November 2007
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  


Search





About
This Blog
The author
     Contact me
     Professional
          My Webpage
          My Faculty Profile
          My Curriculum Vitae (CV)
     Personal/Professional
          My Platial Maps


Archives
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
June 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003


Categories


Links to my published articles online
List of Publications with Full Citations

2007
Language Networks on LiveJournal (pdf)

2006
Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience (pdf)

A Longitudinal Analysis of Weblogs: 2003-2004

2005
Conversations in the Blogosphere: An Analysis "from the Bottom Up" (pdf). Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38) Best Paper Nominee.

Weblogs as a bridging genre (pdf)

2004
Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs. Winner of the 2004 EduBlog Awards as best paper.

Common Visual Design Elements of Weblogs

Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs

Time until my next publication submission deadline
I do not plan on submitting articles for publication until I have defended my qualifying paper - expected to happen during Spring Semester 2008.


Links to my conference papers online
2005
The Performativity of Naming: Adolescent Weblog Names as Metaphor

2004
Buxom Girls and Boys in Baseball Hats: Adolescent Avatars in Graphical Chat Spaces

Time until my next conference submission deadline
1 December 2007 23:59:59 UTC-0500


Bibliographies
Adolescents and Teens Online Bibiliography
Last updated July 8, 2005.

Weblog and Blog Bibliography
Last Updated November 22, 2005.

CommonplaceBook
A weblog to gather quotations from my academic reading.

My CiteULike Page

My Book2
New books are added but reading status is rarely accurate.


November 22, 2007

"Thanksgiving" is an action word

This morning I gave the sermon at our Thanksgiving Service. I decided to post it for posterity. Hope you enjoy it.


When I was a kid I would have told you that Christmas was my favorite holiday for two reasons – music, and presents – not necessarily in that order. Nevertheless, looking back, I think that Thanksgiving was actually my favorite holiday – Christmas was too focused on who got what gifts and was the amount spent on everyone exactly equal, and Palm Sunday and Easter were often confounded with my birthday, which is in April. No I think Thanksgiving was my favorite with it’s focus on those we care about the most and on food.

I was blessed to have wonderful women in my life…women who showed their love with their hands when they cooked. My father’s mother’s angel food cakes were legendary…having spent her life on the farm with fresh organic free-range eggs and whole unpasteurized unhomogenized milk she could take those wonderful wholesome ingredients and whip up a cake with frosting that would set my pre-teen heart a flutter. Sometime you should ask my brother or sister about the Angel Food cakes with Carmel Icing we loved to have as birthday cakes.

My mother’s mother, having been a farm girl who became a town wife, didn’t have her prime ingredients immediately at hand, but none the less, her yeast rolls are to this day a family legend. As the only bread baker of my generation, not that I actually bake it all that much, I am assailed with requests to make “Aunt Annie’s” rolls whenever I am to attend a family gathering in Indianapolis. A request I have yet to fulfill.

You see, I can make yeast rolls. I make good yeast rolls, even ones that look like Grandma’s rolls - since she taught me the secret two-handed flip that made them come out so smooth and rounded on the top. However, while they look like Grandma’s rolls they don’t taste like them.

Part of the reason my rolls don’t taste the same as hers is that the ingredients I buy in 2007 just don’t taste like the ones she had in the 1960’s. Store bought butter isn’t as buttery now, flour seems to be old and sort of off even when you open a new package that you bought only minutes before.

However, that’s only part of the reason mine taste different. Mine taste different because I am different. I was a farm kid in the 1960’s not the 1910’s. I’ve spent my life around cars, and manufacturing machines, and books, and computers; not raising kids and primarily taking care of a home and a family. Therefore, while I can mix the ingredients – there is no secret recipe here; Grandma’s yeast roll recipe is straight out of the old Betty Crooker Cookbook. I can knead the dough, form the rolls, and do all the proper raising and proofing required…the essence of me that the rolls absorb from my working them adds something different than the flavor she gave.

Oh and there was one other huge difference between my Grandmother’s baking and my own. You see my Grandmother did the baking for me on Thanksgiving, not to keep me feed since Thanksgiving in the U.S. is not, for most of us, about daily sustenance. Rather, Thanksgiving for most of us is about abundance. No, she did it for me…to show the love she could not have then expressed any other way. And I ate at that fountain, and would do so today if the opportunity were available to me. Because as William Jennings Bryan said, “On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence.”

On Thanksgiving Day, we acknowledge our dependence on each other for emotional support when we are in trouble. We acknowledge our families and our friends who support us when we cannot support ourselves.

Did you know that Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” at a time when Puritanism had forced a decline in Christmas celebrations? The Industrial Revolution, in full swing in Dickens' time, allowed workers little time for the celebration of Christmas. Dickens' describes the Christmas holiday as

a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of other people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.

This was what Dickens described for the rest of his life as the "Carol Philosophy". Somehow, we’ve turned Christmas into a “give me” season rather than the purer celebration of Christ’s Birth that Dickens envisioned.

Many years ago, I spent a Christmas Season working backstage at Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT). That year was one of the seasons were “A Christmas Carol” was performed. For that month of eight-shows-a-week, I handed props to actors as they went on stage and gathered the props back once they were no longer needed. For eight-shows-a-week I was surrounded by Dickens’ world, and what I remember most is the turkey. It was a huge bird, the size of your average 7-year-old child. Moreover, while it looked like a real turkey to the audience, it was in fact a hollow bird…a wireframe wrapped in paper and covered in latex, then painted to look like a perfectly baked turkey. I will always remember my father’s mother’s reaction after she saw the play that winter. “I wouldn’t want to try to cook a bird that big it would never get done.” However, you see that was in fact part of the point, the bird was for show not for a real family’s celebration.

Like the apostles in our gospel reading today [John 6:25-35], it is easy to miss the underlying meaning of things when we have a full stomach. You see first “thanksgiving” is an action word, something we do toward our Lord and other people. Like the manna the Bible refers to, our Thanksgiving should go beyond providing sustenance to our bodies…it should feed our souls as well. Without the food for our souls, our Thanksgiving is as hollow as the IRT turkey, or as unfamiliar as comparing my yeast rolls to my grandmother’s. However, you can’t – in fact - compare that big-ole-fake-bird to either of our yeast rolls, since the rolls were, and are, made with love.

As my grandmother aged the life she had lead took its toll on her, as all our lives have or will take their toll on us. She became fixated with what she ate and blamed food for all her troubles. Nevertheless, even when she was in that dark place and would not eat bread believing herself to be allergic to wheat, she still made yeast rolls for us. Lovingly mixing, kneading, forming, and proofing those future brown balls of goodness…because and only because, my brother, sister, and I loved to eat them so much.

You see my grandmother got it, at least in part, Thanksgiving is an action word. She gave thanks for her grandchildren, not through words – which are often as hollow as that huge turkey – but through actions. And as we all know, actions are what show our real thoughts and our real feelings.

By way of a prayer will you join me for two short poems – the first from George Herbert and the second from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Thou has given so much to me,
Give one thing more – a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything, Thy goodness sends.

Amen.

Posted by prolurkr at November 22, 2007 06:44 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.professional-lurker.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/1659

Comments

Post a comment




Remember Me?