Sunday, July 27, 2008

Smith and Carlos Part Two

I asked in my last post (to those who were old enough to remember) what they thought of the actions of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.....then and now. For those who weren't alive or haven't heard about the controversy, Smith and Carlos each wore a black glove and raised their fists at the medal ceremonies for the 200 meters that summer. They also wore black socks with no shoes. This protest was to bring attention to the ongoing struggle for civil rights back in the USA. The Internationl Olympic Commitee told the USA representatives that the US track team would not be allowed to continue to compete unless Smith and Carlos were removed from the team, so both runners were kicked off the team and sent back to the States. As you might guess, these two athletes were not perceived as heroes coming home by a lot of the country. Most viewed it as unpatriotic and selfish at best, treasonous at worst. Both Smith and Carlos received death threats. I'm sure I am leaving out quite a bit of information, but I think this pretty much covers the basics.

As an impressionable 12 year old in the deep south, I didn't really understand what was going on. I just remember a lot of folks being upset. Seems like there was a LOT to be upset about in 1968. The assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King and the Vietnam War were three things that Americans were dealing with that year. There also were riots going on in major cities across the country, riots concerning the very thing Smith and Carlos were raising their fists about......civil rights. Remember, I am in Alabama where George Wallace had called for segregation for eternity. His wife, Lurleen, had taken his place as Governor of Alabama because he was ineligible to run again......and she had just died that May from cancer. To top it all off, there was a Presidential election coming in November.....and it was as crazy an election season as this one is. Controversy ruled the day. In that context, I am trying to figure out what these great track stars are doing, and why? I'm also trying to understand why most of the people I know are mad at them. I had just recently finished the 6th grade under the FIRST black teacher in the Sheffield City school system.......Mrs Feagin. She was a wonderful teacher, and I loved her very much. I was wondering how she felt about all of this protest stuff. I had never heard a racially motivated sentence come out of her mouth. She had us say a Bible verse first thing every morning (remember, this was PUBLIC school) and then she got on with the business of teaching us the three R's. Now knowing the context better of what all was going on in those days, I have even MORE respect for Mrs. Feagin than I did as a skinny 12 year old. She was one special woman! I'm pretty sure she is passed away by now, and I wish I had been intentional about telling her how much I appreciate what she did and the things she went thru that I'm sure none of us knew about.

But back to Smith and Carlos. Is there ANYTHING you perceive the same way after 40 years? Safe to say, not much huh? Maybe your sports loyalties or some religious beliefs. But events and happenings.......that's a different animal all together. Because of that fact, most people don't see the 68 protest by Smith and Carlos in the same light as they did back then. I sure don't. I don't know that I was necessarily mad at them, but at the time I for sure was not in favor of what they did. Today, I hope I understand a lot better why they did what they did, and appreciate the courage it took to stand up in front of the whole world and protest the fact that civil rights were being denied because of race. They paid a big cost for their actions, and probably are still paying 40 years later. If you get a chance, read the recent Sports Illustrated article about these two men and how the events of that summer night affected their lives. I respect those two men for standing against injustice in such a way to cause people to stop and think. And 40 years later, we're still working thru it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tommie Smith and John Carlos

If you have to ask somebody who those guys are, no need to read any further. If you remember these two track stars and the Mexico City Olympics of 1968, I have a couple of questions for you. A) What did you think of their actions on the medal stand at the time?, and B) Has your perspective on that night or those athletes changed any?

I'll give you my take after I hear yours. What made me think of them? Two things.
One, they were on the ESPY's the other night. Two, "Sports Illustrated" did an article on them recently.

I still can't believe that it's been FORTY YEARS since I watched on our black and white TV those 68 Olympics sitting on my living floor in Sheffield, Alabama. The only race I really cared about was the 1,500 meters (mile run) and cheering for Jim Ryun. Yeah, that's another post for another day.

68.......never been another year like it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This is Why I Love Bobby Garner

Many of you know Bobby and Candice Garner, who are presently serving as missionaries to Jinja, Uganda. Bobby was at Harding with Matt and Luke, and they have been with us at Downtown up until they left this winter for Africa. For those of you who know them, it will come as no surprise to you to hear that they are blessing the lives of the Ugandan people TREMENDOUSLY!! I still miss them, and Lord willing, Matt and I are going to go over there next summer to visit for 10 days or so. Please keep them and their mission in your prayers.

I got this message from Bobby today. This helps me remember why I love him:

"Today I climbed a steep hill in Nakalongo after meeting with the community about some project ideas. On the way up the hill we met two families of baboons! It's pretty cool to be a few kilometers from the Nile River, hanging out with baboons, and realizing that I LIVE here! On the way back down, I met an old Ugandan farmer. I greeted him in Lusoga, and he responded in perfect british english, "Do you know Mark Moore from America?" The guy had seen Mark climb the mountain several other times and thought that he might be with me! I think I'm always going to be living it that guys' shadow!"

Bobby, that's not a bad shadow to follow. But my take is you are already casting your own shadow for the Lord in Uganda........and that shadow will only increase as you bless more and more people.

I love you and Candice VERY much!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tim Curtis, Uplift, Bama

I will be gone to Alabama this weekend, and I hate that I am missing the final sermon at Downtown by Tim Curtis. Tim is moving to Georgetown, Texas so that he can get back in the pulpit more. I am happy for him, but VERY sad for us! Tim and Belinda have been a TREMENDOUS blessing to DT ever since they got here a few years ago. Tim's ministry thru his Wednesday night "Nexus" class was off the charts. I still miss it. God's richest blessings to Tim and Belinda! I love you both very much!


Uplift has come and gone for another year. WOW! Kudos to Andrew Baker and his staff for another excellent summer! It was great to see Terry Davis again, and I love to see him impacting young people thru his gift of music. We still miss you TD!
Donnie Mclaughlin is an establishment at Uplift, and everybody knows why. The guy connects with EVERY age-group, and especially this age. You can take an auditorium of 1,200 hyper kids, and within 30 seconds of him talking you can hear a pin drop. Thanks Don, for giving of your time and energy every year! I wish you were around here 24/7.


As I said earlier, we are headed to Bama this weekend to see my folks. My mom hurt her knee a few weeks ago, so we are concerned for her. Hopefully she will be able to function without having to scope it. Please keep her and dad in your prayers.
I know many of you have similar concerns with your parents. Like many of you, I wish we lived closer to them.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Free Speech

Here are two quotes from J.N. Armstrong, the first president of Harding:

"There is a great need to stress the importance of maintaining
freedom of speech in the kingdom of God. Intolerance is
dangerous to the future growth of the church. Most of us
have an aversion to anything except what we ourselves believe
and teach, and as a consequence, we are intolerant of the
teaching of anything that antagonizes our doctrine. All
progress of truth - all truth - has always depended on free
speech and progressive teachers who were not afraid to teach
their honest convictions, even though it cost life....It takes
no courage to teach the things one's audience already believes."

"I am well aware of the fact that free speech has its dangers and that progressive and fearless teachers have given the world untold trouble. But are we ready to surrender free speech and to deny ourselves teachers who are not afraid? Even our deliverance from such a possibility must come through free speech and courageous teachers. If our great-great-grandchildren enjoy the truth we hold dear, it will be due to free speech and courageous teachers."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy 4th!

The 4th of July is upon us! I hope all of you enjoy this wonderful holiday. I think the thing I like best about ALL holidays is the fact that it brings families together. Matt and Liz are coming this evening for a couple of days, and we hope to get to see Luke and Juliana also. Be safe with the bottle rockets!! :)

May God continue to bless our great nation, as he continues to bless many other nations also. I am proud to be an American. I hope those from other nations are proud to be citizens of their country also. Most of all, I am proud (in the right kind of way) to be a disciple and believer of Jesus the Christ.


In his first novel, "A Time to Kill", John Grisham attacked racism by having an attorney ask a jury how they would respond to a little girl getting raped and beaten and left for dead...........if she were white instead of black. It was the turning point in the trial. Today, people are asking the same questions about a political situation in Africa.....except the other way around. What if Robert Mugabe were white? Read these two columns and give me your feedback.