August 16, 2018

Foolishness Gone to Seed

By Connie W. Adams

I thought my liberal brethren had gone about as far as possible into the depths of sectarian foolishness and downright silliness until the following bulletin article was sent to me with the request that I say something about it. The article was written by Roger Massey, preacher at Circleville, Ohio and appeared in the December 13, 1970 The Spectator, their local church bulletin.

A Tribute to "Old Yeller"

"A backfire, a squeak, a chug-chug, and a honk-honk-hon-n-nk means 'Old Yeller' is approaching. Old Yeller is a neighborhood trademark. Dogs bark at her, and traffic bows to her massive hulk.

"Old Yeller' used to be just an ordinary old school bus living a hum-drum life, but since she has been converted to Christianity, her life is much happier because she is now serving God. She is different from many Christians in that she works for the Lord in rain, snow, heat and cold.

"Sometimes 'Old Yeller' gets sick and Clarence Curry, Don Moore and Charlie Babb get their heads together and make her well again. Occasionally she gets overenthusiastic and doesn't want to stop at all. Then the good doctors must repair her brakes.

"Because 'Old Yeller' is human, at times we get irritated at her. For instance when she hits all the traffic lights red and is late for Bible class, we who teach get upset with her. When she brings a load of neighborhood youngsters together on Saturday night for Bible study, singing and wholesome fun we again get angry at her because one of the twelve year olds which she brought spilled Kool-Aid in the church building. However, 'Old Yeller' would rather see a twelve year old spill Kool-Aid in the church building than to see an eighteen year old spill liquor in a saloon.

"Old Yeller' has many lovers, but her special lover is Jerry Cassill. Jerry is the one who spends the most time with her and cares for her spiritual and physical well-being (Emphasis mine-CWA). Sometimes Jerry's wife must wonder just who is married to whom, but because 'Old Yeller' is a Christian in the truest sense of the word (Emphasis

mine-CWA), she wouldn't think of tampering with a happy home.

"May the wheels of 'Old Yeller' continue to roll to the glory of God as she proclaims the words of our Lord and they shall be all taught of God.'

"When you get to heaven, you will no doubt hear a backfire, a squeak, a chug-chug, and a honk, honk, hon-n-nk which means 'Old Yeller' is approaching to carry you to the great white throne of God."

I do believe that for sheer nonsense bordering on blasphemy, this must take the prize. Do you wonder that so many congregations have wandered off into the wilderness of sectarian thought and practice much with such men preaching and editing bulletins?

Granting that "Old Yeller" falls into the realm of expediency in the work of getting people to a teaching occasion, why single out this one for such a tribute and slight "Old

Blue," the blue-handled broom, or "Old Red," the vacuum cleaner, or "Old Blackie" the mimeograph machine? If "Old Yeller" is a Christian "in the truest sense of the word," then so are these. What a frivolous use of the divinely given name intended for individuals saved from sin! Isn't it strange that "Old Yeller" has a "spiritual" well-being to which attention must be given? I would like to know just what it is that the good brother does for "Old Yeller" which relates to her "spiritual" welfare.

Expedites More Than Teaching

"Old Yeller" does more than serve as an expedient for those folks in bringing people to Bible study and worship, it also transports them to social affairs and these in the church building. Brother Massey says "Old Yeller" would rather a twelve year old spill Kool-Aid in the church building than for an eighteen year old to spill liquor in a saloon. This is his defense of the church providing "wholesome fun" to which youngsters are brought by "Old Yeller" and this in the church building. I hope the brethren who run colleges are observing. The first opening they have for a logic teacher will surely cause them to look in this brother's direction. I know a number of folks who grew up to serve the Lord, who neither spilled Kool-Aid in a church building nor liquor in a saloon. The implication of all this is that unless the church provides social activities for youth, the saloon will. What is wrong with the home providing suitable social affairs? "What? Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?" (I Cor. 11:22; Eph. 6:3-4). 

On the same basis, would it not be better for a youngster to skin his knee on the church basketball court, than on the one at the state correctional institute? Would it not be better for him to learn metallurgy in the church factory than to learn by making license plates in the penitentiary? "Old Yeller" proves too much.

The most offensive part of this scholarly production is the last sentence which imagines that "Old Yeller" will interrupt the majesty of the scene at the great white throne of God with a backfire, squeak, chug-chug and don't forget the "honks." Are we also to assume that "Old Yeller" could not have transported any of these thus far unless they had been given opportunity to spill Kool-Aid in the church building? If I were in a congregation which tolerated such drivel, and could not influence a drastic change for the better, I would be compelled to find me a New Testament church with which to worship and would much prefer to sit at the feet of a sound gospel preacher who does not feel led to waste the bulletin space to feed the flock on such pink tea. 

Should some of our more genteel readers think this article is too sarcastic, I claim, as my precedent, the practice of Elijah on Mt. Carmel when he chided the prophets of Baal for their lavish and ridiculous outcries unto their god. Surely the brethren in Circleville will be embarrassed by this episode and resolve to correct their practices.

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 32, pp. 7-9
June 17, 1971

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