Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How Thankful Was Your Thanksgiving?

12/2/2008--How thankful was your Thanksgiving? Mine was not at all. I wrote in a prior post that Thanksgiving was not part of the culture wars. But, that is not really true. The context of genuine thankfulness marks the difference between a “religious” Thanksgiving and what we would now call a secular Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving, I was on a boat in Pittsburgh for a Thanksgiving cruise on the three rivers. It was very nice, with a large number of people. But the cruise people know better than to try to begin the festivities with a prayer. Or, maybe it was not even a prior bad experience. Maybe outside of traditional religion, we are out of the habit of prayer.

Hallowed Secularism must develop the habit thankfulness. This is as close to a healthy attitude toward reality as secularism can now get. But, of course, we need liturgy. Secularists cannot sit down to a Thanksgiving meal and say, “Heavenly Father, we give thee thanks.”

We should first be clear whether thankfulness is necessary. Should we be thankful? Or should we take the world as our right? Which of those two attitudes is healthier? Which one is closer to truth? Did we make the world, or was it a gift?

The world and all its good things can be a gift even though there is no person-like being who gave it. It could just be a gift.

I’m going to make sure next Thanksgiving to begin the meal by saying, “for what we am about to receive, we are thankful; for all the gifts of our lives, we are thankful”. And just so it does not seem awkward to a secularist, I am going to start with that prayer at every meal.

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