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Weeky E-News

Weekly e-News October 2

CCC Oak Ridge

Hey, everyone!

Hope your day is filled with all good things from dawn till it’s close and that your heart can sing, when all is done, as do the birds when first they chirp with open beak as the sun’s warm rays on them beam.

I did it!


Actually, I was trying to write a thought, greeting, paragraph, whatever-you-call-it, using only one syllable words. I almost made it except for “open”. 


I couldn’t think of a one syllable word for that! I know in old hymns they’d write “op’n” but I think that’s cheating!

I was trying to see if I could do it because, as all of you “Lincoln geeks” out there know, when Abraham Lincoln gave his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865 (it’s that very last scene from the Spielberg Lincoln movie), of the 703 words he spoke, 505 were one syllable words!

Yet it is probably the most amazing speech ever given in the history of America! (Sorry, Lou Gehrig!) It only took about seven minutes to give but he quoted or alluded to six Scriptures! No President had ever quoted a Scripture in any inaugural address except one by John Quincy Adams! 

That speech was so short that the whole thing is carved on the north wall of the Lincoln Memorial (the wall to his left if you were sitting in his chair) but Fredrick Douglass told him after, “Mr, President, that was a sacred effort!”

Last week, Lenny Croce and I went to Lincoln Memorial Univ. to hear a lecture by Roland C White, one of the leading Lincoln scholars in America (and a super guy who loves Jesus!) on the subject, “Lincoln’s Second Inaugural”. 

It was kind of a geek-out, really. 

Lenny and I talked about the Rail-Splitter President going and coming! At the Lincoln Museum (built by Colonel and Mrs. Harland Sanders, according to the plaque outside!) we saw paintings of Abe (he actually didn’t like to be called that! He signed everything “A. Lincoln”), statues of him (all 6’5”!), costumes from the movie, and the silver knobbed cane he took to Ford’s Theater just forty one days after his best speech ever (sniff…)

Dr White discussed Lincoln’s first inaugural speech from four years before. He told us that until he surprisingly won the Republican nomination, and then the election, Lincoln’s Washington experience had only been as a one-term congressman. So after he finished writing his first speech he’d give as President, he sent it to his friends and cabinet members for suggestions. Most said that it rocked just the way it was. But his new Secretary of State, William Seward, sent back six pages of suggested changes and alterations! 

In all, Seward offered forty nine changes!

Lincoln took twenty seven of them!

Dr. White said that the reason Lincoln did this was because one of his foundational principles of leadership was this:

“Surround yourself with people wiser than you…and listen to them!”


Y’know, I’ve never felt like leadership is a gift that I understand, let alone have in my heart. I don’t know how to organize things. (I remember once someone told me they didn’t like organized religion and I told them to come to our church because we didn’t have any of that! We only had the disorganized kind!) I don’t know how to motivate or mobilize folks. I used to try to read books about leadership but I never knew what they were talking about!

But if it’s about “surrounding yourself with those wiser than you and listening to them”, well…

The guys that I have in my life…the guys we all have…on our staff, and as our elders…are the wisest, kindest, most faithful, sincere, and big-hearted bunch that you would ever find! Everyone of them has wisdom I’ve never dreamed of, in totally unique ways, and if there is a “wealth in experience”, what they have walked thru and learned from their different journeys, make them the richest guys I know! I am better, stronger, and closer to the Lord because they are in my life! How I thank God for them!!

“Leadership is surrounding yourself with those wiser than you and listening to them!”

If that’s all there is to it, with the guys I’ve got…shucks,  maybe I shoulda run fer President!

(Just kidding, Mr Lincoln!)