Good Morning! 

Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa, once said: 

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” 

We begin and end today’s headlines with a look at football – and priorities: 

1. Tom Brady Retires in Search of Something Money Can’t Buy 

Focus on the Family president Jim Daly writes: 

Future Hall of Fame quarterback and seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady officially announced his retirement on Tuesday, walking away from the gridiron at the top of his game after his 22nd season in the NFL. 

According to Forbes, the seemingly ageless footballer earned $293 million in salary with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – and an additional $160 million in endorsement contracts. 

Tom Brady toyed with playing an additional year and was given plenty of financial incentive to do so. In the end, he decided to retire. Based on his statement released via Instagram, the quarterback has decided to pursue something that all the money in the world could never buy – time with his family. 

Earlier Tuesday, Tom Brady wrote, addressing his wife, Gisele, and children, Ben, Vivi and Jack: 

“You are my inspiration. Our family is my greatest achievement. I always come off the field and home to the most loving and supportive wife who has done EVERYTHING for our family to allow me to focus on my career. Her selflessness allowed me to reach new heights professionally, and I am beyond words what you mean to me and our family.” 

He then added: 

“Te amo amor da minha vida” – Portuguese for, “I love you, love of my life.” 

Tom Brady’s two-decades plus career hasn’t been without its controversy, and many have taken issue with some of the things the three-time MVP has done and said over the years – but I appreciate and admire the prioritization and acknowledgement he’s making about his family. 

Success in this life is fleeting, especially in the world of sports. Culture lionizes heroes of various games – but it’s not long before these stars quickly fade. Most of them are forgotten. Who won the Super Bowl ten years ago? I suspect few remember, even though it seemed so important at the time. 

Merriam-Webster defines an achievement as “a result gained by effort.”  It takes effort to be a good husband and father, and raising a family seems more and more challenging by the day. In the end, though, it’s by God’s grace and favor we’re blessed with any earthly successes involving human relationships. We do our best. There are things we can do to improve the probability of things going well with our families – but there are no guarantees. 

Based on press reports, it’s not exactly clear where Tom Brady is regarding his personal faith. He and his wife were married in a small Catholic church, but he also told a reporter, “I think we’re into everything. … I don’t know what I believe. I think there’s a belief system, I’m just not sure what it is.” 

During a “60 Minutes” interview last year, the now retired star said there’s more to life than winning Super Bowls. He’s certainly correct about that – and it’s always encouraging to hear people grapple with and ponder the meaning and purpose of their fleeting days on earth.  

Turning points and milestones provide us with opportunities to reevaluate and refocus. There’s universal agreement that Tom Brady reached the summit of his football career. He’s been blessed with a family that he loves and that loves him. I suspect he will pursue this next chapter of life with his characteristic zeal and enthusiasm. In doing so, I will be rooting for him to find the answers to life’s most pressing questions he seems to be pondering. Success in this endeavor will easily trump any accolade or trophy in football. 

2.Men Play Large Role in Women’s Abortion Decision, Study Finds 

From The Daily Signal

Men play a critical role in determining whether a woman chooses to have an abortion, according to a Care Net survey released last week. 

“You can’t be serious about ending abortion unless you are serious about engaging men on the issue,” said Roland Warren, president and CEO of Care Net, a network of Christian crisis-pregnancy centers. 

Care Net released the finding of a Feb. 25-March 26, 2021, survey of 1,000 American men whose spouse or partner had had an abortion. Findings show that roughly 3 out of every 4 men, or 74%, said their partner talked with them about getting the abortion before going through with it. 

Forty-two percent of the men surveyed said they either “strongly urged” or “suggested” their partner have an abortion when they learned the woman was pregnant. An additional 31% say they did not give their partner any advice one way or the other. 

3.Arizona Legislation Would Ensure Parental Rights in Their Children’s Education and Health Care 

From The Daily Citizen

The Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) has reported on some disturbing incidents of overreach in education and health care, as teachers, school counselors and health care workers ignored or countermanded parents’ requests.  

The stories came from parents testifying in the Arizona House Education Committee in favor of House Bill 2161 which would protect parents’ fundamental rights to oversee their children’s education and health care. Here’s what CAP wrote about the legislation in a recent email: 

One Scottsdale mother testified that she opted-out her daughter from a 7th grade social studies lesson. The teacher acknowledged the opt-out in an email but had the 7th grader do the lesson anyway. In Feb 2021, the mother filed a complaint but is still waiting for an answer. Meantime, the teacher is still teaching. 

Another Scottsdale mother opted-out her 3rd grader from Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Her older daughter then saw the 3rd grader talking to a school counselor, asking her the same questions that were on the SEL survey, including questions about the household income and guns in home. The mother found out that the 3rd grader was given tickets toward a prize in order to answer the question. 

4. City Orders Church to Stop Feeding the Homeless; Church Sues 

From The Daily Citizen

There’s a familiar but sardonic saying that goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.” For one church in Brookings, Oregon, attempting to fulfill the Bible’s imperative to “feed the hungry,” the saying is, unfortunately, turning out to be true. When ordered to stop serving meals to the hungry at their church location more than twice a week, the church had no choice but to take the matter to court. 

St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church and its vicar, Rev. James Bernard Lindley, have for years served meals to the city’s elderly poor, along with the homeless in the Brookings area. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the church teamed up with other area churches to do so, in order to share the burden so that no individual church had to serve meals more than a couple times per week. 

5. University of New Hampshire Course Gives Credit to Call Out Offensive Language 

From CBN: 

A University of New Hampshire course is drawing criticism on social media for requiring students to confront someone for their “ableist, racist, or homophobic use of language.” 

According to course work posted online, an introductory communications class requires students to “call in” and record an encounter with someone who uses racist, homophobic, or ableist language for 10% of their grade. 

The syllabus description says students should provide “a brief orthographic transcript of what was said” and how the student confronted that person. However, the confrontation could not be public and not recorded. 

“Call in someone on their ableist, racist, or homophobic use of language, for microaggressions (or an act of racism) towards a person of color, homophobia against LGBTQI+, or ableism against a disabled person,” the course description states.  

“Do you’re calling out in a safe way,” it continues. “Keep it face to face and private (but transcribe it and record it for your practice session). 

  1. Navy should be held in contempt for violating court order on COVID vaccine exemptions: complaint  

From Fox News

The U.S. Navy is violating a court order by allegedly blocking treatment for a traumatic brain injury and inflicting other forms of punishment on SEALs who requested religious exemptions to the coronavirus vaccine, according to a new legal complaint. 

On Jan. 3, a federal court in Texas granted a temporary injunction against the Navy’s vaccine mandate after multiple SEALs sued President Biden. Judge Reed O’Connor, in issuing the order, argued that “[t]here is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment” and “[t]here is no military exclusion from our Constitution.” 

But First Liberty, a religious liberty law firm, alleges in Monday’s filing that multiple SEALs continue to encounter a variety roadblocks due to their unvaccinated status. 

  1. US national debt exceeds $30 trillion

From The Washington Examiner

The United States’ national debt exceeded $30 trillion for the first time, according to Treasury Department figures released on Tuesday. 

The national debt is now about double China’s entire gross domestic product. 

The sobering milestone comes after the federal government spent trillions of dollars to stimulate the economy and lessen the economic blow that came with the pandemic. 

The country’s debt has increased by a whopping $7 billion since the end of 2019, just before the pandemic took hold. 

  1. This Is Sacred Space. Please Turn Off Your Phones. 

From the Gospel Coalition: 

What would it look like if our churches set the cultural expectation of total abstinence from the phone’s “psychological cocktail”? What if we saw our sanctuaries as places of refuge from such distraction, a “counterspace,” or as Song puts it, a “counterliturgy”? 

At church, our most precious gift is our presence. Being there—physically—encourages others. Focusing our attention on God and his Word refreshes our souls. And if we find it natural to silence our phones at the theater so we can maximize our focus on a movie’s storyline, why would we treat less seriously the true Story of our world, as it’s rehearsed every week through the rhythms of worship in our congregation? 

What if we set a new expectation? To silence our phones and put away our devices. Better yet, to leave them in the car. To make a statement to ourselves and to the world around us that for the next hour, we’re unavailable. That our worth and value and happiness don’t depend on proving ourselves at work or through constant connection. Surely we can refrain for an hour from “checking in.” We can give undivided attention to our Creator and Redeemer and to the gospel, described by J. I. Packer as “the biggest thing that ever was.” 

The cinema shouldn’t stand alone as a place for contemplation and attention. The church should stand right along with it. 

  1. Liberalism is like Bill Murray’s ‘Groundhog Day’ – Only Without the Laughs

From The Daily Citizen

If it’s 6:00 A.M. on February 2nd inside Phil Connors’ room on the second floor of the 1895 Queen Anne “Cherry Street Inn” in downtown Punxsutawney, Pa., you can pretty much guarantee what’s going to happen next: 

The bedside radio alarm clock will be playing Sonny and Cher’s, “I Got You Babe,” and a couple of cheery, upbeat disc jockeys will be referring to their listeners – including the cynical, bedraggled Pittsburgh meteorologist played by comedian Bill Murray – as “happy campers” and encouraging them to “rise and shine” for the upcoming day’s festivities.  

Phil Connors, trapped in a time loop, lives the same day over and over, seemingly unable to break free and move on to February 3rd

The nearly three-decade-old “Groundhog Day” movie has become synonymous with painful, toxic, monotonous predictability and sameness – much like modern-day liberalism. 

Liberals can be a lot of Phil Connors, minus the sense of humor. Like the bitter weatherman in the eccentric comedy, they engage in destructive behavior but seem oblivious to the consequences. Despite decades and even centuries of evidence to the contrary, the radical leftists continue to believe their failed policies will somehow work the second, third or even tenth time they try them. They never do. 

10. Cooper Kupp Helps the Rams Win NFC Championship. But Faith and Family are His Real Wins. 

From The Daily Citizen: 

Many Christians and conservatives have been put off by the National Football League’s drift into supporting leftist politics over the past several years. And the NFL has suffered as a result, losing millions of would-be viewers. 

But despite some player’s antics, other NFL athletes are truly stellar individuals. 

One of those individuals is Cooper Kupp, a wide receiver and Number 10 for the Rams. Widely known as a devout Christian, Kupp has kept his faith and family as his top priorities. 

Kupp, now a father of two, reflected on his first year as a parent in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. 

“It’s been incredible to have such experience to lean on and just perspective,” Kupp said about his father and grandfather. “How much they love their family, how much they took care of things, how they treated people.” 

“I’m now being able to live out my dream, but I have such bigger things happening in my life,” Kupp said. 

“Beyond football, as much as I absolutely love football and know that I’m going to put everything that I have into it, that I’ve got a family at home and my faith in Christ as well, that just is more important to make sure that’s healthy. 

“That’s something that my dad and grandpa showed me,” Kupp added. 

In the 2021-22 season, Kupp has had a breakout year. 

Craig Kupp, in an interview, also spoke about the importance that the Kupp family places on their faith. 

“Faith is a huge part of that … We’re not number one, we’re not the number one focus of our lives. It’s others. It’s Christ first and then it’s others starting with the closest people to you,” Craig Kupp said

It’s that lesson, passed down from generation to generation, that Number 10 will take with him to Superbowl LVI.