Faith: November 2004 Archives

Readings for Thanksgiving

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Some reading material for Thanksgiving Day:

Pilgrim Hall has the only two primary source accounts of the first Thanksgiving in Plimouth Plantation, and the text of every Presidential Thanksgiving proclamation.

Here is President Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation, which counts the nation's blessings in the midst of war. Lincoln begins:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. is a website devoted to the history of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims. The site has the full text of some books and letters written by the Pilgrims.

Karol of Alarming News, who was born in the Soviet Union, tells us what she's thankful for.

Here's a photo from a big family dinner on Thanksgiving Day 1945 at the Waldorf-Astoria. And another dinner from the same year.

For the 44th year, the Wall Street Journal publishes its traditional pair of Thanksgiving editorials: "The Desolate Wilderness," "And the Fair Land." The former is Nathaniel Morton's contemporaneous account of the Pilgrims' tearful departure from Delftshaven and what they saw upon their arrival in the New World. The latter piece is an editorial, ever-timely though first published in 1961, in tribute to what the Pilgrims and their heirs have built in the desolate wilderness:

But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere-in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.

We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.

(This was going to be a general blog roundup, but the Dynamic Duo in Ukraine had too much interesting material.)

Discoshaman is busy after a summer on hiatus. He posts his response to the clowns at, and he lists Entertainment Weekly's list of top cult films and highlights the ones he's seen. And he reflects on evangelicalism, cities, and heaven:

The Duchess and I are both big city people. While Red State in our values, the idea of actually living in one is a little scary.

So I got to thinking. . . our eternal reward described in Rev. 21 is a city. Which explains why Paris, San Fran, Prague or Budapest all feel like a foretaste of heaven. I'm sure there's some charm to small towns that I've missed, but nothing compares to the energy of the City.

I agree. Especially Prague.

The Discoshaman's wife, TulipGirl, is blogging about child development mis-leader Gary Ezzo and exposés of his teaching by TV stations in Detroit and Wichita. The focus of the TV stories was on the hazards of Ezzo's approach to scheduled infant feedings, but as TulipGirl says in the comments, "I honestly think the advice for toddlers and older children is more harmful in the big picture." About that advice -- dealing with discipline and behavior -- another mom comments, "Following the Ezzo plan for older children turned our children into little 'moralists.' They could spout the right and wrong of things, but they had not incorporated anything into their hearts. It was all about being trained in behavior rather than reaching to their hearts. It also turned their good behavior into ways to get rewarded. They did things for reward, as opposed for the love of virtue, which is what Ezzo's plan is supposed to prevent."

TulipGirl also blogs about a program with similar flaws: Bill Gothard's Institute for Basic Life Principles (IBLP) and Advanced Training Institute (ATI).

Some election day sermons


In the olden days, it was customary for pastors to preach election day sermons, an opportunity to instruct the flock in the Biblical principles that should inform the exercise of their franchise. The practice is enjoying something of a revival. The best election sermon is not one marked by blatant advocacy for or against a candidate but by calling the congregation to consider first principles: For what purposes did God establish human government? What is its proper place among God's ordained institutions, such as the church and the family? Christians in New Testament times were persecuted and didn't have the right to participate in imperial Roman politics (not that anyone else had the right) -- how then should we conduct ourselves in a nation where we do have such rights?

Christians have tended to oscillate between radical activism and pietistic apathy. The Oklahoma Council for Policy Analysis has posted a fascinating speech by Graham Walker, delivered to a chapel service at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Walker seeks to guide the listener to steer a course between the two extremes. No time to comment, but you will find it here.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Faith category from November 2004.

Faith: October 2004 is the previous archive.

Faith: December 2004 is the next archive.

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