This week marked the fiftieth anniversary of two enduring British institutions. On October 5, 1962, The Beatles released their first single, “Love Me Do,” and on the same day the first James Bond film, Dr. No, hit theaters. Fifty years later, neither of these cultural juggernauts seems ready to slow down. Next month Skyfall opens in theaters with Daniel Craig reprising his role as Bond, and also next month Paul McCartney will tour North America, playing to sold-out stadiums. Continue reading
Usain Bolt has become a legend. He has won back-to-back Olympic gold in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, and the 4X100 relay. In addition to this accomplishment, Bolt holds the impossibly fast world record in the 100m of 9.63 seconds, making him the fastest man to have ever lived. Unless of course the stories about Achilles are actually true. Fleet-footed Achilles that legendary hero of the Iliad could run down anyone.
Besides speed, Bolt and Achilles have quite a bit in common. Both were self-proclaimed legends, supremely confident, and more than a little bit brash. As Bob Costas said last night, no one has a higher opinion of Usain Bolt than Usain Bolt. The same was true of Achilles. Continue reading
I have to admit, I cry when I hear our national anthem played at the Olympics. Well, maybe not cry, but it does stir my emotions. I love those few bright moments watching a young athlete take the podium, representing the best of their country. I love it when they cry. For Americans, our flag and anthem are outward and visible reminders of the promise of our nation – liberty, equality, the rule of law, and opportunity. The symbols mean something. I’m moved when others understand that something.
And while I love our flag, I’m not a great fan of the national anthem. The Star Spangled Banner was made our official anthem by President Hoover in 1931, largely at the request of John Phillips Sousa. Written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, the Star Spangled Banner began as a poem in honor of the brave men of Fort McHenry who withstood British bombardment during the war of 1812. Keys was onboard a British ship effecting the release of some American prisoners when he witnessed the nighttime bombardment of the fort, rocket’s red glare and all. When the dawn’s early light came, the American flag was still flying, giving proof that the fort had not surrendered. So moved was keys by the sight that he sat down and wrote a poem entitled the Defense of Fort McHenry. The poem was quickly set to the tune of an English drinking song (which may explain why it’s so difficult to sing) and became a popular anthem at patriotic events for over a century until it was made official.
In my last post, I wrote about how Christians should engage with the Olympic games. Since then, I’ve been pleased to see a number of Olympians give glory to God for their achievements. Perhaps the most notable of these athletes is Gabby Douglas who won gold in the women’s gymnastics all-round competition. Gabby’s winning smile and outspoken Christian witness have catapulted her to Tim-Tebow-like status among Christian sports fans. Continue reading