Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I intend to post an article dealing with the bigger picture of "Thanksgiving" tomorrow. The full story of "Thanksgiving" is amazing...sadly most people only have a very shallow understanding of it. But for now, let's consider this clip to be part one in a two part series...


Anonymous said...

Ha Ha Ha, sadly there are probably plenty of people that would give an answer like that and really mean it. And not just being funny behind a camera to get on You Tube. Well I personally think that people dont know the meaning of Thanksgiving anymore because most people arent that thankful anymore. But why is that?

irreverend fox said...


Great question "Fox" (btw...that's my brother according to the flesh, Steve-o). The root of your question is actually a theological one...see how everything goes back, ultimately to theology? That's why it was considered the Queen of all Sciences...lol...anyway...

"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen." Romans 1:21-25 niv

So the answer to your question is found in understanding the "T" of Calvin's TULIP...TOTAL Depravity. People do not give thanks because their hearts have been "darkened".

As I will discuss tomorrow...the Pilgrims didn't sit around and try and think of something to do with their harvest. No...their Thanksgiving Feast was an act of WORSHIP first and foremost...and a witness to the Natives second. That Christian (Puritan/Reformed) tradition stood strong, culturally, for centuries here in America. But now that neo-paganism/post-modernism has crested and is flooding our cultural conscious such emphasis upon "Thanksgiving" looses its previously understood value. Now it's "what we do..." or it's "all about family"...so it's less special because many people DON'T EVEN PRAY AND GIVE THANKS BEFORE THEY EAT THEIR THANKSGIVING MEAL ANYMORE! The heart of its intent, WORSHIP, is not understood or thought about anymore...but I'll get into that tomorrow...

Na said...


Thanks for highlighting the Spiritual side of Thanksgiving...an act of worship. I like that, I've not heard it put that way, but that is what it is. Thankfulness is worship.

Love ya!

irreverend fox said...

and that was the intention of the Pilgrims...to celebrate and worship CHRIST...all we need to do is review their own words and understand the context in which they were written...

I love you too buttercup!

Zac said...

Good post... I would only highlight a few things.

Pilgrims were for the most part very ugly, contentious people. They had assassinated the King of England a few years before which made them very very unpopular among the real Christians there. They were so contentious that even among that tiny group there were already factions and schisms.

I believe it was Cotton Mather and others in the group like him who set out to rid their colony of any throwbacks to Christian tradition they could find. One of the first things to go was Christmas and Easter. Those who refused to work on Christmas were given lashes, for instance.

Then there was the whole chiliastic idea of the Pilgrims, that somehow they were founding God's Kingdom on earth. When they got over here, they began to see themselves as Israelites, and the natives as Canaanites (i.e., to be conquered).

I'm not trying to be iconoclastic or anything-- but the Pilgrims really go to the heart of the problems with American Christianity, even today I think.

You bring up the fact that they were theists and Christians, and this is true, although what kind is another matter. They left England in disgrace, they killed off half of their population through horrible mismanagement, bad navigation, and gross under-preparedness, and eventually consumed each other a religious inquisition which is still caricatured in modern American folklore. America was off to a good start!

I'm playing, of course. New England's puritan heritage aside, most Americans can't trace their familial or cultural heritage to Plymouth rock, although we identify with them because in some way we are looking in the mirror when we see them. Certainly we cannot disown them-- they are ours, good or bad. May God have mercy on them.

Thanksgiving is a big thing for Orthodox in this country as a thoroughly Christian ideal. In fact, it is not uncommon for the Orthodox to have a special service of Thanksgiving on the evening before (there's one at St. Elia's at 7pm tonight, btw). We should be thankful for all that God has given us, and we should gather our families and friends together and thank God in unity and love.

Sadly, the modern American "turkey day" is simply another episode of family strife, gluttony, and football.

Just a real quick comment on your Scriptural exegesis-- I don't want to make a big deal or anything but you say:

"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened...Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another."

So the answer to your question is found in understanding the "T" of Calvin's TULIP...TOTAL Depravity. People do not give thanks because their hearts have been "darkened".

Just looking for a moment at the Scripture you used, I think you have things backwards (if I'm correctly understanding the way in which you're basing your argument on this text). The text says that first, humanity refused to be thankful and began to worship created things rather than God, THEREFORE God gave them over to sexual perversion, etc. (depravity). So refusal to give thanks came first, and the darkened heart came as a consequence, at least that seems to be the flow of the text.

Is that right?

irreverend fox said...

hey zac,

I'll be posting as concise of a history of The Mayflower as I can…in a few hours. But I will answer your question about the Scriptures mentioned.

The fact that they refused to "give thanks" is a result of their initial "darkening" (something they freely chose)...THEREFORE God gave them what they wanted anyway and turned them loose…Paul is making it clear that God allowed them their free will and allowed them to reap the whirlwind.

So the evidence of ungratefulness is a true sign of man's total depravity...we've inherited it from our father Adam. There are of course far more additional passages which validate the "T" of Calvin's TUPLIP which is the foundation of the most pure understanding of salvation/justification. If you don't have the "T" then the work of Christ makes no sense at all. (Augustine dealt with this also…and of course Paul was abundantly clear…as was John before him…and the OT prophets before them).

But we can go round and round about those things, as I'm sure we will, another time, lol. All in the pursuit... at times the brutal pursuit...of TRUTH...I'm still hunting for more...or wait...am I the prey? let's think about this...if I'm a good Calvinist then I suppose it would follow that I am (by God's grace) the prey...lol...

Zac said...

Let me also just briefly address your survey question, too.

Alcohol is everywhere in Scripture, presented as both good (in moderation) and bad (in excess), just like food.

Culturally, wine was everywhere as the common drink at a table. It was offered to God (the "Drink offering), it was drunk liturgically (on the night of Passover, four cups of wine), and there was simply no way in the ancient world to stop the fermentation process from occurring (they didn't have preservative chemicals, plastic containers, or refrigeration). Wine was also quite healthy to drink, more so in many places than water, because the fermentation process which produced the alcohol also sterilized itself.

Scripturally, there is no getting around the reality of wine.

In the Old Testament, we read in the Psalms of "wine to make glad the heart of man" (Psalm 104:15), and we see that the Christ-figure of Melchizedek gives the patriarch Abraham "bread and wine" (Genesis 14:18), among many many others.

The only prohibition against alcohol per se was in the Nazarite vow. These could not touch or consume wine, grapes, raisins, or touch any dead thing (no meat, either). So clearly this was not speaking of the evils of wine, unless we are also prepared to speak this way of raisins and meat too.

In the New Testament, references to wine, and God's endorsement of it are even more explicit. The first miracle which proclaimed the Messiahship of Jesus was His turning the water into wine. Now, for a second, transpose grape juice into this text:

And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine [grapejuice], and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior [grapejuice]. You have kept the good wine [welch's grapejuice?] until now!

This is absurd. We know what people drank at weddings, it was wine. And more importantly, this is not a cheap little sideshow, but is an important revelation of the New Covenant in Christ's Blood. John says as much in the next verse:

"This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him."

Remember that the Pharisees even accused Christ of being a "drunkard" because he "came eating and drinking." (Luke 7:34)

The great Apostle also recommends wine for Timothy's stomach problems (1 Timothy 5:23).

Excess of wine is what is condemned in Scriptures, and most often it is condemned alongside its sister sin, gluttony (also translated as "surfeiting" in the KJV). Remember that it was a form of gluttony, or lack of self-control concerning food, that commenced humanity's fall from the paradise of Eden. Gluttony is a deadly sin, a passion, because it consumes men and causes them to make an idol of their stomachs, calling down the condemnation of God (Phillipians 3:19).

And finally, I know that the Lord drank wine because of His words to His disciples on the night in which He was betrayed:

"I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God."

It does no good to argue from Scriptures that condemn the excess of wine that therefore wine is inherently bad. As I have said above, excess of food is also condemned, and also excess of words, and excess of clothing, and excess of money-- but it does not follow that any of these things are bad of themselves, in moderate amounts.

Just thought I'd give you my thoughts on this.

irreverend fox said...

oh zac, zac, zac...you'd better be darn careful pulling those Scriptures out around here buddy...don't you know how many Baptists are lurking? are you kidding me? don't you know we are first cousins with the Puritan Pilgrims you so despise? do you think the days of lashes are over? the only problem we Baptists have with the Puritan Pilgrims is that they used the wrong Bible. they brought the Geneva Bible over on The Mayflower instead of the REAL Word of God…the only one authorized by God Himself (that’s why it is called The Authorized of course) THE 1611 KING JAMES BIBLE.

get with it…we all know they were drinking Welch’s Grape Juice way back in Bible days (Welch’s comes from the Greek meaning "Bible Baptist" or more literally "Pure Word of God True Baptist").

it is obvious that what is called "wine" is PURE, 101% GRAPE JUICE because Jesus turned water into it. now think about it...since alcohol is a SIN then of course Jesus wouldn't turn water into something SINFUL therefore He turned it into grape juice so stop twisting the Scriptures you tree hugging, moonbeam, left wing nut!


Zac said...


Zac said...

Orthodox might explain it this way-- through the Fall humanity became unable to have communion with God, unable to attain to His Likeness, and the image of God in us was defaced. Because of this we became enslaved to sin, death and the devil.

The "garments of skin" which God gave to Adam and Eve are understood by the early fathers as a fleshly heaviness that was not originally part of our human bodies. It protects us from seeing into the spiritual world (as we once could) but at the same time adds to our suffering and misery. Christ's own resurrection body did not have this, as we see from his ability to appear and disappear, and to walk through closed doors-- while at the same time also able to consume broiled fish and be touched.

For the Orthodox, the fall is more ontological than juridical. We became strangers to God and enslaved by the disease of sinfulness. We became blind to His Light and prone to suffering and death.

Inheritance of the fallen condition means for humanity that we are also subject to sin, death, and the devil. Even when we wish to do good, we are powerless to do it.

However, God's grace was still present among fallen men. Enoch attained such purity that he did not die, as did Elijah the prophet. All the prophets to whom God's Word came were living a life of grace, but the Orthodox would say that this grace only worked from the outside, whereas with Christ and the New Covenant grace takes its abode from within.

For us, the fall does not mean that God is angry with us for Adam's transgression. It doesn't mean our "nature" is evil (that is, the being that God created) but that, contrary to nature, we are infected with a disease which inclines us toward wickedness, and weakens our ability to do good even when we wish to. The Fall "scrambles our signals" so that we are unable to hear from God and walk with Him in the cool of the day as Adam did.

Looking at it this way, Christ is our Deliverer, our Redeemer, our Physician. The Church is the hospital where the cure takes effect, and once again men can hear from God and be delivered from slavery to sin and the devil... and ultimately even death itself.