“I’D GIVE A PRETTY . . .”
One of the fond memories of my childhood is spending several days each summer with each set of my grandparents. All of my grandparents lived within thirty miles of our home and we spent much time together, not only in the summer, but throughout the year during holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, as well as at other times.
All of the grandchildren, including all my cousins on both the paternal and maternal sides of the family, called our grandparents “Big Mama” and “Big Daddy.” We did not refer to them as Grandma, Granddad, Nana, Papa, or any of the other terms grandchildren use today. Both of my “Big Mamas” knew some of my favorite foods. Big Daddy Fulford (who died when I was ten years old) liked a certain kind of sausage, and because he liked it I liked it! Big Mama Fulford always had that kind when I went to stay with them. Big Mama Pope knew that I loved her homemade tea cakes and she always had a big batch of those stowed away in the pie safe when she knew I was coming for a visit.
Big Mama Pope was always doing something around the housecooking, baking, washing, ironing, sewing, mending, crocheting, etc. When I would become bored with my play and start getting into mischief, distracting her from her work, she would say, “Gilbert, I’d give a pretty if you would behave.” (Gilbert is my middle name and the name I was known by in all the family during my childhood years, though I was always Hugh at school. A “pretty” was a trinket, a bauble, a toy, something to entertain me. Big Mama was always trying to find a “pretty” for me to play with so she could do her work.)
Today, on the social, moral, religious, and spiritual scene, there is any number of things I would give a pretty to know. For instance, “I’d give a pretty” to know . . .
- Why tolerance once meant we would not try to harm one another for our respective beliefs, but today it means that all views must be accepted as equal to the Christian worldview.
- Why if a baby is killed after it is born it is murder, but if it is aborted in the womb it is not murder.
- Why if black lives matter, blacks keep killing one another at a record pace in such crime-ridden cities as Chicago (more than 500 so far this year), Detroit, and Baltimore.
- Why people with the obvious sexual and “plumbing” equipment God gave them at birth cannot figure out which restroom they ought to use.
- Why our nation has become so “hung up” on political correctness that much of our history is now either being denied or completely rewritten in an effort to break down all natural differences in human beings and their roles in society.
- Why if baptism is not essential to salvation Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16), and the inspired apostle Peter said, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us . . .” (I Peter 3:31, KJV).
- Why if there is but one body (Ephesians 4:4) and the body is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23), one will still defend denominationalism with its multiplicity of churches.
- Why anyone would deny that a person can be a Christian today, a member of the Lord’s church, without being a member of any denomination.
- Why scholars and historians want to define the churches of Christ (one of several descriptors of New Testament congregationsRomans 16:16) by modern sociology standards rather than by the New Testament itself.
- Why one cannot be identified simply as a gospel preacher rather than by the denominationally-tainted description “Church of Christ” preacher, and why one who is simply a Christian, a member of the body of Christ, cannot be described in that way rather than by such denominationally-influenced terminology as, “She is ‘Church of Christ'” (Titus 2:8; I Peter 4:11).
- Why if “once saved, always saved” is true the Bible warns, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).
- Why one can so glibly “explain away” the restrictions on the role of women in the worship and work of the church (I Corinthians 14:34; I Timothy 2:11-15).
- Why one can be so dismissive of the importance of sticking strictly to the Scriptures and doing exactly what they say (I Corinthians 4:6; II John 9; Hebrews 5:8-9).
Big Mama said she’d “give a pretty.” So would I.
November 1, 2016