While at Lee University, for one year I played bass guitar and attended Mount Eagle Missionary Baptist in Tennessee. I know what it’s like to be the only one in church different from everyone else, because Mount Eagle was a small black American congregation. I was the only Caucasian in the congregation of about 100. When we had the singing fellowship with the other churches of the area, I was still the only Caucasian in the congregation of about 250. I know just a little about what it must feel like for a person to attend a church and then to be the only one of a particular color or race in the congregation. While the people were extremely friendly and hospitable, and while the wonderful people at Mount Eagle did everything possible to make me feel welcome as a part of their family, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was an outsider. It was as much or more my doing/feeling than anything they could have done to make me feel different. Even with those experiences, I understand that I can never know exactly what it feels like to be a black man living in a white area. I struggle with my preconceived notions of what other people should be doing, thinking, and feeling. But when I think back to my short time at Mount Eagle, it tempers those prejudices with a little perspective. Try to imagine what it’s like to live in a world that looks different than you. Hey, you may not need to imagine it. Maybe that is you. Today is a pretty good day to reflect on that as we welcome a new leader, the first black man to serve in the office of POTUS. Let’s enjoy this history we are making, and put aside our political fight for another time.
Tag Archives: history
In honor of the closing of the Olympic experience in Beijing, this week’s Top 5 will include the 5 greatest US Olympic moments in the history of the Summer games.
1992 Dream Team 1992 Barcelona, Spain – The greatest compilation of talent in the history of basketball was on showcase for the world in the Summer games of 1992. The domination was unmatched in Olympic history, and may never be matched again by any sport or in any discipline. The roster: Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Christian Laettner, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, and John Stockton.
5. Michael Johnson 1996 Atlanta, GA, USA – Johnson was one of the most dominant sprinters in Olympic history. His running style, according to many experts, was reminiscent of the great Jesse Owens. When he showed up for the 200 meter sprint, he was wearing gold Nike’s. It was electrifying. His record of 19.32 in the 200 meter stood until the Bolt broke that this by .02.
4. Bob Beamon 1968 Mexico City, Mexico – With words it’s difficult to overhype Beamon’s accomplishments in the 1968 games in Mexico City. Having failed to even qualify a jump, his third attempt would either make or break his Olympic event. What happened next inspired a book, “The Perfect Jump”. Because of approach problems, he slowed down his approach so he could make a jump that would not disqualify him. He hit the board on the nose and when he landed, history was made. His long jump record held for 23 years. The jump was so long, the official measuring device was not long enough to measure it. After the event, when the distance was announced, Beamon collapsed with his face in his hand, and had to be helped off the field.
3b. Mark Spitz 1972 Munich Germiny – It was 1972 in Munich and the mustache was very popular. Spitz dominated the field winning 7 gold medals in swimming only competing in 7 events. With preliminary races included, Spitz raced 13 races in that fortnight. More amazingly, he set 7 world records.
3a. Michael Phelps 2008 Beijing China – He did what nobody thought was possible. In 8 swimming events, he won 8 gold medals. Fell a fraction short of 8 world records, winning 7. He also needed a little help from Jason Lezak in the 4×100 in one of the most unlikely come-from-behind victories in Olympic history. He also won his 200 M Butterfly by .01 seconds, about the length of a fingernail. Phelps, by medals, is now the greatest Olympian in history, and he is not done. At 23, he is in his prime and has stated he will compete in London 2012.
2. Carl Lewis 1984 Los Angeles, CA and 1996 Atlanta, GA, USA – When people think about Lewis, many times it is the 1984 Olympics that set him apart. Arguably, this was one of the greatest moments in Olympic history, having doubled in the 100 and 200 meter sprints. But it wasn’t 1984 which stands out to me. For me, it was the 1996 Atlanta games in which an aging Lewis who almost did not qualify for the team was not even in medal position after the first two jumps nailed his third jump to win gold. It was an electric moment and it seemed that absolutely nobody expected it to happen.
1. Jesse Owens 1936 Berlin, Germany. No comments needed.
America is a great country, blessed by God and founded on the biblical principles that all men are created equal. In the history and even before the founding of this nation, the spoken word of individuals has moved the hearts and emotions of the people to stand together and do what is right. Today, I will provide you with a list of what I consider 5 of the most significant speeches in American history. Whether they brought us together after disaster, stirred us to stand together in arms, or activated the conscience of us to fight tyranny, they all had a significant impact on the direction of our nation and even the world.
Worthy of mention:
Ronald Reagan – Challenger disaster speech.
John F. Kennedy – Inaugural address. “Ask not what your country can do for you.” (Video)
#5(tie) Dwight D. Eisenhower – Farewell speech. “Military industrial complex.” (video) One of the most loved and popular presidents in American history warned us in his farewell speech of the growing military industrial complex. WWII was still in our recent memory, and President Eisenhower understood the importance of freedom from the gigantic machine that was the military bureaucracy. Having served as the commanding general during WWII, Eisenhower (I believe) understood the military to be necessary for defense from threats outside, but that unchecked would become a type of threat of its own.
#5(tie) Franklin Delano Roosevelt – Pearl Harbor Speech. “a date which will live in infamy,” (Text) (Audio track with video) According to several sources, this speech was significant only in that it is so quotable, and they may very well be right. Even in FDR’s speech, he states that he would like the declaration of war to be retroactive. In other words, his speech was symbolic serving only: to declare to the world that we(USA) are all in, Japan is (was) going to pay for what they had done, and also to unite America in the cause. The effect it has had is debatable, because the attacks did enough to unite the people.
#4 Ronald Reagan – Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall (Video). His advisers told him that he should not speak in such harsh terms to the Soviet Union. It is true that the Soviet Union was already creaking under the pressure of the failed communist system, but this bold declaration in front of the whole world that you cannot speak of freedom and reforms while doing nothing about it caused the rapid acceleration of the collapse. This speech and the resulting destruction of the Berlin Wall with the fall of Soviet Communism was one of the most significant world events of my lifetime.
#3 Martin Luther King – I have a dream! (video). Rated as the most significant American speech of the 20th century, “I Have a Dream” stands today as inspiration for a better America. Though I don’t believe we have fully accomplished the objectives set forth by MLK, we have come further and faster toward racial harmony than perhaps any other nation in the worlds history. Dr. King’s goal was that man was to be judged by the content of his character, not the color of his skin. Some of the “reforms” in place which are in the name of racial equality seem to set us back. Dr. King’s speech will inspire for years to come.
#2 Abraham Lincoln – Gettysburg Address. (Text) (Video) The town of Gettysburg, PA was actually smaller in population than the number of dead soldiers whose bodies were rotting on the battlefield. At this point in the war, the Union States were growing solidly anti-war and were also growing in opposition to Lincoln. Lincoln’s advisers told him that if the election were to be held at that time, he would certainly lose and the Union would accept the south’s right to secede. Lincoln was an afterthought, only filling a ceremonial role for the event which featured a 2 hour speech by the keynote speaker. Lincoln’s roughly 2 minute 30 second speech refocused the Union’s resolve to fighting and winning the war. The rest is of course history. We know the USA as one nation under God, as Lincoln spoke of it in that speech.
#1 Patrick Henry – Give me liberty or give me death! (Text) (Video). Henry rallied the Virginia Commonwealth which was the largest of the colonies to join with the federation in declaring independence from Britain. Had it not been for his inspiration, would we have had a USA?
Feel free to add to the list of notable speeches in American history. I am not an expert, though I play one on the internet. So if you feel I mistaken in my list or analysis, chime in.