Happy #Snarksgiving!

It seems most appropriate on this Black Friday, to share some thoughts from the (still bloated) underbelly of Thanksgiving. Over on Twitter yesterday several rather snarky clerics created a Litany of #Snarksgiving throughout the day. It was an enjoyable and humorous exercise in between courses and conversations and quarters (the football variety, not the drinking game).

I felt compelled to compile these intercessions in case the Liturgical Standing Committee of the Episcopal Church ever authorizes a shadow Book of Common Prayer. I’ll share the names of the participants but, for fear of reprisals, I won’t attribute them. Of course, if you’re on Twitter you can go back and figure it out but I’m betting no one has the energy or will to actually do that.

Besides me, contributors included the Rev.’s Laurie Brock, Scott Gunn, Anne Lane Witt, and the ever-mysterious ChurchSnobTEC. If you’re on the Twitters, I suggest following these folks — never a dull moment when they get going. But without further ado here it is:

Litany of #Snarksgiving

For people who say, “Get up! Let’s go DO SOMETHING instead of nap!” We give snarks.

For family members who don’t like football and consider it rude to put the TV on, we give snarks.

For distant relatives who call and have the phone passed all around, we give snarks.

For in-laws who can’t travel without small, yappy dogs, we give snarks.

For a mother-in-law who’d hadn’t yet put the turkey in when we arrived (!), we give snarks.

For having to make culinary compromises for vegans, we give snarks.

For those who consider pigs in a blanket an appropriate appetizer, we give snarks.

For being overstimulated & undermedicated, we give snarks.

For those posting pictures of food on Facebook, we give snarks.

For inane discussions about the moose lodge, we give snarks.

For family members who think alcohol is “of the devil,” we give snarks. (And drink. Wine.)

For Reunite as the “good” wine, we give snarks.

For people who think Thanksgiving is the right day to bust out Christmas music, we give snarks.

For family that buys champagne but doesn’t put it on ice, we give snarks.

For those who insist holiday cocktail hour doesn’t begin until happy hour, we give snarks.

For the children’s table at ages 35+, we give snarks.

For less sleep than we get during the work week, we give snarks.

For guests who don’t leave after the pie, we give snarks.

For being put in a twin bed like we’re 12, we give snarks.

For relatives that didn’t buy Bloody Mary mix, we give snarks.

For traditional family dishes that no one likes, we give snarks.

For family that awake us from naps and then won’t go away, we give snarks.

Well, there we go. We hope you enjoyed this litany and encourage you to use it in place of grace at next year’s Thanksgiving feast.

Top Ten Reasons to Attend the Community Thanksgiving Service

As I prepared for this evening’s Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service at the local Unitarian church, I began to reflect on why we hold these “liturgies.” It’s nice to gather, certainly, and I appreciate knowing all the local clergy. But at a completely different level, there are many good (well, 10) reasons to attend such services. Thus, I offer you my:

Top Ten Reasons to Attend the Community Thanksgiving Service

1. When else would you get to hold a bulletin emblazoned with cornucopia clip-art?

2. To prove the superior vestiture of Episcopalians (or, at what point does an abundance of polyester cassock-albs become a fire hazard?).

3. To get away from the in-laws for an hour while they dispute the ingredients of your late grandmother’s stuffing recipe.

4. To worship God in lowest common denominator form (along with several references to Mother Earth).

5. To pray that parishioners from other churches will see the light and join your congregation.

6. To enjoy seeing the area clergy being paraded around in front of the congregation like a police line-up (“Hey, you, number two Methodist; stand next to that Presbyterian and sing ‘Eagles’ Wings'”).

7. To take bets on how many times the hosting cleric will say the word “welcome.”

8. To witness hearing all the participating clergy being given a line or two (in the name of inclusion) so it feels a third grade play.

9. Since the rest of your family refuses to go it makes for a contemplative time.

10. To enjoy the post-service store-bought brownies and punch reception (a result of several unnamed Protestant denominations for whom wine is anathema).

I look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with The Great Thanksgiving tomorrow at 9:00 am. It will be most welcome.

And, finally, I bid everyone a blessed Thanksgiving (regardless of denomination!).

Amateur Hour

For the first time in a number of years I ran a Thanksgiving Day race: the Hingham 5K Turkey Trot. It’s always gratifying to run a few miles before sitting down for the feast and football (well, with a 9:00 am Eucharist in between). It makes even the best yams taste that much better.

It’s also a great intergenerational community event — entire families run it together. Or at least it gives the family cook a few moments of peace while he/she shoves the rest of the family out the door for an hour. Alas, in my case I ran it alone since everyone in my house complained about the 7:30 am start time being too early.

The thing I’d forgotten about these Turkey Trots is that’s it’s amateur hour for runners. Warning: this next part will sound snobby to non-runners or non-experienced racers so you may want to skip over it. It has nothing to do with time — I ran it at a respectable but by no means blazing 8 minute-per-mile pace. Many experienced runners go faster and many go slower. But here are a few ways to tell you’ve got a slew of people not used to race etiquette and protocol:

1. Race numbers worn on the backs of shirts/jackets. At the finish line the lower half of the number gets ripped off by a race organizer in the shoots to determine place. Pinning it the back fouls up the post-race process.

2. People getting way overdressed. Sure it was a chilly 39 degrees yesterday but you don’t need an Eskimo parka. After 10 steps you’ll be overheated.

3. Walkers and slow runners beginning the race near the front of the starting line. These rolling road blocks make the first half-mile quite annoying.

4. People wearing the long sleeve Turkey Trot t-shirt that accompanied the registration. Act like you’ve been there before and never, ever race in cotton.

5. Kids filled with adrenaline racing past you as the gun goes off. It’s a rite of passage, of course, and that’s how they learn the value of pacing. You inevitably pass them as they start walking up the first hill.

6. Runners coming to a dead stop at the water station. Please keep moving or move off the course to enjoy your beverage.

Okay, you can start reading again. Sorry about that — just had to vent. I’m always glad to see so many people out getting some exercise and having fun. Hopefully next year they won’t make the same rookie mistakes. And hopefully I can get my boys to run with me next Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Extravaganza

Enjoy a few Thanksgiving links as you count your blessings today (one, two, three, four, etc.). This may come in handy if you’re trying to avoid your extended family for a few moments between courses. Was I projecting? Just kidding.

Here’s wishing you a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving from the staff at Clergy Family Confidential. Now if we could just get a raise from our mean and vindictive boss all would be right with the world.

Here’s a version of “We Gather Together” sung by a group of Celtic women accompanied by some great visuals. You gotta love this Dutch song of praise, especially if you’re of Dutch heritage (like me). So raise a bottle of Grolsch and enjoy. And what kid hasn’t sung the line “Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own” and wondered just how God could forget his own name?

Don’t ask. But I think this is how people cook turkey in Florida. You won’t find us New Englanders (I can say that as of four months ago) eating turkey this way.

We’ll wash away the preceding image with Rutter’s “For the Beauty of the Earth” sung by the boys’ choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Of course the Pilgrims ostensibly left England to get away from the oppressive Church of England. But whatever. 

Nothing quite says Thanksgiving like a giant Hello Kitty float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Are you a political junkie still pining for the good old days of the 2008 presidential campaign? Have you not yet picked up your own personal copy of “Going Rogue?” Well, if you need a Sarah Palin Thanksgiving fix you’re in luck. Here is the infamous interview with the former Alaska governor pardoning a turkey while others are being slaughtered behind her. In the biz we used to call this stellar advance work. I’m sure a certain PR guy’s neck also ended up on the chopping block for this fiasco.

And finally, I leave you with this enduring image. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

With Thankful Hearts


Well, the boys were in great form this Thanksgiving. At our joint Thanksgiving Eve service with three other Episcopal churches, Ben made his acolyting debut as the incense “boat boy.” That’s him, obviously, standing next to me just before the start of the service.

He’s a natural up there — nice presence, respectful, into it. And while he’s eager to do this again, he also made it clear that when he’s older he’ll have other commitments on Sunday mornings since he’ll be an NFL running back. Fair enough. Hopefully he can hook me up with one of those sweet sideline chaplain gigs.


Zack also made a debut at the service — as an usher. He was disappointed that he wasn’t able to keep what he took in with the collection plates. But he rose to the occasion and did a great job. I admit I was very proud of both these kids who usually have a tough time sitting through a whole service. Children, like all of us, often just want to be needed and like nothing more than doing things that matter. A good reminder for me and a lesson for which I’m thankful.

To continue in the spirit of things, the boys and I helped serve at a community meal on Thanksgiving Day while Bryna cooked. And so it all came full circle: loving God through worship and loving our neighbor through service. Good stuff. And it made eating turkey and watching football together later that afternoon all the more special. 

Thanksgiving blessings to you all.