22 January 2009

The Ma-Cello Administration

For those who didn't hear, Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A., announced that Yo-Yo Ma is officially the president of the United States of America.

His Stradivarius cello is now vice-president.

Which means we can look forward to four years of Hail to the Chief being played on cello. By the chief.

I'm OK with this.

20 January 2009

To All of Those Who Say, "I Wish Today Never Happened."

I was going to start this post off with, "I hate to break it to you, but President Obama really is in office."

Then I questioned whether or not the full extent of my sarcasm would be perceived.

Instead, I say this:

One president will not destroy the country. One president will not save the country. We need a deep cultural change. And a shift of this caliber requires a good leader -- a leader who can inspire the masses, who reflects the diversity of which this country is made and the adversity which it must overcome.

President Obama is that leader.

Politics aside -- this has nothing to do with taxation, health care, education reform, or the size of the government* -- we now have a president in office who can deliver his speeches with great enthusiasm, who can serve as a role model for young people, but especially young men, and even then, especially young black men, who is willing to take his family to serve at a homeless shelter on Thanksgiving, and who has spent time working among the disenfranchised in the inner cities.

Sometimes, an inspirational leader is need.

This is one of those times.

Many of you have spent the past four or eight years defending President Bush against statements such as, "He is not my president," or claims that he stole the White House. You have watched as people counted down the days to the end of his administration. You have said that people should express their discontent in different ways. A few of you have even dared to state that publicly questioning the president is unpatriotic. And, to a certain extent, I appreciated your devotion to the Office.

But now I ask you to not reject this line of thought just because of a shift in power. The time will come when the President will make decisions with which you will disagree, and then, I respect your right to complain, bicker, protest, and petition the government. But as of now, President Obama has been in office for less than an hour and a half. So until that time, I ask that you be happy about this historic occasion and the opportunity for new leadership. I ask that you put aside partisan bickering and exaggerated fears of a communist state, and instead join the nation and the world in rejoicing for our new, young, passionate leadership.

Thank you for your time.

Rock on.

*I make no secret of the fact that I generally agree with the new President on these issues, but I am not writing this note to argue about them.

Post Script: This post was originally published in the form of a Facebook note inspired by the statuses (stati?) of a few friends. Some minor edits have been made.

19 January 2009

Strength to Love

Today, we remember the life of Rev. King, one of the great leaders, orators, visionaries, and reformers of the 20th century.

I cannot say anything about this great man that has not been said before; instead, below, are King's own words. The first, is a video of the famous "I Have a Dream" speech, given in 1963. Second is a link to several of King's sermons in Strength to Love, provided by Google Books.

Strength to Love

Rock on.

01 January 2009

Christmaseen Costumes

This story caught my eye.

If you're too lazy to click on the link, as I often am, let me give you the run-down.

A pastor, tired of the secularization of Christmas, urged his congregants to dress as Jesus as a way to "put the 'Christ' back in 'Christmas'". They didn't preach, just wore robes and crowns of thorns. If asked about the unusual attire, they would use it as an opportunity to share their faith.

Admittedly, a return to the religious, non-commercial roots of Christmas is not a bad idea. But do you really need 400 Jesuses (Jesi?) strolling around Kansas City to serve as a reminder? Probably not.

Instead, why not get into the spirit of giving and self-sacrifice? I know from experience that Kansas City and the surrounding areas have a homeless population and high poverty rates. Why not volunteer at food banks and soup kitchens? Or do a fundraiser benefiting World Vision?

Or, if you just can't help but dress up in first century Judean garb, why not try an interactive live nativity scene? You can have Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, and perhaps even magi standing around ready to answer questions about their part in the Christmas story.

Actually, the interactive nativity scene sounds like a lot of fun.

Rock on.

Happy New Year

The New Year has arrived in South Korea -- fourteen hours earlier in South Korea than on the east coast of the US.

It's a new year, a new semester, and we begin to close out the first decade of the new millennium. It's a weird feeling, knowing that nine years ago, I was a sixth grader who wanted nothing more than to study volcanoes when he grew up. I was living in South Carolina at the time -- little did I know that in less than ten years, I would move to Georgia, Kansas, and back to Georgia. And before 2010 closes, I will be moving again, though to where, I do not know.

The truly weird part is that if I so desired, I could be finished with my undergraduate program in one year, though I will probably take fewer classes, take a year and a half, and enjoy my time in Athens.

2009 is going to be a time of priorities and decisions.

So here we go.