CHAPTER THREE of Billy’s Memoir about his father focuses on Jess’s character as a minister.
“. . .Jessie would expound the Word with all his might by every means possible. His sixth grade education was insufficient so he ordered himself a “book” – what a book! Jessie could not understand the millennium as explains, so he decided to take the Bible literally. This he did, so sure he was that even the saints were shaken when he spoke as God directed. Some were shaken up enough to leave the church house and took refuge from the hand of the Lord.” (26-27)
“Jessie believed in keeping rules; especially the rules of the church. If anyone got out of order they were asked to leave, or at least shut up. Jessie had a touch of Pentecost, and a run in with Freewills [Baptist denomination], so that when the missionary spirit was lacking in the Baptist circle, Jessie would always preach Amazing Grace. Even the river at Petit Jean would run faster when Jessie preached on . . . The Old Rugged Cross.” (27)
“Like all rural pastors, Jessie kept one good hammer, one hoe, and one shovel; and at least one cow and one mule – this was bread and butter, because Deacon Jones had not given in to tithing his milk check. The too, any good preacher had to feed his youngn’s. Jessie was particular about his church work – and he always knew where he could find a good Sunday chicken dinner.” (27)
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