The dead are not dead insofar as we are bound together in the communion of saints, living and dead, and therefore our conversation cannot be limited to those who now live.
Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon
Robert Tracy McKenzie begins Chapter 1 of The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History (InterVarsity Press, 2013) with a sampling of the classroom answers he receives to the question, “What makes a good history book?” As I continue to read Chapter 1, I have come to understand the larger question as “What makes good history?” That is, “How do we research, embrace, and live in proper relationship to the ‘real story’ of those who have gone before us?” AND how much more important the answer becomes when approaching those people and events which shape our self-understanding (individual and corporate — a theme touched on in Andy’s “Ants and Thanksgiving” post) as we together live our short lives in the present “context”, shaping and entering the future. . . .
To encourage the exploration of the history of Thanksgiving with family, friends, and colleagues, I offer to you The First Thanksgiving – An Animated Short, Robert Tracy McKenzie on The First Thanksgiving, and Robert Tracy’s blog Faith and American History. Enjoy 🙂
- McKenzie, Robert Tracy. The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History. InterVarsity Press, 2013, 7. ↩
- Robert Tracy McKenzie (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) is professor and chair of the department of history at Wheaton College, where he teaches courses in U.S. history, the Civil War and historiography. McKenzie is the author of two award-winning monographs: One South or Many? Plantation Belt and Upcountry in Civil-War Era Tennessee (Cambridge, 1994) and Lincolnites and Rebels: A Divided Town in the American Civil War (Oxford, 2009). He has also written numerous scholarly reviews and articles including “Don’t Forget the Church: Reflections on the Forgotten Dimension of Our Dual Calling” in the book Confessing History: Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation (Notre Dame, 2010). Visit Robert Tracy’s blog Faith and American History for a number of posts connected to The First Thanksgiving. ↩
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!
The Thanksgiving story was one of the narratives we covered in the ‘creation myths’ series over at By Their Strange Fruit. It is good to set aside time to count our blessings, but we can also be honest with ourselves about the legacy from which those blessings are derived: http://bytheirstrangefruit.blogspot.com/2013/11/creation-myths-thanksgiving.html
Thanks for bringing the complicated narratives of history to mind today!
Tom Grosh IV says
Thank-you Katelin! Please let me know if you may have interest in reviewing Robert Tracy McKenzie’s “The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History”.
Indeed I would be, but its a bit late for this season, yes?
Tom Grosh IV says
Katelin, I had a brainstorm of adding “The First Thanksgiving” to a series of reviews of books to consider for one’s Christmas wish list 🙂 If this were not to come together, there is always the opportunity to review and/or write a larger post addressing the topic of Thanksgiving in 2014 . . . Part of preparations for some major projects in 2014 🙂
I wouldn’t be able to get it done for the Christmas shopping season (I know I still owe you a post, on its way soon), but would certainly do it for next year.
Tom Grosh IV says
That works out great Katelin! Looking forward to the Christmas gift of a post by you this year and giving thanks for the opportunity to have you part of a deeper conversation regarding Thanksgiving in 2014.