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Uncle Joe Blue

2006 August 9
by Mike

Yesterday I flipped through a book called “Preachers of Today,” a publication from 1952 about preachers in Churches of Christ. Each person has a small photo with a bio.

I quickly looked up a couple preachers who were famous in my part of the world (Missouri/Arkansas): Rue Porter, who was actually from Neosho, and “Uncle Joe” Blue, the great uncle of my buddy Dr. Leon Blue.

In the bio of “Uncle Joe” I found that preaching wasn’t always easy for him. He had been stoned and beaten with green walnuts and with eggs. Once he had someone plant dynamite under the pulpit where he was preaching.

I guess I’ve had it easy. No stoning, no egging, no walnuting, and no sticks of dynamite. At least none that have detonated.

28 Responses leave one →
  1. Larry James permalink
    August 9, 2006

    Mike, did you ever have your mug published in one of those litte blue books? I was looking through the edition that came out in I think the late 70s not long ago. Talk about memories!

  2. August 9, 2006

    I once had a church administrative assistant throw a ream of copy paper down next to me and ask in a very frustrated tone, “Why do you always preach about God’s grace from the Gospels and never about God’s laws from Paul’s letters?”

    Black walnuts in their green hulls. That would hurt and be stinky!

  3. August 9, 2006

    Larry – I never did. I have no idea when those quit being published. In fact, I’m surprised they were still around in the late ’70s. I graduated from HGSR in ’82, so that was still a bit early.

    Jeff – Exactly! Hurt and stink.

    Update: the team that won our state tournament (Lubbock Eastern, the winner of the Texas West division) came in second in the Southwest Regional, held in Colorado. That tournament is covered here: http://www.littleleague.org/series/2006divisions/jlbb/qualify/ussouthwest.htm.

  4. August 9, 2006

    Is “Great Preachers of Today” still published? We had the 1967 edition which featured the sermons of Bill Banowsky. As a 12 year old, I thought his messages were quite remarkable. I think Banowsky was ahead of the curve on many issues. There was also the 20th Century Sermon series. I have a copy of Lynn Anderson’s messages which were published in 1977. His picture on the cover looks like James Dean. These messages will still “preach.”

  5. August 9, 2006

    Dynamite? Walnuts? Why!?

  6. August 9, 2006

    Maybe you should try leading worship.

  7. Richard permalink
    August 9, 2006

    There is a very interesting book, perhaps the one where you found the bio of Joe Blue, called “Arkansas Angels” which tells the stories of old preachers from Arkansas. When I was growing up the preacher at our congregation told a number of stories about Joe Blue. I am sure Blue was very conservative, but the guy was incredable for his dedication for what he believed. Blue is one reason why, while I often disagree with preachers of the past, I still view them with great respect. It was not uncommon for Blue to walk over 20 miles to a preaching appointment and get paid with food or an animal for his farm of even nothing. I am often dissappointed with the seeming legalism of these old preachers, but wish we all had a dose of their zeal.

  8. August 9, 2006

    Mike,

    I believe the Joe Blue blast attempt was at Piggott, Ark.

    It’s been years since I last heard or read about this, but as I recall . . . someone got underneath the frame building where Blue was going to preach, placed a stick or two of dynamite just under the pulpit, lit the fuse and skeedaddled. No explosion; the fuse went out. After it was discovered, someone cut out the section of charred wood, which is in a museum (?) to this day (?).

    “Arkansas Angels” really is good reading. For more about Blue, see

    http://www.therestorationmovement.com/blue.htm

  9. August 9, 2006

    The dynamite and walnuts thing happens more to Youth Ministers nowadays.

  10. August 9, 2006

    I’d be interested to know if my grandpa Glen Pace is in there and if so, what it says… 🙂

  11. Joe Hatcher permalink
    August 9, 2006

    If my thorwing arm was better and I sat closer to the front you would know I occasionally throw tomatoes. I guess the folks I hit wonder what they have done to deserve this treatment.

  12. August 9, 2006

    Just for the record, my copy of “Preachers of Today: A book of brief biogrpahical sketches and pictures of living gospel preachers” is Volume 5 and it was edited by Batsell Barrett Baxter, Steven Lemley, Rubel Shelly and M. Norvel Young. The publication date is 1982. Really pretty amusing, especially the hair styles! The younger of us back then were still trying to get over our Hippie past!

  13. August 9, 2006

    Never say never Mike. You could be just a sermon away from some eggs and walnuts… 🙂

  14. August 9, 2006

    A few months ago there was a website that had begun for Preachers of Today (www.preachersoftoday.com) but you had to put your own information in and pay $5-10 to have it posted.

    I found some links for it, but they are all dead links.

  15. August 9, 2006

    Just a few more ingredients with eggs and walnuts and you have chocolate chips cookies.

  16. August 9, 2006

    Big Mike Lewis,

    You are so right about that happening to youth ministers these days. As a former youth minister I have had my share of dynamite and assassination attempts. It is so sad when it comes from within the church.

  17. August 9, 2006

    I almost became a casualty.

  18. Stephen permalink
    August 9, 2006

    Hi Mike,

    Completely unrelated to today’s post, but I’d love to hear (read) you and your readers view of the latest Rick Reilly article:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/rick_reilly/08/07/reilly0814/index.html

    Stephen

  19. August 9, 2006

    Like Stephen, I too wondered what Mike thinks about this moral dilemma Little League story Reilly writes about.

    And… I’m not one to provide links, but I was very moved by a great preacher story in our local paper today. Jim Moore recalls how he and his father preacher would walk from the white part of town to the African American “side” so his dad could preach at a small cofc – and the setting was 1960 – wow! Very compelling.

    http://www.lufkindailynews.com/search/content/news/opinion/stories/2006/08/09/oped_moore.html

  20. August 9, 2006

    My assumption is that Uncle Joe Blue got egged, walnutted and dynamited because someone in his world felt his preaching was a threat. Today, we preach without fear of molestation from nuts or eggs or IEDs because our words don’t threaten anyone’s status quo. I’m not sure that’s progress. More likely, it’s an indication that the world beyond our doors finds our message too insipid and trivial to be bothered with.

  21. August 9, 2006

    I have Volume III of Preachers of Today from 1964. My father-in-law is in there, as is his brother. As I flipped through it again today after seeing your post, I was struck by the fact that the person who baptized each preacher is listed in their bio. Interesting.

    I also skimmed through a bit and did not find any of the preachers you mentioned Mike, but did find Carl Brecheen. Is he still around Abilene?

    Sarah, I did find your grandpa, Glen Pace in the edition I have. (Assuming there are no other Glen Paces.) Send me your e-mail address and I’ll scan you a copy of the entry (joyce.kramar AT gmail.com). If anyone else is interested in someone who might be in the 1964 edition, let me know and I’ll check.

  22. August 9, 2006

    The restorationmovement site also doesn’t say anything about why people threw things at him. Anybody?

    (’cause If I know those old CoC preachers, I suspect they deserved a few rocks and walnuts.)

  23. August 9, 2006

    My great-grandfather Joe Taylor, who was baptized by Joe Blue, also has his biography in Arkansas Angels. Perhaps it’s because of the division that Joe Taylor, who was a fourth generation member of the Church of Christ (His greatgrandfather Asa Taylor had helped start the Glaze Creek, Arkansas Church of Christ in 1845 and the Bald Knob, Tennessee Church of Christ in 1834.) is included in this anthology of “pioneer” preachers. I suspect most of those old preachers just wanted to be faithful to Jesus, and expected the rocks, though perhaps not the dynamite.

  24. Richard permalink
    August 9, 2006

    Matthew. You know nothing of Joe Blue, so why say what you said? From all that I have read about him he was a very kind and compassionate man who happened to have strong beliefs. There is a lot more that I would like to say, but I wll leave it at that.

  25. August 10, 2006

    Sticks and stones may break my bones but dynamite?

    Heck, that could hurt.

    You know Paul labored with the dunamis of God inside of him which is where we get the word dynamite and then that Napoleon Dynamite fellow was nuts which is kind of like walnuts so I guess Uncle Joe was right.

  26. August 11, 2006

    Richard said…
    Matthew. You know nothing of Joe Blue, so why say what you said?

    I know he was an old-guard Church of Christ preacher. There is a lot more that I would like to say, but I wll leave it at that.

  27. August 11, 2006

    In Memory of Joe Blue

    There once was a preacher named Blue
    Who while preaching found dynamite ‘neath his shoe
    Did he flinch? Not an inch!
    (Though some vacated the bench!)
    I’m glad he did not become Joe Blew!

  28. Wayne Hatman Jr permalink
    June 13, 2017

    Stumbled upon this interesting “blog” regarding my great grandfather, Joe H Blue. Grandmother, Lois Myrtle (Blue) Hatman related various stories about her father (Joe), one of which was the “throwing stories” which sometime occurred as a result of my great grandfather’s preaching. Those incidents usually happened as a result of grandpa Blue’s preaching about the New Testament church as contrasted to denominational churches at that time. Grandpa was blunt in his speech both when he preached and when just in normal conversation with him. But his photostatic mind enabled him to string together one verse after another in rapid fire order as he gave his diadactic sermons. One left the service often feeling that one had heard a definitive survey on the topic, which, if the hearer could not refute, produced an angered emotion. Grandmother did related about him being “stoned” with tomatoes, and rotten eggs while preaching, but not with actual rocks. Once while grandpa was staying at the home on a church member while preaching at a “gospel meeting,” the home owner said, “I’d give my life to know the scripture like you do.” Grandpa replied, “That’s what I gave.”

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