Imágenes de páginas


the Rt. Rev. Irving P. Johnston, Bishop Coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, after referring to the hope of complete Christian unity said: "In the meantime, let us work together on our agreements." This is the mood that is making the progress of Christian unity in spirit and action. It is the unity of a division in the United States Army.

On the opening day of the Third Liberty Loan campaign, I watched the Fourth Division of the United States Army march through the streets of Charlotte, N. C. It was one division, but was made up of various units. As they swung past us we could tell by flags, uniforms and accoutrements the infantry, the artillery, the calvary, the signal corps, the ambulance, and the quartermaster's department. Each unit is distinct, but a part of the whole. Even so, the churches in most of the northern cities and some of the southern cities have formed themselves into inter-church organizations, generally called federations.

Since we entered the war the movement has gone forward more rapidly than ever before. In such an organization, we may liken the Baptists to the infantry, the Presbyterians to the cavalry, the Methodists to the artillery, the Episcopalians to the signal corps, and so down the line. When all the religious forces are thus mobilized they can fight as our men fight in France, co-ordinating all their efforts. As signal corps, artillery, infantry, all move to the battle with the precision of a stop watch; so the Christian forces must synchronize their attack upon the strong-holds of sin. When this is done with forethought and fearless advance, the religious forces of a city become an irresistible power against which the very gates of hell cannot stand.

The first duty is to mobilize the Protestant churches. This is coming to be increasingly easy, as there are about thirty cities of 75,000 population or more that are organized and have employed executive secretaries, who can act as the commanders of these divisions. Gradually the program of these federations has been standardized so that now there is no excuse for floundering around in experiments in Christian cooperation. Two things demand such co-operation. The removal of influences which militate against the church and home in the right development of our boys and girls, as well as against the best interest of every life, and the building up and strengthening of every influence, condition or institution that will make all living conditions better. That of course is a large program, but it is the one Jesus asked us to work for when we pray. "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done one earth as it is in Heaven."

Interchurch Federations and Community Welfare

This program is increasingly being carried out by the churches cooperating with one another, and with organizations having to do with the community's life, whether that organization be the city government, the bureau of charities, the hospitals, the public schools, or what else. Co-operation, not duplication, is a basic principle. By such a plan the Pauline teaching, "Let no man seek his own but each his neigh

bor's good," is made to read: "Let no church seek its own but each its neighbor's good." The new slogan for churchmen should be, "Let us be good neighbors for the good of the neighborhood." To carry out this program, a new religious order now numbering thirty and soon to pass into the hundreds has gradually come into existence. So well is this order established, there will be held this summer the first school for principles and methods of inter-church work.

St. Paul, Minnesota, is among the last cities to unify the Protestant forces through such an organization. In the initial meeting the most earnest plea for it was made by the secretary of the United Charities Knowing that religion is the most vital factor in the rehabilitation of character, he said he could immediately have the assistance of the Roman Catholic clergy wherever he had a case that was in any way related to that church. But if he wished the help of a Protestant church he had to choose from a hundred or more, and therefore gave up in despair.

In St. Louis this work is well systematized. The representatives of the Hebrew, Roman Catholic, and Protestant faiths, are in constant touch with one another, and with the secretary of the bureau of charities. In January the Pittsburgh Leader came out with the statement in glaring headlines, "Preacher Flays Magistrates." It went on to say that the Reverend C. R. Zahniser, secretary of the Council of Churches of Pittsburgh, had made serious charges against the five magistrates appointed by the newly elected mayor. The paper printed in full the charges made. It went on to say, that "if these charges were true, the magistrates named ought to be in jail instead of being where they could send men to jail. If they were not true, then Dr. Zahniser and the men who were with him ought to be in jail for defaming good men. In such a serious matter there is no middle ground."

Under such a leadership as that of Dr. Zahniser the church of Pittsburgh is no longer a joke as a civic force. Fifteen denominations, having over 200,000 communicants, are in the Council. The program of civic action is like a Christianized school of ward politicians. The church does not have a civic spasm and then subside, but is on the job all the time. I was not surprised, therefore, when I read in the Pittsburgh paper of February 1st, 1918, that the city council had rejected the five appointees of the mayor. The interchurch secretary was then asked to address the Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon at the William Penn Hotel on "How Pittsburgh May Have Good Magistrates." By co-operating with other agencies working for decency in city government, the church has been able to have a morals court established in that city. While this National Conference was in session in Pittsburgh one year ago I visited a special court where a magistrate was on trial for malpractice in office, the charges being brought by those who have won this great moral victory.

We hear much about juvenile delinquency, and as this war goes on we will hear a great deal more. This is peculiarly a community problem in which united church effort is absolutely necessary. The church that has let the soldier's boy or girl make a police record in his absence can never expect to welcome that soldier on his return. It is not enough for the church to be an announcer of "don'ts" in the realm of amusement. The church has acquired great proficiency in shutting things up, most of which ought to be shut up, but it is not so skilled in opening up that which will take the place. If commercialized amusements have a tendency to debase and demoralize the youth, the thing to do is to "beat them to it" in furnishing amusements that will build up character while entertaining. This task is being done in a measure by some good people, but the church must more effectively pull its oars in the recreation boat or be thrown overboard. In several cities the churches jointly employ a man to represent them in the juvenile court. What is really needed is to enlist enough men to make it unnecessary to employ juvenile court workers.

In the fight on vice the united church, in co-operation with other agencies, has made marked progress. The battle in many places went slowly until the government stepped in. The greatest victory was won when the majority of people became convinced that the social evil is not a necessary evil. It was the vice committee of the Cleveland Federation that gathered important facts about that city and other cities and presented them to Mayor Newton D. Baker, asking him to consider them with a view to eliminating the segregated district. He studied the facts given to him and made some investigations himself. He came to the decision which he is now trying to have applied through the Department of Justice to all cities affecting the personal efficiency of the soldiers. The church has never before had such an ally in combating this evil. But, alas, in some cities the church is not so good an ally, because city officials and public press are on the side of the panderers.

In Philadelphia, the social service committee gathered evidence which was turned over to the mayor. Nothing was done. More evidence was secured and this was given to the Department of Justice at Washington. The churches helped the Fosdick Commission. You know what has happened to the police department of the City of Brotherly Love. When the churches co-operate with others interested in law enforcement, this black plague will be banished from our cities.

A Versailles Council of Faiths

It is not enough to have the co-operation of the members of one great religious body. Having developed unity within these bodies there must be co-operation between them. Every city in its battle with social wrongs needs its Versailles Council, where the allies may plan out the campaign against their common enemy. When the members of the Protestant and the Roman Catholic churches and the Jewish synagogue follow acknowledged leaders, an invincible army is formed. In such an alliance nothing of loyalty is lost by any body participating. The loyalty for denomination or church is merged in the larger loyalty for the common good.

When that last long trench on the Western front is filled, the

soldiers of all nations, of all races and of all creeds are one in the great sacrifice they have made on humanity's altar. But a needy world and our sin cursed cities are crying out for oneness on the part of those of us who are alive and dwelling in these cities. As one has well said: "If some of us can die together, surely we can live together."

The day is at hand when the lovers of good and of God must be more strongly knit together in that common love, than are those who in their hate make war upon that good and our God. As allies meeting in this Versailles Council of social workers, let us pledge our allegiance to each other, and take the vow to fight it out to the end. Then, as warriors at home, we will make our cities safe for the democracy that has been made more sacred than ever by the blood that has been shed for it, and in all our cities, little children shall grow to be strong men and pure women. Let Kipling give to us our parting word.

"It aint the guns nor armament, nor funds that they can pay,
But the close co-operation that makes them win the day.
It aint the individual, nor armies as a whole, but
The everlasting team-play of every blooming soul."

Rev. Frederic Siedenhurg, S. J. Dean of Loyola School of Sociology,

Chicago 'In discussing the question of the relations of church, community and the present crisis, I take it to mean: What service can the church render to the community; especially, what will it render in this critical hour of the world's history? Now the church and the state are two distinct societies, with two distinct ends or purposes. The church has for its end the spiritual good of man; the state, the material good of man. Both are perfect societies, independent of each other because they have in themselves the power and the means to carry out their own purposes. But by their natures they travel in parallel lines, assist and supplement each other because the common object of their concern, man, is both matter and spirit and so compounded that spirit and matter mutually react upon each other. Hence the nature and function of the church, while primarily and before all spiritual, can be, and as history shows always has been, of supreme service to the state or the community, and this has been especially true in the ever recurring hours of the world's trials.

I shall speak of the historic church, begun in the old law and completed in the new. Time will not allow me to say much about the old dispensation, but all the world now knows that Moses was only less great as a social teacher than as a God-annointed religious leader, and that the Jewish people were exalted in proportion as they were faithful to the law of Jehovah. The tablets of Mount Sinai have ever been the foundation stones of civilization, and without them the world would sink back into its primitive oblivion. In the fullness of time, Christ the Master came,—came to perfect, not to destroy; he united love to justice and tempered the law with mercy. To the commandments of Sinai he added the Sermon on the Mount, the keystone of the complete arch of civilization. The commandments are the precepts of duty; the beatitudes are the counsels of perfection. The first are essential to society; the second are vital to its perfection.

Now the church is the abiding presence of the Master; endowed with his power, and delegated with his mission, it perpetuates his doctrine and traditions. The church, to be true to its divine exemplar, must help the community in its day as Christ helped in his day.

Christ and Social Reform

Christ's mission was above all a spiritual one. He came to found a religion, to establish a church which would for all time direct the individual to the end for which he was created. In doing this, the church emphasizes the supremacy of the soul; it teaches that "it profiteth nothing to gain the whole world if one lose his own soul." But the supernatural life is built on the natural, and hence the spiritual gospel of the church must of its nature harmonize with its social program, making this social program a priceless by-product of its spiritual gospel. The soul that is to be saved must work out its salvation in a material body subject to social environments, and hence an adequate social program must reckon with the spiritual gospel of the church. By preparing the individual for the kingdom of heaven, the church makes him the fittest citizen of the kingdom of earth.

Christ was a reformer, but a religious reformer. As the son of the living God, he founded a religion that would rebind the creature to the creator, and the creatures to each other in the perfect harmony of the divine and natural law. The pillars of society are lawful authority and the social conscience. The first springs from God and the second from the brotherhood of man. Christ was a reformer, but not primarily a social reformer. He did not formulate economic laws, or political maxims, but by dogmas of belief and by a code of morality he molded the individual. He taught him law and order, justice and charity; he taught him his duties as well as his rights; he kept intact the sovereignty of self, but made war on every form of selfishness. In a word, he elevated the natural social instinct of man and made him an apt unit for the complex life of society. An honest man, a pure woman, a docile child are the best assets of any community. With these society itself can rear its own structure, for weal if it follows justice, for woe if it favors iniquity.

Christ met and solved the social problems of his day, but he did more than that; he laid down fundamental principles that would solve the social problems of all the ages to come. The religious character of his gospel, far from turning him away from social problems, inspired him to leave to posterity principles applicable to every social question. True, the gospel is not a text book of sociology or political economy. But its message is of the widest social import and application; its salutary teachings are as true and practical in the complex civilization of Chicago or

« AnteriorContinuar »