Oil Field Trash Transformed

by C.T.L. Spear

Wildcatters, the people who followed oil exploration projects from Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma to Wyoming, Colorado, and North Dakota were a transient bunch. Many came from poverty, hoping to strike oil and get rich. Many of them did just that.

An oil boom brings such fortune seekers in droves, expanding the population and stressing local services and law enforcement. Local residents usually resent the newcomers, looking down their self satisfied noses at the “oil field trash.”

Birl and Eunice Lynch started out poor and suffered insults and condescending airs of local businessmen, ranchers and society. When these wildcatters struck their fortune, they expanded their holdings, eventually owning several thriving businesses. One of those was a gift shop in Casper, Wyoming. Eunice and Susan, her daughter-in-law, designed a beautiful gold lapel pin which read, “Oil First Class.”

Wildcatters in church planting also bear reproach – from the ungodly; but sometimes from leaders of “established churches.” Some suppose these cannot qualify to ascend to the higher ranks. They are somehow relegated to Wildcatter Trash.

Circuit riding preachers, the hardy pioneers of evangelism like Francis Asbury and Peter Cartwright of Methodist fame, drew plenty of criticism. The amazing presence of Methodist churches across America is witness to the effectiveness of their effort.

Every generation seems destined to fight battles earlier generations thought permanently won. Today, a new breed of circuit riders, like oilfield wildcatters, strike out at their own expense, attempting the impossible. Their Heavenly reward will transform their status from “circuit riding trash,” or “Vacation Bible School rejects” to “church planters first class.” Or, as I prefer to call them, “Wildcatters First Class.”