Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 3, 1952
NUMBER 34, PAGE 10-11b

New And Totally Revolutionary

Bryan Vinson, Dallas, Texas

In the September 25th issue of Boles Home News, there appears an article announcing the operation of a new undertaking expressed by these opening words: "Boles Home has entered into a new and totally revolutionary experiment in the realm of caring for the fatherless and widows. As a result of several months planning and study the Home has ventured forth on a plan of caring for Christian widows with their children at Boles Home. The widow is to live in a cottage provided for her family while she works at the Home, doing all she can to provide for the youngsters. She and her children are to eat at the dining hall with everyone else, and her children are under the same sponsorship and clothing plan as are all the other children and are also wards of Boles Home."

Further explanatory of the working of this new arrangement, it is stated that the congregation where the widow and her children come from is to provide the cottage, and carry along in helping care for this widow and children. Thus it is proposed to correct what has been heretofore the "normal arrangement" of separating the mother and children, enabling her to hold together the remnants of her family. The immediate reaction to this proposal is an emotional approval—an approval emotionally arrived at out of regard for the ties of maternal and filial love to be preserved. To publicize this new and revolutionary experiment, subjoining thereto and appeal for the prayers and support of the Lord's people, necessarily obligates those appealed to to carefully examine this proposed undertaking before offering their prayers and tendering their support.

Let us, therefore, make some observations on this proposal by way of contributing to a clearer understanding thereof. First, be it observed that it is designed to correct a condition which is defined as being "normal"; but since normal is defined as "According to, constituting, or not deviating from, an established norm, rule, or principle; standard; regular; natural. "We are made to wonder why that which is normal needs correcting. But is the prevailing practice normal as herein defined? If so, where is the principle found expressed and the established norm prescribed? And, if so why does it stand in need of correction? Certainly it is not "natural" for a mother to be separated from her children. The very fact, however, that such a correction is sought implies the imperfection of, and dissatisfaction with, the prevailing practice of separating and institutionalizing children. In the solution offered, though solving the separation problem in a measure, the net result is the institutionalizing of the mother also. In other words we are unwilling to leave the children with the mother—we take the mother with the children. She can have the privilege of being with them in the evening after she has completed her eight hour tour of work; she will be relieved of the duty, or deprived of the joy—as the case may be—of preparing their meals and securing their clothing. Too, she will surrender the care and control of her children to the home officials—they become the wards of the home. Of course she is to love them and train them, but as wards of the home, the training must be done according to the rules and under the oversight of the home. Being new and totally revolutionary, it is yet in its experimental stage; and after several months of planning and study the experiment is now being made with a widow and four children. This necessitates of course the construction of a cottage in which this family is to dwell together in their off hours, and it is currently under construction. It is to be presumed that it won't have a kitchen, as there is no need of one under the announced plan. Nevertheless, the cost is to he borne by the congregation from where the family came. Nothing is said regarding the title of ownership to this home, nor whose it will be after this family is through with it. Most likely it is being constructed on land owned by the home and under the supervision of its personnel. The only responsibility of the home congregation would be to furnish the money for the cottage construction and "carry along in helping to care for this group as much as it can."

The financial ability of this congregation is not stated, and hence we are left without information as to whether they are able to supply all that is needed when they do as much as they can. Certainly many, very many, congregations are able to fully supply the support of a widow and four children; and as this one is able to build a cottage initially it likely is able to sustain this widow and children in their daily needs. It would be prudent to ascertain the true situation before rushing any supplementary support to this project—they may not need it. Especially is this true since the mother is to work eight hours a day (we are not told whether it is a forty, forty-eight or fifty-six hour week, nor are we informed as to the wage scale) as this ought to go a long ways toward paying for the food bought in bulk, contributed, or raised largely by the labors of the wards of the home. Unless it is known what this congregation is doing along with the total need of this family it is impossible for any congregation to respond intelligently to this appeal.

Further, to me, it is more than a curious interest as to why this congregation did not see fit to build, buy or rent a dwelling where they are for this good sister and children and see after their needs at home. Is it more economical to care for them at Boles with the proportionate allocation of administrative cost included? It could hardly be urged that it was more scriptural to resort to this experimental arrangement, inasmuch as it is new and totally revolutionary; and too, it is utterly illogical to speak of anything being "as scriptural" or "more scriptural" as something else—it is either scriptural or it isn't. Also, may we inquire whether she could retain the house in which she was living when she became a widow or her need materialized; and, if not, was there not another one in the home town available?

If this experiment proves to be feasible and altogether satisfactory, will we soon be witnessing provisions being made for widowers and their children? Only a few months ago there was an appeal made in Boles Home News for a decision from "the journalistic authorities" among us as to the best way to care for dependent children. In the discussion of this perplexing problem a case was cited from Lufkin of a father with five children ranging in age from fourteen downward. In arriving at the decision to 'take them into the home, it was observed that even to adopt them all into one home would deprive the father of associating with them. At the time I wondered if taking them into Boles didn't result in the same unhappy circumstance obtaining. It was stated in that instance that the father was unable to both care for and support the children; hence the happy solution of the difficult situation was found in relieving him of both the care and support of them. That is, unless he sends the support to Boles to care for their needs. It would be a proper and forthright procedure for all who are contributing to this Home to be kept informed as to all receipts and disbursements of the Home, so that they may more wisely respond to the many constant and ever enlarging appeals addressed to them.

In all the planning and study involved in bringing forth this novel, revolutionary and experimental project we are led to wonder what the source material was to which recourse was made in said study, and where the blue print of the plan is found for such an arrangement. Our informant supplieth us not with any hint as to what we may study to arrive at the same conclusion. Certainly we would be justified in expecting to find it elsewhere than in the scriptures, which thoroughly furnishes us unto every good work, inasmuch as we have had access to all they impart for nineteen centuries, and this is new and totally revolutionary. In this announcement there is no hint that the Word of God was studied in connection with the studious investigation made, or that it was consulted relative to the plan perfected. No one can invent that which is new and put in operation that which is totally revolutionary and at the same time, in so doing, lay claim to "doing Bible things in Bible ways" with any consistency whatsoever. This omnibus operation renders increasingly necessary a constantly enlarging organization to execute and administer it, and an ever-expanding support to maintain it. There is never a diminution of the demand for help, but the urgency of need is ever present; and, octopus like, its tentacles are reaching out seeking tribute from the congregations all over the nation.

There are many in the world who recognize the sound economy and good sense of discharging social obligations and returning political control to the local and state level. Alarm is being voiced over the encroachments and entrenchments of the federal administration in the control of the lives of the people. Even in the suppression of crime as well as in the performance of good the cry is being heard that such must be handled on a community plane. If the people of this world can and do, show such concern for and recognize the wisdom and necessity of such a course why should we not be able to profitably learn therefrom. Supremely is such thoughtfulness required of us inasmuch as we are the stewards of the Lord, whose we are and to whom we shall render an accounting for what we do and also how we do it.