Vol.VII No.V Pg.2
July 1970

The Bitter And Sweet

Robert F. Turner

On page 6, we quote John Allen Chalk, preacher for the Highland Church of Christ. Abilene. as he reviews the X - rated movie, Midnight Cowboy. His comments are copied, word for word, from an article by Sam Pendergrast, in the May 22, Abilene Reporter—News, headed Minister Critics Reject Obscenity Label for Cowboy. We take the word of others when we say the chief characters are a homosexual and male prostitute, with explicit scenes of both heterosexual and homosexual relationships.

John Allen Chalk does not commend homosexuality — just the true brotherly love he thinks the characters portrayed. He does not commend the explicit scenes of what God calls vile affection burning lust Unseeming and defiling — for he says they are unnecessary and, therefore, both personally and artistically unacceptable. He sees the movie as a socio-psychological commentary on basic human need — religious need.

I admire bro. Chalk for the courage he displayed in frankly stating his views on such a controversial subject — but there my admiration comes to a screeching halt. His description of the character Ratso as a striking Christ—type figure makes me sick at my stomach. My feelings are not helped by remembering that a hippie school of modernists have tried to cast Jesus in that role.

And if you have read the slick- sheet pictorials and news magazines of the past few years you know that the big defense of pornography and obscene movies and plays is the redemptive qualities these smut-peddlers claim to find in their plots. We are asked to consider the social message or artistic value; just watch the hands — the story is in the hands. The story of what??

Jesus taught true love for vile sinners (Jn. 8: 2-11) without minimizing the sin, or casting the sinner as a Christ -type figure. True gospel preachers today need not go to the sewer for materials or examples by which to preach His message.

To a much happier topic — we call attention to page 3, where we print a third article by bro. Dan S. Shipley. We appreciate your commendations of his articles in two previous issues.

Bro. Shipley, now of Prescott, Ariz., has agreed to assist in writing Plain Talk next year while I am in Australia for meetings, and he is breaking in with some splendid material. Congratulations, Dan!!