Once in a while I go through my junk box and weed out stuff that no longer has any value to me. I found a letter (probably written 40 years ago) and enjoyed reading it again. It illustrates the great change that has happened in our country and in the way we think. Let me share it with you.
In your sermon last night you mentioned going to the movies when you were a kid. Well, in Hartselle Alabama, when I was a kid, proper Christian young people were not allowed to go to movies. I asked my Mother “Why”? She said, “Because in the dark of the theater they show things on the screen that incite lust in the hearts of little children.”
Since I didn’t have any idea what lust was, I wasn’t too impressed. All I knew was that on Saturday afternoon all my little friends went to the theatre on Main St. to see Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans and I didn’t get to go!
One day somebody wrote to the preacher my Mother listened to on the radio every day and asked him if it would be okay to go see a “good clean movie” He said, “Would you get a good clean biscuit out of the slop bucket?” Since I didn’t know what a slop bucket was either, I still wasn’t too impressed. All I knew was when I looked at all my little friends when they got back from the movie on Saturday, I didn’t see any lust and they all looked just the same to me.
When I went to visit my Aunt on the farm, I found out what a slop bucket was. It is where they raked all the table scraps in after supper and then poured the dirty dish water on top and took it down to feed the pigs. I thought it over and decided that maybe this unappetizing concoction was what Roy Rodgers fed his horse Trigger that made him run so fast.
When my cousin and I took the slop to feed the pigs after supper, I always worried about getting finished and back to the house before dark. I knew that all that slop in connection with the dark must be what incites the lust in the hearts of little children. One night we didn’t make it in time to feed the pigs before dark and I was so scared I lay in the bed all night awake worrying about going to hell.
This all tells me that now that I’m an adult and the mother of three, that children deserve a clear, reasonable explanation of what is right and wrong and why!
If you ever choose to use this silly but true story, feel free to do so. I have several others and I may just write a book myself someday if I ever find the time. Signed – Hesta Atkins
Well, Hesta, I finally got around to sharing your story with my readers. The conclusions you draw are not only true but need to be printed. Paul wrote, “Wherefore don’t be unwise but understanding what the will of the Lord is… For whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, and whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Ephesians 5:17; Philippians 4:8).
When I was just a young preacher of eighteen I was invited to speak to a rather large prestigious congregation. At that time in my life, I felt most movies were sinful. This was 60 years ago. I went to a number of theaters in Miami and was given a dozen of full size advertising placards showing things that were just on the edge of being obscene. Some were just too bad to put up in any church building. My plan was to stop the movie industry with one shot. I arrived early and displayed them across the front of the auditorium and sat back and waited for my turn to speak.
The church leaders were absolutely shocked to see this stuff displayed before their congregation, even though many that were there had been to see the very movies that were advertised. And to my chagrin, I didn’t stop the movie industry either. I didn’t even put a dent in it.
The point that Hesta makes is really our present need. Our kids need parents that not only have the time but are willing to do the necessary research to know the kind of movies that are available and the ones that should be thrown in the “slop bucket”. Today, movies may be a minor threat to our children when you see what is readily available on TV in our living room… God help us now that computers are on the scene and the slime of the “slop bucket” is readily available by pressing a few keys.
While Hesta’s Mother may not have given a reasonable answer to her questions, she was concerned about what her children would be exposed to in the dark of the movie house.
A wise King Solomon wrote, “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother; for they shall be an ornament of grace about your head and chains about your neck… Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 1:8-9; 4:23).
Our kids need our love and instructions more than thoughtless rules and restrictions. It doesn’t take a village to raise kids – but it does take parents that love them and have the time to teach and lead them.
God help us, we need it.