Vol.XV No.IX Pg.8
November 1978

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

STUFF ABOUT THINGS is an effort to maintain balance —- a bit of therapy for those of us who sometimes take ourselves too seriously. It is drawn from my experiences, and from "tales" heard while wandering through this wonderful land. Inevitably such STUFF will pounce upon incongruous happenings — serious moments that somehow "go astray." For example: the funeral for the town drunk, where the preacher said repeatedly, "This is a sobering occasion." Most sobering!

Another preacher accompanied a body to a distant state, arriving only minutes before time for the funeral. He was told that two local girls would like to sing a song during the services, and agreed — thinking this was a family arrangement, or girls from the local church. But the girls appeared in "cow-girl" outfits, with a guitar, and sang, "Satisfied Mind." (That's an old country western, in case you have forgotten.)

I was challenged for a debate at a funeral in East Texas. Services were conducted in an abandoned schoolhouse which was near the place of burial. Upon arrival I was asked if the local Pentecostal preacher might have some part in the funeral, as some of the family of the deceased were members of that church. Of course I agreed, and suggested that he read the obituary and word the opening prayer.

Things went well until he began talking about the family, and how he had "concerted" some of them. Then I suppose he got "carried away" with himself (they may have called it the "working of the Spirit") and turning to me, he issued a rousing challenge for a public debate on the Holy Spirit in conversion, and Miracles. My mouth may have dropped open, but I said nothing at the time.

But after the burial I climbed upon a large pile of dirt, called the people together, and accepted the challenge. The preacher agreed to have the debate in that school building, but never honored the agreement. I certainly do not charge all Pentecostal preachers with such insensitivity or lack of honor. This is just another example of the STUFF of life.

Of course preachers (and others) are usually the heroes in their own stories, but we should all remember that none of us are immune to the failings of the rest of us. If STUFF ABOUT THINGS is a "joke" page, remember, you and I are the jokers.