25 November 2015

American Thanksgiving: Civic Deism at Best


This showed up in my inbox. We use this organization for our standardized tests that we have turn in every few years. I appreciate that service but little else about them. They proffer Theonomic heresies and I receive not a few of these disappointing emails. I've written them back but to no avail. Every year or so, when we buy a new test for one of our children, we're back on their miserable list. I do find some satisfaction in the fact that I 'share' their emails, but not in the way they would wish.

This exemplifies why we as Christians should probably 'not' celebrate this civil holy-day. I haven't bothered with it for many years. I can take it or leave it. If someone invites us over, I'll take the free meal and some (hopefully) good talk. But beyond that, we don't celebrate American Thanksgiving.

But even when visiting someone, if the event starts to take a specifically 'religious' turn, at that point I become apprehensive.

Remember in the end it was a propaganda tool. Our modern Thanksgiving was created to celebrate a military victory, the Union's triumph at Gettysburg.

I have come to completely loathe both sides of the Civil War. I am very happy that the wicked institution of racist chattel slavery ended but beyond that it's a wicked tale of avarice, price and prevarication. Both sides are guilty of these sins including the profiting off the suffering of others.

As Christians we should of course be thankful every single day. Woe unto us if we're not. I don't need or want a government proclamation that tells me to do so, and I find no satisfaction or theological warrant in some kind of quasi-pagan civil expression of it. The god of America, the god of its civil liturgy and symbolism is a god of blood and theft, a god of lies and sorcery. As far as Christianity it goes, the American god is a counterfeit, a forgery and to be rejected.

The fact that state decrees something (whether past of present) that is confused with Christian doctrine... that makes me want to avoid it like the plague. The state is what it is and it's necessary to be sure. God has established it as a temporary restraint on evil for this present age. I'm not expressing anti-statism but we must certainly be opposed to the state attempting to appropriate or co-opt that which is Holy. The state cannot dictate doctrine and practice to the Church. The state is not the Holy institution, it is not indwelt with the power of the Spirit. The state does not build God's Kingdom. The state is the sword, it is violence and vengeance. The state's power and purpose cannot be mixed with the Gospel and when this is done... the result is a heretical deformity, a pseudo-Kingdom of God with a defective theology and inverted ethics.

Christianity is redefined in terms the Scripture does not employ and to view the society as somehow Christian and to set apart (in civic terms) a day for celebration and prayer represent both state transgression of the holy boundary... a rejection of antithesis and our pilgrim status as well as confusion over what exactly is the Church. Is the Church tied to culture and geography? Is America a Neo- or New World Christendom? This is about as Roman Catholic as you can get.

We are exhorted to be renewed in our minds and therefore we are called to think through these things - to question every assumption whether cultural, doctrinal or some mix of the two.

It's so easy for us to see Roman Catholicism arose in the context of synthesis between Roman and Germanic cultures. This culture was mixed with Christianity creating the hybrid of Romanism.

We can see these same impulses at work in the forging of Byzantine or Eastern Christianity. Both systems represent a mix of pagan and Christian influence and confusion of the Holy Kingdom with the political and cultural boundaries they represented.

And yet so very few Christians are able to discern the same cancer at work here. The disease is exactly the same. It's just the context that's different and so it looks different, but if dissected one will find the same force at work.

American Christianity is no different that Medieval Romanism. Both are apostate and both are to be rejected by those adhering to Scriptural authority.

I realize full well that most people aren't concerned about any of these things. For them the day represents a hedonistic ritual of gluttony and a celebration of the culture in the forms of American football and in recent years, shopping. What could be more American than that? That's what the day is... thanking the civic deity for making us Americans... the gluttonous empire with an equally compromised Church, that has a form of godliness but denies the power thereof.

 The fourth Thursday in November is just another Thursday, a good day to go to work or if I am unable to do that, it's a good day to hike in the woods. It's usually pretty quiet.