One of my great-grandfathers was a United Brethren preacher who started out riding circuit on horseback. Gradually, he got appointed to different churches, one after the other, until he managed to stay put in his wife’s home territory. By that time, he was getting old enough that younger preachers sometimes counted on him to be their mentor. Circuits were pretty-much a thing of the past by that time, and one young pastor in the area stayed in close contact with him. One day, he received a letter from the young pastor asking him to come to his aid quickly. (This was still in the days before telephones.)
It seems that the young preacher was out in his tiny barn at milking time and needed to drain his tank. Like many a farmer before him, he figured if the cows could pee in their stalls, so could he. Unfortunately, he was no sooner in full stream than one of his cows decided to move backwards, and literally pushed him backwards out the barn door. As fate would have it, the biggest gossip in his church was going by in a buggy with her husband. They were close enough to see the preacher apparently attached to the back end of a cow, but too far away to see the stream of urine splashing downward. Before the day was up, everyone in the community knew of the “perverted preacher.’
Grandpa did his best to get the church leaders to listen to the truth of the matter, but two of their members had “seen it with their own eyes,” and none of them would accept that things were not what they appeared to be from a distance. Grandpa said that he’d known that young man since he was in diapers, and he would never in a million years have done such a thing. Still, he finally advised the young preacher to resign, simply so he could remove himself from such a wicked neighborhood and get on with his life.
The young preacher was devastated. I don’t know if he continued on in the ministry or not, or what eventually happened to the church that was so ready to believe the absolute worst about their pastor. One thing is for sure, it gives proof to the old saying below:
“Don’t believe ANYTHING you hear, and only HALF of what you see.”