Plain Words on Plain Topics: July 1, 1886

Plain Words on Plain Topics

Christian Recorder: July 1, 1886


Mr. Editor: - I beg to inform some of the brethren who have written some excoriating letters about not replying immediately to their letters and telegrams, &c., that I am rarely at home. I live mostly on the cars and when your letters are forwarded to me, you rarely ever stop me at a place where it is convenient to write and if I have any convenience I am besieged all the time by talkers. Then when I reach home, I am usually so exhausted that I can scarcely command strength to write before I am called away again. I want to hear no more about big, fat, lazy Bishops as a hint to me. There is not a man that lives who is more busy day and night than I am. I am always on the go, yet I cannot answer half of the demands upon my time and feeble talents. Some of us begged at our last General Conference to make two or three more Bishops, but being penny wise and pound foolish, they refused to do it. The cry was,” We can’t pay them” just as though Bishops could not take their chances with the rest of the ministers. If the Church of God has to suffer on account of a few cents at our hands then the sooner we die the better, and let God raise up men with grace and sense enough to run his Church. 

But the theory itself is abominable in the extreme. The machinery should be provided for the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ and let the support follow as it ought and will. Had we not attempted to thrust national and State finances upon our Church, and legislate as though there was no God in Israel, our Church to-day would have been able to support thirty Bishops, twenty-five at least, and a hundred other good enterprises. Trusting in God is almost a thing of the past, both in our annual and General Conferences; but unless we return to a throne of grace and recognize the great Head of the Church, and legislate in practice as well as theory, our Church will go to the wall. I have almost become to deprecate an annual conference, for the reason that after you have prayed, advised, counseled, considered and discussed with the presiding elders the merits and fitness of the ministers for this and that place, until you think that you have exhausted every phase of light that God and nature could ever impart and make out the appointments to the best of all judgment that heaven can afford, you find you have just opened the floodgates of grumbles, whines, and complaints, to be pursued and harassed all the year with letters to the effect that “you just sent me here to punish me.” “I don’t know what you had against me.” “I know I am as good as brother B, who is corrupt anyhow.” “When I came here this work was torn all to pieces.” “My wife and children will starve this year.” “Can’t you send me a transfer to some other conference?” And such like glossology comes almost weekly from some men; yet, when you drop in there upon them, you find they never attend Sabbath school, never have a revival, never lead a prayer meeting, never preach without quarrelling, hinting, insinuating, abusing or throwing out risible puns which will kill any church, &c., instead of going willingly to work trying to increase what has been committed to their charge. There are scores of men coming into our conferences for no other purpose than to secure what they call good places at the expense of some other person, and even when given such places they cannot hold them, for a man who cannot build a church cannot hold one successfully; and a minister who sits down all the year grumbling and berating somebody about his appointment, has about as much “trust God” in his soul as arsenic in his stomach.

I wish to say, in this connection, that I cannot answer any August calls. The doctors are constantly telling me that unless I suspend my arduous labors I cannot live much longer. I am not at many services, at best; yet I know the condition of our Church well enough to know we have no Bishop to spare before some others are made; after that we might spare a few of us very conveniently, if not profitably, me particularly, if I am the youngest on the Bench, for no one can deny that I am old in hard work. However, if it will please God to spare me to celebrate my thirtieth marriage anniversary which will come on the 31st of August, and see another General Conference, I will be thankful. I do not see any reason why I should not get married again, as well as several others in their old age, for my wife was sour enough when I refused to re-marry her at our twenty-fifth anniversary, and if I let the thirtieth pass, she may turn to pickle, and as I do not like pickle, I will try and perpetuate the same old “Hun.” I am going to invite all the ministers, their wives, colored statesmen, editors, politicians, etc., etc., to my wedding and get the city park of Atlanta to hold the guests, for if they all come, it is about the only place that will accommodate the people. Should it rain that night we may just step under the clouds and keep as dry as we can. A fine supper will be provided, composed of tin cups and artesian water, as our artesian well will be finished at that time. It will be a grand treat to get water from 2,300 feet below the surface. President Cleveland did not have it for his wedding, surely my guests will not ask me to do more than beat the President of the United States in providing for their stomachs, as we propose to have plenty and to spare. No one shall go away without being full.

Pardon the length of this letter, I did not intend to write half as much. I am truly H. M. Turner.



P.S. A few weeks ago, you, Mr. Editor, called my attention to a great trouble existing in our Church in North Carolina. I have since been through North Carolina and find no such trouble as you apprehended at all. The Church is moving on there about as well as elsewhere. So says every presiding elder in the State, and so my own observations would indicate. So it seems to be a false alarm in the aggregate.




H.M.T.