GOSPEL BLIMP

Former Book of the Fortnight selections have been limited to fictional fiction. The current selection is real fiction, a low-altitude space tale named (actually christened with Seven-Up) The Gospel Blimp, by Joseph Bayly.

This inflated windbag (the blimp) is the most ingenious evangelistic publicity stunt since the man who worked the human arc angle, keeping several thousand volts at his fingertips. The founders of International Gospel Blimps, Incorporated, are typical suburbanites who conceive of this obvious mass-media device for reaching the next-door neighbor.

The lesson of their fateful experiment is unloaded on the reader with all the delicate indirection of a cargo of “fire bombs” dropped from the blimp. Just to be sure that everyone gets the message, the author takes one more run over the satire-saturated subject, dragging a final chapter with the moral spelled out in a blimp-high streamer.

This is sound blimpsmanship; without that last chapter Mr. Bayly would have had to make a career of answering inquiries about IGBI.

Please stop here and buy a copy of The Gospel Blimp before reading the moral I have in tow. This book will not be distributed free on our Fortnight plan; I only have one copy, and I refuse to part with it.

The moral, of course, is the threat of the Christian organization man. Herm, the gold-braided Commander, caricatures more than the operator in free-wheeling fundamentalist organizations. There are presumably Herms with doctor’s hoods. But the little man who feeds Herm’s appetite for power and plants pansies around the blimp hangar after work is no less an organization man.

A revealing misprint in an ecumenical document found “committee fellowship” rather than “committed fellowship” at the ...

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