PHA: Conflicting Traditions Remind Us To Be Thankful

Thanksgiving dominates November. And whatever our religion, we all celebrate the holiday. In fact, more than any other national holiday, Thanksgiving has profound spiritual roots.

6281164-e1398183944472But almost as popular in our culture today is the day after Thanksgiving: the so-called “Black Friday.” The largest, craziest shopping day of the year. You can’t miss the stories on television every year of the mad shoppers, frantically trying to save a few bucks.

To me, it’s an extraordinary that these two “holidays” come back-to-back. Speaking about “Black Friday” a few years ago now, my colleague the Rev. David Weber deliciously summed up the ironies:

“Americans stopped for awhile yesterday to give thanks for what they have, then rose this morning, early, and left the house, praying ‘But it’s not enough.’ ”

I mean, it is ironic, isn’t it? We spend an entire holiday giving thanks to God, our families and friends. We gather to eat a bounty of food. We rest in the knowledge that we are richly blessed. And then, the very next day, we rush out to buy, spend and acquire more.

(This is my November worship column for Preston Hollow Advocate. Read the rest here).


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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of The Woods United Methodist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. For seventeen years, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas, Texas. Eric is an avid blogger and published author. Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy.

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