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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)

TITLE: The Buck Stops Here
By Allison Egley


"Honey, you may be looking at the one of the next Elders of Living Word Christian Church. I put in my nomination today. I've got some ideas I think would really help the church."

"Buck, I'm not quite sure how to say this, but I don't think you'll get the vote. In fact, I'd be very surprised if you did."

"Why? I'd be perfect for the job. I've been at the church longer than anyone else on the Board. I've seen all the changes, good and bad, and I think I have good ideas."

"It's your job, Honey. Casino owner and operator isn't exactly on the list of highly respected jobs in Christian circles."

"But my job is separate from the rest of my life. It's just how I earn a living. It's not like I actually gamble. You know me, Hun."

"I'm not the one you have to convince. It's the congregation."


A month later, Buck attended the annual congregational meeting. The current Chairman of the Board of Elders addressed the congregation. "The following members have been nominated for the Board of Elders: Brian Hays, Terry Jamison, and Buck Martin." Since there are three spots to fill and three nominees, if there are no objections, I'd like to propose we accept all three nominees as stands."

Buck nudged his wife. "See? I told you there wouldn't be any problems."

From the back of the sanctuary, Herbert Perkins cleared his throat. "I'd like discussion on the nomination of Buck Martin. I'm not sure he portrays the image we want for our church."

Buck sank down in his seat and groaned. "On no. Not Old 'Holy Herbert.'"

Another member of the congregation agreed. "He owns a casino. We don't want people to think we promote that type of activity."

The chairman sought out Buck. "Buck, would you like to defend these allegations?"

Buck stood up. "I assure you, my work is separate from my home life and church life. It's just what I do for a living. I mean, we all have to make a living somehow, right? Are there any professions that are without their faults?"

"True," began a younger woman, "But your profession indicates that you not only approve of gambling, but promote it. If you lead others to gamble, how can we trust you to make wise decisions for the church?"

Buck protested. "I don't lead others to gamble. It's their choice. I don't tell them to come to the casino. In fact, I encourage people not to come if I know they have a problem. Besides, if they didn't do it at my casino, they'd just go somewhere else. At least when they come to mine, they know they will be treated fairly."

"I do see your points," protested another member, "but certainly being around people like that all day affects you. And I've seen some of the people you've hired. They are out carousing the bars and smoking in the back alleys. That's hardly an image any of us want to promote."

"As I've said earlier, my work and my home and church life are separate. I don't hang out with these people outside of the professional context."

"And don't you serve alcohol at your casino?"

"Yes, but I always cut people off when they've had enough, and I call cabs if I don't think they can drive home safely. Look, I've defended myself the best I can. If you can't separate my career from my personal life, then that's your loss. I'm done answering questions."

The Chairman got up once again.

"Given the controversy surrounding this matter, I'd like to ask you and your wife to step out of the room while we take the vote, Buck."


"The votes have been tallied. I would like to extend the call for the Board of Elders to Brian Hays and Terry Jamison. The third spot will remain vacant until we can find a suitable candidate. This meeting is now adjourned."

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This article has been read 1020 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 02/07/08
Love the title. Great lesson right on theme.
Patty Wysong02/10/08
Ooo. Very good. This is a great example of the topic, and it's different from so many others. A very wise move on the church's part!
Jan Ackerson 02/10/08
Perfect for the topic, and really strikes a nerve with me; we have a brand new casino just a few miles from here, and a LOT of Christians are going there, and don't see any problem with it. Grrrrr.

Well done, Allison!
Holly Westefeld02/11/08
You show so clearly how we often try to make excuses for our questionable associations.
Gregory Kane02/11/08
I missed the significance of your title until the very end very clever. I agree with Jan; its good to see Christian writing tackling the moral corruption of gambling.
Leigh MacKelvey02/11/08
Nice writing and a good story for the topic. I felt kinda sorry for Buck, though. But I understand the church's viewpoint too. As always, Allison, great writing!
Loren T. Lowery02/11/08
Magfificent job with the conflict dialogue and the telling of this man's heart. In all honesty you brought up excellent arguments for both sides. I think I know how I would have voted, but your writing gave me cause to consider why.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/11/08
You were brave to tackle this topic. Way to go.
Shelley Ledfors 02/11/08
Excellent! A great take on this topic. I enjoyed this piece.
Maxx .02/13/08
Right on point with a strong message. Well done.
Steve Bato02/13/08
Wonderful! I could see the logic of the arguments on both sides, and the extension of the theme that could be used to examine some of our own actions. What are we ok with that could speak volumes against us? Thought provoking and very well written.
Sheri Gordon02/14/08
Congratulations on your EC Allison. This is a great story, and so relevant. Wonderful job with the topic.
Dee Yoder 02/14/08
Congratulations, Allison! A great story!
Karen Wilber02/14/08
Excellent entry and you nailed the topic. Congrats on EC.
william price02/14/08
Allison, way to go girl!!!!!!! Congrats on EC. God bless.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/14/08
Kristen Hester02/14/08
Congratulations on your EC! Way to go!
Debbie Wistrom02/15/08
How, great moral to this story, really glad they held their ground. Congrats and can't wait for more.
Joanne Sher 02/16/08
Very real-to-life and engaging. Definitely not dull, you silly girl ;). Congrats on your well-deserved placing, my friend!