Reeder: We have to be honest despite history rewrites– Pilgrims gave thanks to God


 

 

 

 

 

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TOM LAMPRECHT:  Well, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Harry, it was President Abraham Lincoln that first established Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. Then, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office, he was celebrating Thanksgiving on the last day of the month.

However, as they went through the Depression, many retailers petitioned the president to move Thanksgiving back by a week so they could have a longer time to celebrate the Christmas season and sell their goods to the folks getting ready for Christmas.

Well, traditionally, Thanksgiving Day has been sort of a kickoff for the Christmas celebration, although I have to say my wife and I went on vacation back in September, we stopped by a Cracker Barrel in mid-September, and the shop was in full Christmas regalia.

As we look back on how Thanksgiving was established, it is so much more than just a time to kick off the Christmas season.

DR. REEDER: Tom, we all are aware of the Thanksgiving that the Pilgrims had. Many folks are going to schools that are trying to rewrite history and say, “Well, they really were just giving thanks to the Indians.”

No, you have to be honest: They gave thanks to the Lord who had sustained them and one of his means had been the Indians so they joined together in the feast, which was just a great statement.

George Washington initiated a Thanksgiving Day. He would have a regular day of prayer, humiliation and fasting and then a day of thanksgiving and feasting. And then Lincoln, of course as you know, instituted the regular observance of it.

Until then, it’d just been each president would do it in terms of their term of office and they would, every year, do what we would call an executive order. However, now it became the law of the land, so we would celebrate Thanksgiving.

Then, it began to be seen as, “We could get more Christmas sales because people like to start buying for Christmas after Thanksgiving so let’s move Thanksgiving back and get another week for buying Christmas things.”

And so, now, the mercantile dynamic, and the economic dynamic and the consumer dynamic has pretty well taken over the substance of what it’s supposed to be so now you have Black Friday and you have all of those things associated with the sales, etc.

Christians just march lock-step into it and we wonder where has the meaning of Christmas and Thanksgiving gone as we participate in the new Christmas and Thanksgiving, which is economic consumerism and the GNP.

Obviously, I think it’s fine to go shopping and do all of those things – I’m not a legalist on this – but I would just love for believers to stop, and take stock of this, and say, “As for me and my house, we’re going to serve the Lord, not the season as defined by the world and here’s how we’re going to celebrate it.”

I’d certainly like to raise my voice in concern when people remove the Biblical understanding of Thanksgiving or even try to remove the name of Christ from Christmas, but my bigger concern is what do believers do with it and what do we in the church do with it?

Therefore, I want us to make sure that we’re not simply baptizing the world’s view of Christmas and Thanksgiving and making it just a day of nostalgia and a day of measuring everything by what I got, and who I gave it to and all of the things that have invaded the celebration of the birth of the Savior of sinners who would be proclaimed to all the nations of the world.

Tom Lamprecht: Abraham Lincoln, when he observed that first holiday and declared the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day, that was in 1863.

DR. REEDER: Right.

Tom Lamprecht: How did that relate to what was going on in our country at that time?

DR. REEDER: Well, what it really relates to is his conversion with his son, Willie, who was dying of typhoid, and an African-American servant in the White House who was sharing the Gospel with him, and the recalling of what his mother had said, and, also a Presbyterian pastor who had helped him in the death of his oldest son and then a Quaker Christian woman who was ministering to him.

All of those things coincided with the horrors of the Civil War and he began to write something called “Meditations Upon the Divine Will,” and you can see the process of God bringing him to conversion because, up until then, he was a skeptic of Christianity.

When you read his Gettysburg Address, which is post his conversion, the Second Inaugural Address, which he made before his assassination – all of those things – and then read the memoirs of Dr. Phineas Gurley, the New York Avenue Presbyterian pastor who was discipling him during those years, it’s amazing what happened between ’62 and ’63.

And, in that time, he decided he adopted George Washington’s desire that the country would have as a motto, “In God We Trust,” and, also, he began to proclaim the fact that this nation, while it was not a theocracy, was a nation that was under God, and that it was theistic, and that our founding documents insisted upon that. And then he also wanted Thanksgiving to be borrowed from George Washington’s tradition and instituted, as well.

And so that’s how that process came into being and, by the way, in the 1950s, a couple of senators grasped that and that’s when they introduced, by law, that coinage would have “In God We Trust” and “Under God,” the phrase from the Gettysburg Address was introduced into a humanist, statist thing called “The Pledge of Allegiance.” And so “Under God” was put into that and totally changed that which is why we always pause when we put “Under God” in there because it wasn’t in the original.

Tom Lamprecht: Harry, so many of the other holidays in the church calendar commemorate an event that took place, and it’s great to do that, but you think of the birth of Christ, the crucifixion of Christ, His ascension, but Thanksgiving is somewhat unique in that it doesn’t commemorate or celebrate as much as it is a day of reflection and gratitude.

DR. REEDER: Well it’s not something in the church calendar that focuses upon a particular aspect of the work of Christ such as His birth, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, Pentecost Sunday, etc., but it is a distinctly American experience of Christians who said, “We are what we are by the grace of God so we want to give thanks to God,” and so it became an American holiday that the church then incorporated.

It didn’t originate in the church and go to the nation – it originated in the impact of Christianity in the nation and then the church has made use of it. Now, clearly, every Lord’s Day, you ought to give thanks and every Christian ought to give thanks continually, but to establish a season whereby we have an open door to the nation and a reminder to us as a church of the great virtue of Thanksgiving and how that fuels every act of my Christian life – my obedience, my worship, my love, my devotion – all of those things are out of gratitude.

I’m not paying Jesus back for my redemption – I’m receiving a gift from Him and now I want to give Him thanks with every area of my life.

Thanksgiving is a great opportunity that we shouldn’t lose as individual believers because of what we can say to our families and we shouldn’t lose as the Lord’s family, the church, because of what we can say to individuals and families about how Thanksgiving is a way of life and the event can be used to promote the lifestyle.

Tom Lamprecht: Every day ought to be the day of Thanksgiving for believers and you said, “Well, yeah, that’s true, but there should be a special day”?

DR. REEDER: Exactly, and I think you’re not taking away from the fact that every day should be a day of Thanksgiving to take one day and focus upon Thanksgiving and use that day to propel Thanksgiving as a way of life so they’re not antithetical to each other that you can use the event to promote the lifestyle and the lifestyle can enhance the event.

And, Tom, may I just say, as our folks are hearing us today and perhaps at Thanksgiving or going to Thanksgiving meals, then take some time to read Scripture from the Psalms to give thanks. Go around and each individual – we love to this – and each individual shares what they’re thankful for and have a time of prayer of Thanksgiving.

Just make use of that table of feast to give thanks to the Lord and encourage each other in your families. Go out and do something in ministry to those who don’t have as many reasons to give thanks as you do this day. Just find ways to do that. Now, that’s something to really turn Thanksgiving into a learning moment as well as a praise opportunity.

One other thought: Some of the folks in our church set a place at the table to commemorate those soldiers who are serving and those who have lost their lives in the keeping of our freedoms in this country to give thanks to the Lord for them.

Those are just a couple of thoughts.

Tom Lamprecht: And we do hope you’ll apply those thoughts as your family celebrates this Thanksgiving Day.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

11 hours ago

Goat Island Brewing is an Alabama Maker concocting interesting beers

Their slogan is “Life is too short to drink baaad beer” and Goat Island Brewing Co. is doing its part to produce nothing but good brews in Cullman.

Started by a couple of homebrewing friends, Goat Island has added a head brewer, who is a microbiology major with no homebrewing history. The result is an array of tasty beers that are finding a following in northern Alabama.

“People across the board love all of our beers,” said Mike Mullaney, president and co-founder of Goat Island Brewing. “If you want to come in and have a whole bunch of good, variety of craft beers that have a lot of flavor, try us out.”

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Goat Island Brewing is an Alabama Maker of interesting beers from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The brewery is open to community events and fundraisers in Cullman.

“I like the fact that we are kind of a cultural community center,” Mullaney said.

With seven beers on tap – excluding a seasonal or a small batch – there is always something for any beer drinker. The Blood Orange Berliner Weisse is the bestselling beer on tap, and keeping up with the demand has been a little challenging. A new canning line should help.

The growth is welcome, but the beer has to be the star.

“We always emphasize quality and making sure everything we put out of here is up to the highest standard,” said Paul White, head brewer and operations manager.

Goat Island Brewing Company

The product: Craft beer.

Take home: A growler of Blood Orange Berliner Weisse.

Goat Island Brewing Co. can be found online and on Facebook Twitter and Instagram.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

13 hours ago

Renew Our Rivers kicks off 21st year

The third decade of Renew Our Rivers (ROR) gets underway in February with the first of the year’s 32 cleanups of Alabama rivers and waterways. If last year is any indication, there will be more volunteers and more trash removed in 2020, said Mike Clelland, ROR coordinator.

Since 2000, when the program began, 122,000 volunteers have collected almost 16 million pounds from waterways and shorelines in the South. In 2019, more than 5,000 volunteers removed almost 450,000 pounds of trash, including old boats, mattresses, tires, appliances and other unsightly items, a 4% increase over the previous year’s haul.

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“We not only picked up more trash in 2019. We also had more volunteers,” said Clelland, an Environmental Affairs specialist for Alabama Power who helps coordinate the cleanups with multiple partners. “Twenty years in and the enthusiasm and participation remain strong. I fully expect 2020 to be just as successful as 2019, if not more so.”

An Alabama River cleanup in Autauga County on Feb. 15 leads off this year’s schedule, which concludes the first week of November at Lake Martin.

Volunteers elevate Alabama through Renew Our Rivers from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Renew Our Rivers began in 2000 with a cleanup by Alabama Power employees along the Coosa River at the company’s Plant Gadsden. It has grown to become one of America’s largest river cleanup initiatives, with the help of community partners, volunteers and organizations.

“Alabama is a beautiful place with extraordinary natural resources,” said Susan Comensky, Alabama Power vice president for Environmental Affairs. “Protecting those resources, while providing reliable, affordable electricity for our customers, is at the heart of our company’s mission. The commitment by Alabama Power employees to Renew Our Rivers remains strong, but we couldn’t do it without the support of our community partners across the state who support the effort year after year.”

Renew Our Rivers is one of many initiatives in which Alabama Power partners with others to promote conservation and environmental stewardship in communities across the state. The 2020 schedule of Renew Our Rivers cleanups is below. For updates to the schedule, visit alabamapower.com/renewourrivers.

2020 Renew Our Rivers Schedule

Feb. 15: Alabama River

Contact: John Paul O’Driscoll at 334-850-7153

or johnpaulod@juno.com

 

Feb. 29: Bankhead Lake (Warrior River)

Contact: Ronnie Tew at 205-908-4857

 

March 7: Lake Eufaula (Chattahoochee River)

Contact: Brad Moore at bmooreless@gosuto.com

 

March 14: Valley Creek (Spring)

Contact: Freddie Freeman at 205-424-4060, ext. 4188

or ffreeman@bessemeral.org

 

March 21: Lake Mitchell (Coosa River)

Contact: Mike Clelland at 205-354-9348

 

March 28-April 4: Logan Martin (Coosa River)

Contact: Bud Kitchin at 256-239-0242

 

March 28: Minor Heights Community at Village Creek

Contact: Yohance Owens at 205-798-0087

or yohancevilcreek@yahoo.com

 

March 28-April 4: Lay Lake (Coosa River)

Contact: Judy Jones at 205-669-4865

 

April 11: Lay Lake at E.C. Gaston Plant (Coosa River)

Contact: Tanisha Fenderson at tfender@southernco.com

 

April 4: Cahaba River

Contact: David Butler at

info@cahabariverkeeper.org

 

April 14-15: Mobile River (Plant Barry)

Contact: Bo Cotton at 251-331-0603

 

April 18: Lake Jordan (Coosa River)

Contact: Brenda Basnight 334-478-3388

 

Date TBD: Plant Miller (Locust Fork)

Contact: TBD

 

April 22-23: Smith Lake (Winston County)

Contact: Allison Cochran at 205-489-5111

 

April 24: Smith Lake (Cullman County)

Contact: Jim Murphy at 205-529-5981

 

April 25: Weiss Lake

Contact: Sam Marko at 404-626-8594

 

May 1: Plant Gorgas (Mulberry Fork)

Contact: John Pate at 205-686-2324

or johpate@southernco.com

 

May 15: Lake Seminole

Contact: Melanie Rogers at mlrogers@southernco.com

 

May 16: Chattahoochee River (Plant Farley)

Contact: Melanie Rogers at mlrogers@southernco.com

 

May 18-19: Smith Lake (Walker County)

Contact: Roger Treglown at 205-300-5253

 

Aug. 8: Holt Lake (Black Warrior River)

Contact: Becky Clark at 205-799-2449

 

Aug. 14: Plant Miller (Locust Fork)

Contact: Madison Maughon at 205-438-0150

or mtmaugho@southernco.com

 

Aug. 15: Valley Creek

Contact: TBD

 

Aug. 15: Upper Tallapoosa River

Contact: Lex Brown at 256-239-6399

 

Sept: 8-9: Smith Lake (Walker County)

Contact: Roger Treglown at 205-300-5253

 

Date TBD: Village Creek

Contact: Yohance Owens at 205-798-0087

 

Sept.18: Smith Lake (Cullman County)

Contact: Jim Murphy at 205-529-5981

 

Sept. 24: Smith Lake (Winston County)

Contact: Jim Eason at msgjeason@yahoo.com

 

Oct. 2-3: Lake Demopolis

Contact: Jesse Johnson at 334-289-6160 or 251-238-1257

 

Oct. 13: Dog River (Mobile County)

Contact: Catie Boss at 251-829-2146 or clboss@southernco.com

 

Oct.17: Lake Mitchell (Coosa River)

Contact: Dale Vann at 205-910-3713

 

Oct. 20-22: Lake Harris (Tallapoosa River-Lake Wedowee)

Contact: Sheila Smith at 205-396-5093

or Marlin Glover at 770-445-0824

 

Oct. 26-31: Neely Henry Lake (Coosa River)

Contact: Lisa Dover at 256-549-0900

 

Nov. 6-7: Lake Martin (Tallapoosa River)

Contact: John Thompson at 334-399-3289

or 1942jthompson420@gmail.com

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

15 hours ago

Time-lapse video of Birmingham’s new downtown interstate bridges

The new Interstate 59/20 bridges through downtown Birmingham are scheduled to open within the next few days, 12 months after they were closed for replacement.

The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) announced Jan. 13 the contractor, Johnson Brothers Corp., would have the bridges completed and ready to open no later than Jan. 21. The interstate bridges were closed to traffic Jan. 21, 2019, as part of ALDOT’s phased repair plan for the more than 45-year-old bridges.

Alabama Power recorded the demolition and construction of the western half of the bridges from a 17th-floor window overlooking the junction of the bridges with I-65. The 12-month recording was condensed into a one-minute time-lapse video.

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Time-lapse video of Birmingham bridges replacement from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony was scheduled for Friday, Jan. 17 at 2:00 p.m. Once the bridges reopen to traffic, ALDOT says crews will spend the rest of 2020 repairing detours and completing work around the bridges. Plans to develop public space underneath the bridges are not yet finalized.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

17 hours ago

Roby: More flexibility for America’s working parents

The American workforce has witnessed considerable change in dynamics during the 21st Century: it is more diverse than ever before.

Statistics consistently show the percentage of U.S. families with at least one working parent is on the rise, and it’s no secret that today’s working parents struggle to balance the demands required of them by their jobs and their children.

Time is the most precious resource, especially for mothers and fathers who are putting forth their best efforts to manage families while simultaneously excel in their careers. These hard-working parents deserve and need more choice and flexibility in their daily schedules in order to accomplish both. As a working mom myself, I understand the challenges parents face in managing these responsibilities. I always say that Congress cannot legislate another hour into the day, but we can update our laws to allow more choice and fairness in how employees choose to use their time.

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As the dynamics of the workplace have changed over time, our policies that govern the workplace have not adapted to keep up with these changes. I am proud to again introduce the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2020. This piece of legislation offers compensatory time, or “comp time,” benefits in lieu of cash wages for overtime, allowing private-sector workers the same opportunity that currently exists in the public sector.

This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and removes an outdated and unnecessary federal restriction on the use of comp time in the private sector for hourly employees. Comp time would be completely voluntary for the employer and employee with strong worker protections to prohibit coercion. This is the same legislation I have introduced numerous times, and it passed the House on several occasions. This change in law would provide more flexibility for working moms and dads who need more time to manage their families.

Think about it this way: should a working dad be forced to use all of his vacation time to be involved in his child’s school? Should a military mom have to take sick leave in order to make sure her child is properly taken care of? Whether it’s a parent coaching a child’s sports team, caring for a sick or elderly family member, or getting children to and from school and extracurricular activities, family responsibilities often require parents to take time away from work.

As times have changed, so have demands on our time. This is one proposal that would offer private-sector American workers more freedom and more control over their time in order to spend it the way they choose. This piece of legislation is about the working moms and dads across the country who value their time. I am honored to introduce this bill again in order to show my support for all of the working parents across our nation and to hopefully make life a little easier for the moms and dads in our American workforce.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

18 hours ago

Alabama hunter grants wishes for kids

Jeff Carter didn’t have a plan in 2011 when he started Pine Hills and Oak Hollars Child Classic, an organization that takes sick kids on a weekend hunting trip in northwest Alabama.

“At that time I really didn’t know what it looked like,” Carter said. “The Lord put it on my heart and he called me to do this. We stepped out on faith.”

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Pine Hills and Oak Hollars Child Classic grants wishes for kids from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Carter’s faith paid off. The event, now in its ninth year, has grown from a hunting trip for one child into an extended weekend experience for three kids at a time. The kids are selected through the United Special Sportsman Alliance, all recovering from a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, or a life-altering disorder like autism.

“This is just an opportunity that God has given us to be able to give these kids and their families a chance to get away and get their mind off of a lot of what they’ve been dealing with,” Carter said.

Beau Terry, 18, is one of the young people hunting in this year’s classic. Terry said he was thrilled to get the chance.

“It’s kind of like having a lot of uncles around,” Terry said. “It means a lot.”

In addition to the hunting trip, the kids are given hunting clothes, a DVD video of their weekend and a canvas picture. Carter said their smiles are a blessing to him and his volunteers.

“It’s awesome,” Carter said. “When God calls us to do something, there’s no sense in worry about how much and how, just step out on faith and roll with it because he’s got it figured out already. He will provide.”

For more information about the Pine Hills and Oak Hollars Child Classic, visit the organization’s Facebook page here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)