Today marks the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley's passing. My friend Chip Armstrong, who has a knack for stimulating great discussions via the NET and for inspiring others to take time to consider the important themes that confront us in daily life, posted a picture on facebook of the L.A. Times front page from that fateful day in 1977. With the picture, he posed a question that immediately prompted many, including me, to respond with memories of what we were doing when "The King" died. Other than the headline addressing Elvis' death and the pictures, I paid no attention to the rest of the stories from that day...but I'm not Daniel Helbling!
I met Daniel in seminary in 1987. Daniel had more life experience than the rest of us, but possessed a timeless youthfulness that gave him a constant aura of being "cool". After spending time with Daniel, it became apparent that he wasn't "the average bear". His family was beautiful and as impressive as he was in every way. Their prodigious gifts were as unassuming as his, hitting you with surprising and delightful force as they shared a song, passed on a kernel of knowledge that truly informed or just blessed you with kindness and compassion. Daniel and his tribe were multilingual, talented, adaptable, charming - true renaissance folks with a deep commitment to Christ and a commitment to share Jesus' love with all people. As my friendship with Daniel grew, I learned he had a knack for noticing details - a skill cultivated in his service to the nation. I also learned that his contemplative powers and ability to see beyond the obvious were enhanced by time he and his wife Arnelle spent under the tutelage of the great thinker, Dr. Francis Schaeffer. In a very unassuming way, Daniel employed an easy style of sharing deep truth that captivated, convicted and inspired us to pay more attention to where God had placed us and to not overlook the obvious in our pursuit of knowledge and spiritual growth. I was reminded of those subtle lessons when I saw Daniel's posting of an intriguing riddle on the heels of his responding to my re-posting of the Elvis headline. The Riddle was this:
Which southern Republican judge was responsible for the following decisions?
Browder v. Gayle (1956)
Orders the racial integration of the public transportation system of the city of Montgomery, Alabama.
Gomillion v. Lightfoot (1961)
Invalidated a plan by the city of Tuskegee, Alabama to dilute black voting strength by redrawing city boundaries so as to move concentrations of black voters out of the city limits.
United States v. Alabama (1961)
Ordered that black persons be registered to vote if their application papers were equal to the performance of the least qualified white applicant accepted on the voting rolls.
Lewis v. Greyhound (1961)
Required desegregation of the bus depots of the city of Montgomery.
United States v. City of Montgomery (1961)
Ordered the city of Montgomery to surrender its voting registration records to the US Department of Justice.
Sims v. Frink (1962)
Required the state of Alabama to reapportion state legislative districts to adhere to the 'one man, one vote' principle.
Lee v. Macon County Board of Ed. (1963)
Mandated, in Alabama, the first statewide desegregation of public schools.
Williams v. Wallace (1965)
Ordered Gov. George Wallace to permit the Selma to Montgomery march, which were organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), to take place.
White v. Crook (1966)
Ruled that the state of Alabama must permit Blacks to serve on juries.
United States v. Alabama (1966)
Declared the Alabama poll tax unconstitutional.
Smith v. YMCA of Montgomery (1970)
Ordered the desegregation of the Montgomery chapter of the YMCA.
Garcia-Mir v. Meese (1986)
Upheld that existing U.S. law superseded customary international law.
NAACP v. Dothard
Required the state of Alabama to hire one Black state trooper for every white state trooper until racial parity was achieved?
One stouthearted soul asked the question many of us had been asking since the first line of the extensive list of adjudication that Daniel had shared..."WHO?"
Daniel, a master teacher, gave a hint that required the curious to investigate further by providing a link to the answer. I will post the link that leads to the full answer at the end of this entry. Nevertheless, I'll also share a little more. The link leads to an article printed on the same front page that the Elvis story dominated. The article tells a fascinating story of a man who should be more well known, but isn't, and served for the sake of blessing others, not to call attention to himself. It is the story of a man who largely remains obscure with respect to fame, truly made - as in caused the transformation of - history. By spending a little extra time to read THE REST of the front page of that fateful day, Daniel gleaned a truly golden glimpse at a man who did so much to open doors of immense importance for all of us!
Daniel's Riddle was a convicting reminder to me of the perils of living a life more focused on worshipping pop icons than on learning from lesser known yet devoted servants who humbly go about their business, skipping the pomp and circumstance, preferring the satisfaction of doing one's duty to the best of one's ability while looking forward to the one "Well Done" that really counts! It is not my intention to be a kill-joy; I still love Elvis and I will never forget having just arrived in the Federal Republic of Germany when he died and my listening to every Armed Forces Network broadcast I could bear to hear and reading every Stars and Stripes article printed on his passing. Nevertheless, Daniel's Riddle has reminded me to pay closer attention to detail, remembering that the world is truly blessed not as much by Iconic Kings as it is by the Silent Knights in our midst. Oh yes... the learn more about the answer to Daniel's Riddle, visit this link: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-elvis-presley-dies-1977-page-20120816,0,5864561.htmlpage You'll have to pay attention to find the answer, but it is prominent. Look for a reference to an agency first directed by J. Edgar Hoover :-).
Happy Learning! Until next time...