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. ↩