Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 3, 1970
NUMBER 17, PAGE 1-2a

"You Will Get Blasted"

Wm. E. Wallace

Several times the last year or so friends have suggested that someone would "blast" us for some cause or another. They of course refer to the journalistic response that could be expected in the wake of an article, policy or procedure for which we are responsible. This sort of "blast" refers to the harsh reaction that comes from those who are seemingly irate, or apparently offended, or possibly "trigger-happy."

I was thinking along this line in the face of a minor racial situation which recently threatened the city of Lufkin. This peaceful east Texas town was disturbed by a number of fire bombings, and it was suggested that the location and frontage of the building in which we do business offered a prime target for the bombers. A local businessman was concerned about his own establishment and packed a shot-gun to work one day. Upon leaving late at night he accidently fired the weapon blowing a hole through the door of his automobile!

It doesn't help to get overly nervous about the possibility of a "blasting." Of course the journalistic blastings which may come our way are hardly a cause for getting nervous. I like to think of president Harry Truman's remark: "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen."

We are not insensitive to sharp criticism. Sometimes we think, like some others, that we need a little jarring occasionally. We suspect that a perusal of some of the writings appearing under our name the past twenty years would indicate that we've engaged in a little journalistic blasting, so what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

This writer has no complaint about being blasted. It is probably that in this, we reap what we have sown. It does disturb us however, that some who pull the trigger may be possessed with ill will, afflicted with unhealthy feelings, motivated by immature complexes, driven by premature impulses, or obsessed with "gettin' someone with the pen. We hasten to say, that even though some of the unfortunate characteristics just mentioned are evident in much reactionary writing, I feel quite sure that responsive brethren have a deep-seated desire to see truth and right upheld. Believing this to be true, it is not difficult to take their thrusts in stride, moving on along the way while considering the relevancy and worthiness of their words. It comes easy to us to muse, "Well, he misunderstands" or "He is just overly agitated" or something of the sort. So it amounts to this: we consider everything that is said but we do not allow it to discourage us, even if it is a "blast." We might add further that we believe that the reading brethren generally read a "blast" unappreciatively, and thus there is no need to be considerably concerned about the effects of the blast on the cause. Whether or not we respond to a "blast" depends on our evaluation of its effects.

At a debate in the early 1950's we were impressed with the observation made by a "liberal": "You brethren don't talk like you write." We have found this to be quite true in our contacts through the years. Upon meeting brethren, from both sides of controversy, we discover that they are not nearly as mean or unreasonable as their writings might indicate. The maturing processes enable one to consider the possibilities of a writer not meaning what our first reactions to his words might indicate. Words and expressions may not represent the same feelings in the writer as they do to the reader. Further, it should be noted that men often fail to express their thinking adequately or efficiently both in oral and written presentations.

The story is told of an irate landowner, who had some trouble with a neighbor about the fences and the cattle, went to see a lawyer about it, and said: "I want you to write him a letter. I know what I want to say to him, but I ain't got l'arning enough to get it down." "And what is it you want me to say to him?" inquired the lawyer, taking his pen in hand. "Well," was the answer, "you just begin by callin' him the lyinest, thievinest, meanest, lowdownest skunk on earth, an' then work up!"

Occasionally, we receive a letter in the Gospel Guardian office from an irate customer who has suffered from one of our rare (?) lapses in service. We have received some hot ones! But apologies usually follow when we write to explain the situation and offer our regrets. The same holds true with regard to those who respond rather warmly to articles, policies, and procedures. It seems that a little brotherly kindness begets the same. The problem is in the will to restrain our own baser impulses in responding! It doesn't help matters in business or in religion to add fuel to the flames. The more experienced we become and the older we get the more restraint and wisdom we employ.