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James Meehan - Thanksgiving Special

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    James Meehan - Thanksgiving Special
TOPICS: Culture Makers, Thanksgiving

Vince Parker: Welcome back to Culture Makers. So glad that you are here. I'm Vince Parker. This is James Meehan.

James Meehan: Hello.

Vince Parker: And it's Thanksgiving week.

James Meehan: Come on.

Vince Parker: And there's a lot happening in the world.

James Meehan: Yeah.

Vince Parker: And we're just gonna talk about it. Here's the deal, let's help everyone out.

James Meehan: Okay.

Vince Parker: Everyone has an opinion about something.

James Meehan: Yep.

Vince Parker: What do you do at Thanksgiving dinner, when people wanna talk about the opinion? Like, for instance, what if someone says, "Hey, how do you feel about that new Adele album"? And you say, "Oh, no".

James Meehan: Yep.

Vince Parker: What do you do? 'Cause Adele just dropped a new album.

James Meehan: This is true, she did. So yeah, Thanksgiving is happening and usually at Thanksgiving, We have all of those family members, that maybe we don't talk to as much. There's always gonna be that crazy uncle with really strong opinions.

Vince Parker: Why is it always an uncle not a aunt?

James Meehan: Well, there's the aunt too. First, we start with the uncle, because that's the most common stereotype who's gonna have some really crazy opinions. Then you've probably also got an aunt with similarly crazy, but in a different extreme.

Vince Parker: But at least the aunt can cook.

James Meehan: Right, and then there's that cousin that you haven't seen in months and they're gonna show up and they're gonna be like a totally different person.

Vince Parker: Right.

James Meehan: And they're gonna have their opinions, and at some point in this meal, something crazy might happen. Stuffing might go flying. And the question becomes, how do we, as followers of Jesus, stay centered throughout of it and bring peace to what could otherwise be a chaotic meal? Vince, how do we do that? See what I did, I flip the question back on you.

Vince Parker: You did, that's how you do it right there, ladies and gentlemen. Is that what you do all the time?

James Meehan: Well...

Vince Parker: Are you even a Thanksgiving person? Or are you like a Turkey?

James Meehan: For me, it's all the side dishes. I am super a fan of my mom's green bean casserole.

Vince Parker: Okay, that's a classic.

James Meehan: Dude, is so good and I could literally just eat that all day long.

Vince Parker: Do ever made extra so you can take it home and...

Oh yeah, yeah. Well, so what our favorites? My favorite Thanksgiving thing is not actually the Thanksgiving meal, but leftover sandwiches where we literally just toast two pieces of bread and we stick everything in between those two pieces of bread, like mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole. Just put all of it on there between these two pieces of bread, and that is my favorite thing about Thanksgiving. Not the original meal, that's good.

How thick of a sandwich is this? You talking like this, or like...

Dude, you get that thing, it's thick with two C's, okay?


That's how thick.

Okay, all right, so we've been talking about how that what's controversial, what's not. So what we're gonna do is I'm gonna list some topics.



And I'm gonna throw out my hot take.

No, no, this is a general response to on all these topics, because, for instance, did you see the LeBron Isaiah Stewart thing?

I did, as a matter of fact.

Would you call that a case of mistaken basketball? It kinda happened when you box someone out, or was Isaiah justified? How does that happen? If that happened to you, would you go out to LeBron like that?

I hope I wouldn't.


For a couple of reasons, number one, LeBron's seven feet tall.

But Isiah's seven foot tall, too.

Okay, you didn't ask if I was Isaiah, you said if I would.


So, I wouldn't, because number one, LeBron's way bigger than me. Number two, I'm a Christian and I think the right response in those moments is to do what Jesus said in the sermon on top.

Turn the other cheek?

Which is turn the other cheek.

Some people have a problem with that. This is the biggest thing they have a problem with the Bible is to turn the other cheek.

Right, well and that's the thing that's interesting is I think a lot of people actually misunderstand what Jesus is saying. I think what people think Jesus is saying is, "Hey, if you get hit, just go belly up and let people keep hitting you".


And that's not exactly what Jesus is saying. What Jesus is saying is the strongest thing you can do, the best way that you can hold onto your dignity in those situations is to practice non-violence, because it's actually really easy to react angrily. For example, if you've got two two-year-olds that are fighting over a toy and one of the two-year-olds pushes the other two-year-old, what is the other one gonna do? They're gonna fight back. They're gonna start throwing punches. They're gonna try to tackle the other kid. Why, because that's what kids do. They react to stuff that they're...

Throw punches and tackle.


Yes, but more specifically, they react based off of their emotions in the moment, but as followers of Jesus, what we're called to do is actually something a little bit different. Now, let me be very clear. In that moment, Isaiah getting hit by a loose elbow, that could've been accidental. Either way, it's professional sports, they're not holding back. They're going hard in the paint. It could have been totally accidental.


We don't know, and so I'm not gonna try to assume, but the elbow caused him to literally be gushing blood out of his eye.

There was so much blood.

And so for him to react to the way that he did with the heat of the moment, being angry, knowing that because of this injury, he might be out for the rest of the game, I don't blame him for being upset and reacting emotionally. That's the very human thing to do, and this is the thing that's so difficult about Christianity, is what Jesus invites us to do is to respond in ways that are not natural to us, and so what I don't wanna do is I don't wanna sit here and try to cast judgment on LeBron for what could've been an accident.


I don't wanna cast judgment on Isaiah for responding in what is the natural way to respond in that moment. I just wanna look at that and say, "Okay, that was a heated situation, things got out of hand. I don't think what happened was what anybody wanted, cool. Let's learn from it. Let's move on".

Right, that's good because there's a lot of controversial topics that can come up.

Yep, and they will.

Lockdown in Europe.

Come on.

Right, Rittenhouse decision.


The new Taylor Swift album.

Come on, well, and I think the thing that's so interesting about all of this, Vince, is we literally live in a world where it is so easy to be pulled to the extremes.


Right, if you're somebody who tends to lean more conservatively politically, then you're gonna be all for the fact that Rittenhouse was found not guilty. You're gonna be super against the European lockdowns. But if you're somebody who leans more progressive politically, you're gonna be really upset that Rittenhouse was found not guilty, and you're gonna probably be for the lockdowns in Europe, and what's interesting is that, no matter where you fall on that spectrum, we are all human beings made in the image of God.


And all of us want what's best for others and for our world. The problem is, is that we disagree on how to bring about that best that we want, and this is why, when I'm in those types of conversations, what I try really hard to do is focus on the humanity of the other person and start with what we agree on.

That's good, okay.

So regardless of if you are pro or against lockdowns, all of us want to see less people be affected, be hospitalized and be killed by the coronavirus. Now, we might disagree on what the best solution is for that, but we can agree that we don't like people getting sick, so let's start there. Then once we start there, we can move on to, "Man, what's the best strategy for combating this disease that has ravaged our world"? We all agree that we do not want people to be able to commit acts of violence against others and not be held accountable, and so maybe for you, you are utterly convinced that Rittenhouse is guilty and should be in jail. Maybe for you, you think that he was acting in self-defense and that the jury made the right call. The reality is, is that we weren't there. We weren't making the decisions, and so instead of allowing what could be a really divisive thing to drive us further apart, let's focus on what we agree about, and the fact that, you know what? Here's what we all want. We want human beings to live in peace. We want people to be able to come together and protest in a way that brings us together and brings about positive change, and doesn't potentially lead to crazy things like this taking place, and so what I wanna do in those conversations is start with what we agree on and be okay with the fact that people are gonna disagree with me. I don't agree with anybody on everything, right? You and I agree on a lot of things, but we also disagree on other things.

This is where my mind goes. Last year, a lot of people's Thanksgivings were not together.


So there's a lot of family they haven't actually seen together in person.

Oh dude, so that's a year's worth of pent up frustration.

So it's a year, right, go in prepared not to have a difficult conversation or to defend your point, but to be loving towards Christ?

That's good, man.

Right, because there might be someone who disagrees with you and you want to have a peaceful Thanksgiving. We want you to have a happy Thanksgiving, but the goal is not to go in and not be another two years before you talk to someone.


And it's really hard to get someone to even see your point, no matter what your point is, if all you do is yell and scream at them.


So, at the end of the day, our prayers is this, that you have a great Thanksgiving.

Come on.

And that family are engaging and loving and talking about all the good things. But if some of these things come up, how are you prepared?

That's good.

So, again, I don't mean by prepare and go get your facts ready.

Right, I don't mean go get your facts ready. I mean...

I'm gonna print out a piece of paper with all the statistics.

Oh, yeah, or go in and say, "Hey, this is how I'm gonna be loving".

Come on.


Right, this is how I'm gonna be loving, and for some of us, that might even mean, "Hey, I respect what you have to say, but I disagree and I can't handle this conversation right now, so I'm gonna walk away".

Sure, absolutely.

So it doesn't mean you're saying, "I don't like you, I don't love you," but in this holiday spirit of being thankful for people, let's not blow up our families at Thanksgiving.

Come on.

So let's shift gears real quick, 'cause that was just crazy. Did you watch the AMAs last night?

Of course not.

Of course not. Let's just move on, let's get to some student questions. This name is Leoson, it makes me think you should name your next child this, Anonymous Banana.

I definitely won't.

Which part, the anonymous or the banana part?

Both, will not name my child either of those things. I know Vince, to you, if that's your legal name, it's beautiful. I don't wanna take it. I want you to be able to stand out and be unique.

James, how do you end a relationship with someone who isn't having a positive impact on you and you fear is going down the wrong path? How do you do so without being rude?

Oh, easy. Do what Taylor Swift would do and just write a whole bunch of songs about 'em.

Wow, wow.

Okay, okay, okay, that was a joke, okay?

Or was it?

No, that's not what you should do. That's not what you should do. All right, hit me with that question again. This is a really good question.

How do you end a relationship with someone who isn't having a positive impact on you and you fear is going down the wrong path, despite what you warn them of? How do you do so without being rude?

Yeah, that's such a good question. My approach to these types of relationships, is I would rather create distance than end it, and what I mean by that is, when we are doing life with people, if we're doing it right, then we will be in relationships with people that we disagree with, who do things that we don't approve of and who sometimes we have to have the hard conversation and say, "Hey, what you're doing is hurting you. What you're doing is hurting others and because I love you, man, I just wanna have this conversation with you," and if people don't respond to that and they continue to do those things, then we've gotta figure out, "How do I wisely be in relationship with this person in a way that I can still be there for them when they need me, but I'm not potentially getting more and more frustrated with them because they're doing something I don't agree with, or I'm not cutting them out of my life so that now what used to be a really great relationship is entirely gone". So, for example, my wife has recently been reaching out to people that she used to be in relationship with back when she was a teenager, that because of our lives taking different paths, she just hasn't talked to in years.


And it's one of those things where unfortunately for some of these friends, they have been pushed aside by a lot of their previous friend group that they had, and my wife really felt convicted by the fact that, "Man, I could've been a better friend to them during that time, and even though we didn't agree on everything, the fact that I wasn't there for them, I wish I could have been and so let me just reconnect," and so she recently had lunch with a friend that she hadn't talked to in a long time and it was this really beautiful conversation, but she was able to have this great conversation because even though she created distance, she didn't completely cut things off and burn the bridge that there wasn't the future potential for a relationship, and so, for you, as you're navigating this with your friend, here's what I would encourage you to do. I would encourage you to figure out, how do you create distance without cutting everything off? And that might just be you saying, "Hey, I really love you and care about you, but what I'm noticing is that each of us are going in two different directions and where you're going, because of my faith in Jesus, I can't follow you there, but I still wanna be your friend, I still wanna be a part of your life, and so I just want you to know that I would love for us to still be friends, still be able to reach out to each other when we need to, but when you're going to these events with these people, it puts me in a place where I'm having to choose things that I don't think are what God wants for me, and I just can't go to those places with you. I still wanna be friends, but I just wanna make sure that we do this in a way where I don't get upset with you because we're being put in these situations and you don't feel like I'm judging you because I'm not choosing to do some of the things that you are doing," and so I think that's the difficult part. Is that it's gonna require a lot of thought, a lot of care and some conversations.


Because the easy thing to do is to just like ghost them and just stop responding to them, but I don't think the easy thing is usually the right thing.

Sounds like you're saying, "Hey, that's cool that you do that, but I'm choosing not to do that. Oh, you wanna go to a Marvel movie? Oh yeah, I like Marvel movies. Oh hey, you wanna go do something destructive? Oh yeah, I'm in a place in my life where I can't destroy stuff".


Right, when you're just like, "Hey man, you bad evil, sorry, sucker. You don't have to destroy". We shouldn't be like that, right?

Mmm, yeah, please don't.

Please don't.

Yeah, Romans 2, I think it's verse six. The apostle Paul says that, "It's God's kindness that leads to repentance," and so...

So we should be kind?

Yeah, because that's what God does. I think our temptation is to be condemning, but God calls us to be kind, and I think that's the thing that we wanna navigate is, how can I be as kind as I can to this person, even though our lives are going in two different directions? And if all I do is heap condemnation on them for what they're doing or not doing, and It doesn't even have to be what we say, it could be what we don't say, it can be the fact that we just completely cut that person out altogether, and at the end of the day, I don't think that that's what's best for them, for you or for anybody else.

Okay, very good. Abigail, is that a name you would name a child?

I totally just burped.

Okay, well, Abigail's question is, how do you overcome addiction? She's been told to give it to God, but how do you do that?

It's a great question. I would say, "Yes, give it to God and also surround yourself with great people and also get professional help". Come on somebody. There's this really interesting passage. I think it's in 1 Timothy, where Paul is writing to Timothy and he tells him, "Hey, because of your stomach issues, you should add a little bit of wine to your water".


Because apparently that's gonna help with his stomach problems, I don't know, but I like to point to that because what Paul's doing is he's offering a really practical solution to Timothy's challenges, and so sometimes, if we're not careful, we can either overemphasize prayer to where we forget everything else or we can underemphasize prayer to where we don't pray at all, and so for you, Abigail, as you're trying to find freedom from this addiction, I would say, "Yes, pray and ask God to give you the strength to overcome this addiction and find people that can be there in your life to support you, to be there to give you encouragement when you're feeling down, to hold you accountable when you are wanting to do things that you know you shouldn't do". That's the beauty of something like AA, is everybody who's trying to overcome their addiction to alcoholism has a sponsor. They've got somebody that's there with them, and they show up to these meetings where they're surrounded by other people going on this journey of recovery together and seek professional help. Because the reality is, is that addictions do weird things to our brains that rewire the way that we think, that makes it easier and easier to keep going back to that addiction instead of overcoming it, and this is why it's so helpful that there are people who are trained counselors and professionals that we can come alongside and they can coach us through this process to overcome something that, honestly, is really, really difficult to do on our own.

That's awesome, James. I don't know about you man, but I want you to have a happy Thanksgiving or Merry Thanksgiving, as some people were saying.

Is that a thing that people do?

Yeah, someone was like, "Man, technically it's Christmas". They're like all of November is Christmas.

Oh my gosh, bro. You see as I roll right here, listen, give the devil his day.


Okay, here's what I mean by that, y'all people...

What, says "y'all people". James, you can't say "y'all people," James you can't say "y'all people".

Why not, dude, I'm from Oklahoma! That's what we say.

I'm apologizing for all this.

No, no, time out, let me finish, let me finish.

So sorry, I'm so sorry.

Here's the deal, these people?

Yes, these people.

Hi y'all people. These people...

You can't say y'all people were these people, sorry for James.

When people try to decorate for Christmas before Halloween, offensive. When they do it before Thanksgiving, offensive. Give the devil his day. He gets two days a year, Halloween and Black Friday. Let 'em have those days and then we can start by putting Christmas.

I don't, hey listen, I ain't know what that means. We love y'all, we're so glad you here. Comment, ask questions. I'm so confused.

Ask us questions. You wanna know why Black Friday is the devil's day? Put it in the comments, I'll tell you.

Wow, ay, much love. We've had a lot of fun. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. We'll see y'all later.
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