It was around the year 500 when 14-year-old Benedict, disgusted with the cultural decay of Rome, retreated to the isolated life of a monk, eventually founding the Monte Cassino monastery.
“The Rule of St. Benedict” became his legacy – rules for living still employed by those within the Benedictine order.
Rule 53 is perhaps his best known:
Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for He is going to say, “I came as a guest, and you received Me” (Matt. 25:35). And to all let due honor be shown, especially to the domestics of the faith and to pilgrims.
We begin this morning with similar Thanksgiving related advice from Focus on the Family’s chief of counseling, Geremy Keeton:
1. How should Christians celebrate Thanksgiving with non-believing family, friends?
From the Christian Post:
Geremy Keeton, the senior director of Focus on the Family’s Counseling Services Department, told CP that there is nothing new about people of different faiths coming together for Thanksgiving.
“Lest we be discouraged by any of this, keep in mind that an ‘interfaith’ gathering is basically at the root of Thanksgiving,” Keeton said, referencing the 1620 meal in colonial Massachusetts generally considered the “First Thanksgiving.”
“Weren’t the English Puritan Pilgrims and Native Americans the originators of the first ‘American interfaith’ Thanksgiving meal? You might say that sharing ‘bounty’ and pausing to be grateful for it has brought together diversity of culture and faith for quite some time, hasn’t it?”
For Christian families hosting non-Christian guests, Keeton emphasized the importance of being hospitable and not forceful about beliefs.
“Welcome people. Be curious and open about their lives. Share who you are and what makes you grateful while inviting them to do the same,” he explained.
“Listen and gently respond. Don’t force an agenda. Just live out the light of Christ that has changed you for the better. The table of gratefulness is not really a table for debate.”
When Christians attend gatherings hosted by non-Christians on Thanksgiving, Keeton advised being “a good guest” and taking “cues from your host.”
“Be open to their lead while remaining in your own sense of integrity and a grateful connection to your Lord and faith. A thankful spirit, even for the smallest of things a host provides, is a lovely outgrowth of your walk with Him,” the Focus on the Family director said.
“Focusing prayerfully and intently on the fruit of the Spirit prior to a gathering over which you’re feeling nervous might be a really useful and calming idea.”
- ‘Divisive Year’ Results in More Support for Religious Freedom, New Survey Shows
From The Daily Citizen:
In its third annual Religious Freedom Index, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty finds that Americans’ support for religious freedom principles has actually increased from 12 months ago, despite the cultural divides over politics, the pandemic, race relations and immigration that were especially pervasive over the last year.
Becket surveyed the opinions of 1,000 American adults on a wide spectrum of questions concerning religious liberty protections under the First Amendment. The responses fell generally into six categories: Religious Pluralism; Religion and Policy; Religious Sharing; Religion in Society; Church and State; and Religion in Action.
This year’s composite score of 68, according to Becket, represents an increase of two points from last year. The key findings for 2021 include:
- Americans want a fair shake for faith-based organizations: Americans value faith-based organizations and want the government to partner with them on fair and equal terms.
- Americans value religious voices in national conversation: Even in heated national debates, Americans want faith-based opinions and worldviews to be heard.
- Agreeing on the essentials, Americans prioritize houses of worship in a pandemic: Americans continue to value religion during the pandemic, with most saying houses of worship provide essential services.
“As Americans bounce back from a divisive year, we see an increased commitment to a wide range of religious freedom principles,” Luke Goodrich, senior counsel at Becket and co-editor of the Index, said in a press release. “This across-the-board support shows a renewed confidence that protecting religious exercise and expression benefits American culture and civic life.”
3. Goya Foods CEO Warns of ‘Hard Times,’ Blames ‘Big Government’ for Dismantling Nation
From The Daily Citizen:
Goya Foods president and CEO Bob Unanue is warning that “hard times” are ahead, stemming from the government’s extremely loose monetary policy and our national loss of hardiness.
In an interview on Fox Business’ “Varney & Co,” Unanue joked with show host Stuart Varney that the reason the price of lumber has spiked so much is “because the government has been printing so much money.”
“We’ve gone from capitalism to socialism,” Unanue said. “The government has stepped in as our competitor. They’ve incentivized people not to work. Four million people left the workforce in September. So, we have to deal with a competitor that can print money all day.”
“You know, the U.S. is the biggest consumer in the world,” he told Varney. “We consume more drugs and, unfortunately, trafficked children.”
Earlier this year, Goya Foods announced a $2 million gift to combat human trafficking.
Unanue also spoke to the amount of support Goya has received after leftists tried to cancel the company because Unanue spoke positively about former President Donald Trump at a press conference last year.
“We’ve had so much support,” he said. “We’ve kept our core market.”
“We did very well because we kept working. We have a reason to get up every day. To work. For God, family, work and school.
- Black Professor Says Woke Racism is the New Secular Religion Hurting Blacks
From The Daily Citizen:
What if racial politics in America today has become, not just like a religion, but an actual religion itself?
That is precisely the case Columbia University linguist John McWhorter persuasively makes in his new bestseller, Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America. Interestingly, as a classically atheistic liberal, McWhorter takes a decidedly dim view of religion. But as a black intellectual, he also takes an extremely critical view of how racial politics has evolved in America in the past few years and he lays out his reasons in this important book.
McWhorter recently explained to Reason magazine, “I wrote Woke Racism, not as some boring statement from the right wing about family values and people pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.” He added, “There are black people who need help and the people who are calling themselves ‘black people’s savior’s’ now don’t understand this, but they’re actually hurting black people.” McWhorter’s criticism is these “saviors” are “caught up more in virtue signaling to one another to assuage their own guilt, than actually helping people who need help.”
But McWhorter also has a distinct message for parents about this new secular religion, entreating them, “Do not heed those who say that this religion is important. Make no mistake: These people are coming after your kids.”
- New York junior high school segregating students by race in order to ‘undo legacy of racism’: ‘It’s insidious’
From The NY Post:
A Manhattan junior high school plans to racially separate students while discussing identity and social justice topics next week, The Post has learned.
The Lower Manhattan Community School will conduct the controversial exercises as part of its mission to “undo the legacy of racism and oppression in this country that impacts our school community,” according to an email sent to parents.
Kids in grades seven and eight will opt into one of five categories, Principal Shanna Douglas wrote in the message.
Whites, Asians, and multi-racial students have their own categories, while African-American and Hispanic students are combined into one group, according to her email.
- Museum of the Bible Kicks Off National Bible Week at DC’s Iconic National Mall
From CBN News:
Museum of the Bible, located in our nation’s capital, is giving away “Global Impact Bibles” at David’s Tent DC on the National Mall this weekend.
The Global Impact Bible is a unique study Bible that focuses on the impact that Scripture has had on the world, rather than just using it for personal guidance. Nearly 900 beautifully illustrated articles are embedded within the Bible which also uses the English Standard Version translation.
“It’s no coincidence to me that National Bible Week and the Thanksgiving holiday are intertwined,” said Harry Hargrave, CEO of Museum of the Bible. “The Bible calls us in many ways to look outside ourselves, to serve others, and to be grateful for life’s blessings, which is why we’re thrilled to offer free Bibles to visitors to our nation’s capital.”
The event will take place from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Museum guests who purchase a ticket can also receive a Global Impact Bible from Monday, Nov. 22, through Friday, Nov. 26.
7. Will Ryan Dies: Emmy-Nominated Disney and Adventures in Odyssey Voice Actor, Was 72
Will Ryan, the veteran voice actor known for breathing life into such classic Disney characters as Willie the Giant and Peg-Leg Pete, who also once served as the president of international animation organization ASIFA, died on Friday afternoon following a short battle with cancer. He was 72.
Ryan entered his 34th year as a series regular on the Focus on the Family radio show Adventures in Odyssey in 2021. In that weekly series—which aired daily in many markets—he performed more than 100 characters, more than any other actor in the show’s history.
8. How a preacher’s son made The Babylon Bee sting
From the Deseret News:
Seth Dillon was born in Washington D.C., the middle child of three in a family that moved around because his father was an evangelical pastor of nondenominational Bible churches.
“I had a lot of insight into how churches are run and what kind of issues come up in the church. I know the youth group life,” Dillon said in an interview.
True to its roots, the website continued to make jokes about churches and churchgoers, with headlines like “Parents Fulfill Duty to Bring Kids up in the Lord by Dropping Them Off at Youth Group for an Hour Every Week” and “8 Ways to Bring Your Bored Congregants Back to Church.”
But its content is also heavily political. The company’s new book, “The Babylon Bee Guide to Wokeness,” written by Mann and Joel Berry, promises to teach readers “how to take your wokeness to the next level by canceling friends, breaking windows and burning it all to the ground.”
Speaking to conservatives in Orlando, Dillon offered one of his favorite G.K. Chesterton quotes: “The world has become too absurd to be satirized.” For evidence, he pointed to what he calls The Babylon Bee’s “prophecies” — stories that started as jokes, but then actually came true — for example, Donald Trump suggesting that he had done more for Christianity than Jesus. The Bee wrote this as a joke in 2019, but Trump later actually said he had done more for Christianity “and religion itself” than anyone else.
As for Babylon Bee articles that are misconstrued or believed to be true when they aren’t, McClennen, at Penn State, said that this largely happens in the context of social-media sharing, such as when people see a Bee headline on a Facebook feed and aren’t familiar with the site.
But Dillon observes that this, too, makes a point, and as such, the article is doing its job.
“When one of our jokes is believable, and you think that it’s possible that CNN might praise the Taliban for wearing masks, who’s that an indictment of — the satirist or CNN?” he said at the panel in Orlando.
“The problem isn’t that satire is too close to reality. The problem is that reality has become satirical.”
- Dream job alert! Get paid to watch 25 holiday films in 25 days
From Fox 5:
Are you ready for the ultimate holiday movie challenge? Oh, and you’ll get paid for it, too.
Reviews.org announced earlier this week they are looking for a Chief Holiday Cheermeister for the holidays — a person who is willing to watch 25 holiday movies in 25 days for $2,500.
From Home Alone and A Christmas Story to Jingle All The Way and It’s a Wonderful Life, Reviews.org needs help from a specific enthusiast to help them find the best holiday movie of all time and write a post-movie survey after watching the films.
The giving doesn’t stop there, though. Reviews.org says they will also gift the chosen applicant one-year subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Apple TV+ and Hallmark Movies Now.
Applicants must be 18 years of age and older and already have a device compatible for streaming, the company added.
Reviews.org will be accepting applications until 4:00 p.m. PST on Dec. 3. To apply, click here.
- A Ping-Pong Table and a Lifetime of Memories
Bob Greene writes in the Wall Street Journal:
You wouldn’t think an old slab of wood could provide such joy. You wouldn’t think it could fill a life with so many memories.
Certainly Steve Fortuna had no such hopes 50 years ago when he paid $15 for it. He works in finance now, in downtown Chicago, and was sharing some stories with me about his old neighborhood. Back then he lived with his mother, his father and three sisters in a four-room apartment. His bed was a couch in the living room. One bathroom for the six of them, with a bathtub, no shower.
So when his dad saved enough to buy a modest house on the same Chicago block, Steve was thrilled. The family would at last have space to stretch out.
On the day before the move, Steve bought a used ping-pong table from a school friend. He had saved the $15 by returning soda-pop bottles for the deposits. He and his buddy lugged the table into the house and down the narrow stairs to the basement.
There was a sweet symbolism to it: His mother and father had met at a ping-pong table in the break room of the factory where, before Steve was born, the two of them had worked.
The first night in their new home, Steve and his father picked up paddles and played a game. It became a regular activity, and he sensed that his dad took pride in seeing him become better at it.
For the first time in his life, Steve was living in a place where he could invite friends over. Every weekend, with a record player providing the soundtrack, all of them would play ping-pong and talk for hours. He cherished those days and nights.
The house gave the family space for large gatherings. The ping-pong table in the basement became a dining table. The net would be taken down, relatives would arrive, platters of food would be set upon the surface. And over the years the news that most mattered—an aunt announcing the impending birth of a baby, a cousin returning from Vietnam, a couple shyly saying they were engaged—would fill the air.
When his father died his mom stayed there by herself, and when she finally had to move to a place where she wouldn’t be alone, the house was put on the market. Steve came in from the suburbs to close it up.
The furniture had all been given away or sold. But there was one piece remaining, down in the basement.
He hoped whoever moved in would find happiness in using that old slab of wood and treat it with care. As he drove home, he glanced at the passenger seat and at what was resting on it. You wouldn’t think that a man’s throat would tighten and his eyes fill with tears at the sight of two battered ping-pong paddles.