Old School

I think about him quite often as I struggle to get to Bible class and worship a few minutes early. He never seemed to have that problem. He was always there at least thirty minutes early. This was “on-time” to Dee Hughes at Pine Grove Church of Christ. Today we would call him “old school.” 

 

We never had to worry about communion preparation at the Delhi Church of Christ. Miss Jessie Alred took care of that. She lived three blocks from the church building and never failed to have all things ready. I can still see her in my minds-eye walking those three blocks regardless of the weather. She was another member of the “old school.”

 

The baptistery at Skyway Hills Church of Christ almost looked polished. Lee Rast took special pride in taking care of it. He had voluntarily and meticulously looked after it for years. He and his bride, Elsie, were always there too- every Sunday and Wednesday. You could count on them. Yep, “old school” they were. 

 

Sometimes we diminish the legacy of previous generations- especially so- it seems in our churches. We look back and often only see the mistakes they made or the “traditions” they upheld which now seem dated. But if this is all we see as we look back, it is we who become diminished. 

 

Faithfulness was the class primer in the old school. Sure, okay, maybe, occasionally, that faith might have been placed more on form than on the Father, but its power in them was undeniable. They worked hard, raised families, sacrificed, built churches, faithfully supported them, came early, stayed late, got excited about gospel meetings, regularly visited other congregations, and shared their faith. 

 

I know, times have changed and many of the old school methods that were effective in spreading God’s kingdom then, no longer are. Yes, I realize they certainly were not without fault (who is?). Not everyone always made the grade every time in the old school. And it is true, that occasionally some, who graduated from the old school, had great difficulty seeing beyond that education.

 

But, overall, what a tremendous faith legacy they have left us. In some ways they remind me of another great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12. 

 

Clay Hopkins definitely did. He was old school to the core. His understanding on some things was limited, but he loved the Oak Ridge Church of Christ and was always there, doing what he could. He was a great encouragement to me even though I was from the new school.  But just like the others I mentioned, I will never forget him and his dedication to his family, his church and his Lord.

 

Could it just possibly be that the “old school” still offers some coursework needed today?

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16 Responses to Old School

  1. preacherman says:

    Danny,
    It is sad, that “Old School” is a term that we use for something that should be called faithful, committed, dedicated, self-sacrifical. I think it is time for the church to and Christians to remember that there is no I in Christian…Pauls says, no longer…I but Christ lives in me. The Christian life is about self sacrifice. Surrender. It is looking at other Christians first then self. It is looking at what position can I serve instead of how can I be served at church. Great post Danny. If I’m Old School then groovy.

  2. Donna says:

    My grandparents and my parents too I guess are considered old school. Their faithfullness was never a question…..we have much to learn from those that have gone before us…

  3. Trey Morgan says:

    Danny,

    I love your terminology and thought with “old school.” Sometimes I look down on words like old school, old paths and old ways. I shouldn’t. The old school had and continues to have a lot to offer. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Laymond says:

    I believe the dedication of the “Old School” Christians, Is what is lacking in the “New School” of believers.

  5. dannydodd says:

    Good comments all. We seem to be in general agreement here.

    I know some “old school” folks so entrenched in the “old paths” that anything even resembling something new or different is dismissed without investigation- and that is too bad.

    But what I see in the best of the “old school” are people whose spiritual convictions are strong but who also come to embrace the new that enhances not just their spiritual journey, but others.

    We have some “old school” folks here where I preach who are very faithful and very gracious- even if they don’t always get some of the new school. And I for one appreciate them!

    I appreciate your comments as well.

  6. lesjr says:

    Danny boy, at our age we are getting close to being old school ourselves!!!

    Really good post, my friend!

  7. dannydodd says:

    No doubt about it Les! 🙂

  8. Frank says:

    Danny, this is one of best posts I’ve seen anywhere in a long time. To borrow the line, if we see farther, it is only because we stand on the shoulders of giants. I have a couple of old school parents. And I worship with a bunch of old school Church of Christ folks. I love them all. They are salt and light.

  9. Becka says:

    It takes time to appreciate what Old School is or was trying to teach, and most of all to appreciate it. I learn everyday that something That I thought was so silly or unimportant really does make a difference. The most inportant thing is having that Old School around to mold and shape us, Learing what to imitate from them and what to avoid by mistakes that they made.

  10. dannydodd says:

    Thanks Frank. I like your borrowed phrase.

    Welcome to my blog Becka. It does take time for appreciation- and perspective.

  11. Tim Archer says:

    I see a lack of feeling personal involvement. So many times it seems like we go to church the way we would go to a restaurant, expecting everything to magically be ready for us to be there and enjoy.

    Thanks for provoking some brain cell activity.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  12. JK says:

    (Jer 6:16) “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”

    There’s the new school right there: “But they said, We will not walk therein.”

  13. Dee Andrews says:

    This really IS a great post, Danny. It brings back lots of memories to me of many, many Christians I’ve known in my life who are/were “Old School,” including my own parents in the very best sense of the word.

    I’m happy to say that my kids are all faithful and spiritual Christians and I directly attribute it to their family’s strengths as Christians over the years. My daughter, who is diabetic and really shouldn’t have gone, just returned from a three week mission trip to Recife, Brazil where one of her “Let’s Start Talking” students was baptized and she was thrilled to death, as she should be.

    May we ALL carry all of the Old School ways forward in their very best work.

    Thanks! Dee

  14. dannydodd says:

    Tim, good points yourself. Thanks for the input.

    Great to hear about your “old school” influenced family.

    Thanks to JK for kindly stopping by.

  15. I was thinking of some I remember as being “old school” as well.
    Good posts.
    Thanks

  16. benoverby says:

    Danny,

    I echo the sentiment of all those who’ve indicated that this is an excellent post. One of my favorite “old school” memories is about Y. B. Jones. He was always on time for worship, never missed, and could be counted on to take care of the church property, driving his tractor to building from time to time, and serving in a thousand other ways. He had a great sense of humor, was popular with everyone, and was loved by everyone. My parents left us (me and my siblings) with his family one weekend. I vividly remember waking up before sunrise and seeing Y. B. leaning over his bible at the kitchen table immersed in study and quiet. But Y.B. was never allowed to lead a prayer or a song, serve communion or make announcements. He had the wrong sort of baptism–“baptist” to be precise, and therefore was never considered a brother. He was a better Christian, frankly, than a lot of those around him who’d accept his grace without extending much in return.

    That image reminds me that there’s much to be thankful for from the “old school” without becoming a hagiographer.

    Ben

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