Vol.XVIII No.II Pg.8
April 1981

Stuff About Things

Dan S. Shipley

If there was ever such a thing as a church dog, ol" Innovation was it. We'd had plenty of stray dogs to come around our country church building, but with a stompin' of the feet and slappin' the legs, most moved on in a hurry. Most, except Innovation, that is. He just kept can hangin' around, not that he was made welcome. He'd been stomped at, yelled at, and even rocked at, but he stayed on. You had to admit, he was different. About as ugly a dog as you'd ever see. Reminded me of a hyena I'd seen in a picture once. Things gradually got a little better for Innovation. None of the members paid much attention to him, but at least they didn't try to run him off anymore. Anyway, my baby brother said he "didn't see anything wrong" with letting him hang around the church building and sleep under the steps. Innovation found a real friend in my little brother — and a good source for cold biscuits.

By summers end, Innovation had become a familiar part of the scenery around our church building. He had won more friends, mostly among the youth, but many of the older members found him easier to tolerate by now. With cold weather came the problem of warmer quarters for Innovation. By now he was like community property and it wouldn't do for any one family to take him home. Little brother asked some of the men if he could fix a place for Innovation in an unused classroom. They reckoned it would be alright. A few older members didn't much like it, but went along because they didn't want to hurt little brother's feelings. Before the winter was over, Innovation was takin' his place in a back corner to listen to the preachin', just like the rest of us.

The longer Innovation stayed, the more he became accepted by most all members. He's been there for years now. Some of the young people can't remember when he wasn't there. They think he's always been a part of the church. Some new members moved in and made the mistake of objecting to his presence. You'd have thought they blasphemed! They found out in a hurry that Innovation had priority around that place — even above brethren. The preacher who named him came back for a meeting not long ago. He made the brethren see that a dog like that deserved a more dignified name — something like "Tradition", maybe. But, no matter what they call him, he'll always be the same of Innovation to me. Reluctantly ...