Tuesday, January 20, 2009

MLK Day, 2009

So, this is a day late, but I didn't want to miss the opportunity to blog about Martin Luther King, Jr. Yesterday I got to go to Highland Christian Center for their celebration (this was the third year in a row that I got to attend; more on this later). It was a great time.
As the holiday was approaching, I did some more reading in The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., which I got with birthday money this past year. Here are a couple of passages that really spoke to me.

From his book, The Strength of Love:
"The softminded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea. An elderly segregationist in the South is reported to ahve said, 'I have come to see now that desegregation is inevitable. But I pray God it will not take place until after I die.' The softminded person always wants to freeze the moment and hold life in the gripping yoke of sameness."

This next passage is from A Christmas Sermon on Peace. You may disagree with Dr. King's political stances here (or maybe you won't), but don't miss his bigger point. I think it is very powerful:
"Now let me say that the next thing we must be concerned about if we are to have peace on earth and good will toward men is the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of all human life. Every man is somebody, because he is a child of God. And so when we say 'Thou shalt not kill,' we're really saying that human life is too sacred to be taken on the battlefields of the world. Man is more than a tiny vagary of whirling electrons or a wisp of smoke from a limitless smoldering. Man is a child of God, made in his image, and therefore must be respected as such. Until men see this everywhere, until nations see this everywhere, we will be fighting wars. One day somebody should remind us that, even though there may be political and ideological differences between us, the Vietnamese are our brothers, the Russians are our brothers, and Chinese are our brothers; and one day we've got to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. But in Christ there is neither jew nor Gentile. In Christ there is neither male nor female. In Christ there is neither Communist nor capitalist. In Christ, somehow, there is neither bound nor free. We are all one in Christ Jesus. And when we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality, we won't exploit people, we won't trample over people with iron feet of oppression, we won't kill anybody."

For a great picture of Dr. King's passage on all of us sitting together at the same table, I encourage you to read Paul Metzger's book Consuming Jesus. He has a great passage at the end that fleshes this out.

So, another quick mention of trying to explain the world to my 4 year-old son, Matthew. We went together to the celebration for Dr. King. We got to experience some great music and speakers, and just be a part of the celebration of how Dr. King's dream lives on. As we were leaving, Matt and I began a conversation. Bear in mind that I had told him that we were at a birthday party for Dr. King.
Matt: Where was Dr. King?
Dan: What?
Matt: It was a birthday party for Dr. King. But where was he?
Dan: Well, Matt, Dr. King wasn't there. Dr. King died.
Matt: How?
Dan: Well, Matt, I'll tell you, but it's very sad. Do you still want me to tell you?
Matt: Yeah.
Dan: Dr. King died because someone killed him.
Matt: Why?
Dan: Because he didn't like the things that Dr. King was talking about.
Matt: Why not?
Dan: Well, have you noticed in the pictures that Dr. King's skin in darker than ours?
Matt: Yeah.
Dan: Well, some people thought that people who have light skin like us were better than people who had dark skin like Dr. King. But Dr. King said that God made all of us equal.

It was interesting to go on and talk about segregation and racism in very basic terms. When you have to break something like that down for a 4 year-old, it really reveals how sick and foolish and insane it is. And it also reveals how sick and foolish and insane we are when we think we are better than others for any reason at all.

As Matt and I left Highland Christian Center, we were approached by a very large young man who asked us for money because he was bi-polar and needed to get more medication. The young man was awkward, poor, and had difficulty in social circumstances. None of these things make me better than him. I don't know if he will spend the money on medication, but that is not the point. That point is that I cross over into insanity when I think I am better than a person because he is fat, or short, or poor, or uneducated, or uncoordinated.

God save all of us from this insanity.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Talking Kids

So, I am working with Jack a little bit on his words. We are focusing mostly on animals. He is doing pretty well. My favorite is when he says "turtle." It sounds funny.

Working with Jack leads me to thinking of where Matt is with conversation, and some of my recent conversations with him. It is great how words can be confusing. Here are two examples:

Matt and I raced to his room for bedtime, and he fell into his room for the win.
Matt: Did I win?
Me: Yes.
Matt: Why?
Me: Because you got to your room first.
Matt: But I didn't get complutely in.
Me: Complutely?
Matt: Not complutely.
Me: Complutely?
Matt: NOT complutely.
Suddenly I realized that he thought I was arguing with him on whether or not he got "complutely" in.

Matt and I are sitting at the breakfast table.
Matt: Why aren't you drinking Orange Juice with breakfast?
Me: Well, I'm trying to be more healthy.
Matt: Healthy? Why?
Me: Because I want to take care of my body, and right now I am too big.
Matt: (After a thoughtful pause) You don't want to be 31?
Me: No, I'm not too old. I'm too big. I weigh too much.
Matt: You're not way too much. You're just 30.

Having kids (and talking to them) is a lot of fun.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

New Music

So, I got some Itunes gift cards for Christmas, and I have been having a great time with them. However, the one CD I got for Christmas is undoubtedly the first album I would have purchased with my gift cards.

Joshua Radin: Simple Times
If you guys like Bebo Norman, Jack Johnson, Simon and Garfunkle, you should check out Joshua Radin. The whole album is great to listen to. It flows really well, and every song is enjoyable. The song getting a lot of play right now is called "I'd Rather Be With You." Good stuff. My favorites on the album, though, are "Friend Like You," "Brand New Day," and "You've Got Growing Up To Do."

Favorites from the Past
Here are some of the songs I recently downloaded from Itunes:
Weezer: Island in the Sun
The Goo Goo Dolls: Black Balloon
Foo Fighters: Big Me
Temple of the Dog: Say Hello 2 Heaven
Soundgarden: Pretty Noose
Dave Matthew's Band: Satellite
Stone Temple Pilots: Big Empty
Those were all bands that I listened to in high school. Really enjoying it.

Solo Artists
I got some more Joshua Radin from his album "We Were Here."
John Mayer's song "Waiting for the World to Change"
Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." Anyone remember the movie "Say Anything?"

Worship Songs
Kutless: Draw Me Close, Word of God Speak, All Who Are Thirsty
Matt Redman: Blessed Be Your Name
The David Crowder Band: O Praise Him
Phil Wickham: Cannons
Jeremy Riddle: Sweetly Broken
Chris Rice: Come to Jesus

Fun stuff. Itunes is cool.

Anyone else have any music recommendations?