Augustine and Thanksgiving

In Augustine’s Confessions, at the end of a discussion of infancy and childhood, there is a beautiful passage about thankfulness. [Note the quotations that follow are from Maria Boulding’s translation]. Much of Book I baffles contemporary readers, who think that Augustine is rather too hard on himself and others. Augustine insists that the “only innocent feature [Read More…]

Lincoln’s Thanksgiving: A Call to Gratitude, Humility, and Empathy

In the wake of a divisive election, we should revisit Abraham Lincoln’s original 1863 proclamation of a national day of Thanksgiving. We’ll find not only gratitude, but the virtues of humility and empathy. [Read more…]

The Thanksgiving before the First Thanksgiving

The Mayflower pilgrims anchored at what is now Provincetown Harbor on the south side of the Cape Cod hook on November 11, 1620 (November 20 by our calendar). When a party waded ashore, William Bradford wrote some years later: they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over [Read More…]

This Thanksgiving, Stop Idolizing the Pilgrims

A couple of years ago at Christianity Today, I reviewed Robert Tracy McKenzie’s excellent book The First Thanksgiving. Here’s a sample: In 1623, Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford proclaimed the first Thanksgiving. “The great Father,” he declared, “has given us this year an abundant harvest…and granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.” [Read More…]

Free Food!

“My reading of the Bible finds plenty of reminders that it’s better to teach someone to fish than to give them fish if they’re able,” said Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker shortly after his most recent electoral victory, “…Caring for the poor isn’t the same as taking money from the federal government to lock more people [Read More…]

Giving Thanks

Professors tend to be a grumpy lot. The pay is not exactly stratospheric. University bureaucracies can be a nuisance. My own personal gripe is that I have to pay for the privilege of parking. I would understand if I had to pay some sort of fine for because I bring such an eyesore of a [Read More…]

The Forgotten Virtue of Gratitude

Nothing new from me this week, but here is an article on gratitude that  I wrote in 2008.  It originally appeared at Inside Higher Education.  Happy Thanksgiving! –JF It was a typical 1970s weekday evening. The sky was growing dark and I, an elementary school student, was sitting at the kitchen table of a modest [Read More…]

Not All Turkey and Touchdowns

My Thanksgiving column, from the Patheos archives: The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony weren’t the first Europeans to settle in North America, nor were they the first permanent English colonists. But because of our annual celebration of Thanksgiving, and our hazy images of their 1621 meal with Native Americans, the Pilgrims have become the emblematic colonists [Read More…]