Cup of Joe: Thanksgiving on the one hand and on the other hand

Rev. Joseph Cleveland
Rev. Joseph Cleveland

On the one hand, it is a good thing to have a yearly reminder to practice gratitude.  Even in a difficult world, especially in a difficult world, it is important to remember to notice the love and wonder and grace offered to us, and to say thank you.  

On the other hand, ”Thanksgiving” is one of those holidays that we are beginning to realize is more than a little complicated.
The U.S. holiday’s “traditional” story is a whitewashing of the colonialism and white supremacy culture on which the U.S. was founded.  It’s important to reveal the lie of this narrative and advocate for some accountability and a need for reconciliation.  For age-appropriate ways to dismantle this oppressive narrative and honor the indigenous peoples of this continent, I recommend this brief blog post:

Also, I recommend to everyone that we join in reading the UUA’s “Common Read” for 2019-2020:  An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.  There is also a “young people’s” edition of the book pitched to those in the middle grades through young adult.  You can watch a trailer for the book here:  In addition, the UUA has developed a 3-session small group curriculum.  If you’d be interested in co-facilitating that small group encounter with the books, please email me at  You can take a look at the small group discussion guide here:   You can find both books as “staff picks” at our local independent bookstore:  It’s available as an audiobook, too!

May we all give thanks for the love which holds us all, even when we are alone

May we give thanks for the ways in which love and grace are present in our lives, and may we all be manifestations of a love beyond belief building beloved community in this world.

I am very grateful for this loving and supportive faith community.  For you all, I give thanks.

Blessings, Rev. Joe