New fasteners have not yet made buttons obsolescent. Even zippers have not closed the gap in the clothing field, and the cocklebur strips favored by some pajama manufacturers have a disadvantage which is apparent to the man who must peel his pajamas off his chest in the morning. Buttons have hung on because they can’t jam and they don’t interlock with your skin.

But the day is coming when only space capsules will be buttoned up, and it will be necessary to play “Button, button, who’s got the button?” with discarded push-buttons.

We won’t lose our buttons, however, until technology has devised a better solution to the fastening problem. We don’t hear so much about the field of articulation, or ligation (or whatever term is used by big joiners), but no doubt the drawing boards have revolutionary new fasteners ready to clinch us.

Fastening is a problem in the Church, too. Jesus warned of the problem of sewing new patches on old wineskins. Not every fastener will serve ecclesiastical connection, and there are junctions it is folly to attempt. Zerubbabel’s reply to a historic merger offer was, “Ye have nothing to do with us in building a house unto our God” (Ezra 4:3).

Church fasteners are not buttons or zippers. Neither are they burrs! The New Testament rather speaks of supporting ligaments in the body of Christ, which receive their strength from the Head (Eph. 4:16). The tie that binds is living and spiritual: the unity of the Church is the work of the Holy Spirit. But the Spirit moves real people to real actions. Church fastening can’t be accomplished with handcuffs, but handclasps serve the purpose, and they are fully as visible.

For the most of my life I have suffered from a torn knee ligament. When the injury is at ...

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