“What happens to a dream differed?”1 Langston Hughes, a 20th century poet of the Harlem Renaissance, posed this thought-provoking question in his poem titled Harlem (popularly known as Dream Differed). If the “dream” was indeed a real, flourishing thing at one point in time, what becomes of it when it is neglected? Does it exist in a state of potentiality awaiting the day of actualization? Or like nocturnal dreams, does time seem to dwindle the recollection of it to inexistence? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. imparted words of power to the United States of America on August 28, 1963 in Washington, DC. He had a dream. A dream that was not meant to merely exist as an idea in the minds of many, but one to be realized. For he did not hide his dream under a bushel, but instead placed it on the mountaintop for all to see. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of virtue whose self-sacrifice and courage should not be taken lightly. I speak boldly, as a member of the African-American community, when I say we have a responsibility to see that this dream not be lost along with Dr. King himself. If the African-American community wishes to see his dream come true, they must become a people of virtue. The premise of Dr. King Jr.’s dream was found in this statement: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”2
As it pertains to equality, I find it proper to define what we should and should not be expecting from its manifestation. Equality can best be understood as equal opportunity to reach a desired end. The essence of equality leaves no room for advantage or privilege related to accidental properties (skin color, gender, etc.). All participants have a chance to gain access to the thing in question. All participants are also evaluated through the lens of a consistent Continue reading →
“That this nation—under God—shall have a new birth of freedom. That Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”1
These words concluded the Gettysburg Address. They received no thunderous applause or immediate praise,2 and after giving, “a few appropriate remarks”3 to honor those who died in the recent battle, Lincoln left without event. Yet those few words forever changed a nation. Ironically, Lincoln never intended to say, “Under God.” They do not appear in his original drafts.4 In the spur of the moment, Lincoln—a man who never professed Christianity5—felt strongly enough about the phrase to end his speech with the mention of God. To those who heard it, the ad lib meant nothing, washed away in the sea of that day’s speeches, but to Americans today the words mean everything. Less than a year after Lincoln’s speech the motto “In God We Trust” first appeared on U.S. currency,6 and upon creation of the Pledge of Allegiance in 1942, the words “Under God” were added in Lincoln’s honor.7 The idea of America as one nation under God caught on quickly with the American people. Continue reading →
Not long ago, I watched a video in which an eight-year-old girl professed to evangelical atheist Christopher Hitchens that she believed herself a ‘free-thinker.’ I nearly wept at the tragedy. It felt as if I were watching a train that had just been set in motion, full of innocence people conversing gaily while unaware their track was heading toward a cliff, and myself too far away too help. When I remember the innocence of children, I consider the effects of damaging philosophies and philosophers with even more gravity; I often spend some time mediating on millstones. The lie of this modern philosophy entitled ‘Freethought’1 is twofold: it is neither free, nor is it thought. G.K. Chesterton appropriately labels this sort of thinking “the suicide of thought.”2 At this point, it seems best to define the notion I have portrayed so heinously; Free Thought is “thought unrestrained by deference to authority, tradition, or established belief.”3 By definition it is a contradiction in terms: the venerable tradition of human logic is accepted despite tradition having been rejected. That said, I hope to show that it is much worse than a mere contradiction: it is obliteration.
One of the best movies about mind control that has come out recently is Inception. Mind control might not be the first connection you make with this action packed blockbuster, but the whole goal of the movie is to direct the mind of the target. This quest takes the team diving into the world of dreams, building experiences they want the target to go through, and casting illusions they want the target to perceive. But what was the last straw in the plan? It was an idea, an idea to be incepted into the mind of the target and, ultimately, an idea to be carried out.
Over the past week, I have spent much time reflecting on prayer. This has been prompted by a number of interesting prayer “experiences” that have challenged me to critically evaluate both my beliefs on prayer and how I pray on a daily basis.
No doubt you have at one point or another heard the phrase “the power of prayer.” Perhaps it was the preacher at the pulpit of your local congregation who used it; or maybe that one guy in your small group who always seems to know the right Christian cliché for every situation. Whoever it was, the phrase is generally used in the context of an argument to this effect: If we pray more, we will get what we want/need more. Now, disregarding the task of evaluating whether or not this theory is true, I want to address what such a mentality toward prayer does. Continue reading →