Vol.XVI No.IV Pg.8
June 1979

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

The Oaks-West church building has opera-chair seating, upholstered with green fabric. And we have among our children, a four-years-old precocious boy who lives in the country and truly loves tractors. So, he asked the preacher, "Dan, how come we have all these John Deere tractor seats here?" That won't mean a thing to many of our readers, but it will warm the hearts of farm and ranch folk who know tractor "makes" by their color. It is a selective story, which finds response only in those tuned to receive it. And it reminds me that much of life is on a one-way track that leads to nowhere; not because life is meaningless, but because we are ill equipped to receive and use it.

It had been twenty-one years since Vivian and I attended a High School graduation exercise. But we drove over one hundred miles, to sit for three hours in a crowded building, to watch seven hundred and ninety-five students we did not know, march up and get their diplomas. Why did we do it? Because there was one we did know and love — our granddaughter. The attraction was not in the program generally, although it was well done, but because we were on the same wavelength with one tiny bit of that mob. A botanist sees a wood lot as an array of specimens; the farmer may see it as a wind break, or as something to be cleared; the hunter sees a game haven; the artist, the subject for a landscape; the woodsman sees it in terms of board-feet. Then, each may — we hope, does — see it with the eye of the others. An individual appreciates and understands the forest in direct proportion to the fullness of his view. The botanist need not be a hunter, but he should try to grasp a hunter's true viewpoint.

A recognition of these things must be manifested in our teaching. When we want people to "see" certain truth we must remember the importance of getting on their wavelength. Jesus, the Master Teacher, put heavens message in terms his hearers understood. His illustrations were so common to man they live even in this highly complex society. I fear much of our effort is lost because it is couched in "Church of Christ" nomenclature (the way we say it) without regard for the way it must sound to non-members.

If we don't adjust our presentation to the hearer, we may deserve a rancher's criticism: "He flung his fodder too high for us common cows."