Gratitude day

Happy Thanksgiving!  Luther described gratitude as “the basic Christian attitude.”  One of the words for the Lord’s Supper, “Eucharist,” means simply “thanksgiving.”  (UPDATE:  The Greek word, in turn, means, literally, “good gift.”  And the word for “gift” is related to the word for “grace.”  The “Eucharist” thus connotes God’s good gift and God’s good grace.  And “thanksgiving” is our response to God’s good gifts and to His good grace.”)

After the jump, a brief discussion of gratitude as a Christian concept. [Read more...]

The psychology (and benefits) of gratitude

The field of psychology has usually concentrated on trying to understand aberrations and psychological problems.  But now a strain is concentrating on “positive psychology,” seeking to understand mental well-being.  A key aspect is gratitude.  People who have an attitude of thankfulness show a whole range of other positive traits, not only psychologically but physicially! [Read more...]

Freebies for Veterans Day

On this Veterans Day, let us honor those who served in the military not by pitying them because we think, rightly or wrongly, that they suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome, but by admiring them for their bravery, their patriotism, and their exploits.

And if you are a veteran, check out all the free stuff that companies are giving you to show their appreciation:  Go to for lists of retailers and travel and recreational offerings.

And in lieu of personally buying you dinner or a drink, after the jump I list a whole slew of chain restaurants. that will treat you on the house.  [Read more...]

The Communion of the Saints

The body consists of innumerable cells.  Each of these has its own distinct life–its own systems of nutrition, reproduction, and protection–and yet these cells group together to form highly specialized organs that, in turn, make up a single body.  The whole scheme, with its incredibly complex relationship of the parts to the whole and the whole to the parts, is astonishing to contemplate.  And the makeup of the body is the Bible’s explanation for the Church and for the relationship each Christian has with the others. This is the “Communion of the Saints” that we celebrated yesterday on All Saints Day. [Read more...]

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

Today is Columbus Day, remembering how Christopher Columbus landed in the “New World” on October 12, 1492.  This has become controversial.  For the people who were already here–the native Americans whom Columbus named “Indians”–the notion that this European “discovered” America is offensive, especially since Columbus’s landing marked the beginning of European colonization and the decimation of the people who were already here.

So, in a great example of co-opting a holiday for another purpose, some cities and the entire state of South Dakota are celebrating October 12 as Indigenous Peoples Day. [Read more...]

Labor & Leisure

Labor Day heralds the end of summer vocations.  Now the Fall begins and it’s back to work.  For students and teachers like me, it has always meant getting serious again and going back to the classrooms for another school year.

This year, for me, the holiday is hitting me in a completely different way since I am retiring.  All summer I have been madly busy finishing up my job, so Labor Day is heralding the beginning of my not laboring, at least in the same way I have all of my life. [Read more...]