The Black List

A light went on in Chuck Rowan's head. It would serve these people right if they had to go out and hunt for a new principal at this time of year!

-chairman of religious studies at Loma Linda Academy at the time this article was written

A light went on in Chuck Rowan's head. It would serve these people right if they had to go out and hunt for a new principal at this time of year!

As if scrubbing and painting and patching the battered old schoolhouse all summer hadn't been enough, Brother Gregory, the board chairman, had just informed him that he, Chuck Rowan, had to conduct the choir!

It would be a long cold day be fore he would lead a choir. Be sides teaching a full load he had to drive the school bus, supervise the janitor work sometimes doing most of it himself and make most of the repairs. Where could they find another teacher who would put up with all that?

He worked paint thinner into his hands. He was hungry. He realized he should have been thinking about Bonny and the dinner she was preparing, but he wasn't. Instead he was disturbed and ready for a showdown.

He gobbled his dinner. Instead of putting on his loafing clothes he took out a dress shirt and his new black shoes.

"Where are you going?" asked Bonny.

"Nowhere . . . maybe, but ... I just might go over to Brother Gregory's house . . . later on."

"How come?"

"Because I am simply fed up to here with the demands these people are making."

"Is there something new?"

"Yes. He phoned this morning and told me that the board has decided that I should direct the choir next year."

"But you couldn't do that!"

"Right. And that's why I'm about an inch away from taking the whole mess and dumping it into his lap."

"You mean quitting?"

"I do."

"But, Chuck, it's the middle of August. Where will you get a job at this late date?"

"I'll call Bill Harrigan down in Tidewater. I've got a hunch that he might need a teacher."

"Oh, honey, another move. I can't say that I blame you, though. It wouldn't be fair to the kids to have a choir director who doesn't know his job."

Chuck picked up the phone and dialed the number of the Tide water Conference office. He knew that it was probably closed, since it was Sunday, but it was worth a try.

The connection pinged right through and he soon had his man on the line.

"I don't blame you for wanting a new job, Chuck, but I can't hire you until you quit up there. I've got a place waiting for you, though, whenever you disconnect yourself up there."

"That's all I wanted to know, Bill. 'Bye, now."

Chuck smiled. "Well, honey, here I go."

It hardly needs to be noted that Brother Gregory was unhappy to hear the news. He showed certain signs, in fact, of "losing his cool."

"You'll be blacklisted for this, Rowan! You and I had better have a little talk with Elder Wolfson down at the conference office."

"Fine, let's do it tomorrow morning."

Not only was Elder Wolfson, the educational superintendent, present, but also Elder Brand, the conference president, who spoke first.

"Have you asked yourself what other conferences will say when they learn you have broken your contract?"

"Yes. If they learn the circumstances I'm sure they'll understand."

"What circumstances?"

"Sir, I have been pushed beyond reason."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, being told that I've got to conduct the choir is only the latest in a series of demands."

"Tell us about them."

Chuck told. He mentioned the time Mr. Gregory promised the fourth-grade class that he would buy enough of the candy they were selling to make sure that their room would win no matter what the others did. When that word got around the candy sale was destroyed. They had expected to buy a new encyclopedia with the proceeds, but Brother Gregory said the school couldn't afford an encyclopedia, anyhow.

Then there was the time when Mr. Gregory had tried to force Chuck into appointing his son a delegate to the Bible Camp. The result had been that no one went.

"Are these things true, Mr. Gregory?"

"They have been twisted, Elder Brand."

A long discussion followed. Chuck was even more determined to leave when it was finished.

"Chuck, a man's word should be as good as his bond. You gave your word, and my counsel is that you stick by it."

"I gave my word to teach under certain conditions. The conditions have changed, and I no longer feel bound."

Bill Harrigan was true to his word. He found Chuck a place in one of the nicest schools in his conference.

Chuck and Bonny had to rush, but they managed to move and find a house and get settled be fore the first day of school. They liked the new situation. Chuck threw himself into his work with a zest that he had lacked during the previous year.

He often wondered about that black list, though. He had dreams of solemn assemblies and of his name appearing on the rolls of the reprobate.

"Lord," he would pray, "I may have been too rash. I thought it was right. Help the brethren to understand."

George Chipton taught in the room next to Chuck. He dropped in for a chat one day.

"The brethren will never give you a job again when they learn you have jumped a contract," he said. He told of a cousin of his who had been asked to teach driver training. She had no preparation for it, so she quit. She had never been offered another place.

It sounded bad. Chuck mentioned it to Bill Harrigan when he came to visit the school.

"George's cousin can't get a job because she isn't willing to work where there are openings. The schools nearby don't need the qualifications she has," Bill explained.

It helped, but it didn't stop the nightmares. In some of them Bill Harrigan took a call and the new superintendent had a knitted brow. Maybe there was a black list, and maybe Chuck Rowan's name was on it.

It was a frosty morning of the first year in Tidewater. The air was clear and the sky was blue. Chuck walked to work. He enjoyed the sting on his cheeks and the vapor from his breath.

He noticed an unfamiliar car parked in front of the school.

He recognized the license plate.

It was from the State where he had previously lived.

There was a man waiting by the car. His figure had a familiar look. It was Elder Brand, the conference president who had warned him of the consequences of quitting.

He had been hunted down. Now he was going to be served with papers and to be forced to listen to an unpleasant tongue lashing. Rashness had caught up with Chuck Rowan.

Small talk over, Elder Brand explained that he was on his way to a meeting at the General Conference.

They Were seated. Chuck was determined to take his medicine like a man.

"Chuck," the minister said, "I was hard on you. I was new in the conference and I couldn't imagine that the things you told me were true."

Could this be real? Were there conference presidents who would go out of their way to help a man keep his self-esteem?

"I have found out that the situation was even worse than you described. Brother Gregory is no longer the board chairman. If you ever need a recommendation for a job, please feel free to use my name."

Chuck couldn't find any words. He just smiled. A tear began to form.

"Well, Chuck, you've found a nice place here." Elder Brand put out his hand.

Chuck took it and gave it a vigorous shake. The elder turned and went out to his car.

Chuck got up and followed him. He gulped and called out: "Did they find anybody to ... take the choir?"

Elder Brand turned.

"Oh, yes, my wife volunteered. She's having a great time."

Chuck went back inside. He dialed his home.

"Hi, Bonny."

"Is something wrong?"

"No. I just wanted to let you know that if there is a black list, I'm not on it."

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus
-chairman of religious studies at Loma Linda Academy at the time this article was written

April 1974

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Is Doubling Our Offerings Enough?

FROM the 1973 Annual Council, one noted for the spirit of revival and reformation, an appeal went out to all of our church members to double their weekly giving for the Sabbath school. This is an excellent suggestion and one that will be heartily received by many of our dear faithful people around the world. In the light of rising prices, the energy crisis, and the untold problems that are plaguing our world, any effort to provide the means for the speedy completion of our task should be applauded and embraced. So we wholeheartedly endorse the Sabbath school plan voted at the Annual Council. . .

Improving Family Living

WHEN we tear away all the family rhetoric, when we dispense with all the verbiage of marriage exhortations, in essence the purpose of the family is not only to encourage but to enable the members of such a unit to grasp a fuller individuality, a more abundant opportunity to think and to do. This then must be our starting point! Take the finger of your mind and lay it against the throbbing anticipation of all parents and children for such fulfillment. . .

TV Sorcery

SUPPOSE from the time your children are old enough to sit up, they are snatched away from you for three or four hours a day by a powerful sorcerer. This sorcerer is a story-teller and spinner of dreams. He plays enchanting music. He is an unfailingly entertaining companion. He makes the children laugh. He teaches them jingles to sing. He is constantly suggesting good things to eat and wonderful toys for their parents to buy them. . .

Marriage and Money

THE deterioration of the marriage relationship in American society has assumed almost epidemic proportions. The long lists of divorces and separations in the daily newspaper, the distraught people we come in contact with, the shocking news that long-time friends have decided to separate, and the current attitudes of people toward the marriage relationship are constant reminders of the high rate of divorce in the United States. . .

"The Big Issues"

We all agreed that too often we present the gift of prophecy and the work of Ellen White at the very end of a series of meetings. Now the General Conference president was asking us Is it possible to bring the Spirit of Prophecy to the front in a new approach to evangelism?

Skull 1470

THESE are startling claims. Inasmuch as the theories of early man current in the scientific world are diametrically opposed to any reasonable literal interpretation of the Genesis account of human origins, the assertion that these theories must be "tossed out" is bound to capture the attention of conservative Christians. . .

Do Our Church Buildings Represent Our Real Beliefs?

IN HIS prefatory remarks to the award-winning television series "Civilization," Kenneth Clark noted that what a person, institution, or society builds or creates is a far better index of real beliefs, attitudes, and aspirations than their utterances in speech or print. For this reason we ought to be very careful about what our buildings reveal to others about us. . .

"This Is An Hard Saying"

THE increasing interest of Jews in Jesus and His teachings has excited considerable enthusiasm in some quarters, and much alarm in others. . .

Mind Manipulators

IN RECENT times the world has witnessed instance after instance of mind manipulation, most notably in the staged trials of political prisoners. What it has not been aware of, however, is the degree to which more subtle forms of mind manipulation are affecting millions of people. Modern communications bring the world into our living rooms daily; techniques of propaganda and salesmanship have been refined; there is scarcely any hiding place from the constant visual and verbal assault on the mind. . .

"Water . . . One of Heaven's Choicest Blessings"

RECENTLY questions have been raised 1 and exaggerated claims have been made 2 regarding the effects of drinking various types of water. Some conscientious, health-minded, Seventh-day Adventists are being misled by claims based on misconceptions. The purpose of this article is to examine some problems relating to water and its effects upon the body. . .

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - SermonView - Medium Rect (300x250)

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - SermonView - WideSkyscraper (160x600)