example, I mean that if I jump out of an airplane without a parachuchute, I'm destined to die, barring a miracle. However, that doesn't prove that I was always destined to die like that, but merely that after the action of hurling myself from the plane, there was nothing left, short of a miracle, to save me. Basically, I'm seeing something like "actions have consequences, and God knows what's going on." Right now, it's sitting firmly in the "mystery" category. It also seems to me that we can lose our salvation, which flies in the face of Predestination. I suppose an answer might be that those who stray were never truly Saved, but I'm not ready to buy that without more evidence.
And, let me be clear. I believe that the New and Old Testaments are sufficient resources to inform Christians, though even those who merely have Creation to observe have no excuse for their lack of faith. The Nicene and Apostles' creeds, aided by the Athanasian Creed, are sufficient statements of Christian belief, and all who subscribe to them count as Christians. While it may not always seem like it, arguing about doctrines such as Free Will, infant vs. adult baptism, and the number of sacraments is simply "fun," and should be discarded whenever it gets in the way of following the Great Commandment or Great Commission.
If one is a Catholic, then he or she will refer to the Son of God as "Christ," whereas those who are Protestant will refer to Him as "Jesus."
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Somehow, I'd forgotten to put William Sulik, the Blithering Idiot, in the Land o' Links! Well, that's been corrected, so blither away!
Monday, February 16, 2004
I've recently (well, a few weeks ago) reached a conclusion: now's not a good time for me to try and date. It occurred to me that I wasn't really looking for a relationship, but just a "yes" when I asked someone out for the first time. I had been noticing that after I successfully asked girls out, my first response after the initial "yes!" was "man, I wonder if I actually have to go through with this?" That's messed-up thinking. I was hurting other people and ruining myself. So, I figured that the best solution is to simply stop until I can sort things out. Of course, knowing my luck, someone will probably become interested in me, which would be pretty annoying. I'm not interested in anyone right now, and the hope is to stay that way until I'm actually ready (asking girls to lunch doesn't count, since that's not meant to go anywhere).
Yes, I know that's fascinating information.
Thursday, February 12, 2004
Well, I was talking with a friend over AIM last night, and she was asking me about a guy she liked, and what to do. Eventually, we both decided that the problem might be that he, being older than she, might simply view her as being to young and uninteresting to be worth his time. We both also agreed that she sometimes comes across as abrupt to the point of rudeness, though she doesn't mean to be. She asked me to go on, and I unfortunately did, telling her that while she's very smart and fun, the way she acts makes it seem as though, on first impression, that she's not. I went on to say that it was only after that I'd sat down and talked with her that I realized that she wasn't as she had seemed. From there, she began accusing me of calling her stupid and being a jerk for judging people without really knowing them. My protestations that I never called her stupid and that I changed my view once I realized I was wrong were ignored, and she went on to say that she hated my guts for being very judgemental.
A few minutes later, I was talking with another friend and he told me that I come across as being hypocritical and fake for refusing to drink around people who aren't yet of legal age. Apparently, since they know I drink when not around them, they're offended that I won't drink with them.
These charges really hurt me. I had thought that I was being considerate by not drinking around younger people, as I wasn't encouraging them to do something that I wouldn't and didn't do (drink while underaged), and at the same time never criticized any of them for drinking while underaged (I've confronted two underaged friends for drinking because it was getting to be a problem, but that's different). Of course, some people also thought that I was being a jerk for not drinking while underaged when everyone else around me was. That I only said why I didn't drink (I try not to break the law) when specifically asked appears to not have made any difference. Meanwhile, I acknowledge that I can sometimes be judgemental, but I've tried very hard to make sure that I only judged actions as being good or bad, and that if I was judging people, it wasn't their souls but only an evaluation of their personality or physical traits. Let me explain that last part: I tend to adapt the way I behave so as to try and make others feel comfortable; I'll talk sports with some friends and philosophy/theology with others, I'll use a different vocabulary when dealing with little kids and with my parents, I'll sometimes unconsciously change my accent when I'm dealing with people from different regions, etc. I also am reasonably good at looking at a person's physical features and guessing roughly where they're from (people of Asian descent are usually pleasantly amazed that I can usually tell the difference between people from Vietnam, China, Korea, and Japan).
The things I've stated have at least been what I've attempted to do. I've either failed miserably at communicating how I think, or I'm communicating perfectly but have made negative progress on achieving my goals. It's possible that the charges against me are perfectly true, and it's also possible that I'm totally innocent and am merely being persecuted. I'm reasonably sure that it's somewhere in the middle, but I don't know where. With the accusation of being judgemental came the assertion that it was astounding that someone who claimed to be a Christian could think the way that I do. I've been thinking about this a lot, and I still don't know if I'm truly in the wrong, am merely guilty of poor communication, or what. Comments by anyone who knows me reasonably well would, of course, be appreciated so I can work on resolving this.
I have to say that it's things like this which are the most frustrating. I often fail in my attempts to do certain things, and I can usually tie those to not trusting God by either wanting the wrong thing or going about it the wrong way. What gets me is when I try to do things that I'm sure are in accordance with God's will, acting on Christian motives, and still fail. Basically, the thought that runs through my head is "Lord, I'm trying to become, with your help and guidance, the person you've said you want. Why isn't it working?" Answers don't often or usually come immediately. Sometimes it's that I've overlooked some key element and have been going about it all wrong, and sometimes it's just that the rain falls on the righteous and the wicked alike. Still, it's frustrating and it hurts pretty badly.
The HokiePundit Confession is on my computer. However, as the internet and my computer are currently having a hatefest, it's probably going to stay there for a few more days, at least. I think it's pretty good, though a few rounds of editing would surely make it better (no, I'm not going to do those before posting it). As I looked over it, I realized that I'd more-or-less lifted entire thoughts straight out of the Council of Trent, which is actually, I think, a good sign. For all the cavilling of some Protestants I know, the parts of the Council of Trent that actually address doctrine (rather than the 2/3 that address rescheduling the council) are extremely good. Seemingly, for any objection you could find to a doctrine, they've thought it out and addressed it. While I don't agree with all their defenses, it's amazing to me how very careful to clarify any possible misconceptions. Of course, some things they address were surely objections floating around at the time, but it's still impressive. One thing that really gets me, though, is how they specifically address common misconceptions, such as the idea that Roman Catholics believe in Salvation by works, and yet detractors still say the RCs believe it and have no defense against the charge. The more I consider things, the more I'm convinced that Roman Catholics and Protestants are talking past each other (I, of course, am targetted by both sides). I don't think Free Will and Predestination necessarily contradict each other, nor do the ideas that faith alone saves and that good works are necessary to Salvation. It's as though one group accuses the other of wearing a wig, and the other argues against this by saying that their favorite color is blue. Protestants think of Catholics (not necessarily Roman) of being arrogant and misinterpreting doctrine, while Catholics accuse Protestants (not necessarily Evangelicals or Fundamentalists) of making things up as they go. Both have a bit of a point, but neither is understanding how the other works. Protestants are far more explicit in their beliefs. It's extremely rare to ever hear a Catholic saying things like "the Spirit is leading me to ____" or "I'm feeling called to become a prayer warrior and increase my quiet time." They also sometimes have a tendency to pray along the lines of "Father God, I pray that you, Father God, would cure my sister Jane, Father God, of the flu she's been having this past week, Father God, so she can do well on her finals, Father God." Catholics are far more implicit, even to the point of sometimes failing to mention God. Let's take the statement "I decided to change jobs." An Evangelical would hear that as "I, acting on my own impulses and not consulting God, was dissatisfied with my old job and decided to leave." He would instead say "I prayed about it for a long time, and felt the Spirit calling me to move to another vocation." Catholics would hear it as "I decided to change jobs [because I was dissatisfied with my old job, quite possibly because I felt I was betraying my Christian faith or wasn't getting to spend enough time with God]." If the Catholic had heard the Evangelical statement about the job I mentioned earlier, they would think that the person was very insecure and possibly a hypocrite. It's these misunderstandings that cause much of the animosity out there.
Also, just because I like provoking people, here's a thought:
The Pope claims to be the spiritual descendant of Peter. Peter was rebuked by Paul in the Epistle to the Galatians. Why is it that the Pope claims to be able to make infallible statements, which presumably cannot be rebuked? Was Paul's rebuke of Peter a one time thing, not to be transferred to any spiritual descendants of Paul (such as missionaries)? If so, why?
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
"Number One, I order you to take a number two."
My internet has been down for quite a while now. "ConnectMe Services," indeed. I'm currently at the Math Emporium (think of 1984, but less hostile and more creepy), typing on an iMac. I'm also theoretically studying for my Econ test
(two dancers have just finished a round of the Lambada)
Enrique: "You are now carrying my child."
Lisabella: "But Enrique, how?"
Enrique: "It is the mystery of the dance."
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
From Amir Taheri:
Those clamoring the loudest about the need for inquiries into the war are trying to narrow the focus to the WMD issue. What they say is simple: Show us the large stocks of WMDs that Saddam held, or admit that we should not have removed him from power.
No one could claim that Iraq never had any WMDs. Exhaustive lists of Iraqi WMDs are available from countless U.N. reports. Just a week before the liberation war started, Iraq admitted it was manufacturing the Al-Samoud missiles in violation of U.N. resolutions.
Let us also not limit the inquiry into the WMDs that Saddam had or did not have on the eve of the war. It is possible that at that time he had destroyed or shipped abroad his remaining WMDs to weather the storm he faced. What is certain, however, is that he had the intention, the scientists and the resources to re-launch his programs once the storm had passed.
Let us establish the circumstances under which the 4,000 mass graves came about and who were the 300,000 skeletons found in them. And should we not find out who organized those gas attacks that killed tens of thousands of Iraqi Kurds and Iranians in what is now regarded as the biggest use of chemical weapons since 1918?
Our inquiry should also take testimony from the estimated 5.5 million Iraqis who served prison terms of varying length under Saddam and, in many cases, were subjected to tortures unseen since the darkest days of Stalin.
And should we not hear from the former inhabitants of the 4,000 villages that Saddam torched and razed during his infamous Anfal campaign?
The inquiry will have to hear at least some of the 4 million plus Iraqis driven into exile during Saddam's reign of terror. It would also have to provide answers for families who are still searching for more than 10,000 people listed as "missing" after being arrested by Saddam's agents.
(link via Tim Blair)
Whenever I have a lot to say in reply to something, I try to take it out of the Comments and into its own entry, so as to "free up" the Comments of the original post and to keep things specific. In the comments to my earlier post, David (the Virginia Gentleman) argues against my opposition to homosexuality (yes, this has been discussed before). Also, he sort-of argues against women's ordination, though I'm pretty sure that was merely for comparison and not a reflection of his actual position.
Regarding women's ordination, I don't favor it. However, I think that there are enough plausible (though not necessarily correct) arguments for the ordination of women to not be able to declare it a closed issue. Specifically, the selection of women as judges in Israel and the presence of deaconesses in the New Testament, while not convincing to me, nonetheless have enough merit to prevent me from making a definitive statement.
In terms of homosexuals (and by this I of course refer to those who practice, rather than are only inclined), I don't see any evidence that might support their ordination. Being a woman is not a sin; practicing homosexuality is. Biblical-era people certainly knew what homosexuality was, and I have to admit that I'm astounded that you would say otherwise. The Jews certainly knew about it due to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Mosaic Law. The Greeks definitely knew about it, and practiced it openly. In his Republic, Plato specifically condemns homosexual relationships between grown men and adolescents (his support for nonsexual relations between them is why we call such relationships "platonic"). Christ did not specifically preach on homosexuality (though he did condemn sexual sin, which I believe includes it), as it was something all good Jews already knew was wrong. The reason Paul addresses it is because it was an accepted, and even encouraged, part of Greek life. It is similar to how Christ never preached against eating food sacrificed to idols, as this was a pagan custom and was something the Jews already had a prohibition against.
Now, I believe that, especially today, struggling with homosexuality is one of the toughest things to have to do spiritually. I'm extremely grateful that it is not a temptation of mine. I have enough trouble struggling with temptation towards girls, knowing that eventually I may be able to get married, without having to struggle with a desire that I know can never be blessed. It is for this reason that I have tremendous respect for those homosexuals who choose to live chastely. However, recognizing that homosexuality is a sin, similar to alcoholism, the practice of homosexuality cannot be condoned any more than can those who maintain an alcoholic lifestyle. I know this is not a popular opinion, but my reading of Scripture leaves me no other possible view.
Roman Catholics believe that a properly-consecrated priest with valid "pedigree" is required to administer sacraments. If you had an Orthodox, Anglican, or Old Catholic priest who could trace his "lineage" back to someone recognized by Rome, would he be able to administer effective sacraments to Roman Catholics? Especially, if you had a priest of valid lineage, could he administer Last Rites or Confession to someone dying or in great danger?
One of my homework assignments in my Computer Science textbook was to decode a string of binary characters into ASCII. The resulting message?
I like my textbook.
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
I think I'm going to give up drinking. We'll see.
In response to a discussion with a (very) Calvinist friend of mine, wherein I was thrust into my increasingly-common role of defending Catholicism*, I'm reading the Council of Trent. He, like many Protestants I've talked to, denies that Roman Catholicism (and, by inference, all large-C Catholic faith) is Christian, though he says that individual Roman Catholics may be Christian (sort of like my view of Mormonism). As usual, one of my challenges for him was to explain how Roman Catholicism is not Christian but Anglicanism is. As few Protestants are willing to say that Episcopalianism isn't Christian (yes, I know; be quiet for now), this usually provokes some serious thought. Generally, the arguments about the Christianity of Roman Catholicism boil down to two main ideas: the lack or addition of some idea viewed as key (variously, Arminism, not using the KJV, praying for the intercession of saints, etc.), and that because many (most?) Roman Catholics cannot articulate their faith in accordance with their official doctrine that the Roman Catholic Church is therefore "invalid" as a Christian expression of faith. Man, being an Anglican is tough sometimes.
*Under the term "Catholic," I include those within the Roman Communion (Latin Rite, Eastern Rite, Maronite Rite, etc.), Eastern and Oriental Orthodox (Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Syriac, Coptic, etc.), Old Catholics, some Anglicans (this includes the Anglican Communion, Continuing Anglican churches, and even some Methodists and their own offshoots), and some Lutherans. With Anglicans and Lutherans, whether a person is to be considered Catholic depends on which doctrines are viewed as essential and whether they accept them. In Anglicanism, for instance, there is enough leeway in what is considered official doctrine that any given believer may be Protestant, Catholic, or in-between. Thus, Christianity is usually broken down into Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy (Eastern and Oriental), Protestantism, and Anglicanism. If pressed, I'd lump Lutheranism in with Anglicanism under some other title, as both can be either Protestant or Catholic (or both). Old Catholics should be lumped in either with Roman Catholics, with whom they are not in communion but share a common heritage, or Anglicans, as they have a different background but are in communion with the Anglican Communion.
Personally, I consider myself to be more of an Anglo-Catholic ("English Catholic") than a Protestant. I've been accused both of being Catholic and being Protestant by various people. Thus, I usually just call myself Anglican and let others lump me wherever they want. However, if pressed, I will deny that I am a Protestant, though the term Evangelical seems to apply pretty well. Anglicans, according to our doctrine, believe that we are part of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Declaring ourselves to be in schism with that, as the Protestants appear to have done, would seem to be self-defeating.
All the churches listed under the Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican labels are valid expressions of orthodox ("correct-teaching") Christianity. Any church which is heterodox ("other-teaching") in the essentials of the faith is not Christian (Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals, etc.). When churches disagree on doctrine, heterodoxy only occurs (again, in my view) if the teaching is explicit in the Bible. Thus, a rejection of the practice of homosexuality is orthodox, while a belief or disbelief in the Real Presence is not necessarily heterodox.
One way to think of this is to imagine that you've died and are in the presence of the Judge, and are told that some doctrine you believe is actually false, and that such-and-such is actually correct. If your response would be "oh, my bad," then the idea is not essential. If it would instead be "you must be joking," then it is. I make no claim that this is a perfect analogy or test, but merely use it in hopes of illustrating my point.
Coming Soon: The HokiePundit Summary of the Council of Trent, Wherein This Author Interprets and Translates Into His Modern English His Understanding of Said Document
UPDATE: Obviously, ideas such as the Resurrection and the Trinity are less controversial tests of orthodoxy than rejection of homosexuality. I stand by my earlier assertion, while admitting that a less emotionally-charged example could, and probably should, have been used.
I was mildly hoping Carolina would win. They didn't. Ho-hum. Was it an exciting game? Yes, but I think the one I liked best was the Green Bay-Denver game. I wasn't really into football when the Redskins last won it, and we had a power outage starting mid-way into the St. Louis-Tennessee game (yes, the horror!). My view is skewed.
The commercials weren't all that great. I liked the NFL Channel one based on "Annie," the Homer one (I knew the old guy would get whacked!), the Mitsubishi one, Wrong Lipstick, and the Staples and 7-Up ones (I got there late, so I didn't see the earliest ones). The Marilyn Monroe Scot was just...ugh! I haven't been impressed with the commercials lately. To me, Super Bowl commercials need to be at least at the level of the Coors Light "Wingman." Other examples: the United Way series over the past few years, Snickers ShockZone, 1-800-Collect from a few years ago ("Great job, but who are the Chefs?"), Nissan "Danger Zone," the older Fosters series, Reebok's Terry Tate, the Nike football (Vick) and basketball ("Lay-up!") commercials lately etc. I liked Labatt's "Beer Me," too. Most of these weren't close.
However, the thing everyone has been talking about is the halftime show. I was generally bored by it. I didn't notice Janet Jackson exposing herself, as everyone in the room was busy talking amongst themselves instead of watching the show. We also noted that the songs were pretty old. Heck, some of the people there said they were Freshmen in high school when "Bahtwitdaba" came out. I think I was a Junior. I did think the "P. Diddy you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, P. Diddy" was kind of funny, too. However, my main thought was "you know, it would've been so much better if they'd just gotten OutKast instead." Think about it: you have Andre 3000 do "Hey Ya," followed by Big Boi and "The Way You Move." It would have been awesome. Oh well, perhaps in Super Bowl L...
(place your bets now on whether or not they'll actually call it "Super Bowl L")