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11.24.2005    |    "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."
Yes, I know. Wrong holiday. But not really, if we can consider the common thread between today, Thanksgiving, and our Declaration of Independence. That thread is the trust in Almighty God, the author of our liberty, and of the providence on which we feast.

Despite its secularization, Thanksgiving is, and always was, about one and only one thing: giving thanks. To God. For keeping us alive one more day. For providing us with whatever fare, however bountiful, however meager, that we eat this day.

An example of how the (apparently) secular-minded can remake Thanksgiving in their own image? A piece in the Gray Lady by a "history" professor at some school in Texas, to the effect that the Puritans would not have particularly liked what we consider "traditional" Thanksgiving fare. Well and good; but consider this bit about those particular colonists:
...no status-minded English colonist would have possibly highlighted his adherence to native American victuals...
My argument is not about the nature of the food. It is about how a "history" professor, and hence the snarky scare quotes, could possibly confuse the Puritans of New England with being "status-minded."

The Puritans were about their vision of Christian faith, and putting that faith into community action. A good sense of the Puritans' endeavor may be seen in the famous 1630 sermon by John Wintrop while sailing to the New World -- the "City upon a Hill" vision. These migrants were not driven by status. If anything, just the opposite -- these people were being suppressed by the powers-that-were in not-so-Jollye Olde Englande.

Although the white-hot Calvinism of the Puritans has long-since devolved into the Church of the Fluffy Bunny™, United Church of Christ branch, what we might call the Puritan virtues have become, sui generis, American virtues. Faith in God, hope for a better tomorrow, and charity towards all. Added into this Christian mix were hard work, thrift, and the willingness to adapt to our environment.

All of which we should celebrate this day, and know that these are among those truths we find to be "self-evident."

Happy Thanksgiving.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.