1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

The following is a copy of the proclamation issued by President George Washington concerning Thanksgiving.

[New York, 3 October 1789]

By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor–and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in thecourse and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions–to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

For more information you can check out this site.

“The Most Important Election”

Today is Election Day. I capitalized it because our culture has turned it into it’s own twisted kind of holiday. It’s own kind of holy day. A day that we either choose to, or not to, celebrate the democratic process by casting a ballot. I voted. I think it’s important to vote, but not necessarily for the same reasons you may think it’s important to vote.

I have heard it said every four years going as far back as 1988 in the race that won George Bush Sr. the presidency that “this election is the most important election of our lifetime.” And maybe that is true. Maybe each presidential race carries an inherent level of immediacy and magnitude that promotes it to the epitome of electoral importance. Maybe. However, even if that were the case.  Even if today is the most important election of our lifetime, what does it really mean for you? In 24 hours how much will the results affect you personally.  In four years (or eight years) and 24 hours, how much will the day’s events affect you personally. For most of us, barring extreme circumstances, not much.

Participate in the political process. Do it because it is your right and your chance to freely express your political opinion without fear of reprisal. But let’s none of us be naive enough to think some man sitting somewhere in the Not-Quite-Circle Office will really affect that great of a change on our lives.  And if he can, if that man holding that position can assert himself in such a way, whether actual or imagined, that it does indeed truly affect your daily disposition, then I am deeply sad for you.

Enjoy today, because after today is over we will hopefully have at least four more years until the most important election of our lifetime.

Merica’s gods: Greed & Consumerism

I’ve spent the last several months thinking about the utter waste in our nation. We waste resources, education, and effort on a wealth of idolatrous pursuits that are at the epicenter of American culture. It makes me sad. It is deeply sinful. And one of the saddest parts about it is that the American church has done or is doing very little to call it’s people to repentance. Shame on us.

Greed is the root of all evil. Every type of evil imaginable can be traced back to greed. Pride is essentially having a greedy opinion of yourself and wanting others to as well. Envy is the greedy instinct to desire something not in your possession. Sexual addiction, gluttony, and theft are all sinful results of greed.

In many places around the world greed takes the form of another idolatrous monstrosity known as consumerism, but perhaps no one demonstrates it as obviously as America. We don’t know how to separate want from need, and even if we did we probably wouldn’t have the self control to bother with it. We pursue possessions. Having and buying are at the heart of what many think it means to be American.

Sadly, this same mentality is too often reflected in the Church. We “shop” for places of worship and evaluate them based on ideas of what we “can get out of it” or how well “we are being fed.” It’s deeply tragic when we place value on a place of worship based on the scope of their facilities, size of their budget, or compartmentalization of their programs.

Because we consume so greedily, often there is little left from the church budget to things of incredible significance, like outreach. We spend selfishly.

What would our Church look like if we were generous, and not so self centered or glutinous in our spiritual consumption? What if Jesus wanted us to stop thinking of ourselves entirely?

More posts in this series:

Etiquette, Etican, Etican’t

Football, Athletes, and Idolatry

Mirrors, Models, and Muscles

Education

Sex

Culture Wars

Religious Tradition and Dissidence

Intolerance

Greed & Consumerism

Merica’s gods: Intolerance

I’ve spent the last several months thinking about the utter waste in our nation. We waste resources, education, and effort on a wealth of idolatrous pursuits that are at the epicenter of American culture. It makes me sad. It is deeply sinful. And one of the saddest parts about it is that the American church has done or is doing very little to call it’s people to repentance. Shame on us.

When I was a little kid my brother was an even smaller kid, and there were plenty of times he would do something that would make me want to slug him. Sometimes I did, which was quickly greeted by a parental reroof, but more often than not I simply tolerated whatever newly contrived annoyance he had come up with.

Our culture’s working definition of the word tolerance is broken. Tolerance is a beautiful thing, but in recent years there has been a steady shift in just what that word means. No one really thinks of tolerating something as putting up with something you don’t like anymore. Or at least that’s not the way it is discussed in popular media.

We’ve sort of collectively replaced the definition of tolerance with the definition for acceptance, especially in terms of cultural squabbles. No longer when two parties disagree is there a mutually held respect, accompanied by a venerable tolerance based on the opposing side’s inherent human dignity. Politically, socially, economically, and religiously, when someone inevitably disagrees with our ideas we label them as being intolerant.

We are so silly sometimes. By its vary nature, it is impossible to show tolerance for an issue unless we disagree with it. Christians should be the most tolerant people on earth. We should understand all too well that you don’t, can’t, and shouldn’t attempt to force your beliefs on others. Of course we will regularly be at odds with practically everything about current trends in morality. But that doesn’t mean we simply start demonizing everything and everyone. No, we don’t have to remain silent in our disagreement, but we can voice our opinions without turning into crusading moralistic bullies.

The other side has a problem with this too. Often the far left labels Christianity as an incredibly intolerant faith because the vast majority of us refuse to sway from our historical core beliefs about God and moral issues. The truth is that our refusal to budge from our stalwart moral position, while still acknowledging the dignity and worth of those belittling us, is actually what proves the level of our tolerance.

Both sides of this issue of intolerance need to wake up. The level of vitriol and hate mongering that goes on today is disgusting. It’s beneath us. We need to pull intolerance down off of its thrown and listen to what our neighbor has to say. It could be that taking the time to learn their opinion might give you insight into their basic human decency, even if you don’t agree with their position.

More posts in this series:

Etiquette, Etican, Etican’t

Football, Athletes, and Idolatry

Mirrors, Models, and Muscles

Education

Sex

Culture Wars

Religious Tradition and Dissidence

Intolerance

Greed & Consumerism

Merica’s gods: Education

I’ve spent the last several months thinking about the utter waste in our nation. We waste resources, education, and effort on a wealth of idolatrous pursuits that are at the epicenter of American culture. It makes me sad. It is deeply sinful. And one of the saddest parts about it is that the American church has done or is doing very little to call it’s people to repentance. Shame on us.

Some people are just educated beyond their own intelligence, or humility. Admittedly there are times that I battle with both. I love to learn. I am good at it. And I love to share what I learn. But there comes a point when someone actually does begin to be so well educated that they abandon all wisdom.

Probably the most blatant form of nonsense drummed up by this mentality is the prevailing presupposition that declares the supernatural impossible. Men have attributed such a high value to their capacity for understanding that they assume nothing can or does exist which might actually surpass that capacity. What an absolutely arrogantly absurd assumption! This is only one example. There are numerous others.

One of my favorite scriptures is Mark 12:30 in which Jesus answers a question by telling the gathered crowd that we should love God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind. Jesus is saying we should love God will all of our being. It is sad to me that instead of loving God with these aspects of our nature, we often choose instead to replace God with one of these aspects of our nature.

When we begin to hold dangerously lofty views of our own thoughts and opinions we begin to withhold the love of our mind from God, instead choosing to use our mind to love ourselves. When we continue to formulate ideas, or dwell on thoughts that promote ourselves we are doing the same thing in a different way. When we begin to weigh the value of someone based solely on the power of their mind, or whether or not we agree with their conclusions, we are in sin.

All over the country kids are starting back to school, universities are filling up, and teachers are heading back to work. Let’s use this opportunity to develop our minds in a way that helps others, while loving God; and not a way that helps ourselves while loving ourselves.

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More posts in this series:

Etiquette, Etican, Etican’t

Football, Athletes, and Idolatry

Mirrors, Models, and Muscles

Education

Sex

Culture Wars

Religious Tradition and Dissidence

Intolerance

Greed & Consumerism

Guest Blog: 10 American Blunders

I love America, but we (Americans, first worlders, ect) tend to do a few things that don’t make sense. Here’s 10 (okay 11 because American’s don’t always follow the rules) common American blunders.

1. Lawn sprinklers. Why do we waste water watering our sidewalks and streets when drinkable water is a luxury many countries can’t offer?

2. Spend $250 on a pair of jeans. I promise, you can find some for less than that, which will still make your butt look awesome. In many places around the world $250 is considered to be a good monthly salary.

3. Rent storage buildings. Why spend so much money on junk that won’t fit in our house so we have to pay money to store it?

4. Buy SUV’s and complain about gas prices. (guilty)

5. Take our kids to the mall instead of the library.

6. Accept the use of foul and degrading language around us.

7. Have more TV’s in our home than people. Have more computers in our home than people (majorly guilty).

8. Buy homes we can’t afford, decorate them with things we don’t love, to impress people we don’t like.

9. Do anything (including having risky surgeries and taking strange untested medications) to lose weight. It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you eat less and get in a little exercise.

10. Take no responsibility. Blame everyone.

And one extra:

11. Worship athletics. Million dollar grass. Billion dollar stadiums. Million dollar salaries. Thousands of gallons of fuel for one sport. Enough said.

Merica’s gods: Football, Athletes, & Idolatry

I’ve spent the last several months thinking about the utter waste in our nation. We waste resources, education, and effort on a wealth of idolatrous pursuits that are at the epicenter of American culture. It makes me sad. It is deeply sinful. And one of the saddest parts about it is that the American church has done or is doing very little to call it’s people to repentance. Shame on us.

I was reading an article this morning about the new football stadium in Allen, TX. The pricetag for this new pigskin palace? $60 million. Oh, and did I mention that it’s a high school stadium? The same school laid off 44 teachers last year. Wha…..?

We all know Texas loves their football, but lest we forget about the plank in our own eyes, so does pretty much everywhere else in this country. And if it’s not football it’s something else; basketball, baseball, soccer, this list could get really long if I kept going.

We idolize sports. American arenas are the modern version of their Greco-Roman counterparts, places where athletes competed in violent rites of competition. The spirit of competition is a large part of the problem. We don’t know how to compete without making an idol out of it. We don’t know how to recognize the incredible athleticism of someone without trying to promote them above who and what they are. We don’t know how to watch without worshipping. Any time we attribute more value to something than it actually deserves we have turned it into an idol. Shame on us.

This latest monument to idolatry in Allen, TX is only one small part of a much larger issue. Those of us who call ourselves Christians need to openly repent, and then we need to ask God to help us change our behavior. We can start by detaching some of the passion we have for sports and redirecting in a way that brings God glory. There’s nothing inherently sinful in turning on our TV and watching our favorite team, but there is something deeply sinful going on when we become overly passionate about it.

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More posts in this series:

Etiquette, Etican, Etican’t

Football, Athletes, and Idolatry

Mirrors, Models, and Muscles

Education

Sex

Culture Wars

Religious Tradition and Dissidence

Intolerance

Greed & Consumerism