Today is Thanksgiving and like many I have been thinking about all of the things that I am thankful for as I prepare to eat and fellowship with friends here in Portland.
I am thankful for Portland, a city that has revived the soul in me, and taught me that the world is a much bigger place than the four walls and a roof I used to call home. Portland has taught me that I truly am an alien in this world, a peculiar people whom God has given the blessing of actually trying to love my neighbor as myself.
I’m thankful for my girlfriend Marissa, a woman who would spend the brunt of last night watching the stage version of “A Christmas Story” with me, and would humor me afterward with conversation about the profundity of the Christmas season, and childhood.
I’m thankful for my calling and my job, two very different things that I pray next year will become one.
I’m thankful for you, and for your thoughtfulness in taking the time to read this blog.
But now for the turkey and dressing of this blog…
Here is what I’m not thankful for.
I’m not thankful that today millions of people will over indulge on turkey, wine and football, settling in for an afternoon/evening of preparation for which shitty, off-brand television they are going to spend the night in line for at [Enter Generic Retail Superstore Name Here], never once giving thought to the issues that plague the numerous counties we’d like to think are civilized. Today we will once again overlook the water and food shortages of third world countries. We will give little to no thought of the young girls forced to perform sexual favors for the slimy men that choose to buy an hour of their time. And today we will continue to ignore the fact that men and women are being executed just for being gay.
Today I read an article. In this article I discovered that the U.N. has unanimously passed a bill making needless executions a thing of the past. One might think this is a positive step, but when you read that the provision protecting those of a “different sexual orientation” was stricken from the document, you’ll realize just how cruel and careless the world’s leaders are, and to what degree their ignorance has played a part in the narrative of LGBT equality.
As an American, granted all the rights and privileges from birth that this great country affords, I’m hard pressed to understand just how oblivious the average citizen is about the flesh and blood issues like this that we allow to continue. As a Christian, covered in the all-powerful, saving, and redemptive blood of Jesus, I’m hard-pressed to understand how my fellow believers can sit back and not fight for justice for the oppressed.
Today I’m not thankful for the “thankfulness” that millions of people in this country will display. I’m not thankful for it because they are missing the point. Thankfulness is supposed to be the catalyst that fuels our passion for freeing those that are oppressed, and for speaking life into the journeys of those that can’t even fathom what it must be like to stuff their faces on the this, the fourth Thursday of November. I’m deeply distressed that as Christians we claim to follow a God of justice, a king of peace, and we can’t seem to muster the energy to question decisions like the one made this week by the United Nations.
So I have only one request. If you are truly thankful then do something about these injustices. Don’t sit idly by, stuffing your face with turkey, only to wait 4 hours in line before the sun comes up on the day retail companies call “Black Friday”. Stand in line for those who don’t have a voice. And if you are a Christian, beware invoking the precious name of Jesus while you do nothing to follow his true calling on your life.
Soulforce, a gay rights organization I protested with almost a year and a half ago, taught me something invaluable. On their pledge to non-violence they share two simple yet profound ideals. Number four on the list: I will contemplate daily what I can do so that all can be free. And number five: I will sacrifice my own personal wishes that all might be free.
Is your thanksgiving fueling your desire to bless others the way you’ve been blessed? Is it fueling your desire to love everyone as you love yourself? May we all strive to ask ourselves these questions as we celebrate such a blessed day.
P.S. Before you get pissed at me for this, know that I’m not saying ALL Christians or ALL people, or even ALL people that shop at 2am for a television… If this blog doesn’t apply to you, don’t freak out.