It is the 11th of July 2020. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. I'm Dan van Voorhis.
The year was 1926.
On the world stage, the world was at rest between the two wars. But 1926 saw the emergence of both the Hitler Youth in Germany and a concomitant fascist youth group in Italy. Emperor Hirohito came to the throne as emperor in Japan in 1926, and Joseph Stalin was solidifying his grip on the Soviet Union. He sent Trotsky into exile this year. Calvin Coolidge was in his only full term as president. As Vice President, he assumed the office after the death of Warren G. Harding.
Ernest Hemingway published his fictional account of expatriates in Spain in 1926, "The Sun Also Rises." It would be banned in places as disparate as Ireland and Riverside, California for its portrayal of the decadent expatriate life. T.E. Lawrence published his "Seven Pillars of Wisdom." Lawrence would gain his fame as "Lawrence of Arabia." Fun fact: both previous books mentioned took their titles from wisdom literature in the Old Testament. In the 1920s, A.A. Milne was working on a book for his son Christopher Robin Milne. “Winnie the Pooh” was first published in this year, as well.
In popular culture, Jack Tunney beat Jack Dempsey in Philadelphia. An estimated 135,000 people crowded Sesquicentennial Park. Tunney upset Dempsey. The two had a rematch the following year in which Tunney beat Dempsey in the so-called "Long Count Fight." In 1926, Aimee Semple MacPherson disappeared for a time. We've talked about her on the show before. Also, in the same year, Agatha Christie disappeared in an attempt to humiliate her husband, who she learned was having an affair.
The 1926 baseball season ended with a World Series between the Yankees and Rogers Hornsby's St. Louis Cardinals. It was before game four that Babe Ruth is said to have told an ailing young boy named Johnny Sylvester that he would hit a homer for him in the next game. Ruth hit three homers in the game, and Sylvester recovered. Fun fact: Babe Ruth was caught stealing as the final out in game 7, the only time a team has lost a World Series on a caught stealing put out.
There were several notable deaths in 1926. The painters Claude Monet and Mary Cassatt died. Phoebe Anne Mosey died in 1926. She was better known by her stage name, Annie Oakley. Many luminaries were born in this year. Elizabeth II, the current queen of England, was born in 1926 as were Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Chuck Berry. 1926 saw the birth of comedy legends Mel Brooks, Jerry Lewis, and Leslie Nielsen. And it was on this, the 11th of July in 1926 that theologian and author Frederick Buechner was born.
Buechner was born in New York City to mother Katherine and father Carl Frederick. Carl Frederick committed suicide when Frederick was young, and it would shape the remainder of his life. Frederick had a peripatetic life, iving in places form Bermuda to rural North Carolina. He attended Princeton but was interrupted by WW2, in which he served. After graduating, he became a writer in New York. But his career path changed while sitting under George Buttrick, the pastor of Madison Avenue Presbyterian church. In the coming years, Buechner became an ordained minister and published his public speeches as books under the titles of "The Alphabet of Grace" and "Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale." He also published the fictional accounts of a charlatan priest in his four-part "The Book of Bebb." His "Godric" was nominated as a finalist for the Pulitzer prize in 1981.
One of his most recent collections of essays is entitled "A Crazy, Holy, Grace: The Healing Power of Pain and Memory." There are annual Buechner Writer's Workshops at Princeton and a Buechner Institute at King University in Tennessee. He has been praised by the likes of conservative Baptist Russell Moore and by definitely Not-conservative-baptist Anne Lamott and Christians on the left. Born on this day in 1926, Frederick Buechner is 94 years old today.
The reading for today comes from Buechner. this is from his “The Faces of Jesus.”
"If the world is sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter, and the Last Supper is the Mad Tea Party. The world says, Mind your own business, and Jesus says, There is no such thing as your own business. The world says, Follow the wisest course and be a success, and Jesus says, Follow me and be crucified. The world says, Drive carefully — the life you save may be your own — and Jesus says, Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. The world says, Law and order, and Jesus says, Love. The world says, Get, and Jesus says, Give. In terms of the world's sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion."
This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 11th of July 2020 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. The show is produced by that "Chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff" Christopher Gillespie. The show is written and read by Dan van Voorhis. You can catch us here every day. and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.