Vol.VI No.VIII Pg.8
October 1969

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

After a week in the wilderness of central Idaho, my shirt was Thanksgiving dinner for hungry enzymes. I first decided to shave only the right side of scrawny beard, to protest the far left; then changed my mind and shaved both sides — to prove I was a happy man; and my hunting partners said I still looked like a protest. There were no bottles to hit or miss on this trip (I missed a cougar at 50 yards — quick shot, lots of excuses) but when the elk were packed in, and we were on the way home, I began to think of the lessons one can learn from a truly back-country camp.

The genuine essentials of life are brought to focus in this place. Shelter — a tarp, or even an overhanging tree — becomes tremendously important as night approaches and the air fills with wet, clinging snow. A flickering fire changes the dark unknown into a friendly, inviting circle. A simple plastic jug, making water quickly available and easily handled, becomes a marvelous invention and simple foods are a feast. In this perpendicular land dry socks and properly fitted boots are vital — while only a fool considers style.

Christianity has its style mongers, and perhaps most of us have lived under such sheltered conditions that we tend to confuse the frills and luxuries of what we know as the church with its true essentials. If we could, somehow, move into a sort of back-country and have to pioneer our way — sans the traditions and accumulated trivia of our age — I suspect we would be astonished at the absolute essentiality of some principles we now tend to ignore — and of the utter worthlessness of some externals we tend to magnify.

With the Stygian blackness of ignorance and error made apparent, we would grasp hungrily for even the most feeble rays of truth and hope. Gods Word would assume its rightful place of importance, and we would read and study like truth was going out of style — which it is. When we saw our own stark nakedness in sin, we would not complain at the seeming roughness of truths simple cloth; and Faith in Christ would be such a warm and sheltering paradise. Wash away thy sins (Acts 22:16) would be Oh so welcomed, and we would be so ashamed of petty excuses that have prevented our faithful service to God.