Vol.XI No.V Pg.8
July 1974

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Many years ago while hunting in the brushy country south of Prescott, Arizona, I came upon a young fellow dressed in red jacket, with canteen, bowie knife, binoculars, and a 30-30 rifle. He was obviously a dude, but to pass the time of day I asked if he had had any luck. He answered that he had not actually seen any deer, but he had had three or four good sound shots that morning. Further inquiry revealed that meant he had heard loud crashing of brush as something (he assumed to be deer) bounded away, and he had shot in that direction.

The rancher who grazed that area may have lost some cattle, but thankfully I heard of no missing hunters. This hunter took the opposite direction, stayed on the ridge and watched the dude out of sight, then hurried back to the car and changed areas.

Since then I have known some brethren, not all of them dudes either, who take sound shots. At the slightest rustle of leaves they wheel and fire away, and woe to him who happens to be in that direction. This is not a criticism of those who identify the target, and aim their darts accordingly; but of the careless attacks and fishing expeditions that sometimes hurt innocent people, and offering nothing constructive to the brethren.

Pushing the illustration a bit, I believe there are some cases where indiscriminate shooting— or shooting at sparrows or ground-squirrels— has exhausted ones ammunition, so that when the big game appears the power to stop it has been dissipated. That statement is subject to abuse, for so-called little sins need attention, and have a way of growing. But we believe some thought should be given to using our influence and abilities wisely in fighting errors, as in the task of teaching truth. Pearl before swine could apply to both negative and positive teaching. (Matt. 7:6)

After many sermons and bulletin articles a preacher may teach a few old ladies not to call him Reverend or Pastor and in the process, may teach them that he makes the rules and nomenclature here, and they had better believe it. He has lost more than he has gained. A church that stresses unbalanced emphasis may kill enthusiasm, set each member to spying on the others, build a creed of the special items, and end up with a handful of faithfuls— none of whom drinks coffee, smokes, or watches TV!