Thanksgiving: Take Offense or Find Joy & Kindness?

I was pondered all that I had to be thankful for on this annual 4th Thursday in November, set aside for just such thinking. With the swirling tides of 2020 pulling at me, it was a real effort to not get swept away in doubt, cynicism, anger and even a touch of self-righteousness. Taking a long walk, focusing on Jesus and asking his guidance, I had to laugh. Maybe all the craziness in the world should be viewed like a Saturday Night Live skit and simply laughed at, robbing it of its negative energy. The issues we face and our struggles are real, but are we giving them more power than they deserve?  Nothing like a good chuckle to disarm fear and anger. I think we laugh best when we laugh with others and often our own selves are the best material, especially when we are taking ourselves a bit too seriously.

With those thoughts in mind, I penned a little something in response to my own admittedly cynical perspective of viewing words and titles being the problem rather the true underlying issues in our hearts.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed composing it. Our own thoughts are our own best material…

Dear NFL,

While congratulations appear to be in order for the decision to remove the R-word from the ‘Washington Football Team,’ I would humbly suggest that the task is not yet finished.  As a vertically challenged person throughout my childhood, I find that ‘Giants’ evokes painful memories of teasing and struggling to get jump shots over unfairly taller opponents.

Along the same line of reasoning, what about ‘Bills?’  Didn’t settlers and the US Army nearly eradicate the vast herds of buffalo that once roamed the great plains?  Weren’t these animals a primary food, clothing and shelter source for Native Americans? Surely this mascot evokes painful memories of more bountiful times? And what about ‘Cowboys?’  My recollection of childhood westerns was that of a lot of cowboys, well, shooting a lot of other people, even as they both galloped full tilt at each other. I’m not sure why one side were so much better marksmen. Finally, on that note, and realizing that all Kansas City teams carry leadership titles, aren’t we still hitting a little too close to Washington with ‘Chiefs’? Leaders do not flock, so please don’t pick another bird.

We must end the glorification of lawless brigands who steal, plunder, pillage and burn – ‘Vikings’, ‘Raiders’ ‘Steelers’ and ‘Buccaneers’ must go. ‘49ers’ were greedy and wild – all are poor examples for our children.

Our brothers across the pond likely feel taunted about ‘Patriots.’ We colonials can be a be a bit cheeky about our successes on the battlefield, but let’s remember our common heritage.

Our green friends must be besides themselves with the ‘Chargers.’  Fossil fuel burning power plants generate this voltage. ‘Jets’ are an even more egregious carbon footprinter.

Birds seem pretty safe. On second thought, ‘Eagles,’ ‘Cardinals,’ ‘Sea Hawks’ ‘Ravens’ and ‘Falcons’ are all flesh consumers. Our vegan friends’ feelings need to be taken into consideration. And what about flightless birds?  Ostriches and chickens may be feeling slighted.

Did you check with organized labor regarding the ‘Packers?’ 

The ‘Texans’ have had six different countries’ flags flown over their land. Surely one of these peoples bears painful memories of their distant loss of territory. We need to be considerate of our United Nations’ brothers and sisters.

Wild creatures should not be commercialized and besides ‘Bears,’ ‘Jaguars’ and ‘Panthers’ occasionally maul innocent hikers, ‘Broncos’ buck off and kick the poor, unfortunate and previous mentioned Cowboys, ‘Colts’ grow up to be Broncos, ‘Rams’ are aggressive, especially during mating and preseason, and ‘Bengals’ have been exploited by unscrupulous collectors and TV producers, who they then sometimes, ironically, devour.  Even those cute ‘Dolphins’ have been cruelly caught and drowned in commercial fishing nets. These creatures evoke painful thoughts for many and frustration for PETA activists. This inconsideration simply will not do.

Those of the Christian faith may feel that ‘Lions’ is a taunting due to being fed to them at one time and ‘Titans’ is simply glorifying sacrilegious false gods. I believe two miracles are required to be ‘Saints.’ I am only aware of their one.

The ‘Browns’ is elevating just one individual, coach Brown, and we all agree that everyone is equal.

That about covers it.  ‘Washington Football Team’ is an excellent choice, but be careful using this convention in cites with multiple teams. It would be devastating to be ‘Los Angeles Football Team II,’ – unless of course they get a trophy for participating.



I hope everyone realizes this letter is tongue in cheek, with apologies to those who have had portions of one or both of these areas impacted by the ravages of prolonged chewing tobacco usage.

Please allow me to conclude with a piece of wisdom that I valiantly attempt, often less than successfully, to follow:  Try hard to not offend. Try even harder to not to be offended. (Proverbs 12:16 TPT). We could all use more joy and kindness in our lives and in our world, perhaps starting with a little chuckle at ourselves and showing a little more kindness to those of a differing opinion or view.

I pray that your Thanksgiving was a blessed one. If you would like a few more reflections on joy, please check out my latest book: