Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving and National Identity

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. People all over the U.S. will gather together in homes with family and friends to celebrate the day that pilgrims were showed compassion by the Native people of North America. Reflecting on this moment in time, people all over the country will gather in thanksgiving for our country and our national identity. This will cause some good Christian people to reflect on the hope they have for a day that our nation can return the “Christian roots” it was found on; believing that the return of the Ten Commandments and prayer to the public schools, outlawing abortion and homosexuality and restoring “Christian family values” to the families of our nation will put this country back in order again restoring it to a “Christian nation” status.

Over the last few years I have started to hate Thanksgiving. Not because I am again with my family (I love spending time with my family) or because I hate turkey just that much (which I don’t, I love turkey) but, because I feel that in celebrating Thanksgiving as a national holiday we are somehow celebrating the ideas our nation was founded on, mostly “Manifest Destiny” or our “Divine Right” or ourselves as a “Christian Nation,” seeming to look back to that one day that the Native America’s shared a meal with the pilgrims as the day our “Christian Nation” was born.

But I ask the question that Gregory Boyd asked, “When was our nation ever Christ-like?” What does this “Christian Nation” that so many good Christian people want to return the U.S. to look like? Was it when we built our economy on the backs of African American slaves? Or was it when we murdered thousands of Native Americans for our “God given rights”? Or maybe it was when we lead the way in industrialization, employing children and workers in unsafe working environments? Or maybe it was after in the 1950’s when we treated women and minorities unfairly not paying them same wages or even giving them their “God given” right to vote?

Our nation has never been a “Christian nation.” We might have been a nation with Christianity as a part of it but never a “Christian nation.” As Christians we should not find our identity or pledge ourselves to a national idea or earthly nation, we should find our identity and pledge our lives to God.

Therefore, I urge you this Thanksgiving not to look back on Thanksgiving and be thankful for who we are as an earthly nation that will pass away no matter how much money we spend on national defense. Find your identity and give thanks for the continued compassion God has for you as a member of creation and the Kingdom. May we as people of God then go and bring forward His Kingdom, which does not pass away and does not have boarders. May we as a Christian people find our hope and thanks not in the reform of a constitution or law(s) but in what God has done in the world through His Son and through His people.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Oatmeal and Throw-up:" an update on my life...

Just thought I would write I quick life update...
As the Holidays approach I am starting to look forward to having a month of school off and spending time with friends and family without homework hanging over my me. I especially looking forward to going up north to Monterey, San Fran and/or Mammoth during the break! It is crazy to think that over the last eight weeks I have almost learned enough New Testament Greek to start to doing exegesis in a Greek New Testament! This quarter as gone by so quickly and has been really tiresome, but really good. I have meet some really good friends in my Greek class at Fuller. I weekly look forward to our hour breaks from class where we sit together over coffee or breakfast and discuss life, Jesus, the kingdom of God, politics, and community living. I will miss our tri-weekly meetings once our class is done, but I think we all hope that our conversation time together won't end for good.
Ministry wise...I am loving Baseline but am also realizing how hard it is for me to only have to time to being doing youth ministry part-time, while also knowing that I could be leaving the church for a full time position in the next few months, being that I have been interviewing with a few churches lately. I am hoping that by this summer I will be in a full time ministry position but we will wait and see if my plans line up with what God has in store for me.
Two weekends ago I spent two nights in a row at the Brand New, Thrice, and mewithoutYou shows in L.A. The shows were really good both nights but different. I was sad that I didn't really get to see mewithoutYou's set either night only catching five songs Saturday and two Sunday night. Thrice's set Saturday night was okay, the structure of the set was kind of weird, moving from slower songs right into quick ones, then back again. Sunday night was much better, their set flowed a lot better and was overall a stronger performance. I was surprised that they only played five new songs in a twelve song set both nights. Brand New took the show both nights. Saturday night their set was nothing more than spiritual. Both Casey and I left in awe. Sunday night they changed up their set and totally changed the feel of their show into more of a rock star performance with everything from guitar throws to ground spinning guitar solos. Other than that music wise as my friend Casey put it, "I have been drowning in music lately." As the year comes to an end and as the question of what are my top ten albums of 2007 rapidly approaches I have been cycling through more music than ever. You can check out my current listen section to see what I have been playing over and over.
Friend and girlfriend stuff are good. I miss my friends like Casey, Jon, Tyler and Garret but just knowing they are there for me is refreshing. I am excited to see Jon Axtell this weekend and meet his new friends! I love that I have come to a place with so many of my friends that even though I don't see them every weekend, when we do see each other it is like we were never away from each other. If you really want to know that details of Katie and my relationship then call me, don't worry I promise all is good!
I guess over-all life is good, now all I have to do is get rid of this stupid cold!
P.S. Mallory thanks for the title!