Football season is here, and in the state of Alabama you don’t have to clarify this as meaning college football, because that much is understood. There is no room for the NFL around these parts, especially in my town – Tuscaloosa – which is home to the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. I will not attempt to explain the insanity-level fandom garnered by the Tide in this town, because the only way to truly understand this is to attend a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Otherwise, just accept that the madness is deeper, stronger and more unwavering than you could ever imagine.
If you know much about WWII, then you know one of the most terrible battles of this terrible war was fought in Bastogne, France. It was the dead of winter and German forces had surrounded the town of Bastogne. Conditions inside the perimeter were perhaps the most miserable of the entire war. The American soldiers were outnumbered and lacking in cold-weather gear, ammunition, food and medical supplies. Due to some of the worst winter weather in years, the American soldiers could not be resupplied by air, and tactical support was nonexistent. They faced a seemingly insurmountable battle. Despite daily German attacks, however, they fought and held their ground. Eventually, the weather broke, the German perimeter was overtaken, and allied forces won the battle.
One who is serious about his Christianity knows that he must pray, because prayer is commanded. Of course, we understand that the motivation for prayer must be deeper than a mere rote response to a simple command. We pray because we are interested in praising God. We pray for the people of God, and for God’s pardon and protection. We pray that God’s will is done in our lives. The root of these deeper motivations is a fundamental guiding principle that God established, and that Christians must follow: “In this manner, therefore, pray…” (Matt. 6:9).
Grilling the perfect hamburger is not difficult, but judging by the number of rubbery, crunchy charcoal lumps I see coming off the grill every spring and summer, one would think that achieving burger perfection is about as likely as stumbling across the holy grail. One would be wrong. In fact, grilling the perfect hamburger is ridiculously easy, but how can something so easy go so wrong so fast? I don’t know the answer, but I am here to help. Think of this essay as a guiding light to lead you out of hamburger purgatory and into hamburger paradise. Jimmy Buffett would want you to make this journey, as do I.