Seasons, Thanksgiving and it’s “traditions”

23 11 2017

I love the “holidays”. Especially when Thanksgiving comes. For me it signals the beginning of the circle of the seasons. Beginning with Giving Thanks, the height of the fall/autumn/harvest season, the beginning of Advent, the soon coming winter Solstice the “darkest, longest night” of the year, followed by the birth of the Bright and Morning Star, the Sun (Son) Eternal, followed by Epiphany, the Lenten Spring, culminating in the Feast of Feasts, Pascha, the Resurrection of the Son of Man and Son of God, with the blessings of Pentecost where out of many tribes, tongues and nations we have the opportunity to become united in one Body, healing the divides between human beings and God, and between one another.

Tied up in Thanksgiving, I’m once again bothered by the “political correctness” that grips our American culture to the point of guilt, strangulation and making us prisoner to hide our desire to celebrate. This year’s disturbance caused me to jump on my “soapbox” because of reading a Facebook post which referenced another blog by Kathy Escobar, which you can read hear, A More Honest Thanksgiving.

I must say I do agree with much of what Kathy says,

“I don’t feel guilty for celebrating.

Gratitude is usually always a good thing. It heals. It helps bring light into darkness. It binds us together. It’s a spiritual practice.

But I also think it’s important to be more honest about the roots of Thanksgiving.

I read the Doctrine of Discovery a few years ago and the words have been embedded in my mind every since. Papal decrees in the 1400’s, it laid some of the tracks for what we live with today—oppression, discrimination, separation, and prejudice. All in the name of Jesus. The destructive roots of Christian colonialism are deep and strong.”

As many of you know I’m not one to keep quiet… (okay, you can stop laughing now). I did make my comments on both Facebook and her blog.

However, I thought I would post my more lengthy thoughts here…

Yes, what was later known as the “Doctrine of Discovery” was a power grab, land grab, conquering grab. (It originally started out as a series of Papal Bulls between Spain and Portugal over territorial disputes.)

But remember it was a time of those in power to conquer or be conquered. It was s time of state formations and migrations of large people groups.

Much of the lands of Christiandom had just come through an assault by the Saracens/Turks/Islam with the bulk of Christians martyred and killed for their faith and the ancient lands of Christianity and Judaism, much of North Africa and into a large portion of Europe were overrun by the Saracens.

Unfortunately it was also a time where Eastern Christians had already split with the West and unless they bowed to Rome they could expect no help with the Saracens. It is in this climate where Christians began to make protests against the abuses in the church by those in authority and often in collusion with Rulers of other countries (the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation), thus sojourner/pilgrims began traveling from one country to another to freely worship God yet they were ignorant that they were still slaves to a “superiority” mindset over “barbarians” engrained from the culture in which they were raised.

On to North Americans…

I finished reading a book called “1491” by Charles C Mann (2nd Edition) based on the most current archeological artifacts and narratives of the Americas. It has a very different point of view that I had not heard in this dialogue and may upset some of the “politically correct” narratives. His follow-up book 1493 was also fascinating.

It mentioned there was quite a bit of tribal warfare between opposing tribes along with disease wiping out entire tribes brought by European traders & slavers.

Another good read is “Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War” by Nathaniel Philbrick.

The basics of the back history to the Thanksgiving story is Chief Massasoit had been playing a political angle for better positioning and protection from an opposing tribal group. And there were two rival interpreters Squanto and another man (I can’t remember his name at this time) playing rival factions which all erupted in violence.

Chief Massasoit (smaller/weaker tribe) actually gave land with promised conditions of “my enemies are yours” so when another tribal group attacked, (a set up by one of the interpreters) the “pilgrims” were obligated to kill the opposing party. War broke out, and as in all wars there is decimation and devastation on both sides, but ultimately the settlers were the victors.

Long story short, rival tribal groups continued to play opposing sides with various European factions all the way up to the war of 1800’s. England was hiring one tribe to fight the newly formed United States of America who hired other native tribes to fight back.

Both European Americans and Native Americans were making promises that went unkept.

Along with European Americans having no idea that they brought diseases that native Americans had no immune system to fight against. They had a presumptuous false belief that God was blessing their “superior race” and punishing the heathens. Although many white people died from the small pox and influenza that swept through the colonies it did not wreck the devastation as it did on the natives.

As I mentioned before, we often forget this was a time period of European colonialism which spread across the globe. New political States/Countries we’re forming and boundary lines new constantly being redrawn.

Very different mindset and culture than we have today. The rise of Feudalism and “landed” people vs. “peasants”. It’s easy for us to slip into judgement of how “evil” the Western Caucasian Europeans were. But we should be cautious to label one “group of people” as the sole blame for “colonialism” when around the world it was s time of great upheaval and migration.

Let us also remember the conquests of the Asiatic cultures throughout Asia of one warring faction against another… names like: the Mongols, Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, the Sultans of the “tribes” of Central Asia, the Saracens, Turks & Islam conquests eventually known as the Ottoman Empire.

Maybe let us go all the way back to the various warring tribes since the time of Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel, “Ishmael against Issac”, Africans warring against and enslaving each other, all over the world where differing tribes try to conquer other tribes, including Europeans against Europeans (English vs. Irish, Catholic vs. Orthodox, French vs. English, etc.) up to the present day where we have Shiite’s vs. Sunni’s, Zulu’s vs. Hutu’s, and more.

Us against Them… we are still fighting over resources and differences.

Thanksgiving is a reminder we all are part of, in some way, a guilty tribe of one or the other.

Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity and a time to lay down our “arms” and open up our “arms” to “embrace the other without loss of the self” as Miroslav Volf would say in the latest book I’m reading, “Exclusion and Embrace” (given to me by my sister, Dr. Deborah Dunn, PhD, professor at Westmont College, Santa Barbara).

Thanksgiving is a time to remember how one “tribe” (Native Americans) decided to help another starving “tribe” (European settlers fleeing persecution, exclusion or annihilation) to survive.

At that time and place, having a meal together to celebrate and give thanks, was to recognize the benefits of the mutual survival of both tribes, a time of peace and diversity and sharing a common table and giving thanks.

Perhaps we can still learn from the “first thanksgiving” and not just about the food, and football and Macy’s parades.

Perhaps we can still seek the image of our creator God in the face of the other person, including one we would deem as our enemy or “not like us”.

Truly, each individual is made in His image, each one has unique gifts, talents, skills to enhance our own lives as much as we have to enhance theirs. Their is a universal law of the Sanctity of a Human Life.

Let us remember, let us repent, let us forgive, let us let go of the pain, let us embrace, let us heal, let us give thanks for each other and the God who created us all and longs to embrace us into One Body… His Love!

Let us celebrate and give Thanks for each other, our blessings, our God. Happy Thanksgiving

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27 02 2017




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19 11 2016




Mike’s Song

19 04 2014

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Today is the birthday of my brother, Michael Claude Dunn. He lived a short life, but it was full of adventure & trials, joys & struggles, many cherished memories. RIP 1969-1995

Here’s a poem in remembrance of him today:

Mike’s Song
(c) copyright August 9, 1995

Beat the drums slowly,
Float the beat on the breeze.
Play the pipes loudly,
Mike’s easy to please.

Violins for the Gypsy
Deep down in his soul,
And a rockin’ guitar…
With a bass thunder roll.

He was young, in his prime
When he slipped from our sight,
But his song will go on…
Well into the night.

The presence will fade
As time marches on
But will ever return…
On the wings of his song.

A song that is gentle…
And caring, yet strong.
A song that will render
The right from the wrong.

A song that will laugh,
A song that will cry,
A song of his life…
As our lives pass by.

For twenty six years,
Through laughter and pain,
He wrote his own song
Up to the final refrain.

The rhythm was different
The tempo was strange
The coda… returning…
Again… and again.

Then a warm summer night,
In a place that he loved,
He reached for his Lord,
For help from above.

“They” supplied him with words
That forever ring true
“God loves you, My son.
Your troubles are through.”

“Come look at your room
In the mansion above,
Look down, let our spirit…
Console those you love.”

“Let us dry up their tears,
And send them along…
‘Till one day they return…
Singing… Mike’s song.”

Written by: C.L. Dunn, Mike’s Dad
Music by: K.V. Dunn, Mike’s Sister





Journey to the Cross, the Tomb, the Resurrection.

18 04 2014

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Maybe you have come to a place in your life that feels like a dead end, you’re going nowhere, life seems hopeless. Maybe you think that you have sinned one too many times, failed too many times, keep doing things you don’t want to do but you do them over and over again. Maybe you feel you’re at the end of the rope, the stress, the worries, about money, health, family, children, the state of the world, or the area you live in. You’ve tried to “get it together”. You’ve tried to have a “stiff upper lip”. You’ve tried will power or “pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps”. All your efforts have been ineffective and you have realized you can’t change anything on your own or in your own strength. It’s beyond your capabilities.

I have some good news! If we could fix, rescue, save ourselves, we would not need a Savior, a Deliverer, an Advocate, a Rescuer, a Redeemer, a Great Physician, a Comforter.

If we could live up to all that is right and have good health, with plenty of money to spend, we would probably be so high-minded and so full of our own self-righteousness, with our homes full of material worthless possessions. We would not hear the cries of the broken, let alone be aware of them or understand them.

It is when we are broken and humbled, brought low and become weak, finally hearing and seeing, and hoping that someone will hear and see us, it is in this state real Love steps in.

God knew we needed Him. Before we asked, He had the answer. Before we looked, He was standing before us. Before we knocked, He was in our midst. Before we died, He died for us so we could live. Before we went to hell, He descended into hell, broke the gates, and set the hostages free, breaking the chains, and overcame the demons.

As a Christian you may know all this in your head, but getting it to sink deep down into our hearts is another matter. Just by being honest with God, knowing we can’t change ourselves, is the first step. This is where God’s mercy and grace comes in to transform our lives. This is what Easter is all about.

Perhaps Easter is not a big celebration because we are still focusing on pain, sin, suffering, death and all of our dreams and hopes have been buried at the bottom of the sea or in a mile high mud slide. We are stuck on “Good Friday & Great Saturday” and we can’t see anything “good or great” about it. Except we can’t just stop there.

Yes, there is a time to deal with our sins and failures, life’s disappointments and tragedies. We need to remember the “Via Delarosa” the road to Christ’s crucifixion; how Jesus carried the load if humanity’s sins, failures and tragedies to calvary and then was nailed with all of this to the Cross.

We need to remember how the Lamb of God loved us, was slain for us and died for us, even while we were still at war with God and still God’s enemy.

We need to be reminded no matter how perfect or good we might think we are, even then we are filthy rags compared to the perfection and holiness of God. We are never going to measure up, will always fall short. We are set in our own selfish ways, no matter how close we get to God, we will still tend to be selfish and self-willed.

This is why we need God. This is why Jesus died. We need a Savior.

But then… God was not content to leave us at the cross. God was not done with being buried. God, Himself triumphed over death. He has conquered hell and the grave. “Oh death where is your sting? Oh grave where is your victory?”

As it was for Christ God, we too must go through death… death to our own ideas of somehow earning our way into God’s presence; death to our own works of righteousness and good works; death to our own ways, our own dreams. We also need to let Jesus take our sin, even when we can’t give it to Him. Only in dying can we obtain new life. Jesus trampled down death by death.

Having died with Christ, it is time we remember we are to live in Christ. Let us no longer linger in death and burial. Let us visit the empty tomb. Let us see the guards as dead men. Let us hear the Angels proclamation, “He is risen, just as He said.”

Easter is about Jesus conquering death, not us conquering death, but God. Only by hiding in the shelter of His wings, coming under His robe, being washed in His blood, losing ourself in Jesus, will we too conquer death.

God has been faithful through centuries of generations of individuals who have put their trust in Him. God is faithful even when we are not. The steadfast love of The Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. We can take Him at His Word.

Right now, our lives may be full of stress and very topsy turvy. I know that better days are ahead if we put our trust in the Lord. I also know things might get full of trials and tribulations and temptations.

The Spirit of The Lord will come upon our lives to comfort us, walk beside us, live inside us, will be our strength, will pray for us when we don’t know how.

God will give us a peace that passes understanding, a joy overflowing, a hope everlasting, a trust that is faithful and a love all fulfilling. More than what we can ask, think, or comprehend.

He opened the way to Life and not an ordinary one but an abundant life. He gave us something stronger than “happiness”, He gave us JOY! He loves us unconditionally with an everlasting love. He takes as we are and transforms us into what we were destined to be.

I truly am blessed and I do mean blessed when I remember the people, friends, family, even strangers who have come into my life. God had sent all of them, even those who have meant evil, all we’re sent by God. All have helped me in so many ways to bring me closer to God; to find enjoyment in this life; see things through the eyes of a child; to see the wonders of the world around me and so much more to discover. To truly pray “Our Father, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

Now everyday I ask myself, “In the light of Eternity, what does it matter?” It puts into perspective what is eternally important and what is going to pass away. I want to know Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings, that I might know Him in the power of His resurrection.

“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death. And on those in the tombs bestowing life.”

Christ is risen! In Truth He is risen! He is risen indeed!

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My Prayer

2 04 2014

Abba, my Father, Your child, I am.
Mold me, make me, within Your hands.
To do Your will as a joint heir.
To be Your servant, this is my prayer.

Jesus, I need You to heal me from sin;
To serve You completely, free from pride within
Seeking Your kingdom, joy, peace, righteousness;
Your will, not mine and nothing less.

Sweet Spirit come in, fill me with love.
Anoint me with power from up above.
Your mind & heart, purify me with fire.
To be like You, becomes my desire.

Waiting & watching make Your way clear;
​To be doing, not sleeping, until Your return.
​Then all my needs met, all my fears gone,
​Satisfied and content, You and I as one.

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Redefining the Good

18 03 2014

A friend of mine who has Rheumatoid Arthritis & Fibromyalgia has a Blog called Redefining the Good. It is a good one full of empathy & encouragement for those who struggle with chronic illness or disease or knows who knows someone struggling.

She just posted a Blog that I really enjoyed. So much so, I responded in a lengthy comment. Then I thought I think I’ll post my thoughts along with the link to her blog as well. May you be able to Redefine the Good in your life & be encouraged.

Here is the link to her Blog post.
http://redefininggood.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/spring-has-sprung/

And here is my response:

I can relate in so many ways. It is allergy season here! I just finally realized the nausea & upset stomach in the morning is because my sinuses are draining into my stomach at night. So… Back on my allergy meds.

The FATIGUE is BAD for me these lasts several months along with break-through PAIN even with meds so I had to go back to twice a day instead of once a day for one Rx & 3x/day for the other rather than once a day.

I’ve always liked the title of your blog “redefining the good”. Just a few weeks ago, after someone asked how I was doing & I said the usual answer “good”. Partly because it was only an acquaintance & like you just not close enough to share, because they wouldn’t understand anyway & then try to “fix” me.

As I walked away I asked myself if I was honest. It got me to thinking. Yes, I was feeling “good” because this was the new “normal”, the new “good”. I’m sure you understand. Acceptance is a rough place to get to.

I had realized awhile ago that things may not ever get better, there may not be a miracle cure, and actually as I get older I will most likely get worse as part of the aging process.

Just by thinking about how far my mental & spiritual state had come, I could honestly say I was feeling good. I know what a horrible day is & I know what a spectacular day is. However on most days it’s just every day living. I’ve come around to “redefining the good”.

Glory to God for all things!








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