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Thousands of people crowding public venues to hear the word of the Lord. Men fainting, women claiming to be healed, all rejoicing at being “born again.” When you think of “converts,” this may be what you picture, because it’s a familiar scene — more familiar than you may realize. The quintessentially American revival meeting was born before the country itself, in the mid-1700s, during what we call today “The First Great Awakening.” Our guest this week is Thomas Kidd, a historian at Baylor University of The Great Awakening and colonial society. I brought him on to walk us all through the specifics of it, and to speculate on how the American thirst for spiritual change reverberates today.

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