I Still Have a Dream

Today, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech turned 51 years old.

Today, was also my birthday, and it has become my custom to spend part of my birthday morning listening to Dr. King’s remarkable sixteen minute speech from 1963. It is one of my favorites of all time. Maybe it’s because he delivered it on my birthday (albeit two years earlier), or maybe it’s because it is just an unbelievable speech. Perhaps it’s both.

With the utmost respect for Dr. King and the cause and people for which he stood, I also have a dream today. It is a dream that is deeply rooted in the faith that he and I and others have professed.

I still have a dream.

I have a dream, that one day, the followers of Christ will rise up and live out the true meaning of our creed that all men and women are created in the image of God.1

I have a dream that one day on the red and blue hills of our Capitol, the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve will be able to sit at a table and give the seats of honor to those who have served without recognition.2

I have a dream that my children will be judged not by their capabilities and conquests but by the cross, for it is Love—alone—that covers our steps and missteps.3

I have a dream today that the church—rather than first pointing its fingers and clenching its fists—will instead serve the least and lost of our society with open palms reminiscent of the nail-scarred hands of the one who gave his life that all might have the opportunity to truly live.4

I have a dream that those who rank wrongs would not just give lip service to the phrase, “Hate the sin. Love the sinner.”5

I have a dream that little girls and boys of every color will be able to see that Jesus was not religious but relational, and came not to put people in shackles but to free them.6

I have a dream that faith and grace—rather than fear and grades—will define those who call themselves Christians.

I have a dream today that—just as Dr. King said 51 years ago today when quoting the vision of Isaiah: “. . . one day ‘every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.’ 7

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that day. I have a dream today. It’s my birthday and the birthday of Dr. King’s dream. Happy birthday to your dream, Dr. King.

What I remembered today is that all this has to start with me. And you.

Light the candles when you are ready to come to the party. It is going to be epic.

Clicking on the references below simply takes you to that passage on biblegateway.com, which is just an easy way to read the Bible online. It’s not something you will be asked to sign up for.
1 Genesis 1:27
2 Luke 14:7
3 1 Peter 4:8
4 Luke 19:10; Matthew 25:34-40
5 Matthew 5:43-47
6 Isaiah 61:1-2 (also Luke 4:18-19)
7 Isaiah 40:4-5

Blogging and Life

Blogging is like balancing sunlight and shade. Both are great depending on your perspective.

Sometimes, life gets in the way of blogging.

Other times, blogging gets in the way of life.

The crazy thing is that the more life I live, the more there is to write about—but less time to do it.

The last few days, life has been getting more of my time. I’m writing scraps and notes but lacking the time to stitch the quilt together.

If you want to start receiving this blog via email, click here.
Yo... if you’re reading this as an email, you already get it, get it?

Relationship currency

I was sitting with a friend at breakfast recently, and he said something I’ve never heard before. It was a passing comment for him, but it stopped me in my tracks. He said:

The currency of all relationships is trust.

I’m going to ponder this for one more day before posting any more thoughts. Especially since he paid for breakfast. :) Read More...

Tuesday Tidbit—#6: Double Shot

IMG_9037 - Version 2
I love watching birds from our kitchen window. I admit it.

Just before dinner last night, one of my kids who shall remain unnamed for now, said, “Who in our family says,
‘Oh, look. There’s a Purple-Speckled Spotted Owl!’ ?” Everyone laughed except me.

I took a photograph of two bluebirds in the snow last winter. I’ve duplicated and altered it just a little bit. Can you tell the difference (very slight) between these two photographs? Which one looks better to you?

Jerry and New man.

We worked most of Saturday in our yard moving rocks, mulch, and dirt. On days like this I take comfort in some 2,600+ year-old words...

“I’ll refresh tired bodies;
I’ll restore tired souls.”
Jeremiah 31:25

Is your body tired and sore from something like yard work?
Get some rest today and get refreshed.

Is your soul tired and sore from something like life?
Take off the backpack* you’ve been carrying around and get restored today.

*(In my experience, the backpacks that weigh us down the most are guilt, shame, and anger.) Read More...

The end of the frontier?

During one of his lectures on the West, Dr. Smiley talked about Frederick Jackson Turner’s “Frontier Thesis” paper he delivered at an 1893 meeting of the American Historical Association. Dr. Smiley told us that Turner had argued in that meeting that the American frontier was now closed, and that the American landscape was no longer one of seemingly endless boundaries. (He said that America would now (in 1893) have to go through a very painful transition to a land and people with limitations as yet unknown to the young nation of the 19th century. Read More...

Some things don't grow on trees

While looking for the monk photo (yesterday’s post), I also found this gem from 1993. I’m sitting on a dead limb after climbing up this dead tree overlooking Frontier Ranch. First, I started laughing at the thought of doing that now. Or better yet... what I would say if one of my kids started to climb that tree.

Kids, don’t try this at home. This was done by a trained professional. Even though he’d never done it before.

Back then I was building ropes courses and climbing up dead trees for a better view. Right now I’m typing on a keyboard on a laptop computer that didn’t even exist back in 1993. I look at this picture and think, “Who was that guy?” and “What would I like to tell that guy at his age?” and “What does that guy need to tell me at my age?” Read More...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (Frontier, that is)

I think this ability to laugh at oneself became a lost art in our culture—particularly when the “political correctness” umbrella got opened up indoors, but it’s making a comeback. One of the things I love about social media is that we are learning to laugh at ourselves again. To be sure, there’s a fine line between laughing at someone (in the “making fun of” sense) and laughing with someone’s foibles as simply part of being human. But, I think we are learning to not take ourselves so seriously again. Read More...

Brush with greatness

While at Wake Forest, we’d occasionally hear a fraternity brother stand up at a Sigma Chi meeting and announce a “Brush with Greatness.” It was a sighting or encounter with a famous person. Well, I’ve had a lot of those in my life. But Tuesday was possibly the coolest one I’ve ever had. Read More...

The Frontier.2

In July of 1992, I sat on the deck of a friend’s house in Colorado and watched an amazing lightning storm. I thought about how we are often looking for a new adventure—usually “somewhere out there” where the lightning strikes—when the journey is, more than likely, a heart-and-head trail instead of a mountain hike (though I’ve lost count of the times that a hike brought clarity to my heart and head). A song started brewing, and here’s what came out. I’ll write more about it tomorrow.

For now, here are the lyrics (which I originally wrote on the back of a Frontier Ranch paper placemat that I still have)...

And Simon Cowell, you just leave that duct tape right where it is.

The Frontier.1

Frontier Ranch is one of my very favorite places on this earth. I grew up there. I don’t mean that it’s the place where I spent my childhood; I mean I grew up there. I learned about life, faith, God, and myself there. As I look at this picture of the Frontier Ranch sign, it occurs to me that, sometimes, reflections only happen in the rear view. The sign is backwards only because I’m looking back at where I came from to get there. Read More...

In the Zone

I think that perhaps one of life’s most underrated pleasures is driving west through a state like Tennessee and having to be somewhere at a certain time. . . and then realizing that you have an extra hour to chill the next morning. Read More...

Show the Way - Verse 1

Fear can be debilitating. Period. It can paralyze even the best of us.

Fear wakes us from dreams and washes us in doubts.

Fear has our culture by the throat, and therefore, has us also in its talons. It “seems to be cutting off our life,” as Willard says above. I see Facebook posts and emails every single day that are primarily fear-based—even if couched in political or religious language. Fear is often used as the motivator to get people to do something (or not do something).

Mortar Management

I mentioned mortar in yesterday’s post. I said that mortar holds things together by filling in the gaps left over by irregular shapes, and that we need mortar in our own lives because we are all irregular-shaped people with a need for something or someone to hold us together in community.

The Problem of Evil in 3 minutes

When I was pressure-washing last spring, I blew some mortar loose from the stonework at our house. I took a photo to remind me to ask my guy if he could fix it, and when I saw this picture on my phone today, it got me thinking about mortar—which holds things together by filling in the gaps left over by irregular shapes. We need mortar in our own lives because we are all irregular-shaped people with a need for something or someone to hold us together in community. That thought reminded me of a song lyric I heard decades ago (#gettingolder), “It is love who mixed the mortar...” which promptly propelled me into a time machine. . .

Tuesday Tidbit—#5: Recycling Schedule

CLT Recycling
My son and I were rolling out the trash cans tonight, and I paused to ponder whether or not it was the week to roll out the recycling bins as well. As we rolled the cans out I thought of a way to solve this problem. If you live in Charlotte, you can do this on your iPhone. . . Read More...

A Moleskine morning

At the end of last week, I spent some time at my painted-baton-passing friend’s house. We were shooting the breeze and talked again of watercolor painting, which he does pretty much every single day. He showed me a Moleskine journal that had his first watercolor painting in it, and I said, “Do you have a lot of those journals going way back?”

He chuckled and responded, “C’mon. Let me show you.” Read More...

Passing a painted baton

Earlier this week I was in a coffee shop with a friend, and I was telling him about an art project I am working on where I have to create something on a 12” x 12” canvas. I’d been thinking about doing it on my iPad in my favorite app, Paper 53, and then making a digital print for the canvas.

He said, “You ought to just paint it.” I told him that if I could actually paint I probably would! :)

He replied, “I can teach you to paint watercolors in 10 minutes.”

I said, “If you can teach me in 10 minutes, I’m in.” Read More...

ME Week—Friday

Mary Liz - Maggie
Our dog, Maggie, is mostly deaf. She doesn’t like a lot of sudden movements or loud noises. I think this is part of the reason that Maggie sits with Mary Liz, because she knows this and is careful to protect Maggie in this regard.

It strikes me that we all need people in our lives who know our weaknesses and are careful to protect us from what or who might harm us. I need people— like Maggie needs Mary Liz— to help me “hear” what I’ve tuned out, turned off, or just plain gone deaf towards. We all need people to feel safe with— even if safety comes from someone keeping us from doing what we think we want to do. I watch Mary Liz care for and protect Maggie, and I realize that there is a reason Maggie wants to sit close to my daughter. Read More...

ME Week—Thursday

MEC Windy Gap 0002
As a dad, I believe that one of the most important things I can do is to figure out what my kids are really passionate about and give them the ability to pursue that passion. However God has wired them to think and dream and do—part of my role is to give them a pasture to play and experiment in. Sometimes it involves leaps of joy and other times it involves skinned knees. Pastures can have fences to give structure and boundaries—and to keep out unwanted distractions. Sometimes the wide open spaces with room to go at a full gallup are the best places to learn about freedom and responsibility.