Friday, October 24, 2008

Of Raccoons and Religious Renegades, plus Garrison Keillor on Abilene, Texas

In case you were thinking about it, do not attempt to use a taser on a raccoon. According to a recent story from the Associated Press, tasers don't work on raccoons.

I have never been tased. Have you? (Okay, if you have, you might not be ready to admit it). I don't understand the people who ask to be tased to find out what it's like. No one looks like he's having fun. I'll just take their word (or scream) for it.

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On the religion front, a man in Childress, Texas has been excommunicated by the Carey First Baptist Church because he publicly favors keeping Childress County "wet" (i.e., permitting the sale of alcohol). According to the story which appears in today's Amarillo Globe-News, the man has hardly been to the church in the last four years, and was notified by letter that he is a wicked man who's being expelled from his congregation.

This reminds me of something that happened in my home congregation of the Church of Christ when I was in grade school. As I recall, two or three members of the congregation who hadn't attended in years were notified by mail that they were being "disfellowshipped" (our term of choice). I don't know if any of them had been contacted in person. Anyway, a copy of the form letter was read to the congregation at the close of a Sunday-morning service. I had no idea who any of these people were.

Years later, I was a student in a high school class taught by one of the disfellowshipped people. During the years that had passed, the teacher had never been back to church. Apparently, being expelled from a congregation that the teacher really wasn't a part of had somehow failed to shake any spiritual sense into this person. I can still remember that the teacher was a pretty good classroom instructor and gave every indication of being a fine person. I hoped that my teacher didn't know that I was a part of the congregation that had sent that letter.

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Garrison Keillor recently did one of his "Prairie Home Companion" shows in Abilene, TX. He reflects on his visit in a Salon piece called Among the hardy Republicans.



As for the Childress incident ... it was handled poorly, very poorly. It's been very embarassing.

Bob Bliss said...

Frank, I think that "program" for trying to reclaim people who didn't attend began at Sunset CofC and the school when I was there (1975-1977). According to the way it was done at Sunset, the absentee individuals were visited at home and asked to return. A second visit was made with the required witnesses if the first attempt was unsuccessful. Then it was told to the church and a letter was sent to the individual concerning the "disfellowshipment" (my made up word) of their membership. After Sunset my congregation in CA tried this approach. I remember being in the home of one of our bus kids whose parent had received the letter. I witnessed great anger and thought "this isn't working."

In the 80s there was an article in the Firm Foundation concerning this program. The title said it all. "Withdrawing something you don't have from someone who isn't there." Nuff said.