Invictus

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When the four of us arrived at Spectrum, the line told the story.  We expected to get our IMAX tickets for the 7PM showing of the new hit movie AVATAR.   But at the counter, we were informed that the sellout occurred at one o’clock that afternoon.   It’s a huge theater.  I guess that explains why James Cameron is all smiles these days.  In spite of initial critical pot-shots, he’s enjoying the many benefits of a mega-hit.  So we regrouped at the electonic marquee.  Invictus, Clint Eastwood’s collaboration with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, became the pick.

We were not prepared for the power of the story.  There is so much to think about.  Freeman plays Nelson Mandela, in the first year of his unlikely presidency.  I would love to write about it for this week’s LeaderFOCUS, but the last two have been movie reviews.  I’d rather not make it three in a row.

If you like to read reviews, here are three: NY TIMES, Roger Ebert and the LA TIMES.  Enjoy.

Jack Kemp 1936-2009

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News of the untimely death of the well-known and well-respected American got me, mainly because all my life, I’ve been asked if we are related.  Back when I was College Pastor at Ev. Free Fullerton, his son Jeff, who played backup quarterback for the Rams back then, would show up on Sunday mornings.  We talked enough for me to learn that while we both have roots in Canada, if we are related, it would take a talented genealogist to find the connection.

Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp

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Barbara and Jenna Bush to Sasha and Melia Obama

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The TODAY SHOW caught wind that the Bush daughters, Barbara and Jenna wrote an open letter to the Obama girls, Sasha and Melia, offering them some advice on their move into the White House.  The Bush twins were about the same age when their White House life began.  Today convinced the girls to read the letter – then they added a slide show.  It’s a powerful piece.  Every Dad needs to see this.  Enjoy!

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Letter Reading on M.L.K. Day

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Thanks to a friend who forwarded me a link, I’ve just completed what I expect will become my way of remembering Martin Luther King on this annual national holiday established in his honor.

I read his “Letter from a Birminham Jail.”  (from April 1963)

It’s been a long time (sometime in the 1970s) since I explored the ten-page letter.  I think it impacted me then, but how much more so now.   From a prison cell in Alabama, King responded to a group of “moderate” clergy who released a letter of their own (A Call for Unity).

King’s command of language; his reference to biblical passages and characters, as well as theologians and philosophers, both contemporary and from the pages of history is compelling.  His passion for justice, his clarion vision of freedom and the cost of it and his determination to follow the dictates of his conscience engage the reader powerfully.  It is no wonder that King’s Southern Leadership Christian Conference sparked a movement that would bring segregation to the forefront of American life back in the sixties.  Civil Rights legislation was inevitable.

I’ll look on this document as evidence that the written word has enormous power to affect change.  His discussion of civil disobedience, his critique of a “disappointing” church, his challenge to clergy and his defense of an oppressed people stirs the heart, informs the mind and challenges the reader toward the courage of his/her convictions.

It’s inspirational reading.  Click on the link.  Find a quiet spot for a half hour or so.  See if you feel the same.

And now, on these eve of Inauguration Day, Dr. King must know.  The dream certainly is not fully realized, but my my my, what a step, a giant step, in that direction.