Material History of American Religion Project

The Fable of the Good People Who Rallied to the Support of the Church

Most American churches—and all churches since disestablishment—have been on their own financially. They received no money they didn't raise themselves. And as humorist George Ade shows here, there are more ways to get money for the church than just the obvious one.

A Congregation needed Money for repairing the Church, so the Women got together and decided to hold a Raspberry Festival. Sister Frisbie invited them to come and Carouse on her Front Lawn. Some 22 Members of the Flock flew out and brought a few Things to Wear, the Outlay for washable Finery running to about $8 per Head.

Mr. Frisbie got $9 worth of Chinese Lanterns and strung them around. He wanted to do the Thing up Brown so as to get a Puff in the Weekly. The Paper came out and said that the Frisbie Front Yard with its Myriad Twinkling Lights was a Veritable Fairy-Land. That kind of Notice is worth $9 of anybody's Money.

Mr. Frisbie and three other Pillars of the Church devoted $7 worth of valuable Time to unloading Tables and Campstools.

The Women Folks ruined $14 worth of Complexion working in the hot Kitchen to make Angel Food and Fig Cake.

On the Night of the Raspberry Orgy the Public Trampled down $45 worth of Shrubbery.

When it came time to check up the Linen and Silverware it was found that $17 worth of Spoons with Blue Thread tied around them has been lost in the Shuffle.

The Drip from the Candles ruined $29 worth of Summer Suits and Percale Shirt-Waists.

Four Children gorged themselves and each was tied in a True Lover's Knot with Cholera Morbus before another Sunrise. The Doctor Bills footed up $18.

After clearing the Wreck, paying the Drayman and settling for the Ice Cream and Berries, it was discovered that the Church was $6.80 to the Good. So everybody said it was a Grand Success.

Moral: Anything to avoid dropping it in the Basket.

 

From The America of George Ade, reprinted in William H. Willimon, ed., And the Laugh Shall Be First: A Treasury of Religious Humor (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1986).

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