16 February, 2008

Bracing for Effects of the Writer's Strike

Although the writer's strike is over, the major networks will still feel the effects for some time. Yet, little attention has been given to a lesser known non-network branch of the Writers Guild of America South… until now. Some readers of TBNN may unknowingly be familiar with Writers Guild: Branch 316, the branch responsible for all Baptist Lifeway Sunday School lesson material.

"When the strike began last November, we were covered for the December through February quarterly lesson material," said Lifeway spokesman Harold Kanobly. However TBNN has discovered that absolutely no lessons will be available for publication in time for the March through May quarter. An important question arises, "What will Churches do for Sunday School lesson material?"

TBNN interns have been busy this week surveying Pastors, Discipleship Coordinators, and Ministers of Education across the South.

Pastor Wally Pyle of Green City Baptist in Alexandria, Louisiana does not believe there will be a problem. "We stopped ordering Sunday School books for the adult classes several years ago. We only order the teacher's manuals." Adult Sunday School teachers at Green City plan to use the same lesson material as last quarter. "I believe few people will even notice."

Deacon Winthrop Carter of Seventh Cavalry Baptist Church in Pleasant Hills, Georgia seemed more excited about the possibility of teacher growth, "Teachers will just have to think of something on their own beginning in March."

Barney Griffith, in Mayberry, Mississippi has been Sunday School Superintendant of First Baptist Mayberry for the last 32 years. Because of his faithful devotion to counting Sunday School attendees (even determining who has brought a Bible vs. who is just attending for SBC reporting purposes), he has been unable to attend a Sunday School class himself for over 3 decades. Yet, Griffith remains a strong believer that each Sunday School teacher should mention something from the Bible each week.

"We're proud to say that most of our membership does own a Bible," said Andy Floyd, Minister of Education at Dulcimer Baptist Church in Rock Springs, Tennessee. "But they keep it at home." Floyd explained there has been no need to bring a Bible to Sunday School because the lesson books contained the verses in the margin. Since the verses were available on the projector screen during the sermon, there has really not been a need to bring a Bible to church at all. "It's going to be hard to get our people used to the idea of lugging a huge book around in our modern time."

Otis Taylor, mechanical engineer by trade who teaches a class of young couples (21-30 yrs old) at Three Roads Baptist Church in Mt. Guide, South Carolina calculates that the 40 Days of Purpose is almost a perfect substitute for a 13-week lesson plan. "By my calculations, if we cover 3.076923077 purposes each week, we'll have covered all 40 by the time the new lesson plans arrive for the June-August quarter. Practically, if we cover 3 for 12 of the weeks, we can cover 4 during the 13th week. Alternatively, 3 for 11 weeks and 3.5 for 2 of the weeks would also work. Realistically, I will most likely go with a plan of 3 purposes for 10 weeks, 3.33 purposes for 2 weeks and 3.34 purposes for 1 week."

There will also be problems with the children's lesson plans. Branch 316 has also been responsible for writing the line of words at the bottom of the color pages. Past pages that have been colored cannot be reused, so that is a problem.

"We may use some of the books in the library," said Bea Weaver, Children's Director at Good Day Baptist Church in Mattborrow, Arkansas. "There are lots of very good books with useful moral themes. Some are much easier for the children to understand than the Bible." Once in the past when the Sunday School lesson color sheet delivery was delayed, Weaver used The Three Little Pigs. The teachers focused on the verse “running from the big bad wolf.” Teachers explained to the children that the pigs who were afraid were the ones who ran. Those who ran lost their homes. Finally, when the wolf encountered a brother pig who would not run, the wolf lost. Teachers explained that the lesson here is not that the type of house you have is important, but that you should not run.

Note from Dr. Brother Slawson: I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of you who supported me during the writer's strike by not supporting (with too many "comments") the scab who has written in my place since November. You have helped me to negotiate a better contract with Dr. Tom.


CristyLynn said...

Dr. Brother Slawson,

I thought this was funny. So glad that the scab is gone. :)


P.S. Don't worry, I don't need a response or the coddle cootie.

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stefan said...

Barney Griffith [sic]

Hmmm, I think I'm beginning to see how you guys come up with all the fictitious names you need for these pieces.

Brother Slawson said...

and for a small bit of trivia...

"Harold Kanobly" was also the name of Sgt. Carter's Sister's fiance.
No kidding!