Monday, August 9, 2010

What Inspires Me? (People)

Apologies for the hiatus, I'm always jumping around from idea to idea and I didn't want to run this theme into the ground at the expense of other great topics. But I'm not done yet. These are people who inspire me.

I don't call them heroes because as I explained last year, they only exist in comic books. Growing up I was told that heroes will fail you. Instead these are inspirations, people I learn from besides my wonderful family. People who lived with a purpose and a cause they believed in, its an extension of my authors/writers post.

Malcolm X - Showed me how being a leader means relating to all people. He cared for his people no matter what and it's a crime he was cut down so soon after Mecca. Bold, daring, unafraid yet committed - the blueprint for any leader that so few lack.

Martin Luther King Jr. - Non violence be darned, what I love about King is his gift for words, his passion for standing up for what's right and how's he so much more than the civil rights movement. Speak with conviction and speak the truth. He inspires me because he showed how a man of peace could make a difference in so many areas.

Billy Graham - Arguably the greatest missionary to ever live, I had the privilege to see one of his last crusades in San Diego. Despite his age and frailty, he spoke the simple Gospel plainly and powerfully. He defines what it means to not just live being a Christian but to do it around the world. Unlike most preachers, he wasn't on the Far Right and the Moral Majority but he believes in reaching as many people as he can. Impacting lives - thats what every Christian should aspire to.

W.E.B. DuBois - The most influential Black thinker/writer/historian after slavery, it was he who helped shape how history viewed Blacks during Reconstruction and the early 20th century. He was ahead of his time and every great Black leader of the 20th century owes him a debt of gratitude and so do I (Souls of Black Folk sits proudly in my library)

Archbishop Oscar Romero - A martyr for justice, Romero was chosen as Archbishop because he was non-threatening. When his friend was murdered, he took up his mantle as a champion against poverty, political assassinations, social injustice and the El Salvadoran government being supported by foreign countries. Rare is the priest who takes a noble stand and he moved me when I read about him in college.

Stephen Biko - I've said plenty on Biko before. A 20 year old who was supposed to be a doctor turned into a 30 year old martyr against apartheid in South Africa. Accomplished more in 10 years than most do in their whole lives. "I Write What I Like" is a brilliant collection of his works and the theme is an inspiration for this blog. A reminder that age is nothing but a number.

Jesus Christ - Before you say anything, there was indeed a man who lived named Jesus of Nazareth. You can debate all you want about his real name (like Ras Kass did on his brilliant, if not factually inaccurate "Nature of the Threat") but his message is real. Following God goes beyond legalism and into genuine relationships with all people regardless of societal barriers. Love your neighbor as yourself. There's a reason 2,000 years later people still are inspired by His words.

(For obvious reasons, I didn't include a picture. His features are not as important as his message. The only picture we need of Christ is the good works and lives inspired in his name.)

Next up: Media Figures and Finally Athletes.

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