Cheaters — I Don’t Get It

Last year, at a triathlon, I encountered a gal (JD ) who was struggling on the bike portion of an Olympic (Oly) distance. I chatted with JD, effectively talked her through the bike, and we finished the bike portion at about the same time.

During the run, it was the same: it was very hot and humid, and she was clearly dehydrated. I had plenty in the tank and could have steamrolled her, but–like the fictional would-be Naval Aviation Officer Candidate Zach Mayo–I “talked her over the wall”. At the end, JD decided to break into a sprint so she could finish ahead of me.

I thought it was tacky of her to do that, but I figured what the hey..if it makes her feel better, that’s her business. As for me, I’m man enough to enjoy a DFL*. MrsLarijani and I had a good laugh over it.

This year, JD did the Oly distance at the same tri. The conditions were better. This time, due to a schedule conflict, I opted for the Sprint distance and had a blast. It was my best triathlon execution to date.

This time, JD finished 3rd overall among the women. The kicker: her “official bike time” was better than any of the men. Her average pace was over 25 mph!

I know that course very well–it is very hilly, with a nasty half-mile climbout coming out of transition–and I know many of the athletes who did that race; some of whom are VERY elite athletes: we’re talking Boston Marathon finishers and potential qualifiers for the Ironman Word Championships in Kona.

I also know that JD is not a strong cyclist. And even if she trained very hard over the past year–and I KNOW she didn’t–there is no way in HELL she biked a 25 mph pace on that course. She couldn’t even pull that pace on a flat course such as Tri Louisville.

But that brings me to wonder: why on earth do people cheat in events like these? There was no prize money on the line. Other than some token recognition–there’s some bragging rights, but this was a small-ball event–what is there to gain? I can understand people cheating to get into the Boston Marathon, or Ironman Kona, or even fudging to get a finish that they did not earn at a large event.

But an obscure triathlon that is a fairly laid-back event where no money is on the line and people are generally training for other events?

Ultimately, JD will have to live with herself.

That day, I saw some bold people out there: several people doing their first triathlons. One gal–very obese–slogged her way through the swim, bike, and run. She was about 2 miles into her bike as I was finishing the bike. But, as I drove out after packing my gear–I saw her enjoying a casual jog into the turnaround on the run. I gave her a thumbs-up.

I don’t know her, but she has every reason to be proud of her finish.

There are analogs with the Christian life in this.

One of the things I often point out in endurance sports: you cannot afford to run someone else’s race. You are there to run YOUR race.

During this year’s race, there was a gal who passed me several times: we took turns passing each other. We did this throughout the bike and run. I wasn’t racing her; I was focused on my Garmin data and maintaining a pace I had planned. She was doing a run/walk ratio and was very methodical. She was clearly a better runner, and I suspected she was probably using me to pace her.

I didn’t care: I ran the race I trained for, and I got the finish I wanted. I would suspect she did, too.

The obese gal did the same: she was all smiles in that home stretch. She ran the race according to the rules. Sure, she was DFL, but an honest finish is a good finish. Her finisher medal counts as much as mine does.

JD, on the other hand, got some recognition out of this. But she did not play by the rules. At the end, her medal is meaningless, not even worthy for the trash.

Similarly, in the Christian life, we each have our own races. Some of us have more gifts than others, just as some athletes have better genetics than others. I have a bad back, bad lungs–from three bouts with pneumonia–and a torn rotator cuff. I accept that I am not going to be in the ranks of elite finishers any time soon. Some folks live this life with more gunning against them than others. Some inherit more baggage than others.

Your job isn’t to finish first; your job is to finish well. That you get to run that race is itself a grace from God; you didn’t earn it.

Your finish is also a product of God’s grace. Your calling is to be faithful and run that race according to the gifts you’ve been given.

Just as some athletes will cheat, you will also see “cheaters” in the Christian ranks. They are often hypocrites–they fashion an image that you see on Sunday and Wednesday, while they are completely different persons in private.

But make no mistake: as the Bible says, their sins will find them out. (I often frame it this way: your character will eventually catch up with you.)

The same is true with athletes who cheat. Just ask Lance Armstrong. Just as you can have your awards rescinded–in Lance’s case, years after collecting on the prestige and monies–you can be “disqualified” on judgment day.

I would suspect that, in the final judgment, there will be a mother lode of surprises: some of them pleasant, and others not so much.

*DFL: in the word of endurance sports, this stands for Dead Flippin’ Last. (Well, that’s the clean version.) It’s often a badge of honor in triathlon and other endurance sports, as a last-place finish is better than a DNF (Did Not Finish).

Aspiring Pastor Murders Wife

By now, most of you have probably read about this case: Matthew Phelps, a graduate of Clear Creek Bible College and aspiring pastor, admitted to stabbing his wife to death, claiming that he had taken too much cold medicine. I have some friends who initially gave credence to his attempt at the Twinkie Defense, but–looking at his mug shot–I immediately dismissed that, as it is very clear that he was in a fight with someone who, go ahead and call me sexist for saying this, “fought like a girl”.

He did not accidentally kill his wife; this was a fight that ended in a stabbing.

I had friends who suggested that they looked like the “perfect” couple. I suggested that the facts will reveal a marriage that was very far from perfect, and–beneath the appearances–was a very

Well, the veneer of the perfect couple is beginning to unravel, as I long suspected it would: Matthew Phelps was previously married. (HT to Amy Smith of Watchkeep via FB.)

And while I realize that having a prior marriage does not a murderer make, it does show that Phelps’ character was at variance with the image he projected.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times:

(1) Charisma is not character.

(2) You CANNOT outrun your character. Your character will ALWAYS catch up with you.

Hold on to your seats, ladies and gentlemen.

Class is dismissed for recess.

Regnerus: Easy Sex = Deterioration of Marriage

Here is the story.

That proposition is not a new one; as the saying goes, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

But to call sex “easy” doesn’t do the dymamic justice. This isn’t even about dating sites, which exist for every relationship goal from marriage (e-Harmony) to affairs (Ashley Madison). Those, actually, are behind the times.

Oh noes…smartphones have rendered dating sites moot.

If a man doesn’t care about anything morally, all he needs to do is get on Tinder and, in almost any city, will be able to find willing partners for quick “hookups”.

And while pornography is nothing new, the quality and availability of it is. Up until the early 1990s, if you wanted it, you had to either go to a store to buy it or have cable television and subscribe to it.

The World Wide Web has rendered that moot: high-definition porn, for any type of fetish, is available for free and is but a couple mouseclicks away. For many years, the porn industry was the key driver for the technology development on the Web.

Even worse, the industry now is developing “sex robots” that serve as robo-companions.

(Those have been under development for years–and I have long expressed skepticism about the degree to which they will catch on–but, sadly, the market for those is expanding on the margins. For now, they are for rich perverts, but over time they will be more widely available to perverts of lesser means.)

Against this backdrop, Aldous Huxley might have been an optimist.

What We Have Here, Is a Shortage of Rope

More people need a short-drop hanging than I have rope.

This will make your skin crawl. Read the details. It is long and sad to read.


As I have often said, I am not surprised that pedophiles target churches. I am also not surprised that pedophiles target Christian schools. Pedophiles want kids, and that is where the kids are.

It seems that Covenant Life Church, C.J. Mahaney’s flagship church, had multiple leaders who were given to pedophilia and/or other very dark sexual fetishes unbecoming of a minister of the Gospel.

That Mahaney and others in his inner circle actively sought to cover up the abuses is not news. However, I challenge you to read the details.

Yes, they are sad and sordid and dark. Yes, some very high movers and shakers of Neo-Calvinism are implicated.

I hope this pisses you off. And I hope you stay pissed off.

If you expect God to bless a Church that hides this crap, then you don’t get it.

That is why the fictional John Kelly is my alter-ego.

Class dismissed.

CBMW, TWW, and the “Nashville Statement”: Discuss Among Yourselves

Here is the original Danvers Statement, by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, on masculinity and femininity.

Here is the Nashville Statement, by the same council, which was released August 25.

Here is Deb’s assessment of it at TWW.

Here are my initial thoughts on which I will expound later:

(1) The original Danvers Statement is otherwise Biblically-sound. I see no problem with it. I’m not saying that every signatory of that statement has necessarily fleshed out the details properly–I think some of the Patriarchs/complimentarians, in their attempts to flesh out what that relationship means, have been more rigid than necessary, as the complimentarian framework, even as one looks at Scripture, carries great flexibility–but the statement itself is good.

(2) The Nashville Statement, at first glance, appears to be, for the most part, Biblically-sound. I will delve into more details and make a more in-depth assessment of it.

I would add this, however: having studied the issue of intersex–not to be confused with “transgenderism”, which is a sexual fetish–I cannot say that I oppose such a one, who may have genetic properties of one sex while having anatomical ambiguity, getting surgery. I see nothing in Scripture precluding that, as surgery, in such a case, would be tantamount to correcting a birth defect. It would seem that such surgery ought to be looked at as a good thing in those cases, which are not the same as “transgenderism”.

As a result, I would pick better wording for Article VI to provide clarification.

(3) Deb is conflating two issues: (a) the Nashville Statement–which, at face value–is good, and (b) the questionable doctrine of Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS), which many complimentarians have used to frame their case for complimentarianism/Patriarchy.

My view on ESS: that doctrine needs to be tabled, as any attempt to frame this issue in terms of the Trinity–something that NONE of the Biblical writers do–is risky and requires decades (perhaps even a century) of assessment and deliberation. I would stop short of calling it heresy, but I am leery of framing in issue in a way that the Biblical writers did not pursue. I wrote about that last year.

The Biblical case for Patriarchy is rooted in (a) Creation, (b) the relationship of Christ and the Church, and–in the context of Church offices–(c) the Fall.

When Jesus addressed the issue of divorce, He framed it in terms of Creation.

When Paul explicated the relationship between husband and wife, he did it in terms of Creation and the relationship between Christ and the Church.

When Paul precluded women from particular offices of Church leadership, He framed it in terms of Creation and the Fall.

None of the Biblical cases for Patriarchy are connected to ESS, so I’m not about to go there.

At the same time, The Nashville Statement is not about ESS, and I think Deb is going off on an unnecessary tangent here. They would do better to discuss the particulars of the Nashville Statement.

By focusing on ESS, they are creating a red herring.