Friday, March 23, 2012


As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date – Mar 22, 2012
Column Number - 1212

In my seven wonderful years in high school; I can clearly remember learning …; my razor sharp mind absorbed …; well, let’s see now, there must have been something I assimilated by merely being close to the spout of knowledge.

I am absolutely certain, beyond all shadow of any doubt that I learned …!

Maybe I learned the art of double speak and time killing. I have at least done that for you thus far!

Oh! Oh! I remember now! One thing I learned was that you don’t mess with Mr. Bray’s “bearclaw” leather strap carried menacingly in his back pocket. Oh yeah, do I ever remember that lesson!

I suppose Mr. Bray got up in the morning, did the usual “getting up” stuff; and then began assembling his “uniform”. His “business attire” consisted of white shirt and dark tie and dark suit with pockets bulging with several essentials: e.g., a cash box to “rob” the apple machine down the hall, a record book that cataloged all the excuses that Taburn Lovin and some unnamed others had given him for being late for the day’s learning experience, another record book that contained a TSSAA approved listing of “Stupid Acts and Actions Committed by Secondary Students”, various keys and “principal stuff” – and the “bearclaw”.

Oh yes, don’t forget the bearclaw strap. After all, he never knew what unsavory types he might have to confront in the halls up on “the hill”; and he might just need to take a swipe at them. Funny how the sacrificial victims were always of the masculine persuasion…

Any way, I learned that lesson at some point in my seven years of tribulation.

There were a couple of other things:

I learned that you cannot just plunge a wad of sodium into water and try to catch the by-product (sodium hydroxide – purty nasty stuff) without some dire effects. Of course, the class was dismissed but we still had to clean up the Physics Lab.

I learned that you couldn’t cut Mrs. Burnett’s Science class without her catching you; even for good stuff like a jazz jam session in the band room with other co-conspirators who shall forever remain nameless.

I learned that Miss McMahan had read and memorized each and every page of each and every book that was then, ever had been, and would ever be in the library; and that attempting to pull the wool over her eyes in the oral book reports was, in fact, an exercise in futility.

I learned that Mrs. Kennedy would identify and pull you out of the cafeteria line as a perpetrator that was deserving of Coach Brummitt’s borrowing Mr. Bray’s aforementioned “bearclaw” for the express purpose of the administration of corporal discipline to a certain part of your anatomy because of your complicity in the aforementioned perpetration of stupid acts and actions that were listed in Mr. Bray’s catalog of stupid acts and actions under the category of “Stupid Acts and Actions”.

I also learned that “nature abhors a vacuum”; and that you cannot open a dark room without spilling all the darkness out (and other miscellaneous variations of applications for this general rule).

“Nature abhors a vacuum”; and when you pop the lid on a void, it immediately fills with whatever is there (to put it in plain English).

That has stuck with me; and since I now find myself in my current calling, I have applied that principle over and over.

Whenever truth falters; whenever authenticity stumbles; whenever the Church fails – the false comes rushing in. Being a minister in my home town might have its drawbacks; but it is a real joy to show people who knew me “back then” that knowingly following The Lord Jesus Christ has far more advantages than blindly following the devil – and the retirement benefits are “out of this world”!

That much I have learned!

How about you? Who are you following and to what destination?

These columns are written by Tom Mooty, Senior (Very Senior, actually) Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and all comments can be sent to or P.O. Box 851, Newport.

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As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date – Mar 15, 2012
Column Number - 1211

Unless you have been living in the basement of the custodial cabin at the University of Frogpond; you have probably have heard about the recent “name change” of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Being a very small part of Baptist Press, I have a little “inside information”; and get more than a little upset when people make such a great big mountain out of this little molehill.

Someone was waxing eloquent about this and said that “the Southern Baptists are taking the name “Baptist” out of their name”.

While that is true in many church names; that is simply not true for the Southern Baptist Convention. I think back to some churches who used to be called the “Such and Such Baptist Church”; and now have adopted more “acceptable” names such as “Such and Such Fellowship” or simply “Such and Such Church”; or other equally “user friendly” such names.

Now, don’t get all bent out of shape about this; there might even be a good reason to rename a church. For instance, I heard about a church that was built on the “Little Hope Creek” and was forthwith named “Little Hope Baptist Church”!

Not too swift, if you ask me; but since no one did; well …

In press articles about the recent name change for the Southern Baptist Convention; several statements were made and several facts need noting. The whole idea was simply about removing the word “Southern” from the overall name; because SBC churches in the northern areas run into various arguments in their ministries solely because of the word “southern” in the name.

Clear? Thought so!

Several arguments against the name change were made: “We are identified by that name”. “The name is a “world-wide brand”. “The name identifies a particular theology, morality, and mission-mindedness”. The huge expense in time, energy, and legal of such a name change was also discussed.

The very thought that so many people take the name seriously that they do not wish to attend a “Southern Baptist Church” if they are not from the “south” just lends itself to the idea that the very “name identifies you”! While the name was not officially changed, an addendum was added to be used in “non-southern friendly” areas – “The Great Commission Baptist Convention”.

And that’s the key!

It is true; your name identifies you!

It used to be that the last (given) name actually did identify a person; and a “carpenter” was a carpenter; a “cooper” was a barrel-maker; a “butcher” was a butcher; a “baker” was a baker; “Johnson” was “John’s son”; “Scott” was from Scotland; and so on and on it went. The first (Christian) name was a more personal identifier.

In Bible days, a person was known as “Simon Bar Jonah” (“Simon, son of John”) because that is what he was. Judas Iscariot (“Judas Ish Kerioth”) was a “man from Kerioth”. “Barabbas” was the “son of Abba” or “son of the father” (early tradition says his “first name” was Jesus but for obvious reasons, his first name was dropped to the more familiar “Barabbas”).

What about the name “Jesus The Christ”? “Jesus” is WHO He is; “Christ” is WHAT He is. He is “Yeshua Ha Mashiach” (in Hebrew): “Jesus the Messiah”. That clearly identifies WHO and WHAT He is? In the earlier days, He was also called “Jesus of Nazareth”, since “Jesus” was such a common name in that society (behind Simon, Joseph, Judah, and John).

What about you? Could you be identified by the name you claim (at least on Sunday) – “Christian”?

If you were put on trial for being a Christian; would there be enough evidence against you to convict you?

Or would you have to (as so many people do) change your name on Monday from the one you use on Sunday?

Think about that?

These columns are written by Tom Mooty, Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and all comments can be sent to or P.O. Box 851, Newport, TN 37822.

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As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date – Mar 8, 2012
Column Number - 1210

Unless you have been living on the main island in the middle of Frogpong’s frogpond; you probably have heard about the recent spree of tornados that have wreaked havoc in our midsection.

Big news – big time big news!

Branson, Missouri was hit and hurt by an EF-2 tornado on February 29, 2012. When I heard the word, “Branson”, I (probably like you) immediately thought of the entertainment and amusement centers located there.

One of those entertainers was being interviewed; and he had the gall to make the astounding statement that went something like this (I only heard it once, probably because it was immediately removed from the database of storm coverage): “My fellow performers are all wondering how we will be affected cashwise”.

Say what?

He was probably looking out at copious devastation; and was wondering how he would be affected “cashwise”?????

I was watching the news coverage of the December 26, 2004 South Asian Tsunami on the Indian Ocean; where a couple of tourists were being interviewed; and the guy said with a glint of a tear in his eye that they had “lost everything”.

Now that was sad, don’t you think? But those people had endured massive loss of life, loss of property – they had literally “lost everything” – not just a couple of suitcases and normal stuff that tourists carry on vacation.

I heard an interview with a victim of Category 4 Hurricane “Opal” along the Gulf Coast on October 4, 1995 after he had lost his home. “Yes”, he bravely said, “We have lost everything; but I think we can come again”.

I wanted to shout, “Yes; you can! You can come again! That attitude cannot be broken!

Talk about affected cashwise!

I heard an interview of one of the many City Mayors in Illinois after the recent tornados had flexed its mighty muscles among his citizens; he was asked what was the main thing needed by his town. “The first thing we need is prayer from the nation”.

Can you see some subtle differences in these answers?

One was concerned only about himself “cashwise”. One was totally oblivious to the needs of all others around him. One was showing inner strength and resolve. One was spiritually attuned to his needs for prayer.

Having been misquoted in the press before, having had microphones shoved in my face from way out in left field, having been an “information officer” in a time of high stress, I can certainly sympathize!

I just think we need to be clear when we disseminate information! Please make no mistake about it, I carry press credentials from Baptist Press; but I also carry credentials to tell the wonderful news from God Almighty and I think we ought to make it clear; not sneak up on somebody; not trick anybody; not back door unsuspecting souls.

My news is the “Good News” of Jesus Christ; and I want to make it abundantly clear – up front and personal - that Jesus The Christ is The Way, The Truth, and The Life; and there is “no other way whereby we must be saved” than through Him!

And that is far better than any “cashwise” or “suitcase” concern.

These columns are written by Tom Mooty, Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and all comments can be sent to or P.O. Box 851, Newport, TN 37822.

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As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date – Mar 1, 2012
Column Number - 1209

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere on the backside of Frogpong’s frogpond; you probably have heard about the recent shooting at the Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio.

Big news – bigtime!

It even interrupted the latest rounds of gazillions of “newsspeak” words about the latest rounds of gazillions of green ‘Murican dollars my “Gumment” was spending on useless stuff and things. I guess when you have 24/7/365.25 of time to fill; and there are just so many ways the same data can be written and rewritten and rerewritten to tell the same story in a new and different way; you grab what you can and send it out. That used to be called “rip (teletype) and read” in radio; and is now called “view (teleprompter) and speak” in television.

First, it was five students were hurt; then four students were injured; then several scholars were killed; then four were hurt and one was killed; then later, one of the four died; then (while I was researching this info) reports came down that another of the injured students died.

First, it was one shooter; then two shooters; then back to one shooter; then one was apprehended running away; then one was captured by the SWAT team; then one shooter turned himself in; then he was a student; then he was not a student, then he was a student – at another school.

Then he was a student who was bullied by other students; then he was a student at another school who was not bullied; then he was a loner who had several friends, and then, and then, and then.

Whatever! Change the channel and watch the endless reruns of old races while Daytona is rained out! You can come back to Ohio later and hear a completely different story told in a completely different way.

We have all been there: confused and confounded; bothered and bewildered; perplexed and puzzled; dumbfounded and discomfited; flurried and flustered; distracted and disordered; muddled and misplaced; embarrassed and embroiled; disarranged and my all-time favorite – discombobulated!

Yes, we have all been there!

One of the two things I learned in Red Cross Lifesaving Class was that a drowning person can get so disoriented, he/she can actually be upside down, swimming downward while all the while thinking he/she is upside up, swimming upward! That was one thing I learned; I forgot the other thing!

People are confused with so many conflicting reports coming from this news desk and that news desk written by news people who have to get new news first – whether they get it right or not.

Can you say Florida Election in 2000? Can you say hanging, swinging, and/or partial chads?

I say again, people are confused with so many conflicting reports bombarding them from so many different directions.

Take church for instance. Who’s on first and who’s on second; and regardless of who’s on third, where is third anyway? Is there a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2; did the ax head “swim”; when was the flood, and how extensive was it; which “Bethlehem” was the birth place of Jesus; what about all the symbols and figures of Revelation, and by-the-way, how many “revelations” are there; do good works count, is Grace sufficient, is baptism essential, what is “The Lord’s Day”, is Jesus coming again, and by-the-way when (“pre”, “post”, or “pan”)? On and on and on it goes. No wonder so many people are wandering around on the outside wondering: “Is there any hope”, and “Does anybody have the answer”?

I do not claim to have all the answers to all the questions; but I do claim to know The One who does have all the answers to all the questions – and I do believe I can introduce you to Him. His name is Jesus The Christ – the Only Begotten Son of the Only Almighty God!

And He wants to meet you – to be your Friend, to be your Lord and Savior!


These columns are written by Tom Mooty, Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and all comments can be sent to or P.O. Box 851, Newport.

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As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date – Feb 23, 2012
Column Number - 1208

Frog legs! Amphibian appendages!

Whatever you call them; they are considered as somewhat of a delicacy in certain parts of these here United States.

My Uncle Paul was a crack shot when it came to small fuzzy wuzzies of the four-legged persuasion; or small feathered figures of the winged variety. He had several weapons that would land him in Gitmo today; but were legal and normal back then. I remember his scopes that could have been used by NASA to track their spacecraft, perched on top of rifles that Seal Team Six would develop chills down their leg to own.

He would have loved to have lived 6000 years ago and drawing a bead on one of the abundant dinosaurs (yeah, I know you heard all about the millions and millions of years and the “gaps” in the fossil records) – if, and only if he could somehow have transported his arsenal to Glen Springs, Texas.

So he was content on scoping out groundhogs hogging the ground, whistle pigs whistling while they worked, wood chucks chucking wood, squirrels and mice and assorted forms of rodents, marmosets, quail, ducks, geese, opossums and possums (the latter is found only in East Tennessee; the former is everywhere else). They didn’t have a chance when Paul drew a bead. If I am not too misinformed, Spring City, Tennessee is still rodent free because of Uncle Paul and “Joe’s Ammunition and Salami Shop”.

But I never heard Paul tell a story about frog giggin.

I guess that was because frog gigging is up close and personal and Paul preferred to knock their lights out from a football field away.

It is not a very big secret that yours truly was raised on the outskirts of Frogpond, on the environs of Eastport, a suburb of Newport.

And yes, they was frogs in that there pond.

Freddy (The Big Ugly) ventured into the wild and wooly world of frog giggin’ on several occasions; and pulled at least half of his friends (that would be two) into this adventure.

I heard a lot of stories about the experiences; but I never saw any evidence. I don’t remember “The Big Ugly” bringing any frog laigs home to Josephine Celeste’s big old South Pittsburg black iron skillet.

I mean Paul would bring home the bacon or whatever the choice cuts of rabbit are called; but Freddie and friends: not so much.

Just as well; because I’m not so sure I would have consumed any part of a frog anyway. I mean, I did not want to get warts on the outside, much less on the inside! Toad, frog; you say tomato, tomahto, I say “mater”.

And now I know why Freddie and friends never scored a web footed trophy! They were not doing it right! Champion frog giggers know that you have to get down and dirty if you want to watch the legs jumping in the pan. You have to get in with em; feel the mud oozing between your toes; step on the salamanders, slip on the lizards and gizzards and gila monsters; be like Mike and get dirty.

And Freddie didn’t like to get his white tennis (or elevenies) dirty!

But, do it right, and you might – just might end up with a slimy, cold blooded, skin breathing, tail-less amphibian on the three tines of your gig; or better yet, if you line them up just right and hold your mouth just right - three slimy, cold blooded, skin breathing, tail-less amphibians on one tine of your gig. Admittedly, that is somewhat difficult to do – only Lester Starnes has ever accomplished that in the six thousand years sum total of the history of mankind. Lester is a frog whisperer; I’m not sure you knew that!

So there is a right way and a wrong way to gig frogs; a real way and a faux way – and you cannot do any good by trying to do it the wrong way.

Kinda like trying to get to heaven, you know. There are many multitudes of wrong ways to try; and many multitudes trying the multitudes of wrong ways; but there is only one correct way – through Jesus Christ!

These columns are written by Tom Mooty, Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; all comments can be sent to or P.O. Box 851, Newport.

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As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date – Feb 16, 2012
Column Number - 1207

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere on the back side of Frogpond, Tennessee; you have heard about my critters.

Well, actually, they are not mine, per se; they belong to the entire neighborhood (or so they have been led to believe); but they do inhabit the northern regions of the oaks on which “Miss ‘Nita” and I pay the taxes.

They should appreciate us more!

I try to keep their water supply fresh and ample; but sometimes, things happen, you know; and I don’t “git ‘r done” as rapidly as they seem to think I should.

So; (that is called deep background in the journalism business) I was out at the spigot recently to charge up the hose to fill up their fountain; and a little guy was up in the gnarly old dogwood looking down at me doing good work – and fussing at me!

There I was, minding his business, doing his thing, performing his patronage, accommodating his accommodation, furthering his furtherance, achieving his assistance, looking after his largesse, and he has the unmitigated gall to fuss at me (and probably cuss at me) for not doing it right, or fast enough, or whatever his little brain told him was incorrect.

He was all alone up there – that little guy. Obviously, he was one of the new kids on the block; or he would have known that I was one of the few friendlies left in his future.

He will learn! He better; or his ultimate demise will come sooner rather than later! They tell me that dying of thirst is extremely painful! How do you like them apples, little guy?

Did you ever get fussed at for doing good stuff? I am not asking if you ever get fussed at for doing bad stuff – that is a foregone conclusion – as well you should. I remember at least one time when Fred Marvin and Josephine Celeste fussed at me for doing bad (I think there may have been one other time, but memory fades, you know).

But I do vividly recollect many multitudinous occurrences when Freddy (“The Big Ugly”) and Bobby (“The Music Man”) got fussed at for horrible acts of manifest evil. Many of them! Yep, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

No; what I mean is getting fussed at for doing good stuff. Sometimes, misunderstandings happen and the referee sees the second blow and not the first one that started it all. Sometimes, the teacher sees you and not little Johnny being – well, little Johnny – and you get the trip to the principal’s office. These things happen; but what does the Bible means when it says:

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).

My dear Christian friend, this world is not your home; you’re just passing through; and sometimes you rub the fur and ruffle the feathers the wrong way. Sometimes, you feel like “Mr. Woody Ross” in Jonesville, South Carolina’s speed trap with “Officer Barney Fife” standing outside your driver’s side window with his ticket book needing one more entry to make quota (names changed to protect the guilty).

I think the verses are self-explanatory! Sometimes, you get fussed at for doing what is right because “everybody else” is doing wrong. Just be glad you are being fussed at for doing RIGHT – and be assured that God knows all and remembers all!

Kids have enormous peer pressure to get away with as much as principals, police, parents, preachers, and other authority figures cannot possibly see.

Employees have enormous pressure to slack off and get by with bare bones minimum while demanding more pay and benefits.

Even Christians have these pressures! But please remember, when we (who know the truth about God and His Grace and Mercy) slack off and quit telling people that the “bridge is out”, eternity can be in the balance for that next person! Think of that! Eternity! Think of a never ending, perpetual, continual, endless, infinite future without God and no hope of ever having His forgiveness; because – well - because we got tired of getting fussed at for doing right!

These columns are written by Tom Mooty, Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; all comments can be sent to or P.O. Box 851, Newport.

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