Category Archives: Christians/Christianity

Giving Thanks

prayer of thanks
Thanksgiving is one of the most beloved holidays in America. But did you know that unlike other secular holidays like Labor Day or the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving is a national holiday that is explicitly religious in nature?

In 1789, in his first year in office, President George Washington called for a day of Thanksgiving because —

“it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”

In 1815, President James Madison issued a proclamation for “a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God for His great goodness.” After Madison, however, Thanksgiving reverted to a regional celebration in New England for 48 years.

In 1863, magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale petitioned the Lincoln administration that “a day of Thanksgiving now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.”

President Abraham Lincoln called on Americans that year to “fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore if, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”


The United States of America is one of only ten countries that set aside a day to give thanks. In so doing, our forefathers displayed not only virtue, recognizing God’s bounty, but also practical wisdom. We now know, from scientific research, that gratitude, not money, is the key to being happy and healthy. Research shows that happy people tend to:

  • express gratitude on a regular basis;
  • practice being optimistic;
  • engage in frequent acts of kindness;
  • savor joyful events; and
  • practice forgiveness.

We of the Fellowship of the Minds want to take this occasion to thank all our readers and especially our faithful regular commenters who contribute so much to this blog with their intelligence, trenchant observation, righteous outrage, and wit.

God bless you, and may God have mercy on America,


The Big Thank You

Thank you Lord Jesus…


for what you did for us 2000 years ago.

Thanksgiving: Not just a holiday, but a command

A guest post from Steven Broiles, former high school teacher, now a voice-over artist and cab-driver in New York City.

Steven Broiles

THANKSGIVING: A Holiday and a Command

By Steven Broiles

I returned home from my freshman year at Boys Town in 1971. That Thanksgiving, CBS had a news report about a high school girl who won a prize for her Thanksgiving essay. (She read it on air). The question she asked was, “What do we have to be thankful for?” She went on to list the reasons against gratitude—a never-ending war in Viet Nam, political corruption, a high crime rate, inflation and all the rest.

Well, here we are, 44 years later, and we have TWO never-ending wars and more turmoil than it seems we can handle. And from the looks of it, we’re about to be drawn into a conflagration with Russia. Suffice it to say, things do not look good.

So what do we have to be grateful for? Most of us will stuff our faces, get drunk, go to bed and join the hordes of shoppers on Black Friday. Thanksgiving has devolved into a feast of gluttony and consumerism gone mad!

But I have stopped to think about my own situation and how thoughtless I have been. Every day is like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”: Wake up, go to work, come home and eat, drink a six-pack, and go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

We have an obligation to be grateful. Gratitude is not merely a virtue; It is a command. As I have said before, I believe I have a spiritual condition known as acedia. I have been told I am intelligent and articulate. But I cannot seem to break out of my rut. Every day is the same. There is a certain sadness at the work required to improve my situation. Then there is the sadness at the opportunity to do that work! It’s “damned if I do and damned if I don’t!”

And from the news I’ve been watching, the talk shows I’ve been listening to and the customers I have in my Uber car, it seems to me that most people are suffering from the same condition of acedia, to a greater or lesser degree. People can tell what is wrong with the country, or the City of New York, or their own situations. They say great things or have good ideas, but they can’t seem to do anything about it. People, myself included, seem to be crippled by indecision.

It seems to me as if almost everyone, at least as a corporate whole, has been beaten down to a state of demoralization, not quite on the state of despair, but seemingly hopeless, nonetheless. Not to be grotesque, but it is like nausea! For all of my Catholic education and all the sermons I have heard for over 50 years, I’ve heard a lot of things. But I have never heard the word “acedia.” If I had, I would have remembered it. The closest thing I have ever heard similar to it is “sloth.”

But then I thought about it. WHO is the author of confusion? WHO is the author of indecision? WHO is the author of despair? Of the resulting spiritual dry rot and cynicism? Certainly it is NOT God who wills these things. It is NOT God who creates and nurtures this spiritual torpor, this feeling of being stuck in a straightjacket! Is it no wonder I have been stuck in this attitude, and go about it, day after day? Is it no wonder I cannot seem to get out of this rut and transcend my problems?

I thought of the Serenity Prayer, and how it is a call to ACTION. “God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” My past unwillingness to do what this prayer says is the cause of the prolonging of my problems! It is an accountant’s prayer: I have to stop the chatter inside of my head. And I have to identify those things I cannot do anything about. (Fortunately, that list is rather short.) Then I have to identify those things I CAN do something about, or at least what I can do about my own situation. And I have to make my plan and stick to it, not being discouraged by the length of time it will take to achieve those things I have to achieve. Long story short: I make a T-account—a sheet of paper with a vertical line down the middle. The left column is the negative column, and the right column is the positive one.
And I have to bear in mind that my imagination can be my own worst enemy—of how easy it is for me to dwell on the negative and get carried away with it.

This is what I look for when I am listening to other people, whether they’re in my car or on the internet. Going negative is really easy. I think we’re all prone to it. God knows there is plenty going on right now to be negative about. And then I think about the logical conclusion to negativity gone mad: It ends in the insane asylum or in suicide!

I think that the daily exercise of the Serenity Prayer leads me to gratitude. We are COMMANDED by God to pray for our own affairs. So we stop everything and identify what we have to endure. Then we identify what we can do about it. We stop our wild imagination and its catastrophizing and get ahold of ourselves. And then we have gratitude for being able to do this much. We feel gratitude for the ability to endure another day, another problem, for the ability to think clearly. And that gratitude propels us into the next day.

My friend Eric was very kind in allowing me to keep my boxes of books in his house when I moved out of my apartment shortly after 9/11. I got those boxes out of his garage this past summer. I kept a few of those books—a very few. One of the philosophers I used to read was Gabriel Marcel, who wrote “Creative Fidelity.” (I gave the book away: I placed the boxes of books—one or two boxes a day—on the stoop to the house. People would come by and take what they wanted.) Marcel has said that there are problems and then there are mysteries, and that one of the problems he noticed in life is how we treat everything as if it is a problem. Then we treat each other as if the other person is a problem. Then we wind up treating ourselves as if we are a problem! The answer, he opined, is to look at life and our participation of it as a mystery, and to participate in that mystery.

This is what I think is our primary spiritual problem—a lack of gratitude. We have been and are very fortunate, despite what we must endure. And things do not look good. Let us practice gratitude and count on it to get us through things. Let us not wind up like a certain Presidential candidate (cough! cough!) who insists upon “being treated fairly”! Let us continue to be grateful for what we have—and what we have been spared—and participate in the Mysteries of our Catholic Faith.

Let me always remember that Our Lord told His Apostles, before He Ascended into Heaven, “Behold! I have overcome the World.” Let us always employ the Serenity Prayer as the Road to Sanity and Gratitude!

I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving this Thursday and in the days ahead.

Sunday Devotional: Christ is King of All

Today is the feast day of Christ the King!

It was foretold.

Book of Daniel 7:13-14:

As the visions during the night continued, I saw
one like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
when he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Christ in Northern Lights over Iceland (Photo by Jon Hilmarsson/Caters News Agency)

Christ in Northern Lights over Iceland (Photo by Jon Hilmarsson/Caters News Agency)

Our Lord Jesus Christ confirmed it.

John 18:33-37:

Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.

Christ the King

And we are told He will come again.

Revelation 1:5-8:

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father,
to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, he is coming amid the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
All the peoples of the earth will lament him.
Yes. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, ” says the Lord God,
“the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”

Jesus in clouds2

The Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and with all our strength.

May the joy and peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!


Whoopi Goldberg, the woman who named herself after farting, says Christians are just as dangerous as Muslims

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, during an episode of ABC’s execrable “The View,” a show that promotes an image of women as empty-headed, gossipy harridans, Whoopi Goldberg said Christian refugees from the Middle East are just as dangerous as Muslims.

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi, 59 or more likely 66 (according to a 1984 New York Times article), is a high school drop out who changed her name from Caryn Elaine Johnson, her birth name, to Whoopi because of her flatulence. As she once explained: “If you get a little gassy, you’ve got to let it go. So people used to say to me, ‘You’re like a whoopee cushion.’ And that’s where the name came from.” (Wikipedia)

Newsbusters reports that during the segment of “The View,” the show’s team of harpy hosts talked about the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis in the wake of the Paris attacks.

We now know that at least the mastermind attacker had gained entry into France through the country’s refugee resettlement program.

The Paris attack has led many in the U.S. to question Obama’s refugee program, especially given the FBI’s own admission that they simply don’t have the data base to vet the refugees. See:

Co-host Joy Behar exclaimed that this stance wasn’t very Christian, then implied that the Christian refugees are super dangerous: “[Oklahoma City bomber] Timothy McVeigh was a Christian. Just sayin’.”

Behar provided no evidence to support her assertion, which is not surprising because, as The Federalist points out, McVeigh wasn’t a Christian. McVeigh identified as an agnostic and said his violent actions weren’t motivated by any religious associations, but by an extreme hatred for the federal government.

Whoopi Goldberg followed Behar’s convoluted line of thinking by pointing out how Adolf Hitler was totally a Christian. She said, “There have been a lot of monster Christians. Hitler was a Christian.”

Like Behar, Whoopi’s claim is also wildly incorrect.

Hitler and the Nazis were animated by Nordic pagan myths, not Christianity. The Federalist points out:

  • The Reich Minister of Propaganda for Nazi Germany noted in 1941 that “[Hitler] hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity.”
  • In 1938, Hitler forced all pastors in the Lutheran church, the official German state church, to swear a personal oath to the Fuhrer on his 49th birthday. Any individual who refused to take the oath was to be immediately dismissed. Hitler’s demand that pastors put their loyalty to him ahead of their loyalty to Christ resulted in some 10,000 pastors leaving the official church of Germany, according to the London Times.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor who was eventually executed by Hitler’s regime, made a name for himself by regularly preaching about Hitler’s open hostility to biblical Christianity.

See also “Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar call Carly Fiorina ugly“.

H/t FOTM’s MomOfIV


The full context of what Ben Carson said about Terri Schiavo

Ben Carson is in another controversy.

This time it’s over what he said about the tragic case of Terri Schiavo — the woman who died in 2005 from dehydration and starvation, after years of legal and political battles, and 15 years after slipping into a coma that doctors later called a persistent vegetative state.

Terri Schiavo

On Nov. 14, 2015, Adam C. Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Carson disagreed with then-Florida governor Jeb Bush’ attempt to bypass court rulings to force the re-insertion of feeding tubes for Schiavo, and referred to the Terri Schiavo case as “much ado about nothing.”

Consistent with his reaction in previous controversies, Carson insisted in an exclusive to LifeSiteNews on Nov. 18 that his remarks had been “taken out of context and misinterpreted.” He said: “When I used the term ‘much ado about nothing,’ my point was that the media tried to create the impression that the pro-life community was nutty and going way overboard with the support of the patient.”

Ben Johnson reports for LifeSiteNews, Nov. 19, 2015, that some pro-life leaders remained uneasy after hearing Carson’s explanation, and numerous LifeSiteNews readers said they wished they could know “the context” via a full recording of the exchange between the Tampa Bay Times (TBT) reporter and Ben Carson.

The same day, Nov. 19, TBT reporter Adam C. Smith posted a full transcript of the exchange with Carson during the Florida GOP’s Sunshine Summit conference:

Times: Dr. Carson, a few years ago when Gov. Bush was in charge of the state, he and the Florida Legislature moved to overturn the court decision on Terri Schiavo to force the feeding tube to be reinserted. What was your view of that as a doctor at the time?

Carson: Well, I said at the time, “We face those kinds of issues all the time and while I don’t believe in euthanasia, you have to recognize that people that are in that condition do have a series of medical problems that occur that will take them out. And your job is to keep them comfortable throughout that process and not to treat everything that comes up.”

Times: Did you think it was appropriate for Congress and the Legislature to

Carson: I don’t think it needed to get to that level. I think it was much ado about nothing. Those things are taken care of every single day just the way I described.

From the transcript above, by “much ado about nothing,” Carson clearly was referring to the efforts by then Florida governor Jeb Bush to intervene in the Schiavo case in order to save her life.

Schiavo’s brother, Bobby Schindler, who leads the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network and has praised Governor Bush’s handling of his sister’s case, said in a column that Carson’s followup comments are not reassuring. Schindler wrote in TBT‘s Buzz blog:

“I have deep respect for the accomplishments and commitment Dr. Carson has shown for life. But our family remains deeply troubled that in seeking to clarify his remarks, he has not unequivocally condemned what happened to my sister. In fact, his suggestion that simple ‘consensus’ among family members and health care providers could justify what happened to my sister is problematic. If I had agreed with Michael Schiavo (Terri’s husband) to starve and dehydrate my sister to death, would that have made it right?”

Orlando lawyer, John Stemberger, one of Florida’s most prominent social conservative activists, said Carson’s Schiavo comments have seriously damaged his appeal to many voters:

“I like Ben Carson a lot, but it is very disappointing that he does not even understand the basic pro-life principle that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. Terri was never in an active dying process. She was a severely disabled person who was killed through the brutal and painful process of starvation and dehydration. While Ben Carson may think this is ‘much to do about nothing,’ for most pro-life voters, it morally disqualifies him as a candidate. He is not thinking clearly about this matter and should reconsider his careless comments.”

Ben Carson has a painting in his home of himself in the foreground, with Jesus standing behind him.

Painting of young Carson and Jesus in hallway

Painting of young Carson and Jesus in hallway

Would our Lord Jesus Christ call Bush’s and others’ efforts to rescue Terri Schiavo “much ado about nothing”?

There are also important policy reasons for conservatives to be skeptical about Ben Carson, see Kelleigh Nelson’s article in NewsWithViews.


AFA Christmas Shopping Guide: Which companies to patronize or shun

Baby Jesus with lambs

Black Friday is a week away, the biggest retail sales day of the year when Americans begin the annual frenzy of buying stuff for Christmas.

Here is American Family Association (AFA)’s Christmas buying guide: the Naughty-or-Nice 2015 Retailer List.

AFA divides top U.S. retailers into 4 color-coded groups:

  1. Blue: Businesses rated 5 stars by AFA for promoting and celebrating Christmas on an exceptional basis.
  2. Green: Companies that are Christmas-friendly for using the word “Christmas” on a regular basis.
  3. Yellow: Companies that refer to and use the word “Christmas” infrequently, or in a single advertising medium, but not in others.
  4. Red: Companies that do not recognize Christmas, although they may use “Christmas” sparingly in a single or unique product description.

Here are the Blue or exceptional businesses:

Here are the Green Christmas-friendly companies:

Here are the Yellow or marginal businesses:

Here are the Red companies — DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY!

H/t FOTM’s MomOfIV