Guest / Limited Access /

A YouTube segment from Conan O'Brien's show entitled "Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy," with guest comedian Louis C.K., has been making the rounds. In it, Louis talks about how he was on a plane that offered in flight Wi-Fi access to the Internet, one of the first planes to do so. But when it broke down in a few minutes, the man sitting next to him swore in disgust. Louis was amazed, and said to O'Brien, "How quickly the world owes him something that he didn't know existed 10 seconds ago."

Louis then talked about how many of us describe less-than perfect airline flights as if they were experiences from a horror film: "It was the worst day of my life. First of all, we didn't board for 20 minutes! And then we get on the plane and they made us sit there in the runway for 40 minutes!"

Then he said mockingly, "Oh really. Did you fly through the air incredibly, like a bird? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight? … Everybody on every plane should be going, 'O my God, wow!' … You're sitting in a chair in the sky!" And then he mocks a passenger who, trying to push his seat back, complains, "It doesn't go back a lot!"

The segment is humorous because we recognize ourselves in it. That's human nature. We take things for granted so quickly, so easily fall out of a state of gratefulness.

This week, we'll hear plenty of stories that show our ungratefulness, along with admonitions to be more thankful. Some pleas will be appropriately sentimental or patriotic. But when we think about gratefulness theologically, we find that such pleas are, in the end, not very helpful. We discover that gratefulness is a human impossibility—and a gift.

Thanksgiving Everywhere

Several biblical passages talk about thanksgiving, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

SoulWork
In "SoulWork," Mark Galli brings news, Christian theology, and spiritual direction together to explore what it means to be formed spiritually in the image of Jesus Christ.
Mark Galli
Mark Galli is Editor of Christianity Today in Carol Stream, Illinois.
Previous SoulWork Columns:
Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueThe Benedict Option’s Vision for a Christian Village
Subscriber Access Only The Benedict Option’s Vision for a Christian Village
How to conserve and strengthen the American church.
Current IssueThe Benedict Option’s Vision for a Christian Village
Subscriber Access Only The Benedict Option’s Vision for a Christian Village
How to conserve and strengthen the American church.
RecommendedJesus vs. Paul
Subscriber Access Only Jesus vs. Paul
Many biblical scholars have noted that Jesus preached almost exclusively about the kingdom of heaven, while Paul highlighted justification by faith—and not vice versa. What gives?
TrendingTrump Adviser’s Megachurch Withholds Major Donation from SBC
Trump Adviser’s Megachurch Withholds Major Donation from SBC
Prestonwood Baptist diverts denominational giving over concerns about Russell Moore’s ERLC.
Editor's PickThe Title IX Lives of Christian Colleges
The Title IX Lives of Christian Colleges
Why CCCU schools are split on claiming one of their legal rights.
Christianity Today
The Impossibility of Thanksgiving
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.