Transcribed by Melody Carter
September 11, 1947
After being absent for some three months, Cal is coming again. He has been very, very busy and has had to leave off his usual “spoutings” and the public has probably been relieved in some measure. However, quite a lot of friends have written and stated that they liked the Column and requested that it be continued. So here goes again.
We believe we closed our last writings with a promise to give some more of the usual and odd ideas, views, opinions and notions about the Bible, and also to give some of the funny side of a minister’s life.
We recall having once heard the story of one of the brethren, who perhaps was not living according “to his best lights,” and whose conduct was not conducive to his own spiritual satisfaction. However, he did desire to keep one of the commandments of the Lord and that is found at Matt. 42:42--”Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” So taking this literally, he went to one of his highest fields whereon there was a haystack and climbed to the top of the stack. Here he had a commanding view of the surrounding country; and, for a time, he watched “faithfully” for the Lord to come. Finally, like the Apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane, he went to sleep. One of his boys discovered his father asleep on top of the haystack and proceeded to set the hay on fire. A short time later, the “watcher” awoke to find himself enveloped in flames and smoke. His only comment was: “The Lord has come and I am in hell just like I thought I would be.”
We once read of a preacher who had a son that was not all he might have been. In fact we may admit that this applies to practically all of the sons of preachers. However, many of their shortcomings would never be published to the world if their dads had followed some other calling rather than that of a minister. This is to say that the mistakes made by preachers’ sons are no worse on the average than those of the sons of men engaged in other work. The preacher’s boy’s blunders get more publicity. But back to our story. This son one day picked up his father’s Bible and began reading in the first of Genesis. He read at the bottom of a page a statement about Adam’s wife, Eve. As he continued his reading, he aimed to turn one page but the leaves of the Bible were thin and he turned two pages instead. He soon saw his mistake, but a mean thought came to him and he thought about how funny it would be if he pasted the pages together and let his dad make the same mistake he had made. So he pasted the two pages together in a very careful manner, so as to excite no suspicion on the part of his father. Shortly thereafter the minister was reading his Scripture lesson before a large congregation and was reading from the first part of Genesis. He was reading about Adam’s wife as he closed the page. Turning over to the next page, as he thought, he was amazed to find his Bible giving a description of the Ark, 300 cubits long, 50 cubits high, with one door in the side and a window above. He paused, wiped his perspiring brow and said: “Brethren , I never new before that this was in the Bible.!! I admit that this description of Eve makes her out a rather over-sized woman, but I am going to believe it because it is in my Bible.” A cubit is 1 1/2 feet.
We once read a sermon by a young preacher about Noah and Ham and Sham and Japeth going into the Ark just prior to the flood. His text was: “And there was Ham and there was Sham and there was Japeth, all a going into the Ark.” He began with a description of the animals that went into the Ark. “And there was that great animal what Goldsmith describes in his ‘Animated Natureah,’ what has got bones as big as a tree, depending somewhat on the size of the tree, agoing into the Ark.” Here he repeated his text. Then he said, “And there was the antelope that frisky little critter which can jump 75 feet straight up and twice that distance down, provided his legs will take him that far, agoing into the Ark,” and he repeated his text. Then he followed with: “And there was the anaconda that great serpent which Goldsmith describes, which can swallow six oxen at a meal provided his appetite does not call for less, agoing into the Ark,” followed with his text. Next he took up the giraffe. “And there was the giraffe, that ill contrived reptile that can eat hay off the top of the barn depending somewhat on the height of the barn, agoing into the ark,” and repeated his text. After describing with equal minuteness other animals that went into the ark, he then began to talk about Noah. “And poor old Noah, after he got out of the Ark, planted him a vineyard and got drunk on the fuss crop of grapes. But, my beloved brethren, I really think that after all he had put up with all that time he was in the Ark, the squealing of the pigs, the bleating of the sheep, the lowing of the cattle, the braying of the donkeys, the cackling of the chickens, the roaring of the lions and the wife’s quarreling on him, that he was entitled to one spree.” We do not recall the results of the sermon.
Many and varied have been the pronunciations of Bible names. Take the book of Leviticus as one example. One old man called it the book of Levy-to-cus, putting the accent on the closing syllable. Another called Nebuchadnezzar, “Ne Buck had a razor.” One of our school boys once referred to Job as if pronounced with a short o. Stephan has been called “Step-Han.” One fellow thought that the Acts of the Apostles was a special axe used by the Apostles to cut down trees. One preacher referred to I John, II John, and III John as one-eyed John, two-eyed John, and three-eyed John.”
And there is old Nicodemus. One man asked if the Bible spoke of a Negro, and was told that the Negro was most probably referred to by the term Ethiopian, when the Bible asked: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin?” and another answered, “Why yes, the Bible speaks of a Negro.” When asked “Where,” he replied, “In the third chapter of John, ‘And there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nigger Demus.” Truly wisdom is justified of her children.
We once knew of a minister who but had little idea of geography and who went to fill an appointment. On his return home he reported that he had hitched his beast to the same swinging limb that the Lord hitched His beast to while He was here on earth. In the first place, the Lord never hitched His beast to any swinging limb, so far as the Bible shows. In the second place, He was not here in Middle Tennessee while He walked among the children of men. In the third place, we do not have any trees in this part of the world that live 1,900 years. In the fourth place, how did he know the limb? In the fifth place, we do not believe what he said.
In the matter of our religious songs, there are many blunders and many funny things said and done. Often brethren who lead singing will sing a song entirely inappropriate to the occasion. We recall one minister who became exasperated over the manner of singing a song. He arose and in thunder tones said “Stop. That song will freeze hell over.” Surely it must have been a cold song indeed to have such a depressing effect.
We recall another happening here in Macon County. In the years gone by, the church appointed two brethren to employ a minister to hold a revival meeting, the church being without a pastor or minister. They went horseback into another county and secured the help of a certain Baptist minister, who returned to the church with the two brethren. These brethren had for some time been engaged in doing a lot of singing in their church, having had two or three singing schools, and naturally they were proud of their singing ability. So at the first service of the revival, they were singing with about all the zeal they had, using some of the new songs in the new book. The old preacher sat in the pulpit until the singing was over and then arose; and, stroking his long beard, said: “Brethren, I do not know how your religion is; but, if it is no better than your sing, you do not have any.” This made the deacons mad and one of the two sent for the new minister states that he looked over at the other and saw that he had slid far down on his seat and was “sitting on his back.” This deacon, after listening to the sermon, which was perhaps nothing to brag about, planned to say to the old preacher: “I do not know how your religion is; but, if it is no better than your preaching, you do not have any.” However, he desisted and soon found that the old preacher wanted the old-time songs and his wishes were granted and a good meeting resulted. This happened near Lafayette and is a true story.