*** This is a rough transcript of today’s show ***

It is the 12th of December 2021. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org; I’m Dan van Voorhis.

It is a Sunday, and we are going to the mailbag for two reasons:

You can catch this show every day, as always. Starting tomorrow and for the next five days, Sam Leanza Ortiz will be taking the reins as I will be preparing the shows through Christmas to take some time off with my family. And as a teaser, remember that our 1,000 episodes are coming up in January, and we will be announcing a slight change to the format of the weekend shows; stay tuned.

Also, I’m going to the mailbag today because I received not only a couple of great questions all the way from Germany, but Andreas also sent me a very kind gift from his congregation- essentially his church’s history in Almanac style.

Andreas knows there were many questions, but first, he was curious what I would say about Dresden from sports or musical perspective. Without consulting the internet, the first things I thought about were The Dresden Monarchs American football Club, which happened to be the reigning Champions of the German Football League. Music… hmm… I could go to the opera house, something with Wagner… but I’m going to go with an American band called the Dresden Dolls who do a great cover of “Pretty in Pink” by the psychedelic Furs.

On to the questions:

Do you have TOPICS or PERSONS or EVENTS on your CHA list (for future episodes), which you have postponed for some time or would rather NOT talk about? Why? [Even the list itself would be interesting!]

Would you say some topics are too difficult or complex to explain in a short condensed format like CHA?

Maybe a follow-up question: What topics/episodes DID cause the most feedback so far?

First, I consider myself a teacher, and in the case of CHA, I am a teacher in a particular context, and I want to honor that. If you are a listener who has had me in class or been at an event where I was speaking, you might know me as a little more freewheeling. But in this context, I want to tell stories from the church’s history that help you understand the size and scope of this 2 Millennia old institution, and hopefully with the appropriate humility befitting both a Christian and professional historian. I try not to shy away from complex or challenging topics, but I do not try to give you the sense that you are now an expert if you hear a 5-minute podcast.

I have received almost uniformly lovely emails from people as far as feedback! I am gently corrected from time to time when I make a small error, and that can be helpful. Mailbag questions are my favorite, of course, and I have had the odd email where someone wants me to explain the dumb stuff I say at the end.

Shows I avoid:

Modern shysters. Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, etc.… this stuff fascinates me. Still, it is so far beyond the scope of historical Christianity that I don’t even feel comfortable making them Gene Scott All-Stars.

I have a show in my drafts on Mother Theresa- I’ve tried to work through her life and the claims against her. You don’t come out throwing bricks at Mother Theresa unless you’re sure some of the adverse claims are true. I don’t know. She’s complicated. And you know, I should do that show… I talked myself into it.

I tend to distaste for people close to me in church affiliation but bend towards authoritarianism. I have a more challenging time getting closer in time, and in doctrine, someone gets. Perhaps this is why I am a historian and always like a bit of time to pass before making my judgment.

I’m being cagey here- but on purpose. Specific topics have a seemingly very devoted and very online presence. And, I’m trying to be charitable, but they deal with church history like Civil War re-enactors who might shout at you because “your pocket watch technically wasn’t available until the 1870s”.

Let me ask you- all what shows have you liked the most? What topics do you shy away from or get uncomfortable about? Who would be the most complex person for you to cover objectively? As Andreas brought up in his email to me, checking our blind spots. I’ve got more ideas here, Andreas, but I’ll be sending you a personal email with a little more detail.

As always- email me at danv@1517.org and listen up this week to the beautiful SLO, and I’m waiting for her to throw some jabs at me in the closing credits.

The last word for today comes from 1 Peter:

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange was happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you

This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 12th of December 2021 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org.

The show is produced by a man whose favorite movies filmed on location in Dresden include the Grand Budapest Hotel and 1994’s Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses. He is Christopher Gillespie.

The show is written and read by an American ashamed of Hershey’s chocolate. Do you know where it’s the best? Dresden. I am 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.