The Song Behind the Speech

Yesterday I saw the by now iconic video of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech which contains the line, “Free at last, free at last.” I’ve heard that a thousand times and remember it from when I was a kid. It made a powerful and immediate impact on our country.

But what’s often over looked is that Dr. King was referring to an old spiritual, sung by slaves years before. I got to thinking about that because the people showing that video had edited (censored?) Dr. King by cutting out the word “Negro.” King said “the old Negro spiritual,” but these people dropped out Negro since it’s no longer considered a proper way to refer to Black people.

Of course back in the 1960’s it was what you were supposed to say. I was taught to use that word till in the late 60’s the term Black superseded it. I have no argument with any group choosing the way they are referred too. I do however reject editing the past in a vain attempt to make it conform to our PC standards today.

So having been fired up I decided I’d actually look up what that old Negro Spiritual actually said. Here’s what I found:

from ” American Negro Songs ” by J. W. Work

Free at last, free at last
I thank God I’m free at last
Free at last, free at last
I thank God I’m free at last

Way down yonder in the graveyard walk
I thank God I’m free at last
Me and my Jesus going to meet and talk
I thank God I’m free at last

On my knees when the light pass’d by
I thank God I’m free at last
Tho’t my soul would rise and fly
I thank God I’m free at last

Some of these mornings, bright and fair
I thank God I’m free at last
Goin’ meet King Jesus in the air
I thank God I’m free at last

As you can see Dr. King expanded the meaning of the song, yet I believe stayed true to its essential meaning. Just wanted to shed some light on the source material he used in his most famous speech.

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The Song Behind the Speech

2018 Camino – Backpack Contents & Weigh-In

Okay everyone, here’s the backpack and everything in it and how much it weighs. I have decided to carry it on (if allowed and I should be as it’s the correct size) at least for the trip over. On the trip back I may check the backpack depending on how I’m feeling.

Enjoy!

2018 Camino – Backpack Contents & Weigh-In

What Is the Camino?

As some of you know I’m leaving in less than a week to finish my camino. Two years ago I hiked the first 200 miles of the Camino de Santiago, ending my trip in Burgos. This year I’ll fly into Madrid, take a bus to Burgos, and hit the trail from there.

The Camino is an ancient pilgrimage route across northern Spain. See the map below:

Rutas-Camino-de-Santiago-Marly-Camino-III

As you can see there are many different caminos. But the main one is listed as number one on the map. It is called the Way of St. James and begins in St. Jean in France and ends in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This is the route most people are referring too when they talk about the Camino. Here’s a close up:

Camino Close up

I’ll be starting in Burgos and walking across what is called the Meseta which is largely flat and sparsely populated, into the mountains of Galacia and then on to Santiago and the official end of the Camino at the Cathedral there. Then I’ll go on to Finisterre, which you can see on the map. Finisterre means end of the world, and I want to walk all the way to the end of the world and dip my toes in the Atlantic Ocean.

You can download my schedule here and be part of my Prayer Pilgrimage by sending me your prayer concerns.

Here’s a few links for you to check out if you’d like too:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camino_de_Santiago

 http://santiago-compostela.net/

Here’s a short video I did of my 2016 Camino:

There’s a ton of information online about the Camino, hope this helps gets you familiar with where I’m going and what I’ll be doing.

What Is the Camino?

First Impressions – Altair Timps

I’ve been hearing about Altair trail runners for a few years now. They tend to be either hated or loved by those who use them. I’ve been wanting to try a pair for a long time now, but didn’t want to take a shot of buying over the internet since I have a track record of getting the wrong sizes!

Monday I went to REI and checked things out. They¬† didn’t have any Lone Peaks in my size but I had been wanted to check out the Timp and they did have those, so I checked them out.

I learned that for me at least they fit to size. I’ve read a lot about having to buy a size larger in Altairs, but not so here at any rate.

The first thing I noticed when I put them on was how light they are. It’s amazing. They have to be the lightest trail shoes I’ve ever used. Here’s a shot of the pair I bought, for $110, which isn’t bad at all really.

Altra Timps

So this morning my old pay jet lag woke me up early, I decided to take advantage and make jet lag work for me! So I suited up, put on my Timps and headed out the door at around 4:15 or so. It was about 94 degrees and fairly humid. I ended up doing almost 5.5 miles and my feet felt great.

If you know about Altairs you know they have two outstanding features which I’ll comment about below.

Zero Drop

Most shoes are made with the heel being slightly higher than the toes. But Altair have a naturalistic philosophy so they decided to make their shoes like you feet, with no, or zero, drop from heel to toe.

When you put them on and stand up you feel this immediately. It stretches out your calf and Achilles tendon a lot more than traditional shoes. It doesn’t feel bad to me, just different. As I hiked I could feel the stretch for sure, especially at first going steeply downhill. But there was not pain at all.

I did notice that without that extra weight in the heel I walked a bit differently. I tend to plant my heel hard, which has caused me some injuries in the past. I stepped a bit lighter this morning which is probably a good thing.

Expanded Toe Box

If you look at the picture above you might notice the front of the shoe (the toe box) is wider than what’s normal on most shoes. That’s is another naturalistic feature of Altairs. They don’t squish your toes together but give them room to breath.

I have to say it felt good as soon as I put them on. The more I walked the better I felt. By the time I got home I was loving the feeling in my toes. I’ve had a lot of trouble in the Salomon’s I’ve been using, but not here.

Now granted I only did five and a half miles, but still my feet felt much better then usual at the end. I did notice some slight rubbing on one toe on my left foot. So time will tell on this and I’ll keep a close eye on it.

First Impression

My first impression of the Altair Timp is very positive. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do on longer hikes and am planning on taking them to Spain for the last 300 miles of the Camino. That will be the real test!

As things develop I hope to keep you updated with other posts.

Till then don’t stop walking!

First Impressions – Altair Timps

Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock

This is a book review of sorts. I just finishing reading Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?: Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock by Gregory Thornbury. It’s the first real biography of Larry Norman that I’m aware of.

Yes, I was a big fan of Larry’s music while not always being such a big fan of Larry himself. Besides not being on the same page as he was on many issues, Larry was a very controversial figure and over the years I found that very off putting.

However none of that changed my love for his music. I still love it, dated though most of it is. So I was excited to read a book that was written with full access to all his papers and material given to the author by the Norman family.

It’s a good read for the most part. I did get the impression that the author wasn’t much on the church in general and I couldn’t quite figure out where he stood on the Gospel itself. You might think that shouldn’t matter, but it does to me. Larry spent most of his life trying to communicate the Gospel and if you don’t understand it I doubt you can really understand Larry.

I’m sure a lot of people won’t like the book. It shows Larry warts and all. It also shows those around him warts and all. I was disturbed by the way the author talked about some other Christian musicians I’m also fond of. Randy Stonehill comes off in a particularly bad light. If the book is true then it’s sad that they never really reconciled completely as I had thought they had.

I also felt the author didn’t investigate the allegations that came very late in Larry’s life that he had fathered a child out of wedlock. He does talk about it but I wish he had interviewed those still living who are involved in this. Perhaps he tried and couldn’t, I don’t know.

All in all this is a picture of a man who was far from perfect. He loved Jesus, music and wanted to be a huge player in an alternative to the “church world” as it existed in the 1960’s and ’70’s. Like everyone else Larry Norman has plenty of faults and struggled to live up to what he preached. In the end he might have had as many successes as failures in that regard. But how many of us can do better? We aren’t all paragon’s of virtue like Billy Graham.

When the dust has settled on Norman’s life what’s left for those of us who never knew him is his body of work. That stands the test of time. In 2014 his signature album, Only Visiting This Planet, was inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry as one of the best rock albums ever made.

I doubt Larry Norman could have ever asked for much more than that for his work. He is gone but his work lives on. If you’d like to know more about the man behind the music, I encourage you to check this book out.

Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock