Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Teachable Moment: Taking advantage of technology on MLK Day

I didn't want my kids to think of January 18th as just a day off from school. I wanted them to understand the importance. So the night before (Sunday night), I gathered them around the computer, and we viewed 3 short clips.

First, we watched the "I've Been to the Top of the Mountain" speech from the night before he was killed. In only a little over a minute, he delivers one of the most passionate, inspiring orations I have ever heard:

then, I went to Patty Griffin’s song based on that speech:

I paused the song a couple of times to emphasize the following points:

MLK said in his speech that he knew his life might be cut short (as it was just 24 hours later), but he was satisfied just doing God's will. He was convinced that God had asked him to take on this role, and he readily carried out God's calling, knowing it would be painful.

In the song, Griffin sings directly to God, from MLK's perspective, saying that he is doing it "because You asked me to," and being satisfied with God's acceptance and love, even as this calling has meant hardship, rejection, threats, and hatred for him:

"I see nothing at all
Then I hear your sweet voice
Come and then go
Telling me softly
You love me so"

I explained that this wasn't just about race. It was about how God has a calling for each of us, and in many cases, it's hard. It's much easier to do our own thing, but in the long run, we're better off when we accept God's call and walk in the path that God has laid out for us.

Finally, I showed U2’s “Pride”, which is about MLK. I really like this particular clip, because it features news clips relevant to the topic. The kids had not realized that just a short time ago, blacks couldn't go to school with whites, or that they were treated as second-class citizens:

A couple of years ago, I would have laughed at the thought of using video clips from the Internet to educate my kids. But though the tools change, teachable moments never do. The moments need to be recognized as they happen, so we can grab the opportunity and make the most of it.

Thank God for YouTube, an imperfect tool which can be, and often is, used by God for His purposes. Thank God for MLK, an imperfect man, used by God. May we all learn these lessons well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A great 15 seconds in Music History

In this song:

At the 0:40 mark, it's the beginning of the singing of 3 lines:

I'm so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won't you show me that you really care

I have decided that, partially because of the greatness of the words--so simple, so earnest, so hungry for acceptance--and partly because of the way they are beautifully sung, that this is one of the greatest 15 seconds in music history. There can be no arguing about this.

God bless Roy Orbison.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book review -- The Language of Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerichs

The Language of Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerich

Eggerichs' latest is a follow-up to Love and Respect, the 2004 blockbuster which details the needs and responsibilities that husbands and wives have for each other. The new book narrows the focus on one aspect of this dynamic: communication.

Honestly, I had a hard time staying interested my first time through this book. Not because it wasn't interesting, but because I had heard it all before in the previous one. But the more I consider it, the more I have come to appreciate the new one. While Eggerich goes into more detail about concepts he taught about the first time around, that isn't the real benefit of this new book.

The best reason for this new book's existence is the vast number of follow-ups and stories sent in from readers. It allows the reader, and the author, to see the results of the Love and Respect principles when they are practiced in real life. Extra-large kudos to Eggerich for including the letters from those for whom these principles didn't work out so well. Such honesty, and willingness to take another look at what was said in the first book, is refreshing.

If you didn't read the first book, I would recommend you go straight to this one. The essential points of Love and Respect are in the new one. For all readers who are married or hope to be, I recommend The Language of Love and Respect.

Disclaimer: Thomas Nelson, the publisher, provided me with a free copy for review purposes. There is no obligation to give a positive review. The opinions above are mine.

Friday, January 01, 2010

What I read this past year

In 2009, I read the following books, which I list in order of preference:

Crazy Love, by Frances Chan
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller
Same Kind of Different as Me, by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent
Fearless, by Max Lucado
What Difference Do It Make, by by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent
The Noticer, by Andy Andrews
The Language of Love and Respect, by Emmerson Eggerichs
The Shack, By William Young

Please note that I liked all of them, so being near the bottom of the list is not an insult. The Shack was good, but I had it built up beforehand in my head that it would be better than it was, because of word of mouth. And the concepts in the Love and Respect book are great, but I found it to be a repeat of stuff from his earlier book. I really enjoyed The Noticer and the books above it.