Celebrating Graduation Weekend

Cross-posted from danielrsimpson.net

In the next two days, more than 1300 people will go from being Georgia College students to being Georgia College Alumni. To celebrate the occasion, I put together a collage of graduations from my past.

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Top Left:

Receiving my Associate of Science in General Studies from Georgia Military College Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Faculty Dr. John Anderson in 2006.

Top Right:

With Ms. Claire Nichols (now Sanders), Instructor of Political Science, following my Undergraduate Commencement for Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2008.

Bottom Left:

Being hooded as part of the Graduate Commencement where I received my Master of Public Administration in 2010.

Middle Right:

With other members of my graduate cohort, Mike Taylor, Justin Mays, and Haly Hicks.

Bottom Right:

My first graduation as faculty (and only one I’ve participated in as faculty). With my good friend Joshua Rogers, who received Outstanding Graduate from Georgia Military College in 2011.

A Christmas Roundup

I guess this Christmas makes me officially an adult. I was way more excited about the presents I was giving than the ones I might receive. I had found several I thought were quite perfect.

Little did I know my jaw would drop when it came time to open my last gift. My girlfriend and I have been dating a little over a year. Last year was quite awkward; we had only been dating for a few weeks. It was very difficult to figure out an appropriate gift. This year, we obviously knew each other better. That let to more personalized gifts. I thought I had done pretty well with birthstone earrings. But she outdid me by a mile.

I know this sounds weird, but I am a weird individual. She took some of my favorite things, and mixed them with some things that are important to both of us.

IMAG1024-1 Les Miserables was the first musical I ever saw on stage. It was, in fact, the musical that made me start loving musicals. I first saw the 10th Anniversary concert on PBS when I was 11, and then the tickets to the show were my 13th birthday present. I took my girlfriend to see it earlier this year, and we are planning to go see the movie tomorrow.

Isaiah 40:31 has been one of my favorite verses for years. It is reassuring when the waiting becomes difficult. I also collect eagles, so it reflects that as well.

I wear bowties. I know most people consider it weird, but it is one of my quirks.

My uncle got me a Nikon D80 for my graduation from undergrad. Photography became my hobby during grad school as a much needed distraction from research and studying. Basically, it kept me from becoming overly focused on one thing.

My undergrad major was political science. Grad school led to me studying public administration and policy. Basically, I am a political nerd. Not to mention, I love my country.

Orange Colored Sky has been “our song” since we first started dating. When we met, I wasn’t thinking about a relationship, especially given the circumstances. So, the lyrics are particularly meaningful.

I was walking along minding my business
When love came and hit me in the eye
Flash, bam, alacazam,
Out of the orange colored sky

It was played at the first concert we went to together, which we (or at least I) didn’t think of as a date, and the rest is history.

It was a wonderful day. I can only hope the rest of the week follows suite. 🙂

Merry Christmas!

I hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas. I pray that the Creator of the universe will make His power known to you. I pray the God who reigns forever as the triumphant King of Kings and Lord of Lords will make His holiness known to you. I pray that He who has conquered death and the grave will make His love real to you this holiday season and throughout the coming year.

You’ve heard Handel before. It is not quite as well known that The Messiah’s lyrics come straight from scripture. So, here are selections from Acts I and II, with along with the scripture references.

Isaiah 40:1-5

1. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
2. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. . . .
3. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4.Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.
5. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Malachi 3:3

1. The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.
2. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire.
3. And He shall purify the sons of Levi. . . that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

Isaiah 7:14

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name EMMANUEL, God with us.

Isaiah 9:2

2. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

Isaiah 9:6

6. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Luke 2:8-14

8. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
9. And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes , lying in a manger.
13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Zechariah 9:9,10

9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee. He is the righteous Savior.
10. . . And he shall speak peace unto the heathen.

Isaiah 35:5,6

5. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

Isaiah 40:11

11. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Matthew 11:28, 29

28. Come unto [Him], all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and [He shall] give you rest. 29. Take [his] yoke upon you, and learn of [Him]; for [he is] meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 11:30

30. [His] yoke is easy, and [his]burden is light.

Revelation 19:6

6. Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Revelation 11:15

15. . . the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 19:16

16. . . . KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS.

Independence Day 2012

Note: This is a re-post from last year. But, over the course of that year I have changed blogs, and I think my readership has doubled or tripped since then (from 2 to 6 probably). But, here it is.

I see fireworks! I see the pageant and pomp and parade. I hear the bells ringing out. I hear the cannons roar. I see Americans – all Americans. Free forever more! ~ 1776 – The Musical

Ok, so that’s not actually what John Adams said, but it’s close. And, he was right, at least for the most part. He thought the day would be celebrated on the July 2nd, not the 4th. His actual words, written to his wife, Abigail, were:

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore. ~ John Adams, July 3, 1776

This time of the year, there is always talk of how great this is this country. But all too often, the reason which compelled the separation is forgotten. The Declaration of Independence sets forth 27 indictments against the British crown, submitted these facts “to a candid world,” and appealed “to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of [their] intentions.” The document concludes with the pledge of the signers to support the Declaration with their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence. What was this groundbreaking Declaration?

That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.

Alexander Hamilton called this new nation an “empire in many respects the most interesting in the world.” But why did this empire come to be? How was the line crossed between suffering the evils which were sufferable to the situation where the founders were compelled “alter their former systems of government?” The answer is simple. Government had overstepped its authority.

The Ronald Reagan quote “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” is quite famous and repeatedly quoted by modern day conservatives. The sentiment was not new however. The Thomas Paine, in his great call to arms stating the need for separation from England wrote:

Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.

This pamphlet was called Common Sense. Several years later, during the darkest days of the War for Independence, Paine again wrote to his fellow countrymen to reassure them their cause was just, and necessary.

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER,” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

There it is. John F. Kennedy summarized it in his inaugural address. He called it “the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.” The state cannot declare itself to have the authority that is reserved to God. That is the “wall of separation” Thomas Jefferson wrote about as well.

We have come a long way since those days. But, as John F. Kennedy also said:

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans–born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage–and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge–and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do–for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom–and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required–not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

I wish each person that reads this a blessed and happy Independence Day. Remember that you are the heirs to that first revolution and the torch of liberty rests with you. Carrying the torch of liberty is not an easy task, but the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. Now, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Yeah, natural rights theory…)

 

References:

“Is Anybody There?.” Lyrics on Demand. Available from http://www.lyricsondemand.com/soundtracks/0/1776lyrics/isanybodytherelyrics.html. Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

“Independence Day.” Answers.com. Available from http://www.answers.com/topic/independence-day. Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

“Declaration of Independence.” Avalon Project – Yale University. Available from http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/declare.asp. Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

Hamilton, Alexander. “Federalist 1.” Avalon Project – Yale University. Available from http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed01.asp. Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

“Declaration of Independence.” Avalon Project – Yale University. Available from http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/declare.asp. Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

“First Inaugural Address of Ronald Reagan.” Avalon Project – Yale University. Available from http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/reagan1.asp. Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

Paine, Thomas. “Common Sense.” Available from http://www.ushistory.org/paine/commonsense/singlehtml.htm. Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

Paine, Thomas. “The American Crisis.” Available from http://libertyonline.hypermall.com/Paine/Crisis/Crisis-TOC.html. Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

“Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy.” Avalon Project – Yale University. Available from http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/kennedy.asp. Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

Jefferson, Thomas. “Letter to Danbury Baptist Association.” The Founder’s Constitution. Available from http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_religions58.html. Internet; accessed 4 July

Galatians 5:1