“Hi-Jacked” Part 1

I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past few weeks about how we, as Americans, have taken things that were never meant to be about US…and made them about…US. Interesting, right? The first two that come to mind are things you have most likely been thinking about lately as well: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and many other holidays. I suppose it is our human nature, our flesh screaming out, and perverting beautiful things at every opportunity. We fight to choke out our flesh, and feed the Holy Spirit of God that lives inside of us. It’s the classic wrestle that Paul talks about in Romans 7. I plan on diving into some other examples of the things we have hi-jacked in the near future. For now we will start with Thanksgiving…

I find it funny/interesting that I cannot tell you the historical background behind Thanksgiving, where it came from, and why we celebrate it. I could probably piece bits of things together from elementary school, along with some “B.S.ing” skills, and come up with a pretty good explanation. There are enough “good” things that come to mind when we think about Thanksgiving to dismiss the thought of ever needing to ask tough questions like “why?” & “what’s the reason?” This is the same reason we do not question much of ANYTHING that we do anymore. It’s all we have ever known. Our family has always done it. It’s “good”. No need to question it…but what if our human nature over time has taken something and slowly twisted it into something far from what it was intended to be…something that tragically has become more about US than it was ever intended to be…in fact, something that was NEVER supposed to be about US at all, but now has been hi-jacked, and made completely about…US? On the surface it’s still good…but if we dig deep could it be beneficial for us to strip some of these things down, and get back to the roots? There is a scary parallel that crosses my mind when thinking about some of the things we do just because that’s how we’ve always known them to be done…never even stopping to ask ourselves why, but continuing in the same old ritualistic traditions…  : )

Anyhow, I think Thanksgiving has to do with the pilgrims and Indians…and Columbus, or something, right? All I know is that every year family members get together to eat ALL DAY LONG. Some people use this day as one out of the two opportunities they will take to serve someone else throughout the year. (Soup kitchen, etc., and there is sometimes a hidden motive, or agenda behind this “act of service” to begin with-an entirely separate post) Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting together with family to enjoy quality time, and great food. However, may I propose that we start breaking the mold by re-thinking the purpose for why we do what we do instead of just going along with everything because it is the only thing we have ever known? Maybe we can start taking the opportunity to get back to the heart of things…Maybe we can do more on Thanksgiving than go around the circle at the table and share one thing we’re thankful for without allowing it to cause us to actually DO anything outside of ourselves…

Will Morgan and I eat all day long tomorrow, and spend time with people we care about? Of course. I am not suggesting that anyone should stop doing that, or that it is wrong. In fact, we’ll probably go around the table and say what we’re thankful for as well. No problem with that either. I suppose I am simply suggesting we take it to the next level, and continue taking it to the next level until it becomes more about others than us lest we look back and be accused of hi-jacking some of the most beautiful things on earth…

The purpose of this post has little to do with holidays, but holidays are a good example of how we hi-jack things that were never meant to be about US in the first place, and make them about US. There are millions of examples of how we do this all throughout the day in our lives. We serve ourselves, bless ourselves, and do very little that has anything to do with anyone other than ourselves.

“Each of you should look not only at our own interests, but the interests of others. You should have an attitude as that of Christ Jesus.” Phil 2:4

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28

Last night our simple church had the amazing opportunity of blessing a single mom who lives in our neighborhood. Our I.G. Community came together and prepared a Thanksgiving feast for her and her two kids. Ava, Kayla, and Coren do not have any family in the city. Last night they came over; we all had a great time cooking, and pillow-fighting with the kids. We sent them home with everything they will need to enjoy a great Thanksgiving meal. Tomorrow we will swing by to drop off a HOT Turkey, a card with some personal messages, and a gift card for her to buy presents for the kids for Christmas. It’s amazing how God can use a group of broke twenty-somethings to live out the Gospel in their own neighborhood.

img_0098Kayla, Morgan, and Candace in the kitchen…

img_0099Joseph, Ava, and Chaz chattin’ it up…

img_0100

Coren crashed out after pillow-fighting!

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2 thoughts on ““Hi-Jacked” Part 1

  1. Apologies for not keeping in touch as often as I’d like. I was just perusing some of your stuff, seeing what I’ve missed, seeing where you’re going and I came across the Hi-Jacked post. I agree with what you’re saying, most people have no idea why they do the things they do; not just in terms of the holidays but in most aspects of life, including religion. After reading through your post I felt it necessary to point out the irony here, in the most benign way possible of course. I was talking with Jason last night (an activity that I don’t recommend for people who suffer from migraines) and I realized that he is a good model for the average person who considers themselves Christian. He went to church for long enough to get the idea of what to do and how to act (actual church history notwithstanding), he knows the scriptures that are important, ect… However, what he doesn’t know is how Christianity was founded; and so this is what led me to my quandary. You use the phrase Hi-Jacked to illustrate what we have taken from history that was not meant for us or about us. With this sentiment in mind I urge you as a friend and as an intellectual sparing partner to take the good advice you’re giving in your post and look into the actual origins of Christianity and the New Testament. I would suggest reading Jewish histories such as the histories of antisemitism; there are some really good books you can get for cheap on Amazon (Holy Hatred by Robert Michael and, Antisemitism: Myth and Hate from Antiquity to the Present by Marvin Perry and Frederick Schweitzer) plus I have a ton of notes from my classes on Jewish studies that may help too. You may find that Thanksgiving is not all that people have Hi-Jacked.

    Hoping all is well,
    -Will-

    • Good to hear from you buddy. I couldn’t agree more…One of my main purposes of this post was to get the wheels in people’s heads turning about the many other things that we simply do out of habit, tradition, culture, or ritual. I’m hoping that by the time I post a few more entries containing examples of things that we’ve hi-jacked it will cause a…hmmm….holy frustration or rebellion with the way things are, and a pursuit of TRUTH. I will certainly look into those books, and would like to let you know that I have also done a heavy amount of research on the history of “the church” (Catholic, protestant, New Testament, etc.) I actually just finished a GREAT BOOK I think you would like called “Pagan Christianity”. It’s rich in History, and explains in much detail how we got where we are today, and why. I love it. It has challenged everything I grew up with that I’ve always had a hard time understanding. I will be the first to admit that things are WAY off in America. The term Christian, and the “faith” carries little weight anymore. It saddens me. However, in the midst of all the re-thinking and challenging the status quo and the norms I simply cannot ignore Christ as Savior. I cannot ignore my access to the Father through Christ, and what He has done. I have seen it manifested in so many ways in my life over the past two years as I have retreated from tradition and upbringing. It has led me to some disturbing findings about the sin of man, and corruption. However, I have experienced freedom from it all, and a dependence/reliance upon the Holy Spirit of God that lives inside of me. I’d love to chat more sometime! We need to catch up!

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