A Thanksgiving Parable
It’s 2008 in Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. Due to unforeseen delays and dramatic blogging license, the pilgrims are 400 years late arriving in the new world. The following is a recap of the first Thanksgiving.
After a brutal winter and the deaths of over half of the original passengers on the Mayflower, the pilgrims found grace in the eyes of a small group of Indians. A successful planting and harvest season led to a great feast, where they would thank God for his blessings on their lives even in the midst of incredible hardship.
The obvious guests for the celebration would have to be the Indians; so instrumental were they in the pilgrims’ survival. The pilgrims immediately issued the invitation, but were stunned to learn that many of their guests would be boycotting the dinner because the term “Indian” connoted savagery, beastliness, and an incorrect geographical location of origin.
Squanto was unable to come because he was the target of a lawsuit by the local farmers’ union. His tutoring to the pilgrims on how to plant corn constituted a violation of the local agricultural standards and “no-compete” clauses.
Miles Standish was being investigated by the EPA and USDA for implementing Squanto’s practice of using dead, rotting fish to grow the crops.
PETA showed up and protested the cruel and inhumane treatment of the turkeys prior to the meal. One of the pilgrims suggested that inhumane treatment was probably okay since the turkeys weren’t actually human, which only served to anger the PETA protesters and caused them to throw raw giblets onto the gathering crowd.
The Democrats came and declared that the pilgrims’ crop had netted too many vegetables. They forced the pilgrims to hand over half of their vegetables, which they promptly reallocated to a neighboring colony that didn’t have as many vegetables.
The Republicans arrived just in time to tell the neighboring colony that they should get a job and buy their own darn vegetables. They also courted the support of the pilgrims; suddenly turning quite religious and promising them the benefits of several faith-based initiatives if they would just help them get reelected.
The Libertarians formed a radio talk show and fielded calls from people asking what kind of ammo the pilgrims used to kill the turkeys.
Oprah came along and gave away millions of dollars in brand new China, silverware, and under-the-counter TV/DVD combos because it was all “too cute” and the pilgrims just had to have them as part of their kitchen collection.
Paris Hilton arrived on the scene because she thought the pilgrim hats were “hot” and she had heard that there would be a tabloid there that might want her picture.
Angelina Jolie offered to adopt the pilgrim babies and get a tattoo to commemorate the event.
Lifetime sought permission to do a made-for-TV movie about the plight of the pilgrims, starring Connie Selleca as Pocahontas.
Tim Robbins complained that he was being barred from participating in the feast, only to find out later that he was actually supposed to eat at the feast a couple of streets over.
Rosie O’Donnell came running to promote her new prime time variety show to anyone who would listen, but no one did.
The drug companies conducted extensive research tests just in time to offer the pilgrims some anti-depressants to counteract the emotional toll of the previous year. Side effects included dizziness, dry mouth, sexual dysfunction, nausea, incapacitation, double vision, severe abdominal cramping, blindness, diabetes, malaria, imminent death, unicorn horns, and dutch elm disease.
Retailers blanketed the area with sales papers and told the pilgrims they were going to have to wrap things up because the Black Friday sales were going to begin early the next day. Plus, Thanksgiving had been eclipsed by the Halloween/Christmas SuperPower.
Spammers sent the pilgrims hundreds of e-mails promising to give them a cut of King George’s riches if they would just open a bank account and send them a cashiers check for $6,000.
Bloggers blogged about what they would have eaten had they been invited to the feast, and what they would have worn when they changed out of their pajamas.
ACLU secured a court order to make sure that the pilgrims weren’t too thankful.
Jesse Jackson demanded the right to get on national television and explain why he was more thankful.
Jimmy Carter flew to England to carry a bucket of chicken and explain that we were thankful for their government and didn’t want any trouble.
Obama volunteered to organize the new community.
McCain said that Joe the Pilgrim would be devastated by Obama’s policies.
Palin called and offered to bring a fresh batch of moose meat.
Biden wasn’t invited because nobody really knew who he was.
The Federal Reserve pumped billions of dollars into the pilgrims economy, believing that it would increase confidence in the stability of Thanksgiving.
Family Christian Stores and LifeWay Christian Resources fought over product tie-ins to the first thanksgiving, including 40 day devotionals, an all-star CD with songs inspired by the attitude of thankfulness, children’s books with titles like The Pumpkin Pie Parable, a healthy Thanksgiving cookbook co-authored by Beth Moore and Ed Young Jr.’s wife, and after dinner mints with tiny scripture verses imprinted on them.
Rick Warren attempted to host Miles Standish and Squanto for a Thanksgiving Forum at Saddleback, and then developed an acrostic on how to be T.H.A.N.K.F.U.L.
The publishers of the English Standard Version and Living Bible came along and chided the pilgrims for using too many “thees” and “thous”.
The Calvinists picketed because they were preordained before the foundation of the world to do so.
The Armenians told the Calvinists to chill and assured them that everything would work itself out.
The emergent church crowd accused them of being too direct in their faith and not allowing the “spiritual conversation” to flow naturally.
The fundamentalist crowd said the women’s head coverings weren’t covering enough.
The Unitarians said the head coverings were repressive to the women.
The Episcopalians said that Captain John Smith should be replaced by a woman, and the woman should be able to remove her head covering.
The Baptists got into a fist fight on the way over and never made it to the feast, but it didn’t matter because there was no fried chicken anyway.
And once the dust had settled and the meal was ready to be served, the pilgrims bowed their heads and prayed:
“Lord, we came here seeking freedom to worship you the way that we choose. We came looking for religion that is free of government interference or compulsory mandates. We gathered today to show you our gratitude and demonstrate our dependence on you. Everything you have given us is good, and everything you took away, you did so without an ounce of evil intent.
But seriously, God…we have to know: are these people part of the package deal?!?”