DECEMBER 2, 1937
NEW YORK, Wednesday—It is perhaps somewhat ironic to have to go to a theatre to hear true Christianity preached, and yet that was my experience last night! I went with a friend to see "Many Mansions" in which Alexander Kirkland stars. Judging from the applause he has made himself popular and I think he does a very good piece of acting, even achieving a rather subtle change in personal appearance as the play goes on. Starting with the attractive and rather weak face of an immature boy, in some way that face does gain strength before the final scene.
As so often happens Christianity as expressed in the Sermon on the Mount is simplicity itself, but through the ages human beings have rendered it more and more complicated. "The church" does not exist, numerous churches exist, always controlled by human beings, ministers or lay men and many ministers as pointed out in the play, being practical men discover that they can do little unless they compromise with laymen. As the last minister the boy served under said: "I can shock them a little, but it is 'their' money."
I read some editorials recently about a minister who is trying to practice the very simple commands of the Sermon on the Mount, much as this boy in the play thought he could do, and the editorials react to much the same influences, political, financial and formally religious, which are revealed in the attitude of the people and the different episodes in the play.
Yesterday afternoon I went to the opening performance of the Dance International in the Rainbow Room, Radio City. Many of the consuls from foreign nations were there, and the dances were charming. It is an achievement to have drawn these people from so many different nations together, and to have obtained their collaboration and enthusiastic work.
I have not as yet seen the exhibition which is shown in connection with these dance programas, but a great deal of praise is certainly due the group who had the imagination and interest to gather all this material with the thought that this would be a new approach to a better understanding among people.
This is a most beautiful day and makes one feel one should be in the country. Instead, I went to open the graduate course at the Todhunter School this morning. The first talk, because of our visit to the TVA, was on rural electrification. This subject is of great interest to every urban dweller, because it forecasts changes in rural life which have a great influence on our great cities.