Incredible People: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I know that because my in-laws are visiting (since they don’t have to drive their school busses today). I am not a very good observer of holidays in general. My thinking is that we should honor whomever we are honoring more than just one day per year. (And anything can become meaningless when you just do it out of habit…)

But today I was reminded of a post that I started last September. (Yes, I have really neglected writing over the past six months or so…)

I began writing about MLK’s “Dream” speech. The famous one… you’ve heard it. What happened was… well, read on below…


Last summer, Glenn Beck hosted a gigantic rally in Washington, DC on August 28th at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial—the day and location of the historic Martin Luther King Jr. speech, “I Have A Dream

There was a “backlash” in the news, and even a “counter rally”. Accusations were tossed around of trying to co-opt the day… hogwash. The notion that Martin Luther King Jr. belongs to any one group of people is nearly flat-out denying the substance of all that he said.

As I was listening to all this talk about MLK—who he was, what he thought, what he said, what he stood for—I decided that I really didn’t know a lot about him first hand, so, I began investigating. I began, of course, with his most famous speech, “I Have A Dream”. It’s famous for a reason.

I found his speech online and we read it together as a family back in early September last year. It was shorter than I imagined, actually … but very to the point. The dream he spoke of was that one day there would be no colors, no division. One day, all of us would live together as equals. I think his courageous efforts to stand against injustice—leading other people to do the same—went a long way toward improving that in our country, but there are still so many “us” vs. “them” divisions (not necessarily, or at all, based on skin color) that sadly, I’d say we have a long way to go still. Perhaps we’ll never fully realize his dream this side of heaven, but it doesn’t hurt to keep trying, keep encouraging each other toward it.

The text this speech can be found here, and I will quote most of it below, highlighting some of the spots we thought were the most interesting/thought-provoking/great.

The speech begins with historical context. They were gathered at the feet of the Lincoln memorial. At the symbolic feet of the man who ended slavery. But the segregation had not ended. King said, “[the Negro] finds himself an exile in his own land.”

Then he said:

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

All men. I believe that the people who founded our country believed that. There are many stories and evidences to show that, though for hundreds of years there had been a culture of slavery that was more than abhorrent, many (perhaps most) did not support it, or even opposed it. But that’s not what I want to highlight here… I think it’s great that MLK was an American. Not an African-American, but an American… this was his “land”. And he took the words of our founders literally: That all men would be guaranteed—equally—these inalienable rights.

So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

I don’t think most of us today realize how important these two things are. We all live in relative freedom, purchased by many who have come before us. Perhaps many of us have known injustice. But in general, we think of riches more as material things rather than these more basic, more fundamental rights.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

This was an amazing paragraph. How strong is the dark power of bitterness and hatred. It clouds our judgment, fills our heart with darkness. It is definitely powerful, and in a bad way. King was right to acknowledge it, but emphasize that those who were perhaps justified in feeling it must not remain in it, or allow it to remain in them.

In another speech King said, “So this morning, as I look into your eyes, and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you, ‘I love you. I would rather die than hate you.’ And I’m foolish enough to believe that through the power of this love somewhere, men of the most recalcitrant bent will be transformed.” He was right.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

King saw the true American dream. Self-evident truth: all men are created equal. The founders knew it. They may not have fully lived it out, but they knew it. MLK knew that those rights were given to each person by God. It didn’t matter what your skin color was or what country you were from or how much money you had… those are all external things. If we could all get past those things then we would be an oasis of freedom and justice. We would be a nation who judges “not by the color of [our] skin but by the content of [our] character.”

Incredible people are definitely uniquely gifted by God in some ways, but more often, they are just regular people who believe in something, and whose convictions (and usually their deeply rooted faith in God) allow them—perhaps require them—to stand up for what is right. To do what is right. Martin Luther King, Jr. was another incredible person, and definitely worthy of a place of honor in our nation and around the world.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

(note: Today, 1/17/11, the server was overloaded on that I Have a Dream link above! You can find the text of the speech (and that page) via the archive.org Way Back Machine here.)

November 2nd, 2010 Elections: VoteSmart.org

2010 Elections - Vote!It’s election time (or nearly so) and that means we American citizens of voting age get to head out and browse a sheet full of names and parties—many of which we’ve never heard of until stepping into the voting booth—and then flip some switches and pull a big lever in order to fulfill our duties as the electorate. Problem is, what good does it do to vote for people whom you do not know? How can they represent you? And even worse (in my opinion) what good does it do to vote for a particular candidate just because they slapped a party name on their name tag?

That’s not how it should be. It’s our responsibility to know whom we are voting for, and why we are voting for them, and how they will represent us on local, state, and national levels.

It really is up to us.

So I’ve been thinking, I really need to set up a website where I can post information on all our local candidates, so that we all can read up on every candidate and, after knowing the facts, we can make a fair and impartial assessment and choose the candidate that best represents what we would want our government to look like and to do. That’s how it should work, anyway. But I’m just one guy… how could I have the time to look up all the candidates even just in the elections I can vote for, let alone the rest of the country?

So maybe a wiki of some sort? But… that’s still a bunch of work. (I am having this idea way too late, I suppose…)

Enter Google. After a quick search for “learn about candidates” I discovered VoteSmart.org. I don’t know much about them yet, but they do go out of their way on the About Us page to say they are independent, impartial, non-partisan, and they have good and equal representation from conservative and liberal viewpoints.

Cool. That’s just what I was looking for!

So I’ll see what else I can find, but for now, have a look at VoteSmart. (And maybe see if you can help them out. They are all volunteer and at a quick glance it looked like they are always grateful for help)

They also have a fun tool called “Vote Easy“. An interactive, Flash site that makes the learning more fun. You put in what you think about a dozen or so key issues (and how important they are to you) and then it helps match you with candidates, based on what is publicly know about them.

Please educate yourself. And, do so directly from the sources, not from political ads, talk shows, magazines, cable news channels, or other such secondary sources. I can’t emphasize that enough. We have, in general, gotten very lazy about this. Take the time to be a responsible, voting citizen. The resources are available to us, and you can vote with a bit more of an easy conscience when you know you’ve had your say—and you actually know what you said.

Voting day is just two weeks away. So get to work! 🙂

Seven Years of Published Words

Sometimes I like dates. Dates are fun. Remembering the date of birth of people you love. Celebrating the date of special events along your path of life thus far, whatever they may be. I even like to celebrate weird holidays like, Flag Day (Jun 14), Canada Day (Jul 1), Boxing Day (Dec 26), and Three King’s Day (Jan 6).

Dates are fun.

Today’s date is August 26th. Somehow this date sticks in my head as a fun day to celebrate. It was the day I first posted to this blog. 🙂

That may not seem significant, but to me, a writer at heart (and in deed?) it seems a day worth celebrating.

Life may be busy these days—no, life is busy these days—and the content may be flowing a bit more slowly at GregsHead.net, but there have been a few posts or articles worth reading again.

So what better way to celebrate the passing of another year of published words than to read those published words? Below are a few posts from the past year that, if you have the time, might be worth a second (or third, or fourth) read.

Enjoy, and thanks for reading along these seven years and counting.


Incredible People – William Wilberforce
Desegmentation
No Strings Attached
Feeling Loved, and Lovable
The (True) Fundamental Transformation of America
Blessed Are Those Who Want Everyone To Be Treated Right

(There are more, of course… but I’m going to stop with my list. If you’d like to see more, use the Related Posts feature at the end of every post. It’s a pretty nifty little tool!)

It Feels Like Motufrithursatnesday

For a long time now I have been working strange hours, strange days, long hours and long days. But also, thanks to the flexibility of owning my own businesses, there are also times when I will be able to attend a gathering, or assist in some capacity (moving someone, perhaps) on a day and time when I would normally be working.

To that end, I have been waking up nearly every day for the past month (or more?) with absolutely no idea what day of the week it is! None.

So I think I’m just going to call every day Motufrithursatnesday. That covers them all! (I’m pretty regular with Sunday being my down day, so that one I usually know…)

A couple more days of work, and then it’s the holiday week, and I will be on vacation … then I definitely won’t know what day it is!!

Oh well…

🙂

The End of The Aught

For whatever reason, I’ve taken to using the words “aught nine” to describing the end of this year, and even this decade. (Well, the “aught” part.) And lately, Jen was quite confused by my usage of the archaic term… so I explained it to her, but then realized it was odd enough that I should do some investigating myself.

Turns out, many others are confused as well. Is it “ought,” or is it “aught?” Well, from this source, a page attempting to help court reporters know the meaning of words that sound the same (homonyms) so they put the right one into the report … the correct spelling would be “aught.”

Since my sister-in-law is a court reporter to be … I’m gonna trust that answer. She’s pretty smart, so must be right… 🙂

Only a couple weeks left of the aught… then we’re on to the… tens? Teens? What will it be?

I guess it will be the tens, since the world will end just before the teens. 🙂

Oh Nine, Oh Nine, Oh Nine

For some reason, I’m one of those people who like it when the calendar says something more. Earlier this year we had 07/08/09. Seven, Eight, Nine. That’s fun! Every year there’s one day where the day, month, and year all match…

And today is that day! 🙂

Hope you have a great 09/09/09!

If you’re looking for something to do today, I’ll bet Apple can help with that… (We’ll be watching here!)

Come As You Are: Seven Years Later!!

basic: Come As You AreCome As You Are
13 Tracks
Released Aug 29, 2002
Retail: $15.98

Available at:
basicmm.com | iTunes | Amazon (CD or MP3) | CDBaby.com | Village Bookmarket (Palmyra, NY)

(Also available in various other locations… have fun searching!)

Really hard to believe that it’s been seven years since the original run of Come As You Are CDs and tapes was “printed”. (And in other ways, seems like another life time!) In honor of the release date today we have been listening to the album in the Campbell home with the kiddos. First time several of them have really gotten to listen to the songs! It’s been fun!

And I thought maybe you might want to again, too.

If you already have the CD (or MP3s) please pop it in today and have a listen. It’s a pretty great collection of songs that remind us of how much God really loves us. Really. No matter how ugly or unloveable we may feel – even in our worst moments. The CD is appropriately named, to be sure.

Musically there are some really great moments I forgot about. Some great harmonies, fun dynamics, cool extra instruments like cello, mandolin, d’jembe… even harmonica! Slower songs, upbeat songs, songs with a cool groove. Acoustic songs, super-rockin’ “electrified” songs… and even one with just two voices and a piano.

If you haven’t ever gotten it, I really think you’ll like it. They are $10 from our website, $9.99 at iTunes … AND, if you want to get a few more CDs, you can get it for $5 at CDBaby.com (it’s part of a deal where you can get certain CDs for $5 if you buy just 3 CDs! *HINT* … we have four other CDs on their site….) 🙂

So, seven years later the songs still can be and are being enjoyed by many people around the world… and you could be one of them! Give it a listen today!

Six Years of Blogging

Hello faithful (and unfaithful) blog readers! Believe it or not, it has been six years today since I began this conglomeration and elaboration of all the stuff that goes on inside my head! As we begin year number seven, there may be some changes to the appearance of the site, but as far as I can tell, you can expect to see a continuing stream of thoughts, links, opinions, fun stories, and even questions to you the reader all posted here at GregsHead.net.

Thanks for reading along, and commenting along the way. Always fun to interact.

Today might be a good day to scour the archives for some of your favorite posts and leave a link in the comments. I’ll start off with a few here…

The Extras
My Computer Had a Heart Attack
Living in Perfect Harmony
Alex’s Fish Story
Stopped on a Dime
Don’t Go to Church?
God Saved Our Bacon

Enjoy!

(Don’t forget, it’s fun to click the tabs across the top of the content, too… those help categorize the posts and make for slightly less random and wandering thoughts from Greg’s head…) 🙂

Five Years of Blogging

August 26th 2008 - Five Years of BloggingBelieve it or not, I have been at this “blogging” thing for five years now. Today. August 26th, 2003 was my first post, and now almost 1400 posts later, I’m still at it. (Albeit, quite infrequently this past month or two!) I love this avenue to share thoughts, start discussions, share links and information, and even post photos and family news to the world wide web of internets. I imagine I’ll be doing this for another 5 years at least… unless of course this is true. 🙂

Over five years I have shared the stories of not one, not two, but three additions to our family, I have told a few funny stories from the many children who inhabit our home (like this one, and this one, and this one) and even shared the emotions of times of very difficult loss, and the aftermath of that.

We have an amazing God, and I have loved sharing so many thoughts on life with him, as he leads me along, helping me know him more, so I can trust him more – rather than keep trying to trust in myself more. I even made that one of the main tabs above, Life With God.

Thanks for visiting GregsHead.net over the past five years. Blogging is a conversation. It’s a conversation starter, and the beauty of it is that you can actually respond inline to the conversation. Add your comments below anything I publish here. I love that. Life is a journey, that’s meant to be shared. (Oh yeah! I also have published three books along the way! A Journey Shared, Life in the Rearview Mirror, and There’s The Steeple… Here’s The Church.

This post is getting longer than I thought it would, but that’s because I am trying to cover five years worth of stuff in a few short paragraphs! If you’d like to read more, you can actually access the archive directory directly right here. Just click on any month from the previous 5 years and you’ll see all the posts from that month.

Thanks again for joining me for the past five years (or however long you’ve been here). Once life settles down for me (and I can figure out where to focus my energies) I should have the time and energy to share my thoughts here again, and continue the conversations.

Looking forward to that.

08.08.08

You probably do not need to be reminded of this, but today is the one fun day every year where the day, the month, and the year all match. This one happens to also be the first day of the summer olympics, happening this time in China. It’s also the tenth wedding anniversary of some good friends of ours.

And, it’s just a Friday.

The numbers on the calendar don’t really matter, but I just thought it was fun, and wanted to post it. 🙂

So enjoy your 08.08.08. Maybe a game of Crazy Eights is in order? Maybe play the old Beatles’ tune “Eight Days a Week” and catch an episode of Eight is Enough on DVD afterwards? Start it at 08:08:08pm local time! Got any other ideas? Leave ’em below!