Super Bowl Ads Super Raunchy

As if Christina Aguilera’s rendition of the National Anthem wasn’t offending enough…then the commercials started.

It was the first year that both of my boys (ages 11 and 9) were genuinely interested in the Super Bowl, and I was excited as a dad to be able to sit down and watch it with them, hoping to enjoy the game and the commercials together. But by the end of the game, I was convinced—this Super Bowl should have been rated PG-13 (at minimum) for the advertisement content. I mean seriously, if there had been an executive from Teleflora sitting in my living room when their ad came across my television set, the Black Eyed Peas would have had an extra member for their halftime show--if you get my drift. Don’t they realize kids all across the country are watching? Why should I have to explain what a “rack” is to two young boys while watching a football game?

Then there were the GoDaddy commercials, but at least I’m smart enough to know by now what kind of content those will have, so a click flick of the remote solved that. But just when I thought it was safe with a Pepsi Max commercial coming on in the second half (the first Pepsi Max ad where the wife throws a can and accidentally hits the girl was ok), I was once again forced to hit the “change channel button” on the remote control after one of the actors repeatedly said he wanted to sleep with his date. And there were an insane amount of beer commercials, but I guess that was to be expected.

I was so upset with the people at Teleflora that I sent them a nasty email expressing my displeasure with their commercial. They responded by telling me they were “trying innovative ways to break through the clutter with our advertising.” I just wonder how many of their employees sat in their living rooms with their children watching that ad and felt a little ashamed at their decision to run it. Amazingly, I haven’t seen or heard a lot of backlash from the general public on the content of these ads. In fact, there seems to be more praise for them than displeasure. Maybe that’s just how far our country has fallen, that we’ve just become so immune to all of it that we let it skim right over us.

Maybe, it’s time we do something about that.

Reflections on My Grandparents 65th Wedding Anniversary

Saturday, November 20, 2010--

My grandmother was brought to tears when she saw the group that had assembled for their surprise 65th Wedding Anniversary gathering at “The Country House” in Colo, IA Saturday evening. A group of 35 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren had gathered from all across the state to celebrate the blessed occasion. What she may not realize is, I believe the rest of us were holding back tears of our own: tears of joy and pride. I hate to use a sports reference here, but one of the best “proud” speeches I ever heard was Iowa State Football Coach Paul Rhoads’ “I am so proud to be your football coach!” speech after the Cyclones beat Nebraska last year. The video was an instant internet sensation. It was a great speech because it was real, sincere, passionate, and from the heart. Similarly, with real sincerity, and passion, and from the heart, I will say on behalf of the entire Jelsma clan, “We are so proud to be your family!” We are proud that you have stayed true to the vows of marriage—through good times and bad, richer and poorer, in sickness and in health…for 65 years. We are proud that you have been equally faithful as God’s servants at Calvary Baptist Church in Union for over 50 years. Not only have you been faithful, you have been a rock in the foundation of that church; charter members; sticking with the church through good times and bad, richer and poorer, and helping those in sickness and in health…just like a marriage.

At a time when the divorce rate in America is hovering at 50% and the sanctity of marriage seems all but lost, the chance to celebrate 65 years is something to be proud of. I am so thankful for my grandparents, Jim and Connie Jelsma, and the example of faithfulness they have been for all of us—children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. An unknown author once said, “Grandparents are the footsteps to the future generations.” If that's true (and I believe it is), imagine how great a future our country would have if all grandparents were as faithful and wonderful as mine.

“Proud to be your grandson”
Andrew Gogerty


Did you know (according to that bear wrestling matches are prohibited in Alabama? Or that it’s illegal to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket at any time? How about this one: You are breaking the law in Minnesota if you get caught crossing the border with a duck on your head! In Ottumwa, Iowa it is illegal for a man to wink at a woman he doesn’t know! And, one of the funniest laws of all, again in the wonderful state of Alabama—it is illegal to flick boogars into the wind! Yes, as wonderful and vast as our freedom is in the United States of America, there certainly are some “questionable” rules, aren’t there? Did you know the Bible states that we should obey EVERY one of them?

We’ve been studying 1 Peter in our College Sunday School class for the past 6 weeks, and the last lesson was taken from 1 Peter 2:13-20. Peter states that we should “Submit ourselves to EVERY ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake.” Of course, as we discussed, the only time this is not the case is when one of man’s laws contradicts God’s Word, but otherwise it’s our duty to submit to each and every law and lawmaker, no matter how crazy they may seem. The reasons are plentiful:

1. Every lawmaker is, himself or herself, accountable to God.
2. It’s a crucial part of our testimony—breaking rules or laws damages our credibility as Christians, and the basic concept of obedience. If we can’t obey common laws, what does that say to unbelievers about our ability to obey God’s laws? Verse 15 says that obeying “puts to silence the ignorance of foolish men.”
3. Obedience, even suffering for our obedience, is “commendable before God.” (Verse 20).

One of the most important things we learned in our discussion of submission is that the ATTITUDE of obedience is nearly as important as the ACTION. How many times in our lives do we obey rules or rulers, but complain about them? Most of us need to think no farther than our daily jobs—there are plenty of dumb rules we probably obey, but how many of us complain about them everyday? I will be the first to raise my hand! In many cases, having the proper attitude toward those rules and toward those in authority over us is much more difficult than the actual act of obeying them. But, as we discussed, having a bad attitude is almost more destructive than the lack of obedience itself—it rubs off on all those around us, and corrodes our testimony as Christians. So, the next time you want to complain about a dumb rule at work, or the stupidity of your boss, remember the lesson from 1st Peter: We are to obey EVERY law and ruler…and have the proper attitude.


I recently had the privilege of attending a 25th anniversary gathering for one of my co-workers. 25 years with the same company is a long time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted in a 2008 study that baby boomers, on average, held about 11 different jobs between the ages of 18 and 42. Longevity on a job indicates many things—dedication, hard work, consistently producing good results, respect of your supervisors and peers, and much more. One of my favorite memories of this co-worker goes all the way back to when I first started with the company 12 ½ years ago. I was fresh out of college, didn’t know the first thing about the industry, and felt like I was constantly turning to co-workers for help. As with anything you are new at, you tend to draw yourself to those who are helpful--not just helpful, gladly helpful. There’s nothing more frustrating than when you start something new and you feel like you are a burden to those around you, so when someone is gladly helpful, that is a huge blessing.

I always get sentimental at these kinds of events with all the talk about accomplishments, favorite memories, and the passage of time. They make me ask myself—“What kind of a legacy am I leaving? What will people say about me some day when I retire? When I die?" And that’s really the challenge for all of us. Life is so fleeting, so temporary. What are we doing on a daily basis in the lives of our co-workers, family, and friends that REALLY makes a difference? We should make it our goal to do something nice every day—even if it’s just gladly giving helpful advice or encouragement to a friend or co-worker. After all, the gospel—the good news of Christ—can’t be effective if we don’t show our love to others. And that’s really what life is all about—sharing the gospel, and making a difference in the lives of others. That’s the kind of legacy we should all aim for.

A New Appreciation For Dogs

I’ve never been much of a pet lover. Maybe it’s because I was too afraid to fall in love with them when I was little. Our first dog, Barney, ran away when we moved to the country. He simply couldn’t adjust to the country life and continuously made the four-mile trek back into the town of Zearing before we had to let him go. A year or two later, our coonhound, Trump, froze to death during a brutal Iowa blizzard. He was an interesting dog--he used to sleep on top of his doghouse outside, which reminded me of Snoopy. And he had that cool howl coonhounds make. My first real pet I took ownership of was Lucy—a black, adorable cocker spaniel we got from a breeder in Eagle Grove. I still remember the car ride back with the puppy, barely the size of a football, scared to death as it rode home with us in its little box, whimpering the whole way. But Lucy, like the next two dogs that followed her (Daisy and Doc), didn’t last very long. They all got ran over by cars and busses within a year or two. I tried my luck with a pet cow after that, but all he did was eat a bunch of corn, poop a lot, and continuously break out of his pen and chase my mom around the yard. You can read about him in one of my previous posts about Mr. T. The last dog I had when I was growing up was the best. “Maggie” was a yellow lab that never did any harm and lived a good long life, but she came along around the teenage years when cars, sports, and girls become the focal points in the lives of most young men. So you can see why I never got too attached to animals—they never stuck around very long.

My wife, on the other hand, has always been a dog-lover. She had a Schnauzer named Jenna for all of her childhood. So with her love of dogs, and my kids’ constant begging for one, I was only able to say no for so long. And, when you have a little girl that sits on your lap, bats her eyelashes at you and gives you the “puppy dog” eyes, it’s pretty much over. That happened two years ago, and we’ve been home to a dog named Jake ever since.

Now, I don’t always have the time to spend with Jake that I should, or even the room in my heart to love him properly--just too many irons in the fire. But a scenario happened the other day that really made me think. It had been a rough day at work with lots of problems and as soon as I got home, there was Jake anxiously waiting at the door for me like he always does. I wasn’t exactly excited to see him and kind of kicked him out of the way like I so often do. He proceeded to follow me into the bedroom and sit at my feet, even though I didn’t want him around at that moment, and my wife said, “You know Andrew, that dog just loves you no matter how you treat him.”

And that’s when it hit me. My dog’s relationship with me is so much like Christ’s. Sometimes I treat Him like dirt and don’t want Him around. Sometimes there’s just not enough time in my life for Him, and sometimes there’s not enough room in my heart to love Him the way He deserves. But regardless of all these things, He is always happy to see me and always loves me unconditionally. He’s always at my side, always anxious for my attention and affection. What a solid reminder to all of us. Maybe it’s time for us to sit at Jesus’ feet and love Him the way our dogs love us—wide eyed, ready to serve, with our tails wagging, loving Him with all our hearts-no matter what the circumstances in our lives are.

Andrew Gogerty

Life is a Baseball Game

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” --Romans 8:31

Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox is my favorite Major League Baseball player. At 5’8”, 170 lbs, he defies all the odds of a professional athlete. "His story is very much about overcoming adversity," says writer Edward Delaney, who is ghosting Pedroia's forthcoming book, Born to Play. "He was a great player at every level, but questions on his size and strength caused a lot of people to dismiss him too quickly." (

Despite his size limitations, Pedroia has never given up. He displays a confidence and a determination that is clearly the driving force behind his success. Harold Reynolds of the MLB Network recently asked Minnesota Twins Catcher Joe Mauer who the best “talker” in all of baseball was. Mauer, without even hesitating, mentioned Pedroia and told a story that happened just this year in a game between the Twins and Red Sox. Pedroia was at the plate and continued to foul off pitch after pitch. Finally, after Pedroia had fouled yet another close one down the line in left, Mauer said to him, “I don’t know what else to throw you.” Pedroia quipped, “That’s alright, no one else in Major League Baseball does either!”

You gotta love the non-defeatist attitude of Boston’s sparkplug of a second baseman. No matter what someone throws at him, he comes out swinging. Pedroia never gets cheated on a pitch. And that’s the way it should be in our Christian lives. No matter what Satan throws at us, no matter how many curve balls he throws our way, no matter how many times we get knocked down, we need to come out swinging. Just like the 5’8” slugger that no one believed would succeed, we may often feel small and overwhelmed with the challenges of life. We need that fireball mentality, that confidence Satan cannot defeat us, no matter what the odds may be. After all, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

. . . .

One of my favorite Dustin Pedroia interviews ever:
“A couple of years ago, I had 60 at-bats and was hitting .170 and everyone was ready to kill me. What happened? (Gets a smirk on his face)…Laser show.”

Mr. T: Boyhood Hero; Real Life Role Model

“I was so infatuated with Mr. T, known as B.A. Baracus on The A-Team, that my brother and I named our pet cow after him.”

Looking back on my youth, there weren’t many things cooler in life than a tough guy TV star who wore half a ton of gold jewelry, a mohawk, and fought for good over evil. Throw in an army theme with lots of action, guns, explosions, and a catchy theme song and you have a ten-year old boys dream show. The A-Team’s first episode ran on January 30, 1983 right after the Super Bowl, and regularly on Tuesday nights following. The show stayed in the top ten of the Nielsen ratings for three years before finally losing popularity in its fourth and fifth (and final) seasons, but it was always #1 in my world. I was so infatuated with Mr. T, known as B.A. Baracus on The A-Team, that my brother and I named our pet cow after him. Yes, B.A., which stands for “Bad Attitude” was certainly an appropriate name for our lone, spotted Holstein, who always looked mad and constantly broke out of his pen. I’ll never forget my mom chasing that cow around the yard, bucking and kicking like a bronco in a rodeo. My brother and I were scared to death of that cow. I’m pretty sure Mom just flat-out hated it.

I didn’t know much about Mr. T, the real-life person, at the time, but if I knew then what I know now, I probably would have admired him even more. Recently, Mr.T was interviewed about the new A-Team movie, which opened June 11th, 2010. Mr. T declined a role in the movie because he disagreed with the nature of the material in it. Here’s his response:

“[The new ‘A-Team’] was too graphic for me,” Mr. T, who played teammate B.A. Baracus, told the Express. “I’ve no doubt it will do big business at the box office, but it’s nothing like the show we turned out every week.”

He elaborates, saying, “People die in the film and there’s plenty of sex, but when we did it no one got hurt and it was all played for fun and family entertainment. These seem to be elements nobody is interested in any more.”

“We ran on TV for five years without having to sex-up the show. You can’t get away with that these days. It saddens me that our light-hearted approach has been replaced by gritty realism.”

Unfortunately, that “gritty realism” is what dominates American pop-culture anymore. It seems like you can’t turn on the television without being doused by a mix of sex, drugs, and violence. I give Mr. T two thumbs-up for his critical stance of the new movie. It’s rare to find Hollywood actors and actresses who hold good, conservative, Christian values. It’s just too bad that the flick will associate him with “a crime he didn’t commit.”

Did you know?
--Mr. T’s real name is Laurence Tureaud
--He is the youngest of 12 kids
--His dad was a minister
--He is a born-again Christian
--He worked as a bodyguard before acting. His business card read, “Next to God, there is no greater protector than I.”