Thanks and No Thanks

Albert Camus once wrote that the purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself. He has a point. In a day and age where cynicism and insults fly out of the mouths and keyboards of cultural leaders like reactionary cries of a toddler in a toy store, we enter a holiday season full of thanks and no thanks.

There are a lot of reasons to be thankful, particularly in the U.S. Despite being only 4% of the world’s population, we consume resources and material goods in mind boggling numbers. We can connect online across countries, across borders, and across time and space in mind-numbing speed. And the list goes on and on. Many people reading this truly take things, people, and food for granted.

But, there’s a ‘no thanks’ part that is also increasing in our culture.

The word ‘evangelical’ is becoming something people want to say ‘no thanks’ to because it has become virtually meaningless and more associated with fundamentalist voters rather than good news or salt and light. Cultural leadership, formerly occupied by celebrities or Presidents (world leaders) or athletes, is now a wide open and unoccupied space. Our own President has made fun of or called other people names several times in the past few days alone. Violence against women is now a common report in the news with prominent members of Hollywood or the sports world found guilty or as suspects. Even college sports is under investigation by the FBI for corruption.

I want to say a resounding ‘no thanks’ to so much of the cynicism and rhetorical vitriol that runs amuck on social media and in the news cycle. But, for the foreseeable future, all of the ugliness seems here to stay.

 So, in order to truly say ‘thanks’ to what is good, we now have to be even more intentional saying ‘no thanks’ to that which is unloving and unkind. Abraham Lincoln, about a month before he gave the Gettysburg Address, sent a note outlining why Thanksgiving means something. The memo is pasted here:


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Tags | global | holiday | love | thanks

Gifts That Give Back

In a season marked by giving, I love the idea of giving back to our community and our planet. This year, my family decided to forego gifts for the adults, and give donations in each person’s name instead. It’s been so fun thinking of each family member and finding ways to honor each of them with a unique donation.

Here are some great ways you can do your Christmas shopping and give back at the same time.

Krochet Kids offers 3 year programs to women living in poverty. In this program, the women learn to krochet hats to earn an income and be able to fully support themselves for the first time in their lives. Based in Uganda, the hats are sold in the US, on their website and at most Nordstroms.

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A Christmas Gift - Free Music

My good friend and workmate (not to be confused with playmate), Ryan Axtell, has recorded a couple FREE Christmas tunes and is making them available as a gift to you for the next couple of days. Ryan is an EXTREMELY talented songwriter/worship leader/arranger/flautist(not really on the flute thing), but, he will bring some diversity to your Christmas with the free downloads on his site. CLICK HERE and download away. Make sure to leave him a thankful comment too.
PS - his dad plays a MEAN Honky-Tonk piano and also is the puppet man. No joke Steve Axtell makes the puppets that you see on Vegietales, Terry Fater (americas got talent…remember him?). Check out his site at AXTELL.COM and see his muppet making there.

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