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How The Grump Stole Thanksgiving

Editor's Note: Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! For some holiday family fun, I'm sharing this parody of Dr. Seuss's "How The Grinch Stole Christmas." (For insight into the mimetic elements of the original story, with Christmas right around the corner, see this). The spirit of the original story is echoed in this parody; just like the Grinch wreaks havoc on the poor Hoos, the Grump terrorizes the people of Than ...

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The First Thanksgiving In American Memory: Part 4

In my last post on the First Thanksgiving in American Memory, I called attention to a number of trends in the latter half of the nineteenth century that opened the door for Americans gradually to embrace the Pilgrims as ancestors critical to the American founding. There was one other, absolutely crucial trend at the close of the century that made the adoption of the Pilgrims as honorary Founders not only po ...

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The First Thanksgiving In American Memory: Part 3

History is not the past self, but rather the “remembered past,” in the words of Christian historian John Lukacs. With this as our starting point, I teach my students to think of history in terms of metaphors. Among other things, history is a story about the past that helps us to frame our lives. It functions as a mirror helping us to see our own age more clearly. Ideally, it is a rich conversation, a dialog ...

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Thanksgiving and a Theology of Despair

Are you feeling pressure to be thankful? We are in the midst of the Thanksgiving season. I’m reminded everywhere I go to “Be thankful!” Well, call me the Scrooge of Thanksgiving, but I’m just not feeling thankful. The more someone tells me to “Be thankful!” the more I feel a sense of despair. Be thankful? In the midst of Ferguson, Missouri? Jim Wallis writes over at Sojourners that, “Many black families wok ...

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The First Thanksgiving in American Memory: Part 2

In my last post I began a quick sketch of how American memory of the First Thanksgiving has changed over time. And it definitely has changed, and changed dramatically. In every class that I teach here at Wheaton College, one of the first principles that I try to drive home to my students is the fundamental distinction between history and the past. The past is everything that has been said and thought and do ...

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Uncomplicated, In Afghanistan

On November 7, 2014, while visiting Kabul, The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, noted that NATO will soon launch a new chapter, a new non-combat mission in Afghanistan. But it’s difficult to spot new methods as NATO commits itself to sustaining combat on the part of Afghan forces. Stoltenberg commended NATO Allies and partner nations from across the world, in an October 29th speech, in Brussels, ...

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The First Thanksgiving in American Memory: Part 1

Editor's Note: In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, enjoy Dr. McKenzie's enlightening series on the first Thanksgiving in American Memory. An interviewer recently asked me to identify the most surprising thing I had learned in my study of the “First Thanksgiving.” I replied that the discoveries that interested me most had less to do with the actual 1621 celebration than with the way that American memory ...

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Ferguson and the “Us vs. Them” Illusion

As the grand jury’s decision on whether nor not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson loomed, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told a TV reporter “he’s preparing for peace and war.” What the governor did, in the tense uncertainty preceding the decision, was pre-declare a state of emergency and activate the Missouri National Guard to help contain the possibility of violent, anti-police protests. He also app ...

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Book Feature Friday: Interview With Frances Fuller, Author of “In Borrowed Houses”

About a month ago, I introduced Raven Foundation readers to a beautiful story which, I believe, models what it means to take being a member of the Body of Christ seriously. In Borrowed Houses is an incredible memoir of 7 years of the life of Frances Fuller and her husband, Wayne, when they lived in Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War. For anyone who enjoys autobiographies or stories of incredible faith in ...

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Bill Cosby and Rape: Why Were We So Slow?

Bill Cosby has fallen from grace. America’s dad is in the dog house after decades in our living rooms. The accusations of rape are old news but something has shifted. The accusers’ stories are gaining momentum and what was an open secret is now impossible to ignore. Bill Cosby is a rapist and we all know it. TV Land, Netflix and ABC know it, too, so they are cancelling their relationships with him. A logica ...

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