If you grew up in the Church of Christ, I suggest you go read The Franchise Agreement. Then it'll all make sense.
But word got out. Word always gets out. A retired elder grabbed me in the hall. He said he’d heard about our discussion. He had a look of sheer panic on his face.
“You know you can’t do that,” he said with the greatest of urgency.
“You mean politically? There’s nothing in the Bible on it, of course, and the church will support the decision, I’m sure,” I replied — naively as it now seems looking back on this fateful conversation.
“No, no,” he shook his head. “You forgot about the franchise agreement! How could you forget about the franchise??”
I assured him that I had no idea what he was talking about, and I thought sure he’d lost his mind. He was, after all, quite elderly.
It must have shown on my face, because he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I’m not crazy!” He looked deeply embarassed. “When I retired, I guess I forgot to give a copy to the next guy. You see, in churches of Christ, the senior elder always keeps a copy of the secret franchise agreement. It has all the rules that you think ought to be in the Bible but aren’t.”
A few days later he drove to my house and handed me an ancient, dusty document, plainly labeled “Franchise Agreement.” And as old as it was, the lettering remained very clear.
The retired elder leaned close and whispered in my ear. “Now it will all make sense. All the gaps, and silences, and peculiarities — now you’ll understand.”