Thursday, July 24, 2008

Friday Fun History

It's been a rough week in our world - if you haven't been over this week, check out the last two posts. Thank you who have been praying and caring for our friends and our church family.

Last week I was at our church convention, which I enjoy every summer. My sis and I stayed together, along with our friend, Suzanne, the one who just lost her son. It's hard to believe we had such a good time such a short time ago, rather a slumber party feeling, and now her life has turned upside down in a heartbeat.

During the proceedings, which were a celebration of the 100th anniversary of our denomination in Colorado, this beautiful old pulpit was on the platform:


It was brought to the convention from a very small church in the Arkansas Valley of Colorado. We were told that Uncle Bud Robinson had preached from this pulpit. Uncle Bud is a colorful part of our denomination's history.


"Bud Robinson was born in the mountains of Tennessee on January 27th, 1860. His family was very poor, and they lived under meager conditions. Growing up with twelve siblings, space and food was scarce. He did not receive an education, but rather had to work early in order to make a living. His father died in 1872, and in 1876 his mother decided to leave the Tennessee Mountains and move to Texas. Bud worked on a farm and joined the wild town life. He was known as 'a tough one' among the Texas boys.

"In 1880 he attended a local tent revival. In his one pocket he had a pistol, the other one held a deck of cards. But God spoke to him and after a long struggle he made his way to the altar where he gave his life to the Lord. As soon as the meeting was ended he ran outside and got rid of the gun, then threw the cards into the fire. Later he crawled under a wagon to go to sleep, but he only lay there and laughed and cried. That night under the wagon, with his head on a tree stump, God called him to preach.

"About three months later he attended his first Sunday school, which he was about to refuse, as he could not read. But the Sunday school lady convinced him that she would do all the reading, and so he came along. After that, he slowly started to learn how to read.

"Bud received a preaching license and started in his evangelistic work, which he would carry on till the end of his life. Most people tried to discourage him from preaching because of his stutter. But in spite of them Bud followed His call. In the first year he had 300 conversions. He would go out in his Sunday shirt and straw hat, with his pony, a Bible and songbook in hand. In the first four years he received a total of $16 for his ministry.

Every day Reverend Bud Robinson prayed like this:

'Oh Lord, give me a backbone as big as a sawlog, ribs like the sleepers under the church floor, put iron shoes on me and galvanized breeches, give me a rhinoceros hide for a skin, and hang a wagonload of determination up in the gable-end of my soul, and help me to sign the contract to fight the devil as long as I've got a fist and bite him as long as I have a tooth, then gum him till I die. All this I ask for Christ's sake. Amen.'

"Many were amused by it, but for him it provided strength for each new day, the strength he needed to be the incredible example that changed so many people's lives.

"Never was he the pastor of a church. He was uneducated and had many odd ways. But for exactly those quaint ways people loved him. They called him Uncle Bud. He was just himself, totally unaffected, always sweet-tempered. In his simple way he criticized evil and wrong. Still, he was a friend to everybody.

"Probably the most remarkable characteristic about him was his humor. He put things into figures of speech that nobody else would think of. He was a beloved figure; anytime you announced him for a service or a meeting you could be sure you'd get a crowd of people. His native wit and his lisp gave him wide renown.

"His entire life was devoted to preaching the good news of Christ's death and resurrection to the people of his country. He travelled extensively all over the United States and preached in many churches. People loved him and came to listen to him wherever they heard he was coming. Thousands were converted, and many more encouraged through his ministry. They called him Uncle Bud, and he influenced many of the great leaders of the our denomination.

"One time when he was in California, he started across a street and a car hit him and he was hurt so badly that he literally flew through the air. Quite a few broken bones were the result and he spent weeks and weeks in hospital. But he recovered, and once more took up his responsibility, and followed the call."
You can find the audio recording of his hospital experience here, if you're interested: (hospital experience)

In 1942 he died of old age. After his death, a newspaper ad read:

"An evangelist who claimed to have preached 32,176 sermons and won 200,000 converts, Rev. Reuben "Uncle Buddy" Robinson, is dead today. The thirteenth child of a poor mountain family of White county, Tennessee, he had an impediment of speech and could not write a word or spell his own name when he was converted at 20. But he overcame these handicaps to preach an average of 500 sermons a year to 72 denominations in his 61 years on the sawdust trail, and to write 10 books of which 500,000 copies were sold. He died last night in his Pasadena home. He was 82 years old."

Written by Dorli Gaschwandtner (from the archives at Southern Nazarene University).

Uncle Buddy preached in this pulpit in this little town in the mid to late 30's. The church at that time was a strong church out there in the Valley. The train stopped off there to get water for the steam boiler and the people stayed in the hotel there. The hotel is now the church. It was a revival that Uncle Buddy preached in that church. He was never the pastor there.

I was told that Uncle Buddy was approached to take place of Will Rogers as the humorist for the nation, after Will's death in an airplane crash in Alaska, with Wiley Post. He declined, saying that he would only preach the gospel.

Below is the church, with the pulpit in place - the pastor is now retired and a member of our church - this was approximately 40 years ago, when he was pastor of this church.



Jess said...

Such a great post.... I really enjoyed it.

Hope you have a good end of the week.

Jungle Mom said...

Great history. I enjoyed reading it very much.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

What an inspiring story of a life lived for Christ! I'd never heard of Uncle Buddy so you educated me, Dawn.

Still praying...

Love and hugs,


Sharon Lynne said...

God can use everyone...we just have to be willing. It sounds like Uncle Buddy was willing!

My prayers are with your church.

Sammy said...

This is quite interesting, Dawn. I am always very interested in hearing stories like this, whether they are from my own religious background or not. This man's life was fascinating. Thanks for sharing this story.

Linds said...

What a fascinating man he must have been!

PEA said...

Oh Dawn, how I enjoyed reading the story of Uncle Bud!! He overcame so many difficulties to preach the gospel and it warms the heart knowing that he helped so many others during his life. The pulpit is beautiful and it's wonderful to see that it's still in existence today!! I'm just now catching up with your last couple of posts so I'll go read the previous one now. xoxo

andrena said...

what a wonderful story and tribute!

Dr.John said...

Thanks for sharing the story. It is amazing how God uses people.
The great Finnish revival was started by a man who could not read or write. He was converted by the testimony of a village blacksmith.
What a wonderous God we have.

MugwumpMom said...

Am so sorry to hear about the tragedy in your church family. Hope everyone is strengthened with His peace that passes understanding.

This story about Uncle Bud was truly inspiring...just goes to show that God uses whom He will, how He will, and never gets it wrong..very cool.

Nancy said...

Dawn, I'm so sorry I haven't stopped by in a few days. You must be devastated as you face the funeral today. I will keep you and the family in my prayers. It reminds me of the pain we felt when Emily died last October. Please know that you are loved.

Thanks for the Uncle Buddy story. It is inspiring indeed.

Anonymous said...

Greetings from north Idaho. I started reading your blog last fall, and as a newly retired elementary teacher, enjoyed following you throughout the months as you faced retirement and now as you begin this new season in your life. The pulpit is beautiful. What is your denomination? v