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A Very Sad Story In Pine Island

About 45 miles west of Houston, Texas, there is a small community named Pine Island. The Pine Island Baptist Church has been there since the late 1800's. The area was settled by and the church was founded by families who left Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi during the troubled times following the Civil War

Some years ago (in Nov. 1998) one of the pillars of church was suposed to be ordained as a deacon. The preacher discovered that the man was a member of the Masonic Lodge and refused to ordain him as a deacon. There was a meeting of the congregation and most had known the man all his life and knew what kind of man he was, so they instructed the preacher to ordain the man.

The next Sunday the preacher preached a hellfire sermon about the devil worshiping Masons and again he refused to ordain him as a deacon. The congregation held another meeting after the service and ask him to please reconsider. He refused and one of the older ladies stood up and said if the preacher couldn't do what the congregation wished, he should be fired. After a continued refusal the congregation held a vote. The preacher lost by a large majority and was informed that he was fired

The preacher had taken this position because he had read a book that said Masons were devil worshipers. It wasn't something he actually found or even interpreted from something in the Bible, but a modern book written by a man with a vendetta against a mason or some particular lodge. He decided to believe the words of an unknown fanatic author over that of the men of his congregation who he had known as righteous, upstanding Christians until he discovered they were Masons.

To me this is a very sad story where everyone looses and there are no winners. The preacher lost a congregation and church where he was generally well liked. His wife lost her neighbors and friends and her projects. His children lost their friends and schoolmates and the stability of their home. The congregation lost a young dynamic preacher that fought for his beliefs (right or wrong). The congregation also lost a few of it's members, even causing a split in a family or two. And, because of the preacher's beliefs, the masons lost a little standing with a few members. I can think of a lot of ways for a man to prove his foolishness, but taking everything you read in any individual's book as the gospel truth has to be one of the most foolish, Then to condemn a large part of our male population with no other evidence then another modern man's conjectures or desire to get revenge for rejection is unbelievable to me.

An Interesting Footnote;

The preacher informed the church members that if he was fired he was due 2 months pay. Almost all of the congregation was opposed to making the payment and stated that he would never get an extra 2 months pay from their church. Three members of the church stood up and tried to convince the other members that the money was really owed and should be paid. After the congregation refused to pay the extra money, the 3 men made up the full amount from "their own pockets" and gave the preacher the money. The preacher took the 2 months pay without hesitation even though the money was made up by the 3 men who were well known Masons.

The church had bought a mobile home to be used as a parsonage and had it set up on the church property. Sometime earlier the preacher had talked the congregation into putting the home in his name so it could be homesteaded and the church would save a lot of money on taxes. So, not only did he take the Masons money, he also took the church's mobile home.

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