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Thanksgiving at Second Baptist Church by Milton Horne

In these days, I'm finding myself surrounded by such different attitudes toward indigenous peoples of North America. One view of the "gift-giving Indian," which contributes to the American myth of the first Plymouth Thanksgiving, is stated as follows in D.B Heath, Ed., Edward Winslow, Mourt's Relation (1986):

At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others (82)

In her book, An indigenous peoples' history of the United States (Revisioning American history [2014]), Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz writes these words about the "settler parasites" who created the Virginia colony:

The first Jamestown settlers lacked a supply line and proved unable or unwilling to grow crops or hunt for their sustenance. They decided that they would force the farmers of the Powhatan Confederacy—some thirty polities—to provide them with food. Jamestown military leader John Smith threatened to kill all the women and children if the Powhatan leaders would not feed and clothe the settlers as well as provide them with land and labor (60).

Again, there are such different attitudes toward the indigenous peoples who were on this land before Europeans came here. But consider this: long before there was an American story of "the first Thanksgiving," there was the teaching of a humble, Palestinian-Jewish peasant, Jesus, who taught by example to live simply, share what you had, be mindful of others' needs, and above all let one's life be lived in thanksgiving for the "daily bread" that came from the earth. His lifestyle was not one of accumulation of wealth, property or nation-building, but of sacrificial giving to others.

Instead of telling the patriotic version of Thanksgiving, that legitimizes the colonization of peoples, we should rather tell the one that founds our faith in the Creator of the universe and calls us to live a life of self-emptying rather than self-gain.

at Friday, November 17, 2017 | 0 comments
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On candy, empathy lessons, and Santa by Jennifer Huffman

On candy, empathy lessons, and Santa

The walk into the church the Sunday after Halloween was a solemn one.

Coming down from a week-long sugar high, my three children walked in slow motion through the halls of Second Baptist Church, each clutching three gallon-sized Ziploc bags to their chest as if the contents inside were sacred. And to them, they were: this year’s trick-or-treating yielded a stellar booty that would have lasted through 2018, had we decided it could stick around.

Finally (finally!) they arrived at a large cardboard box that contained an impressive collection of candy designated for this year’s Christmas Store, our congregation’s gesture to making the holiday a bit more magical—and definitely more affordable—for underprivileged families in our community. The children exchanged somber looks, then took turns laying their bags like babies atop all the rest. My daughter actually patted her bags, hearts in her eyes.

“Those kids are gonna love finding all that candy in their stockings,” my wistful nine-year-old said to his brother and sister. They studied the heap of sweet treats and wished for a hot second it was all theirs.

“Can I at least have one more sucker?” asked my six-year-old.

It’s hard to say goodby to ten pounds of Snickers and Skittles.

***

Last year, our family was one of many who helped with the Christmas Store. The day of the event, we walked with parents and grandparents as they selected fantastic, age-appropriate gifts for their kids, donated by generous 2BC elves throughout the fall. We played and colored with their waiting children. We ran wagons full of wrapped presents through snow-covered streets to running cars. All of us went home full of joy, connected to those people we met during a day of defining moments that led to empathy lessons and conversations about how Christmas is sometimes inflated to be about things that it’s not, how serving and sharing with others can be sheer gifts that cost nothing.

Then, inspired by goodwill from the day and an essay that’s stuck with me for years, we pulled out of the Santa charade. Maybe it was a radical and very un-American move of us, as Jen Hatmaker would say, but we wanted to give Christmas back to Jesus. Not a corner of it, all of it.

And . . . we survived, not a single disappointed tear shed. I will try to promise my kids won’t spoil traditions for your kids, and I absolutely AM NOT JUDGING anyone who still incorporates Santa into their traditions. (We ho-ho-ho’ed through ten years of Christmases before coming to this!) We still have surprise Santa-like deliveries on Christmas morning, and the kids still start their wish lists in October.  

But we will also support the Christmas store again this year and look for ways to serve throughout the season. We will purchase gifts with a conscience (that Jen Hatmaker essay has some great ideas) and shoot for 25 days of random acts of kindness even though we will probably only manage to do maybe twelve. Hopefully, please sweet Jesus, such gestures mean my kids will grow up with expanded hearts and the awareness that they are blessed with such abundance, they want to spend their lives blessing others.

That’s the goal, anyway. I’ll be thinking about all of this as I tuck my kids into bed Christmas Eve and wander to the mantle to fill their stockings with a few pieces of leftover Halloween candy I snagged before filling their Ziplocs.

I couldn’t give away all the Skittles.


Are you looking for a way to help with the Christmas Store? We need your help to stock the store with this year’s coolest toys and gifts for kids. Look for the sign-up sheets in the Welcome Center and sign up today to purchase a gift (or two!) for this year’s store (Dec. 14, 15 and 16). If you’d rather have us do the shopping, you can make a monetary donation as well. Contact Karri George at 2bcchristmasstore@gmail.com with questions or visit our webpage to learn more and volunteer.

at Thursday, November 16, 2017 | 0 comments
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Catalyst Goal: Strengthening Our Impact in Greater Liberty by Sara Langford

Two ministries that reach directly into our community are the Harvest Hill Community Garden and the hospitality we provide during the Liberty Fall Festival each year.

The Community Gardens started as a dream outreach project of a Second Baptist small group and came to be through a partnership with William Jewell College.

Every year at the Fall Festival we provide parking, shuttle service around the festival, a cool, or warm, place to rest in our welcome center and even a drink for the four-legged friends at the festival.

Both of these ministries connect us with our community and provide service to the community which strengthens our impact in and on Liberty.

at Monday, November 13, 2017 | 0 comments
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