The Fox without a Tail

Brent Lewis
Eau Gallie, Florida

Once upon a time there was a preacher who was somewhat overbearing. However, he did not always get his way.

The elders where he preached did not subscribe to the idea that when he said "jump" they should ask "How far?" and "Which way?" But because of his utter determination to have his own way, the elders decided that he must be relieved of his work with that church. In a word, he got "fired." And the next place he went, the same thing happened.

Whereupon he then decided that it was not wrong to "hire" preachers (if no "hiring," then no "firing"-- natch). Deep study revealed that the "eldership" had been a grave error for years, and was not scriptural because elders hindered all preachers from being "free men in Christ" (Translated: they often would not let them have their way.) Besides, the elders were only a "board of directors" and the best thing to do would be to do away with them all together. Furthermore, the "church" should not be "organized" in any sense.

Some other recalcitrant decided to join him in his crusade, and they set about to set everybody else straight so that everybody would be aright. A paper was offered to all for a subscription price, but they would send it to most everyone, whether they paid the subscription or not. A new "translation" of the scriptures would help the cause. Their movement was to aright the church and restore "true Christianity."

The result? Very much like Aesop's fable of "The Fox Without A Tail," which we quote verbatim, below:

A sly old fox, a foe of geese and rabbits,

Was taken captive in a trap one day

(Just recompense of predatory habits),

And lost his tail before he got away.

He felt ashamed at such a mutilation;

But, cunning as before, proposed a way

To gain companions in his degradation;

And spoke as follows, on a council day:

"Dear brother foxes, what can be the beauty

Or use of things so cumbrous and absurd?

They only sweep the mud up. It's your duty

To cut them off -- it is, upon my word!"

"Not bad advice: there may be wisdom in it,"

Remarked a sage, "but will you, by-the-by,

Oblige us all by turning round a minute,

Before we give a positive reply?"

You never heard such hurricanes of laughter

As hailed the cropped appearance of the rogue,

Of course, among the foxes, ever after,

Long tails continued very much in vogue.


May 7, 1970