Make It Plain - Current events from a Christian point of view
Glenn Schicker began writing his weekly column “Make It Plain” in April of 1976, and through the 36 years he was employed at the Resorter he authored 1,723 columns.
The topics of his columns came from current events with a Christian point of view. Glenn used humor and parody as tools to bring his readers to his point. We’ve pulled a few excerpts from his early columns demonstrating his technique.
June 9, 1977
“Some Michigan school boards and administrators are having second thoughts about their support of legislation which would permit public schools to teach students about birth control.”
Glenn devoted four paragraphs describing the “present day” discussion on the topic from school officials and sex education and the opposition from church leaders to teaching of birth control. And finally, Bible versus regarding sex education .
In the 5th paragraph Glenn wrote:
“The Bible does command man to “‘be fruitful and multiply.’ But it also teaches moderation and prudent management of earth’s resources. If all husbands and wives, without the use of contraception obeyed Paul’s instruction not to abstain from sex for any long period of time, our world population problem would be much worse. That hardly seems moderate or prudent.”
He began his conclusion of that column saying that “the problem, then, is not whether birth control should be taught, but who should teach it.
“The biology of sex and birth control may have a place in the classroom. The morality of it does not. Parents and schools must face up to the fact that the two cannot be completely separated.”
From a column Feb. 24, 1977...
The date line read BIBLE BELT, K.Y.-
Glenn wrote about the “Rev. G. McNorton Fenergast, pastor of the Two-Edged Sword, in services here Sunday lambasted President Jimmy Carter for his drinking habits and evangelist Billy Graham for his recent comments on alcohol use.”
Glenn used his humor to make points but often turned Bible verses into points of humor.
“When Rev. Fenergast vocally accosted Pres. Carter from the pulpit ‘a civil rights activist’ turned church crasher by the name of Abraham Mulcahey, spoke up and defended Pres. Carter’s use of wine and an occasional “highball.”
The argument between Fenergast and Mulcahey continued for nine paragraphs then concluded with antagonist Mulcahey stating “while we’re talking about nasty habits, did you know that the Bible advocates smoking.”
To which Mr. Fenergast replies “It certainly does not. The practice wasn’t even known in those days.
To which Mr. Mulcahey replies “I read from Genesis 24:64,” said Mulcahey. “And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.”
He employed humor while making his point.
His January 6, 1977 column explained his sense of humor.
“I think life is best seen through the eyes of humor--joy.”
“I recently had a delightful chance to reacquaint myself with the humor of the man who spoke those words. His name is Grady Nutt, and he’s one of the funniest people I’ve encountered...
“Many of Nutt’s stories also come from the Bible. He tries to portray the characters, including Jesus, as real people who speak everyday language...
“Nutt believes Jesus was Himself an accomplished humorist and meant many of His parables to be funny -- poking good-natured fun at His often bumbling disciples or the religious hierarchy of the day in an attempt to get a serious point across to them.
“Preachers who tell jokes are not uncommon. Grady Nutt is. He says he doesn’t view humor as ‘a sneaky way to get people to listen to me preach,’ and he doesn’t have to preach to get his message across.
“That message is an important one that many believers and non-believers alike never understand. It is, as Nutt says, that Jesus is not the ‘distant porcelain, unapproachable person most of us have made him out to be,’ and that being a Christian does not mean simply enduring life while waiting for ‘pie in the sky by and by.’
“‘I think life just kind of follows you around if you have eyes to see it,’ Nutt says, ‘and it gets to be kind of fun.”’
His column of Dec. 30, 1976 explained his surprise at the early success of the column.
In the 6th graph, after discussing “a year of surprises,” Glenn wrote:
“When I started writing this column in April, I wondered if I would find enough material to write about something of general interest related to religion every week. To my pleasure, and perhaps your surprise, I’ve found no lack of ideas.
Glenn then listed the topics he had written about by category:
“Just to refresh your memory on the subjects I have found related to or affected by religion this year, here’s a brief rundown. My first column was on the need for objective, knowledgeable reporting on religion in the press. Of the 30 other columns I have written up to now, two have dealt with the economy, four with world affairs, six with government or politics, two with education, five with morality and related matters, six with Christians and how they live, three with churches and, of course, one on the Bicentennial.”
“The Bible says Jesus Christ is ‘the same yesterday, today and forever.’ Writing ‘Make It Plain’ has strengthened my belief in that statement.”
The pen of Glenn Schicker is now silent but his words will echo for as long as someone is reading his work, or living his example.