Saturday, December 24, 2011


As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date: Dec 1, 2011
Column Number: FM 1148

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere on the back side of Frogpond, Tennessee; you have probably heard of the fiasco that is currently unfolding.

“What fiasco?” you may ask. Hey, pick one! There are plenty to go around.

The fiasco I’m talking about today is the one where one person says “this” and the other person says “that”.

You knowhatimean?

The lyrics by Gershwin/Gershwin say: “you say potato, I say potahto; you say tomato, I say tomahto” (actually you may say tomato or tomaho or whatever, but I say “mater”; but that is column fodder for yet another day).

Vice President Quayle got into a heap o’ trouble when he corrected a spelling student (from the card the school had given him) who had spelled the word “potato” instead of “potatoe”. I thought it was humorous that the press agitated itself into a frenzy about that; because I had just returned from Idaho on a mission trip (you do know the starchy, tuber from the perennial Solanum of the Solanaceae family for which Idaho is famous, don’t you) and they had the word “potatoe” right on their license plates. Potato, Potahto!

We have all recently heard anxious wannabe news people standing in crowded airports and proclaiming “The Day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year”; and then they are back on Sunday standing in crowded airports and proclaiming “The Sunday after Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year”. “Tomato, tomahto”.

We have all been “treated” to the expertise of the sports commentators who proclaim that “that play was the play of the game”. “The play of the game” is coming up right here! No pressure on that place kicker; but this is the “play of the game”.

Or how about “That shot was the shot of the year”; whether it was a golf shot, a basketball shot, a mumblypeg throw, a curler’s slide, a javelin throw, a hammer hurl, a vaulter’s “stickit”, a synchronized swimmers’ design, or a shooter’s shot – it was the (whachamacalit) of the year!

Many people hung on every word that was uttered in private or in secret, in open court or in side bar, in interviews or in news releases of the “Trial of the Century” (actually mis-carriage of justice) several years ago in Los Angeles. I think the Lindberg kidnapping trial personnel might have grounds to disagree; or the Alger Hiss hearings; or the Scopes “Monkey Trial” jury; or the Teapot Dome hearings; or the Nuremberg War Crimes trials; or maybe Sacco and Vanzetti; or Michael Jackson and his doctor buddy. President Johnson’s impeachment trial, President Clinton’s impeachment hearings, and President Nixon’s impeachment votes might just be in the running.

But, the OJ fiasco was officially crowned the “trial of the century”. Potato, potahto!

Gershwin/Gershwin went on to talk about “either and ither”; “neither and nither”; pyjamas and pyjahmas”; “vanilla and vanilla”; “bananas and banahnas”; “Havana and Havahnah”. Whatever! Press “one” for English!

Now the thing is whether or not we can say “Merry Christmas”. It’s no big thing (correctly pronounced in the Frogpond Universal Dictionary – “thang”) for me. Ima Sign (our electronic sign at West End) says, “It’s Merry Christmas! You can have happy holidays anytime”.

Seems our neighbors (naighbers) can’t get it scoped in; and they are going with the more politically correct “Winterfest” (which they start before Winter). Don’t want to offend anyone, you know!

Do we have a standard? Is there anything upon which we can depend?

Yes! Glad you asked! The Bible is God’s Inerrant, Infallible Word; and is the “ONLY THING” that will stand when your world is burning down around you! Better hang your hat on that Hook, my friend.

In a world of nothing but changes; you need something upon which you can depend! The Bible, God’s Word, is a wonderful Guidebook by which you can LIVE; but It cannot be beat as a Guidebook by which you can DIE!

Christian, it’s “Game On”; Let’s get cracking”!

Tom Mooty currently serves the West End Baptist Church as Senior Pastor. He writes this column for the Thursday edition of the “Newport Plain Talk”; and appreciates all comments. He can be heard on Sundays over WLIK at 11:00; and is the published co-author (with Michele Washam) of “Protecting Those You Love in an X-Rated World” (Bridge-Logos). Mooty has plans to enlarge his ministry into further publishing and broadcasting. Contact Mooty at or at P.O. Box 851; Newport, TN 37822.

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As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
December 22, 2011
Column Number: FM 1151


Sunday evenings after church at the Cracker Barrel are always interesting times. There are some things that are very predictable: my “Atkins-legal” double egg and double bacon order (yes, I’m down 35 and counting, thank you), Larry and Lisa’s unpredictable ordering (if it is his time to pay, it is water for both of them; if it is my time, it is steaks for both of them), Jack’s predictable “No thank you”, Gracie’s predictable baked potato; and – wait for it – a table visit from my long-time buds, Charles McNabb and M.E. Edwards.

By the way, my three years in “Freshman Bonehead English 101” didn’t enable me to come anywhere close to being able to outline that last sentence. Yours?

Charles is always predictably carrying on some delightful foolishment; and M.E. predictably always has some interesting tertiary tidbit to tantalize us; whether it is an old black-and-white photograph, or an “Enka” story, or maybe something from the days-gone-by in Parrotsville. (Since there had only been fourteen presidents when M.E. was in school, they weren’t too difficult to memorize).

Anyway; (or to use the most-hated word of the year – “whatever”)! Moving right along; M.E. wanted me to write a column under the title of our title today. So, I shall endeavor to endure to enact an encouraging endowment to enable you to encircle the subject.

Actually, I cannot remember a time when Santie Claws missed a landing at Frogpond International Airport – at least to at least one of my friends at least. You have to remember that that was way before GPS, “Tom-Toms” and Garmons; smart phones and most dumb phones; and 24/7 newscasts (are you kidding me: that was even before black-and-white television – and color? Forgetaboutit)!

Whether it was a pair of skates with which we could ruin the floor of Mary Mims’ basement; or a bat and ball with which we could break out the windows of any neighbor in hitting range; or a bicycle with which we could try our luck coming down Grammar School Hill or the High School “Walkway-to-Downtown” (the sudden stop at the end of both of these torture devices was generally worth a visit to Fred Marvin’s and Josephine Celeste’s first aid station (which was well stocked with a box of band aids, a little dropper bottle of Mercurochrome, and a jar of Vicks’ Salve.

“Mercurochrome”? Wonder what was in that? Looks like Mercury and Chromium to me – both of which are hazardous waste now, aren’t they? I can’t wait for a commercial from some ambulance-chasing lawyer who intones that I have been injured by prolonged use of mercurochrome; I am due a settlement of a gazillion green American dollars.

On second thought, maybe that is what happened to me! Where’s my ambulance-chaser?

You see, I was Fred and Josephine’s “baby” – translation – “youngest”. “The Big Ugly” and “The Music Man” were six and four years, respectively older than me. So Fred Marvin had to have somebody with whom to “play the game”; so I was elected. I remember I checked out my bicycle which they had hidden over at the Masters’ house across Fifth Street several days before the big day.

Fred Marvin had lung problems which led to Emphysema which led to COPD which led to Heaven; but while he was with us, he had a lot of problems breathing. One Christmas Eve, I heard him carrying my set of barbells (I think they are called free weights now) up from the basement. He was breathing so loudly, he sounded like an obscene phone call. I wanted so desperately to help him; but they loved to play the game; so who was I to spoil their fun – even though I knew, and they knew I knew; and I knew they knew I knew.

My gift was usually wrapped in the color comics section of the Sunday Newspaper. I think that was because “The Big Ugly” thought that was cute or something. Seems kind of juvenile, now that I think about it.

Whatever! It was always a fun time of the year; with lights and colors and sights and sounds; and sometimes, even a visit from Santa Claus when he could get directions to Frogpond. Remember, that was before the printing press so maps were non-existent and the Frogpond Post Office (with its zero mile marker) had burned the year before!

One Personality that was always there; but especially showed up at Christmas was The Lord Jesus Christ! He was the Object of our Church Services and Christmas Carols; and He did not need a map to find the hearts of a lot of the kids that grew up in Frogpond. It would really be interesting to know just how many of those kids accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior while a resident of Frogpond, Tennessee.

So, to be politically incorrect for the umpteenth time – Merry Christmas, everyone – or Merry CHRISTmas! (It IS named for Him, you know!)

Tom Mooty currently serves the West End Baptist Church as Senior Pastor; and writes this column for the Thursday edition of the “Newport (TN) Plain Talk”. Mooty appreciates all your comments (especially the good ones). He is a published author and can be contacted at or at P.O. Box 851; Newport, TN 37822.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011


As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Nov 24, 2011
Column Number: FM 1147

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere on the back side of Frogpond, Tennessee; you have probably heard of the fiasco that is currently unfolding in Washington DC.

“What fiasco?” you may ask. Hey, pick one! There are plenty to go around.

Someone said that Congress is just like sausage: It might look ok until you see what is in it; and how it is made!

Is there anyone out there in Fiveminuteville that really thought that “super committee” was going to succeed? I mean, really, now; did you think they could put aside all the “sausage ingredients” long enough to do what was genuinely correct for “we the people”?

It’s really sad that a few good men and women who might be populating the hallowed halls of “our” government buildings are grouped in with all the “sausage ingredients” that insist that somehow they have a “mandate” to bilk and milk “we the people” for every last penny so they can send it to someone who does not like us, and will turn against us in a heartbeat. Or maybe they use my money to buy another vote by building another bridge to nowhere.

Sad? That word doesn’t cover it; not at all!

And then, there is that silly television commercial that has been running for years. You know the one!

It features that combination lawyer-watchdog who glibly intones that if I have years of unfiled tax returns lying around, he will take care of that for me.

Notice that phrase please; “unfiled tax returns”; and not just one; no, years of them!

That guy is supposed to be able to “take care of that for me”. Years of unfiled tax returns! Gimme a break!

Best thing to do is just gather up all those unfiled tax returns to make them filed tax returns – or go somewhere where they have more simple tax laws. You know; the ultra short form – the post card!

It reads like this: Question: “What is your income?” Directive: “Send it in!” Comment: “We will put it in our sausage grinder and send it to our “sausage ingredients” to spend it on bigger and better “sausage grinders” than you!”.

I hope all these supposed new Internal Revenue Agents that are supposed to be hired to keep up with all the supposed simpler rules and regulations (which have not yet been written) of the new health care rules and regulations – whew! - I hope they will write letters to that guy who is hawking his “expert” services to all who have years of unfiled tax returns lying around.

Frankly, times are hard, and we cannot afford his types trying to get reductions for people who are too lazy or dishonest to file.

I got a phone call the other night – you know, one of these automated calls that told me that “my government” had made money available to reduce my house payment, and I qualified, and I should … the call ended when I hung up. I thought that stuff was one of the major ingredients of the congressional “sausage grinding”.

If I sound bitter, I assure, I am not! I love my nation; I love my country! I am so very thankful that I was fortunate to be born here in this country instead of God’s choice of 120 others. I am so very thankful that the Joseph Mooty family came to Charleston, South Carolina several hundred years ago and stood in line, signed the papers, obeyed the rules and became American citizens.

I am thankful for many things; but the biggest of them is that God has allowed me by His Grace to become one of His Children. That is really something for which a kid from Frogpond, Tennessee can thank God.

Sure, we have problems – lots of them – the big “sausage grinder” in Washington is just one of them; but we are still the greatest nation ever! God bless America; and God bless you, dear reader!

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at tommooty05@comcast. Check all of the posts on both of the blog pages; and come back - as the ole sarge used to say - "with great frequency".
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As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Nov 3, 2011
Column Number: FM 1144

Ok, don’t hit me again! I’ll talk! I’ll tell you what that title means!

Actually, the sample is taken from an extremely complex extinct language. It is an original manuscript of an ancient dialect which was spoken by the inhabitants of Frogpond, Tennessee. The priceless document was discovered by an archeological dig being operated by ex-mayor, Lester Starnes at the actual site of the actual frogpond.

It appears to be coupled with a particle or word fragment that is found in several different spellings, the most frequent being: “ID” or “AHD”.

“Fizeu id” makes no sense at all; but of course, it fit in very nicely among the indigenous population of Frogpond.

Noted linguist, Gary Hammonds, who has the distinction of being the very first doctoral candidate from Frogpond University gave me a lot of help in deciphering the cryptic scribbling. Dr. Hammonds, whose doctoral thesis was entitled, “I don’t nohow to talk too purty good” actually remembered frequently hearing the mysterious words being used in conversations on the whittlin’ benches around the Frogpond Courthouse; and was able to come up with a translation.

Hammonds remembered the phrase was used thusly: “Fizeu ahd do hit thisaway”; and was able to translate the ancient line of dialog into: “If I were you, I would do it this way”.

Viola! It now makes good sense; and archeologist Lester Starnes can now sleep at night.

There are always the delightful people who are always looking over your shoulder with groans and heavy breathing as you whittle yet another masterpiece; and they say, “Fizeu, ah’d do hit thisaway”, as they point out the way they would do it differently.

But, you know, the simple truth is that “Fizeu” is a faulty premise; you are not me; I am not you!

I have heard of identical twins taking each others’ places with tests or other various “sticky wickets” we face every day.

My Tennessee Tech roommate came to Newport one time and people mistook him for me; called him by my name. And he was not nearly as good looking as I used to be!

I have heard of people doing a thriving business filling in for students in big impersonal college classrooms, taking notes, taking tests, writing papers, etc.

But, while you might indeed be able to do a better whittling project than me; you still cannot “be” me; and I cannot “be” you.

Especially in the realm of the spiritual!

You will face the Judge of the Universe yourself; and no one can ever take your place!

The simple question is, are you ready to face Him?

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor (Medicare Minister) of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at Check back to our two blogs frequently; who knows; you might happen to find something new! (Who knew?)

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Published in the "Newport (TN) Plain Talk"
Release Date: Nov 17, 2011
Column Number: FM 1146

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere on the back side of Frogpond, Tennessee; you have probably heard of the fiasco that is currently unfolding in University Park, Pennsylvania.

Yeah, you know the place; but you probably only know it as the home of Penn State University – the venerated home of the Nittany Lions and their venerated – almost granted sainthood – coach, “Joe Pa”.

Thousands of Penn State students hit the streets on Wednesday night – doing their thing – over turning cars (why do mobs always feel they have to overturn cars and destroy private and public property?), chanting Joe Pa’s name, and selling “Support Coach Paterno” wristbands. It has been reported by Wayne Allyn Root that these were not hoodlums; these were “educated, middle class, salt-of-the-earth Pennsylvania college kids attending a well-respected university”.

Yes, I believe in the legal precept that a person is innocent until proven guilty; and I have no knowledge of whether or not the “incidents” actually happened – but it seems to be a foregone fact that “Joe Pa” did nothing to find out either – and he could have stopped it!

Of course, you will hear and read of former athletes from Penn State making their statements in support of “Coach Joe Pa”. After all, wasn’t he a winner? Didn’t he put Penn State on the map with multitudes of years of – what? What did he do? Oh yes, he was a winning football coach; and therefore, all is forgiven!

To someone’s credit, the riots on the streets on Wednesday were followed by candles on the campus on Friday – as the alleged victims – the little boys who were allegedly assaulted by a longtime assistant coach were remembered. One can only hope that the second group who found their way on Friday night was composed of many of the same students who had lost their minds on Wednesday night.

From all I know; from all I have heard; from all I have read, Coach Joe Paterno is a man who spent a lifetime molding the lives of young men at Penn State University. But now; all that is being said about the winningest coach in college football is that he didn’t lift a finger to help the little boys (other than reporting the incident to his like-wise-do-nothing superiors); then apparently never mentioning it again.

Hey! It’s football! And what is more important than that? Of course, a couple of years ago, lots of people were holding Miley Cyrus up as a role model for young girls. It would be a major big time bummer if (perish the thought) personalities like Coaches Bobby Bowden or Pat Summit or Quarterback Tim Tebow fall by the wayside like so many others who have influenced so many thousands of followers. Let’s join in prayer for these “lightning rods”.

I love the commercial that sometimes runs during football games (yes, I do get to watch some of them) where the tag line is that most of the students at (whatever) University will turn “pro” in some other field than athletics.

I have felt the exact same way in the past when the exact same “sweep-under-the-carpet” procedure was used by priests, bishops, and cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church; or the financial evidence of extravagant lifestyles of televangelists; or the reckless abuses of power of those in government; but in each case, apparently none of these people who had the authority to call a screeching halt to what was going on, called a screeching halt to what was going on.

I wonder if any of these people who could have stopped this, stopped to think, “What if that little ten-year old boy was my ten-year old boy?”

Have we lost our minds? We certainly have lost our way!

Frankly, we better get our priorities back in line with those of Almighty God; if we ever expect Almighty God to pay attention to our cries for help when we find ourselves being overwhelmed by evil forces – like all those numerous little boys must have felt.

Where have all the role models for our little ten-year old kids gone? Obviously those students on Wednesday night were following the examples of what they see on MTV or Beavis and Butthead or the Kardashians or whatever! Come on Christian, let’s give our ten-year kids something to imitate, an example to follow – and know that if they do; they will be on the right path to eternity!

Because that is exactly the path we are all on – eternity!

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at tommooty05@comcast. See the church website at
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Monday, September 5, 2011


As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date: Jul 28, 2011
Column Number: FM 1130

“They” say never to discuss religion or politics; and I kinda agree that one out of two ain’t bad.

Then “they” say (never have figured out who “they” are) in religion, never discuss prophecy and creation (and several other miscellaneous things about which people get all bent out of shape).

So, I guess I’ll start this discussion with a warning: if exposure to thinking about Jesus’ Second Coming offends you, turn the page right now, do not pass “go” and do not collect 200 dollars; put the paper down, turn the blogpage off and walk away!

Because I want to discuss something really important with you! Why? Because you asked! I am indebted to Renald Showers for many of the seed thoughts used herein.

The English word "imminent" means "hanging over one's head, ready to befall or over¬take one; close at hand in its incidence". Thus, an imminent event is one that is always hanging overhead, is always close at hand in the sense that it could happen at any moment. If something else has to happen before an event can happen, that event is not imminent.

One never knows exactly when an “imminent” event will happen. Because of this, three things are true.

First, you cannot count on a certain amount of time transpiring before an imminent event occurs. Thus, one should always be prepared for it to happen at any moment.

Second, it is not legitimate to set a date for the occurrence of an imminent event. “Date setting” insinuates that the event cannot take place until that date; and therefore destroys the concept of “imminency”.

Third, it is not legitimate to say that, because an event is “imminent”, it will happen soon. The Bible indicates that the second coming of Christ was imminent when the New Testament was written. However, it is quite obvious that Christ's return would not be a soon-coming event as far as those people were concerned.

The concept of the imminent return of Christ is as follows: His Second Coming is always “hanging overhead”, is “constantly ready to befall or overtake us”, and is “always close at hand” in the sense that it could happen at any moment. Other things MIGHT happen before Christ's return, but nothing else biblically MUST happen before it takes place. If something else MUST hap¬pen first, then, by definition, Christ's second coming cannot be “imminent”.

Because we do not know exactly when Christ will return, three things are true:

First, we cannot count on a certain amount of time transpiring before His Return; therefore, we should always be ready for Him to come at any moment.

Second, we cannot legitimately set a date for Christ's return.

Third, we cannot necessarily say that just because Christ's second coming is imminent it WILL happen soon. It MIGHT happen soon, but it does not HAVE TO be soon.

A significant contrast exists in the Bible. It teaches an “imminent” return of Christ, but it also teaches a return of Christ that is not imminent - a return that cannot take place until after the "great tribulation" (Matt. 24:21, 29-30). This contrast prompts the conclusion that the Bible teaches two future comings of Christ - the “imminent” one to rapture the Church and the non-imminent one to rule the world after the Great Tribulation.

The Biblical concept of the imminent return of Christ carries a strong implication con¬cerning the time of Christ's coming to rapture the Church. (Ed Hindson and Paul Benware have written excellent articles about this). Any view other than the “Pre-tribulational Rapture” view conflicts with the biblical concept of the imminent return of Christ (I told you to turn away if you couldn’t handle this).

The “Pre-tribulational Rapture” view teaches that Christ will come to rapture the Church before Daniel's “seventieth week” begins, that nothing else must happen before that com¬ing, and that Christ's coming could take place at any moment. Christ's imminent coming should motivate believers to live their lives as if the Rapture could happen on any given day (1 John 2:28; 3:2-3).

[1 John 2:28] - "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming".

[1 John 3:2-3] - "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is; and every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure".

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at tommooty05@comcast. This column appears each Thursday in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk Newspaper.-- 30 –

Tuesday, August 30, 2011



As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
August 18, 2011
Column Number: FM 1133

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere; you might just happen to have heard about this Saturday, August 20 being “Lt. Gen. Hubert Smith Day” and Sunday being “Viet Nam Veterans’ Day” in Newport.

While these might not have been the most widely publicized special events we have ever had; the career of my friend Hubert Smith from Smithville, a suburb of Nough, a suburb of Slabtown, a suburb of Del Rio, a suburb of Frogpond, Tennessee has not been well-publicized for the most part either. Hubert (excuse me, General Hugh Smith) has kept it that way on purpose because, frankly, he has been just too modest to leak it.

That other group, the Viet Nam Veterans, have neither been well publicized nor honored for a variety of different reasons: some things you just don’t talk about; and their war was so “unpopular”. Excuse me, but no war, conflict, or “police action” is “popular”, particularly to those who are drafted to go fight it!

I’ll let Hubert (excuse me, General Hugh Smith) have his privacy about his military career – and, by the way - his more recent work with the relief efforts in Haiti; but the honor for that group known collectively as “Viet Nam Veterans” should be shouted from every soapbox, tree stump, platform, and pulpit in the area.

Most of you know my story. Officially and Technically, I served in the Military during the Viet Nam ERA; but I did not set foot in Viet Nam itself. Yes, officially and technically they tell me I qualify as a “Viet Nam Vet”; but only because of a set of dates, and certainly not because of anything else!

I remember the first time I saw a “Viet Nam” patch on an US Army Ranger’s sleeve. It was in the mess hall (excuse me, chow hall) (excuse me, dining facility) at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, and I asked him about it; but he simply and gently replied, “If you haven’t been there, I cannot explain it to you”. He needed his space.

I served with several old non-coms who had served in World War 2 and the “Korean Conflict” and were winding down their service. One sergeant had been taken prisoner in Germany; but it was not a topic about which he wanted to talk. He needed his space.
Tom Hollingsworth was one of the first Rangers (observers, advisors) to land in Viet Nam. His platoon named Highway # 9 as “The Ho Chi Minh Trail” from their observation posts and their cryptic radio communications: “Ho’s boys are on the trail again”. Tom spoke in a “God and Country” Rally at Cocke County High School back in the 1970’s. He used his experiences over there to try to call America back to God and Country; but he did not go into detail. He needed his space.

When they were discharged or furloughed, many of these brave soldiers, sailors, and airmen had to sneak through airports in “the land of the free and the home of the brave” to avoid ugly demonstrations by the misguided and uninformed members of the free citizenry.

No, I was not there with boots on that ground! Yes, my information comes second-handed or third or fourth-handed because most of the guys that were actually there will not talk in any detail about it. They need - and deserve – their space.

One friend who served in Viet Nam started to talk about the treatment he and his comrades received when they came home – then abruptly stopped and said, “That is my problem, and I will have to handle it”!

Another friend was awarded a medal for extreme bravery under fire – single-handedly saving lives – and no one knew anything about it until it was awarded thirty-five later!

I have some friends whose names are on “The Wall” in Washington. Enough said; but I cannot say enough about the men and women that have served, are serving, and will serve until “The Prince of Peace” comes back and puts the quietus on all these wanna-be dictators who must be held in check by our marvelous military.

When I am asked to speak on these special days, I usually close with a line in the film: “The Presidio” in which two old soldiers are talking and one says something to this effect: “The military is like a big ole ugly dog that nobody wants around until trouble comes; and then when trouble comes, the first thing you call for is that big ole ugly dog”.

Please come quickly, Lord Jesus – The Prince of Peace!

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at tommooty05@comcast. This column can also be accessed on the church’s website: (click on “pastor’s blogs”).

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As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
August 25, 2011
Column Number: FM 1134

Ok, I admit it! I confess! You got me!

I enjoy “wasting time” on a good logic problem or a “sudoku” puzzle.

Oh yeah, I could go into about thirty minutes worth of aimless, political double-speaking, mind-numbing dissertation on how they hone my already-razor-sharp mind to a maximum peak of razor-sharpness. I could do that; but someone out there in “Five Minuteville” will be equally as razor-sharp and recognize my disquisitation as just so much aimess, political double-speaking, mind-numbing discoursing.

So, I will not insult your intelligence with that improvident loquacity.

Actually I just enjoy sitting down and working out a problem!

I was overjoyed when I saw that my friends at “Five Minute Headquarters” were going to have a special section in the weekend edition that included various forms of these problems and puzzles.

Since I didn’t have any time to “waste” – er “spend” - that first week; I just laid it aside to pick up later. Imagine my surprise when I saw in a later edition that my friends at HQ had published the first book with all the wrong answers (not that I ever have to look up a answer).

I can hear them now: “Has anybody seen them answers for that there puzzelling book? I gotta have ‘em in five minutes” (everybody down there works in five minute intervals – except for coffee breaks, snack breaks, lunch breaks, and nap breaks – but that’s column fodder for another time). “No? Well that’s ok, I’ll jest grab some answers from a coupla weeks ago”.

As that goofy green gecko says, “That’s a total dramatization of course, but you get my point”.

We live in a day of instant grab a problem, rassle with it a while, and solve it or check the answer in the back of the book – all within - you guessed it - five minutes; and then move on.

We live in a day when television programs show the problem (the murder, the mayhem, and maliciousness) in – you guessed it – five minute segments, sandwiched within – you guessed it – five minute segments of commercials until you get to the other end of yet another wasted period of time with the problem all nicely solved and tied up neatly in a neat little bundle of answers from the back of the book.

“What do you mean, the answers were wrong? People can’t make it without the answers; without being declared a winner; and moving on”.

But, frankly, it just doesn’t happen that way. Everybody wanted that “soap opera” trial in Orlando to “get on with it”. “She’s guilty, everybody knows that; get to the last part so we can move on to another problem”.

Life is like that, you know. Life will jump right up and slap you across the chops with no answer page anywhere in sight.

And so, people start looking for answers; but they spend their time looking in all the wrong places.

Are you looking for answers to the BIG problem - the one that asks you what will happen to you one second after you die (or Jesus comes back)? Are you looking for answers to that BIGGIE?

I know it! I know the answer! I had it shown to me forty-six years ago!

And it is not in the wrong place! It can be found in many languages; in motel rooms, hospital rooms, and jail cells; in paper-back, leather-back, or hard-back; back rooms, front rooms, middle rooms; back pockets, coat pockets, briefcases and purses; pews and display tables; book cases and coffee tables; and car seats of any member of the Gideon Organization. You know what I’m talking about – The Book of Answers – The Bible!

That’s the Answer you need to the BIGGEST problem you will ever face!

Don’t know the Answer? I do; and I will share!

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at You are also invited to check out the church website at

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011


As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date: Jul 21, 2011
Column Number: FM 1129


A couple of weeks ago, this space was dedicated to some pertinent minutia about the Pledge to our Flag; but I could not git ‘r done in five minutes; so I prevailed upon the good folk down at the Plain Talk and bought us five more minutes.

On September 8, 1892, a Boston-based youth magazine; “The Youth’s Companion” published a twenty-two word recitation for school children to use during planned activities the following month in the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ “discovery” of America (actually, he “discovered” the indigenous peoples that had already “discovered” America; but - anyway). Under the title, “The Pledge to the Flag”, the composition was the earliest version of what we now know as the Pledge of Allegiance”.

In the thirty intervening years, the United States had recovered from most of the devastating effects of the Civil War; and people were flocking to the “Land of Opportunity”. In the previous year alone, almost 500,000 immigrants had legally entered the United States through the “Barge Office” in Battery Park, New York; and on New Years’ Day of 1892, the “New Station” of the “Federal Bureau of Receiving at Ellis Island” had opened.

Two men interested in education and the planned Columbus Day celebrations were Francis Bellamy (an educator) and James Upham (a magazine editor). They lobbied Congress to approve and President Benjamin Harrison to announce “Presidential Proclamation 335” to make the public school flag ceremony the focal point of the celebrations. A month after the words were published, more than 12,000,000 school children across the nation recited the words for the first time.

In this way, our Pledge to the Flag was born; but like anything new, it took several years to “reach maturity” and underwent several changes along the way, all of which were objected to by either Bellamy or his descendants (after he died in 1931).

In its original 1892 form, the pledge was to be recited while rendering what became to be known as the “Bellamy salute” which began with the right hand over the heart, and at the words, "to the Flag," the arm was extended toward the Flag. During World War 2, that salute was so close to the “Nazi salute”, President Franklin Roosevelt pressed for Congress to change the salute to placing the right hand over the heart throughout the pledge. This law also applied to the position to assume when the National Anthem is presented.

The words, “Under God” have been a happy hunting ground for legal eagles looking for fifteen minutes of fame. The words had been suggested many times; but President Truman could never close the deal. However, after the war, the “times, they were a-changing” and President Eisenhower was well able to have those famous words included in 1954 in response to the Communist threat of those days. Thus, we have the thirty-one word Pledge we say today.

There have been several legal ranglings and official complaints generated by the Pledge; among them, a 1940 Supreme Court decision where certain religious groups lost their case that requiring students to stand and recite the Pledge amounted to “idolatry” (reversed in 1943).

Down through the years litigants of all shapes and sizes have tried to have those words eliminated under such grounds as: the words are “grammatically incorrect”, the words are tantamount to being a violation of government-sponsored religion, they endorse Monotheism, they violate the free speech of the students, they lead to the “establishment of a religion”, and just settled this past June was the denial that they lead to a violation of the civil rights of the students.

Please forgive me; but, do I sound warped to you? Have I missed a cog or skipped a gear somewhere in my education and training? I was “forced” to stand and face the flag and place my right hand over my heart and recite the Pledge – and I think I turned out all right.

Wait a minute; here’s something that has not yet been ligitagated. Does placing my right hand over my heart violate my “right” to be left-handed?????

God have mercy on our “Christian Nation”! In the meantime: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”.

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at tommooty05@comcast.
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As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date: Jul 14, 2011
Column Number: FM 1128


Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere, you probably just might accidently know that there was a little trial (of sorts) in Orlando, Florida recently.

It was the hottest ticket in town; I mean, it was hotter than Mickey and his entire group out on the outskirts.

People stood in line, camped in line, ate in line, watched television in line, slapped backs in line, and told lies in line to grab one of the few available seats in the balcony for the day’s “show”. I mean, some of those “ugly Americans” were like those misfits who wait in line for the newest offering from one of the ptomaine taverns along “hamburger row” (at least in the television commercials).

I sat back in my chair and watched those discontented, dissatisfied, long tongued, rubber-necking dissidents literally run over each other when the gates opened, or the whistle blew, or the white smoke rose from the stack (or whatever signal they were given).

One unfortunate lady was shoved down, stepped over, and stomped on by that herd of “someday I gotta get a life” hooligans. Fights broke out and words were spoken in their inhuman and inhumane haste to grab a seat.

Actually, this sort of trial goes on in most every courthouse in every county seat in every state at some time or another; but this one was “made for television” and was served up a la carte with a side order of “OJ”.

“Get outta my way, old lady! You’re in my way with that wheelchair, old man!”

Yessir, that’s my kind of crowd! Those are the kind of people I have looked forward to being with since the last time on the shores of the Suez Canal at midnight, trying to catch a bus into Egypt! (But that’s column fodder for another time).

Anyway, I watched as they pushed and pulled and shoved and shook their miserable way toward the door, exerting their determined and aggressive perseverance to attain the prize – of – of - of what exactly? Oh yes, getting one of the few seats in the balcony to watch the “show”.

The thing is; after all of that effort; after all that drive and determination to propel themselves into an empty seat (or one that was occupied if he/she was smaller); after all that senseless effort and meaningless endeavor; I watched in delight as the judge came out and announced that “court would be in recess until day after tomorrow”.

Say what?

I gave up my tickets to Mickey’s House for this? I could have been pushing and shoving my way through the crowds to ride the teacups or gulp an overpriced coke; and I extended my stay in that overpriced motel for another day for – for – for this!

Bummer! Big time bummer!

Hope you enjoy your trip back home; and by the way, the lady you stepped over and stomped on is gonna be all right; just in case you were wondering!

Isn’t that exactly like the world?

I mean, isn’t that just the way the devil delights in treating people?

He delight is to build you up with great expectations; then let you listen for that big “whooshing” sound as the air gets let out of your sails. It is as one preacher said, “All the devil’s apples have worms in them”.

I’ve been walking this way a long, long time; and I cannot begin to tell you all the life stories I have been told (and experienced a few myself) when the devil has dangled a treat in front that soon turned into a trick.

Are you better off today because you are following the empty paths of ole “Slew Foot”? Maybe? Ok, how about tomorrow? What will happen tomorrow when the plans you have made all fall through because the judge recesses the meeting? Than what will you do? Do you really think – I mean REALLY think that the devil is your friend? Do you really believe he cares one little bit for and about you?

He will leave you laying there like those impatient ingrates left that lady lying there!

Don’t know how to get out of that mess you have made of your life? I do; and I will share!

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at tommooty05@comcast.

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Monday, July 11, 2011


As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Jul 7, 2011
Column Number: FM 1127


Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere, you probably just might accidently know that there is a current controversy raging over those extremely inciting words “Under God” in the Pledge to our ‘Murican Flag.

When I was a kid (a hundred years ago, it seems), we recited that pledge in school; and – oh my, hide the children – the teachers led us! I started school in 1947 at the Dayton, Tennessee City School; “Miss Rose” was my teacher; and although I don’t remember nothin she learned me (especially English as a first language); I do vaguely remember standing and facing the flag and repeating some words after her. I learned later that these were the words we recited:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America; and to the republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all”.

Now, I’m not going to tell I actually remember leaving out the words, “Under God”; but I know we did because those words weren’t added to the Pledge until 1954; and I am certain Mrs. Wade Butcher taught us seventh graders to add those two little words in the Pledge as were recited it. For your information, a simple Internet search to Wikipedia reveals several changes to the Pledge since its first use in 1892, as written by Francis Bellamy:

(Original) "I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

(Revised in 1892) "I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

(Revised by the National Flag Conference in 1923) "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

(Revised in 1924) "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

(Revised in 1954) "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." (Please note the comma after “God”, but not after “nation”. There should be no pause after the word, “nation”.)

According to the Flag Code (latest edition), the Pledge “should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present and not in uniform may render the military salute. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute”.

The phrase, “under God” was basically taken from a quote in President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863; but I think it goes back even further than that.

Are you aware that the National Anthem actually has four verses; and the last one has a line that says: Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and this be our motto: "In God is our trust”.

So, you can see that phrases like “The Power (God, no doubt) that has made and preserved us a nation” and “In God is our trust” have been around since Francis Scott Key penned those lines after seeing the flag still flying after the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during September, 1814.

By the way, that line “In God is our trust”, goes back way further than 1814. Those words are taken from Scripture:

(Psalm 20:7) – “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” and (Psalm 56:11) – “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me”

Those words became the basis for the adoption of our national motto: “In God We Trust”.

That was in itself quite a debate. The phrase had been on U S. coins since 1864; but not on paper money. On July 11, 1954, Congress passed the requirement that “In God We Trust” be printed on all coins (except the penny and nickel, which came later) and all currency. It took two years; but the law was signed by President Eisenhower on July 30, 1956.

Well, this just goes on and on; and I have much more material than can be merely perused in five minutes; so I’ll be back later with some more good stuff you need to know. In the meantime, honor our service men and women; and honor the flag of our great nation “under God”.

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at tommooty05@comcast. This column can also be accessed on the church’s website: (click on “pastor’s blogs”).

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As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
June 30, 2011
Column Number: FM 1126


Unless you were living under a rock somewhere (or maybe even not born yet), you probably just might accidently remember where you were and what you were doing on July 4th, 1976.

I was in Seminary; and awaiting the famous promise by the premier of one of the world’s conglomerate communist nations that the United States would be “buried by her 200th birthday”.

While we were the “envy” of free peoples everywhere, we were the “enemy” of their governments. Shucks, we could drive from city to city, county to county, even state to state without having to show papers; we could go to either an enormous grocery store or a local “mom and pop” and buy toilet paper and cucumbers any day of the week; and we could fill our gasoline tanks with high quality fuel at every little crossroad along the way.

That’s why we were the peoples’ envy and their government’s enemy.

This experiment in a democratic republic form of government was working. We had a relatively peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next; we could peacefully petition our government; and even walk the halls of our nation’s capitol and leisurely study the multitudes of paintings, documents, statuary, and exhibits that were on display.

People all over the world were literally dying for no other reason than that they were Christian; and we had churches of every shape, size, denomination, and enumeration on every corner. One pastor behind the “Iron Curtain” preached to his underground congregation from one page of Scripture and prayed for seventeen years for somebody to come and tell him what happened on the next page; and we have Gideon Bibles in every motel and hospital room, study Bibles in church pew racks, and several copies of our favorite version in our homes.

Yes, I was waiting on the “big bear shoe banger” (Khrushchev and his successor, Brezhnev) to make good on his promise. I was waiting, knowing it wouldn’t happen; and it didn’t happen. His successor (Gorbachev) subsequently “tore down that wall”; and even came to set up shop within these borders.

Why was that? Why is America so blessed?

Not because of our vast natural resources; the little Dead Sea in Israel has resources enough to almost pay off our national debt with one check.

Not because of our huge size; modern day Russia is so large, it has eleven time zones from here to there.

No! America is blessed because of our Judea-Christian background, our foundation, our “up-bringing”. If you think of it, our basic structure of law is based on the Scriptural law (which can be condensed into Ten Commandments).

We are very patriotic in our church. We unapologetically recite the Pledge of Allegiance (do we include the words, “under God” – oh, please!). We wave the flag and salute the flag and display the flag; and the flags of all five of our military branches. One man (and yes, he was Baptist) took me to task because we are so patriotic, citing allegiance to worldly endeavors, even calling it “idolatry”; and I reminded him that as long as the American Flag waved, the Christian Flag would wave also!

I know we are citizens of heaven; but while we are here, I am so very glad to be a citizen of these United States. I don’t see us building a wall to keep our folks in!

Now, having said all that, I am concerned about our nation. I am concerned about the way we treat our military. I am concerned about the way we are drifting away from our Judea-Christian roots. I am greatly concerned about our changing attitude toward Israel!

You see, while everything else is nice to know and wonderful to enjoy; the mandate to “bless Israel” is Scriptural; and we violate that at our peril. I am concerned about that!

You should be as well; that is if you are patriotic, if you love our country, if you still get a lump in your throat when the National Anthem is performed; when the flag is displayed; when a member of our military walks by (or limps by, or wheelchairs by, or is pushed by a caring care-giver); when you see row after row of little white crosses in military cemeteries; when you hear a firing squad giving a twenty-one gun salute; when you see the missing pilot formation; or the riderless horse with the backward boots; or the names on the wall!

Jesus is coming; of that, we can be assured; but we are told to occupy until He comes; and our free nation is the best platform from which to preach the Gospel to everyone who does not know and has not heard.

God bless America – again, please!

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at tommooty05@comcast.

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