Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 6, 1960
NUMBER 22, PAGE 3,14b

Colloquy In Nashville


(Scene: The consulting room of one of Tennessee's leading psychiatrists. There is the usual couch on which is stretched a man of indeterminate age; the doctor, white-jacketed, paces up and down when he isn't standing, legs apart, hands clasped behind back, with a window behind him.)

DOCTOR: Now what did you say your calling is?

PATIENT: I'm a minister of the church of Christ.

DOCTOR: Oh, yes! I believe its national headquarters are here.

PATIENT: Well, not exactly.

DOCTOR: No matter. Ah, um — what do you like to read?

PATIENT: Of late I've been confining my reading to the Gospel Advocate and SERMONS by G. N. Woods. There is so much confusion in the world, especially the religious world; but I know a thing is true if it be printed in the right place.

DOCTOR: Very true indeed. How do you spend your time when not preaching?

PATIENT: Well, I like to visit our various colleges, homes, and other institutions. People there are very helpful and have helped me get several places to preach.

DOCTOR: I've been noticing the way your church has been growing lately. I used to think of it as a backward sect, but no more! It's hard to drive anywhere without seeing evidence of its forward surge. Do you like radio or television programs?

PATIENT: I don't listen or look much. I do like Herald of Truth, however.

DOCTOR: Oh yes. A church in Texas somewhere puts that on, don't it?

PATIENT: Well, we all chip in.

DOCTOR: Do you "chip in" enough to "call the tune," as it were?

PATIENT: No, we just aim to cooperate! But it's not a "cooperation" or "society," you understand.

DOCTOR: Oh, quite! But what really seems to be your trouble? Come clean.

PATIENT: Well, doctor, I'm restless and fidgety most of the time.

DOCTOR: Hmmm. There's really only one cure for that.

PATIENT: What is it, doctor?

DOCTOR: Take up a hobby!

(At the sound of this terrible word, the patient leaps up from the couch, grabs his hat, flings the door open, and bolts through it.)

DOCTOR: Can you beat that?


(Editorial note: This brief report from brother A. B. Keenan struck us as being a bit humorous — and highly apropos. It is a rather sad commentary on the quality of leadership in churches today to see the stupid way in which some of them are advertising for a "located preacher" with the fatuous and pious declaration "no hobbyist need apply." What they mean, of course, is that ONLY a hobbyist need "apply" — i. e. some brother who is committed to "our" institutions, "our" youth camps, "our" national promotions, and (when the time comes) "our" hospitals, etc.

No matter what a gospel preacher's qualifications and ability; he might be as learned in the scriptures as Timothy, as eloquent as Apollos, and as hardworking as Paul ("teaching you publicly, and from house to house"); he might be as meek as Moses, as holy as Isaiah, and as dedicated as Stephen — but if he does not give allegiance to "our" institutions, and anathematize the "antis," he is a hobbyist, and need not "apply"! Perhaps for twenty or thirty years he has proved himself to be one of the most capable, effective, and consecrated gospel preachers of our generation, wise in judgment, humble in attitude, pure and godly in life.

But that's not enough! In order to be the "local preacher" for one of these advertising churches he must also be a strong "anti-anti-ist"! What a travesty on the great calling to which faithful men of God have given their lives through the centuries: what a grotesque caricature of one who would follow in the steps of Paul!

And, by the way, when tempers have cooled and passions have subsided, say fifty or a hundred years from now, we opine that sensible students in both groups (the "liberal" Churches of Christ and the "conservative" Churches of Christ; for by that time the division will be as well-defined and as accepted as it is now between the church and the digressives) will be no little amused and bewildered by the petty, picayunish tactics and attitude of some brethren of today as they find such reflected in the religious journals.

Imagine a man being frightened out of his wits by a simple suggestion from his doctor that he ought to take up a hobby! What kind of generation has our day spawned? To what kind of teaching have they listened to be so conditioned? And what kind of "intelligence" marks the leadership of brethren who will fight bitterly against the evils of the Catholic parochial school system (see article in this issue from the "Voice of Freedom" on that subject) and then go to prodigious efforts to establish parochial schools for the Churches of Christ? If it is "un-wise" and "un-American" for Catholics to segregate their children and isolate them from the main stream of our public life during their school years, by what process of logic does it become "wise" and "patriotic" for brethren to establish the very kind of schools they condemn in Catholicism?

Oh, well, lest we come to the sad condition of the Nashville brother of brother Keenan's report, maybe we'd better take up a good hobby. Any suggestions, anybody?)