[RePost] D-Day: When Things Mattered

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. June 6th, 1944. The Allied invasion at Normandy, France, was a key point in World War II, and certainly worth commemorating.

Below is an article I wrote a couple years ago, following our family’s own commemorating of the events of that day. It seemed a good way to honor the day this year, too.

Even if you read it when it originally posted, I do think it’s worth re-reading, and re-considering.

D-Day: When Things Mattered

June 7th, 2012

Last night we honored D-Day (June 6th) by watching an episode of Ken Burns’: The War (on Netflix). It follows the lives of four guys who lived through WWII, and specifically that day in Normandy.

It invoked so many thoughts and emotions… I certainly can not describe and share them all here.

The one prevailing thought I had, however, was that there is right and wrong.

These guys—just kids—were willing to give up their lives (literally!) in order to go over and make right what someone (or a large group of someones) made wrong… for somebody else!

That can not be emphasized enough.

The aggressors (Nazi Germany) were bent on eradicating the Jews (and just non-Aryans, right?) and were expanding their territory across sovereign nation after sovereign nation until the brave, heroic, persons of principle among the nations stood up and said, “You shall not pass!”

And they truly were brave. Heroes. Righteous. Courageous.

Not that they were flawless human beings. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Some of them were maybe even “bad” guys… but they stood up for what was right. That made them heroes.

They literally gave up their lives (I contend even the guys who didn’t die on D-Day were never the same again)… and it was for other people. Not the US. Not Americans (directly). It was not to expand our territory or influence or whatever… it was just taking a stand against evil.

Some today think that war is always wrong. They think that generations are not different. In a way that is correct: people are people. But there was something in my grandparents’ generation that was different. I’m not sure if it was a product of the circumstances of their day, or if it was that they had not yet removed God and respect and decency and morality from the general fabric of society. Maybe it was both. But whatever it was, we still owe to them (the world, not just America) an incomprehensible, inestimable debt of gratitude.

We mostly argue about ridiculous things today, things that really don’t matter. (We are free to do so in part because of the courageous choices and actions of these men.) Sometimes I think we argue for the sake of arguing. Political gaming. Blagh.

Things matter. People matter. Someday I think we (our nation, and as individuals) will be faced with a similar crisis. At that point, I wonder what that generation will do? Will their descendants someday label them the “greatest generation”? Or will that moniker forever be inexorably bound to the generation whose men bravely stormed the beaches at Normandy… until they had either given up their life, or succeeded in preserving freedom for the world?

I think we will someday find out, one way or another. Somehow we always get to decide if we’re going to stand, or stand by.

On D-Day… (and in many other battles) they chose to stand.


10th Anniversary of this blog!Today—right now, in fact, at 5:13pm ET—I am celebrating ten years of writing for this blog.

On August 26th, 2003, I published this post (about blogging, and my love for board games) and thus began the journey.

I had intended to celebrate in a couple ways that never came to fruition.

First, I was going to remodel the website here—celebrate with a new look, and a new feature. I have some pretty neat ideas for ways to read through ten years of content. A “reader” of sorts (being a “view”) that will make for a more enjoyable way to browse all of this content.

But life got in the way of that plan.

Then, my plan was just to choose ten articles, one from each year of blogging, and link to them here. Celebrating 10 with 10. But as I combed through the virtual catacombs (a truly enjoyable experience for me, by the way) I discovered that such a task was far too much for me at the moment. Again, life getting in the way.

It’s not just busyness. It really is the volume of what I’ve shared—how could I choose just one post from each year?

And so I will let you celebrate with me at your own leisure. I may indeed continue this post at some point, highlighting my favorite posts from a given year. Or perhaps I will not. I am not certain from this vantage point.

But I do sincerely invite you to browse. I will someday have a nice way to do this, but for now, if you click the years below, you’ll be taken to a link that will display the posts from that calendar year in chronological order.

I’ve also left the posts I selected from three years I did get through. They are all relatively short (two or three minutes to read) and definitely ones that I think are worth resurrecting from the archive!

I do love to write, and will continue to do so. Nearly 800,000 words in just under 1,900 posts. That’s a decent effort for ten years of writing. (Maybe especially since this is not my primary task in life?)

It’s been fun for me to relive some of the earliest memories I’ve written here. I do hope you’ll take a moment or two (or more) and celebrate this day with me. Ten years down, we’ll see how many more!

If you have a favorite post, do share it in the comments below. You can use the Search box above to find the link.

Thanks for reading along for all these years!

Click on any year to read the posts from that year
in chronological order:

Some of my Favorites


  • George (an interesting story from our musical touring days)
  • The Water Shoe (Technically, this was several posts in 2003, but I published them as one story in my book, A Journey Shared, in 2005, and just posted that in my Memory Lane series this summer, 2013.)




There are many more … enjoy browsing the archives above.

What is one of your favorite GregsHead.net posts?

¿Saber, o Conocer? [Church Book Excerpt]

There's The Steeple - Here's The Church | Greg Campbell | The Church BookSeveral years ago I published a book containing much of the writing on the topic of the Church that I had published here up to that point. Those posts are still available in the archives, and many are still read on a weekly basis.

Just the other day I was flipping through a copy of this book, There’s The Steeple… Here’s The Church, (I call it “The Church Book”) and came across a chapter that had some really good thoughts that I wanted to share again.

And so that is what I’m doing here today!

This is the official book version—the chapter from the book. As such, it’s been edited, partially re-written, and should be a tad more complete than the original posting on the blog in 2005.

If you’d like to get the whole book, please click the Bookstore tab at the top of the page, and you can purchase a copy through Amazon. Thanks!

(Want to read the back cover?)

And now, “¿Saber, o Conocer?”

¿Saber, o Conocer?

Following up on the last chapter, Information Exchange, I have noticed that it seems everywhere I look, the more noble goal, the thing to most strive for in life is knowledge. We paint scientists and teachers and other fact-based professions as the most honorable, and wisest professions. And then there is our obsession with experts. As a society, we would much sooner trust a person who spent decades of their life in a classroom, than we would a person who has been a close friend for years.

Knowledge reigns supreme.

And we see this even in the church. The place where the wisdom of the world should have no hold, but in fact it does. Our entire concept of church is much more like a university than a family. In my opinion, this should not be. The church is not an educational institution. Jesus did not set up 90-minute classes offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings in the Temple courts. He didn’t establish the School of Jesus, or Nazareth Christian Academy. He just loved people, and revealed truth about life through stories, and through life lived with a few close friends. You’d think if knowledge were indeed supreme, Jesus might have been more intentional about it.

Now, even a quick study of the book of Proverbs, and the Psalms, and even Ecclesiastes and Job (we call them the books of Wisdom) shows how much emphasis the people of God and God himself placed on knowledge. When you read those books, and the verses that specifically mention knowledge, it’s quite evident that knowledge is supreme over all else. It is better than the choicest gold, it will deliver the righteous, and knowledge and understanding come straight from the mouth of God. So, it’s quite obvious that God places a premium on knowledge.

But as I continued to read, one scripture after another about knowledge, something struck me. I have grown up in this culture, and so I first think of knowledge as the stuff of trivia — life deconstructed into lifeless fact and ingested and regurgitated by rows of mindless sponges soaking up so called “knowledge”. We have cheapened knowledge into what in Spanish is called Saber. (Yes, I know, that’s the verb…)

You see, in Spanish, there are two words for the verb, “To know.” (From whence cometh the noun, “Knowledge”.) The word saber means to know stuff. It means I know that my name is Greg. I know that I have three kids. I know that I live in Palmyra, NY. Yo sé. I have learned and can repeat to you those factoids.

The other word would also be translated “to know” but has an entirely different meaning, and a different use. Conocer means to know, and it is more intimate. It is how I know Jen, or my kids, or anything with which I am very familiar, especially people. Yo conozco a mi hijo, Ian. I know my son Ian.

In English, the word looks the same. I know the Bills won this weekend. I know my son, Ian. But in spanish, if I said, “Yo conozco a mi hijo, Ian” and then said, “Yo sé mi hijo Ian” — using two words that could both be translated “to know”, I would end up saying very different things. The former would convey an familiarity with Ian, that I know him personally and intimately, that we have shared life together. The latter would be more correctly translated, “I know of my son, Ian.” It is detached, informational, intellectual knowledge. Personless. Lifeless.

And that’s exactly what we have sometimes. We have switched the words and forgotten to check the meaning. When we see that we need to strive for knowledge — when we understand that knowledge is the commodity we must seek — we are thinking the kind of knowledge that is taught in classrooms. So, we set up lectures and series of lessons, and we create study guides and study Bibles and study groups, and all sorts of tools to fill our minds with the “knowledge of God.” But Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians:

“Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.”
1 Corinthians 8:1

And later, in 1 Timothy, he states:

“[avoid] worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’”
1 Timothy 6:20

Paul knew that there were different kinds of knowledge. One that builds up and should be sought after, and one that isn’t even knowledge at all, and only serves to build up the ego of the person who possesses it.

Consider what Jesus said to a group of people who loved to learn about God and took pride in their knowledge of Him.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”
John 5:39-40

Jesus points out to these guys that even though they pour through the Scriptures, and read all about the One who is life, they refuse to actually come to Him for real life. They are satisfied with “saber” God rather than “conocer” God. I happen to give them more credit than we usually do in Christian circles. It’s too easy to think of the Pharisees as ugly, grumpy old men who always walked around with a sneer on their faces, pointing and laughing at people for their spiritual inadequacies. I think they were mostly trying, but just did not understand the truth Jesus was getting at.

Jesus said, in the verse I probably quote the most of any that I know — John 17:3 — that “eternal life is to know you, the One true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”. That’s it. Not know about him, or to know all the stuff he said or did, or even to know what he wants us to do. Eternal life IS to KNOW GOD. Conocer. Not saber.

Hosea said it like this:

“For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Hosea 6:6

God doesn’t want us to know about him. He wants us to know him, and to be like him. We can never achieve that on our own, but as we hang out with him, and get to know him, it will be a natural outcome of our relationship with him. As we know him more (again, not more about him ) we will be transformed in his likeness.

At nearly every Christian wedding we hear the famous cadence of love from the thirteenth chapter of first Corinthinians. Love is this, love is that, love is not this, love is not that. But at the beginning of the famous part, Paul says very simply that if we have knowledge, but don’t have love, it’s worthless. (1 Corinthians 13:2) We say the words, but don’t heed their meaning.

I am not saying that all of our learning and information dissemination infrastructure is devoid of love. Obviously, the heart of most every Christian leader is to impart (out of love) the knowledge that they have gained of God’s insane love for us. The motive is not in question, just the method of delivery.

Perhaps in all our desire to have “knowledge” we forgot that there are two ways to “know”.

We can know about God, or we can actually know God. We can spit back facts crammed into our head in late night fact ingestion sessions, or we can breathe the familiarity that comes from daily life with our Maker. The choice seems simple to me. You get to choose how you define knowledge. You can pick what you will strive for.

So what will it be? ¿Saber, o Conocer?

This post is a chapter in the book There’s The Steeple… Here’s The Church by Greg Campbell, available through Amazon.com. If you’d like to purchase the book, please click the book title in the previous sentence. If you’d like a free PDF version, it is available here. Also have some of the audio version available at church.gregshead.net. Thanks for reading, sharing, and feel free to add to the discussion in the comments below, or wherever else you can reach me.

[From The Archive] Relating

Highlighting Articles from the GregsHead.net Archives!Our recent visit to Ohio for some big family events has given us the opportunity for some great visiting time with relatives and friends we haven’t seen for a long while—some a very long while! Those visits often include shared meals, certainly include sharing stories, and have also included some great conversations about the things God is doing in and around us.

One thing that seems to keep coming up is the way that we people (maybe especially Christians) related to each other; how we “do life” together.

That led me to this re-post today.

It’s a post from January of 2012. And it’s interesting that at the end I say I will continue thinking about this, and looking for what Jesus wants to show me regarding how we relate to each other, and I must admit, I don’t know that I know any more now than I did then! 🙂

Good questions, good thoughts on how our culture (and perhaps others) are often too busy to relate, too busy to enjoy visiting and really doing life together. Not just events and weekly scheduled things, but really sharing your life with others, and theirs with you.

Please enjoy, ponder, and discuss with me:



Question: The reason I post these “From The Archive” posts is that I think the post from years past is worth reading (or even re-reading) and/or currently relevant. But you have to click through and read it. 🙂 Would it be better if I posted the whole of the article/post again, rather than linking to it? In this case, there are already some comments to add to what I had written, which I’d love to just build on. If you have thoughts on how to re-post articles, please comment on that here below. Thanks!

[From The Archive] Life Is In The Moments

Highlighting Articles from the GregsHead.net Archives!It’s been a while since I’ve added any posts to this series “From The Archive“. There are a few reasons I am doing so today.

First, I am coming up on ten years of blogging. That’s a good chunk of writing on “the internets”. Almost a million words written, nearly two thousand posts. That sure is a lot to sift through! So one way to find stories that may have been somehow missed is this From The Archive tag/series. Just click on that link (or the image of the Archive) to see more.

Stay tuned… next month I hope to unveil a really, really neat way to read through all the content I’ve posted here through the first decade. It should be a really enjoyable way to browse through the content by year, month, topic, and other ways to be determined. Coming August 2013.

Second, this is just a great story! If you have little ones you’ll certainly identify. If you don’t, I bet you still will.

So many times we let life pass us by, missing the moments of beauty because of a sense of duty.

But life truly is in the moments.

Please take a moment and read this, even if you’ve read it before. May it bring a smile to your face and heart this day.

And may you breathe in the moment you are in, and see the gift from God that it is.

From the Archive: Life Is In The Moments