David Bruce: 250 Anecdotes About Religion — Preachers, Prejudice


• The early 19th-century Philadelphia lawyer Nicholas Waln was a Quaker. Of course, he lived long before air conditioning. On a stifling hot day, he served as head of a meeting and he chose to end the meeting very early. This shocked his fellow Quakers. When they asked why he had ended the meeting so early, he referred to the words of the prophet Hosea: “I desire mercy and not burnt offerings.”

• As a young reporter, H.L. Mencken covered each Sunday the sermon given by Cardinal Gibbons. Very quickly, he learned that the Cardinal gave essentially the same sermon each Sunday, so one Sunday he didn’t bother to attend the sermon, but merely sent in the usual copy to his newspaper. That happened to be the Sunday that Cardinal Gibbons gave a rousing sermon that ended up on the front page.

• Reverend Andrew Jumper was the pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Clayton, Missouri, and one year he was hired to go to spring training to give weekly services to professional baseball players. After one sermon, a player told him, “God gave you a great sermon today.” Reverend Jumper replied, “Yes, but I want you to know I typed it.”

• When he was elderly, Church of Christ preacher T.B. Larimore preached the same sermon two nights in a row. When his wife told him, “You preached that sermon last night,” he was unperturbed and replied, “It’s a good one.”


• The mother of James Augustine Healy was Eliza Clark, a black slave in Georgia. Mr. Healy became a priest, and in 1875, he became second bishop of Portland, Maine. Occasionally, his race caused awkward moments. While hearing one young girl’s confession, Mr. Healy was surprised when she stopped and said, “I can’t tell you the rest of my sins.” When Mr. Healy asked why, she replied, “Because it’s something I said against the bishop.” After finally learning that she had said that the bishop was as black as the devil, Mr. Healy told her, “Oh, my child, don’t say the bishop is as black as the devil. You can say he’s as black as coal, or as black as the ace of spades, but don’t say he’s as black as the devil!” During another confession, a young boy told Mr. Healy, “… and I called the bishop a nigger!” Mr. Healy opened the confessional curtain so the boy could see him and said, “Well, son, is there anything wrong with being a nigger? Take a good look at your bishop. Is there anything wrong with being a nigger?”

• Butterfly McQueen, an African-American actress, played Jack Benny’s maid, but eventually she quit, apparently because some people felt she was demeaning herself by playing a maid — although she was making a large salary playing a maid at a time when many people of color were making a small salary being maids. Mr. Benny protested, “Good grief! I’m paying Butterfly $750 a week [big money at the time]. Where else can she get that kind of money? Besides, everybody loves her. I don’t think she’s demeaning herself.” Mr. Benny paused, thought a moment about the other woman on his show, Mary Livingston, his on-radio girlfriend and real-life wife, then he asked, “What does Butterfly want to do — play Mary’s sister?” A moment later, he smiled and answered his own question, “No. She wouldn’t want to do that. Mary’s Jewish.”

• Country comedian Jerry Clower grew up in Mississippi at a time when white people grew up with the attitude that they were better than black people. Fortunately, he was able to unlearn bigotry. When black student James Meredith enrolled in the University of Mississippi, the state government did not encourage citizens to keep control of their hatred. Disturbances broke out, fires were set on campus, and two people died. Mr. Clower, a Christian, got down on his knees in his bedroom and prayed, “Oh, dear God, if my attitude has caused some people to react to this situation like this, I hereby re-dedicate my life. I’m going to change, because I don’t want to encourage an attitude that would cause people to break the law, kill folks, or keep a qualified student from entering the University of Mississippi.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Music Recommendation: The Eyeberries — “Riot on the Cemetery Street”


Music: “Riot on the Cemetery Street”


Artist: The Eyeberries

Artist Location: Moscow, Russia


Valery Kovalev — guitars, bass 
Nikita Radchenkov — drums 
Sergey ‘Chief’ Savelyev — organ, thereminvox (tracks 3, 12) 
Maxim Makhonin — bassoon (track 7) 
Vovka Kozhekin — harp (track 8) 
All mixed by Sergey ‘Chief’ Savelyev. 

Price: $1 (USD) for track; Name Your Price (Includes FREE) for 12-track album

Genre: Surf. Horror Surf.




The Eyeberries on Bandcamp