21 November 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

For those who haven't read it yet or for those who are interested, here's a link to my 2010 article on Thanksgiving.

As is usually the case, I approach these questions in a different manner. I'm not binding your conscience, nor do I want to ruin your day but it's interesting to observe the responses I get when I tell people I couldn't care less about the American holiday of Thanksgiving. This year will be no different, it's just another Thursday and I'll most likely be at work.

Being counter-cultural in this case is viewed as being somehow anti-Christian. To me it just further exemplifies the confusion in most people's minds regarding these issues of Kingdom, culture, and state.

I realize virtually no one will accept my argument. I realize very few will accept my arguments in general. But as always, it's something to ponder and meditate on.


Protoprotestant said...

Just an interesting side note. Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson famously refused to issue Thanksgiving proclamations due to...yes, Constitutional issues.

Doesn't quite fit with David Barton view of things. Ultimately of course the Bible is the issue and on that score Barton is wrong in almost every way. But even his views of history are simplistic, misleading, and often just as biased and blind as he accuses others of being.

Anonymous said...

You kind of spoil all of the holidays. Once you get me thinking about this stuff it kinda ruins it. Thanks.

Protoprotestant said...

We're pilgrims here. We live in this culture but we're not of it. There's an antithesis.

Since we reject their customs and their ways, they will think us strange and ultimately despise us.

Our kindness, love, honesty, etc... the fruits of the spirit are our testimony, our witness.

We're sorrowful yet always rejoicing.

The Romans hated the Church because they knew that ultimately the Church wasn't on board. We obey the laws etc., but we're not 'with' them. We're not part of their Babel. We're good citizens in terms of the law and being productive, but we're not good citizens because we're not promoting cohesion.

We're anti-Sacralist. We're not in favour of social monism. The Church is trans-national, trans-cultural. We want a composite society and all Sacralisms and nationalisms will always despise that.

Rejecting holidays is un-American, it's an act of social treason.

I happily admit it. I reject America and its culture as very evil and the Christian Right is in many ways the worst element within it. For man years they were the ascendancy and have by no means lost power. I don't want to go back to a more explicit American Sacralism and thus in that sense in no way am I a Conservative.

Rejecting the culture, rejecting and completely outside the political order. We are an altar-presence, an indictment of the culture.

On the most deep and rich of cultural days....we should feel really out of place and out of sync.

Anonymous said...

I think for most people its just a day to gather with family and friends. I don't think most people are thinking about Lincoln or Church and State.

I think maybe you're taking something thats pretty harmless and making it into a big deall.

Protoprotestant said...

Is this the same Anonymous? Please identify yourself in future comments.

I'm sure for most people the day is nothing more than a family, football and stuffing their faces.

That being the case, I don't object to going over to someone's house and spending time with them eating.

But if they were to try and make it into a specifically holy-Christian-America type event....then I would object.

Christmas falls into that category in a way Thanksgiving doesn't.

However, I think most Christians are more than a little bothered if you take a non-caring position/attitude with regard to Thanksgiving. They don't like the fact that it has been secularized.

I won't be brought into bondage by them or the culture. Big meal? Sure. But I don't have to and I certainly won't feel like I'm missing out or that I need to run about in a frenzy to have a specific menu on a certain day, spend the money in acquiring it etc... That's bondage either to an idea or at the very least the culture.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, but think about what you're doing and why? That's all I'm saying. We need to think about what we do. The culture can't harm the Church unless the Church embraces it without thinking or equate the Holy Culture of the Church with the Common culture of the nation. Then worldliness invades.

Think about what you're doing, enjoy your family time, be thankful everday regardless of what the calendar says and don't you dare judge others who refuse to follow along.

Protoprotestant said...

It also reminds me of living in Europe. When you're out traveling around you're always a little detached from what's going on. You're never quite in sync with everything going on. You're missing stuff and perhaps even seeing stuff the locals don't see or realize.

You may be embraced and participating in the culture, shopping, eating, riding a train, talking to people....but you're never quite part of it. You're a foreigner.

In some ways it's liberating. It allowed me to say things that might be somewhat awkward and yet it was okay because the common cultural expectations weren't imposed on me.

And then in that context where you're kind of lonely at times...it's so refreshing to find someone who speaks your language or has a common tie with you.

I think we should be more like that here but it's more difficult when we're within our own culture. The commmon expectations are put upon us and so when we say something out of bounds we don't get the 'pass' that a foreigner gets. And yet I feel very much like an outsider in our culture. I don't feel like I belong to it. I don't love it and would just as happily live in a different setting.

That said, I would also feel like an outsider there too! It just be that in the day to day I may like a different culture better.

And so even in this culture I am a pilgrim and just like living in a context where you don't speak the language...it's also refreshing to find someone (in our context) that 'speaks' your language.

I'm talking about antithesis. Too many Evangelicals think its about how you dress, eat, or what you don't drink or eat. That has very little and often nothing to do with it.

It's about how we think and that will affect how we live.

Mark Nieweg said...

Hi Proto. "Anonymous" in the comments brings to my mind some thoughts I've had these days: I a wondering when a day will come when we who know our identity "in Christ" will actually have that joy that comes with knowing who we are, and glory in that. But that's just it; my brother's and sister's identity has more been defined and filled by the "David Bartons" of the world, with their vision of lost "glory days" of a fabricated American history. They do find their joy in Christ, but usually only because of a loss that was never theirs in the first place. It's this context in which the kind of discernment you bring is absolutely necessary if we want to be faithful to the Kingdom of God. The bottom line is that we have failed to be "truth tellers." We don't have to do that in some obnoxious way of course. But for the sake of any truthfulness and filling out what the Kingdom of God actually is, we may have to say something. Thanks again. The reminders are necessary. Mark

Anonymous said...

As a government employee, Thanksgiving (and Christmas) is just another way to swindle tax payers into paying me not to show up for work.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Proto, living in another country and culture is wonderfully liberating and facilitates intimacy with the Lord. One usually sees nothing in the same way as before the experience. Pity that many American christians are so very provincial.