The best thing that has come to me during the past week is the witness of the Spirit and experience that one may now have at least the beginnings and the birth of perfect love, so that he can have pity, compassion, forgiveness, and the helping attitude toward everyone who has missed the way. To be in unbroken peace, joy, and victory in Christ we must let all evil desires as well as words and acts go; we must be born of the divine nature and Spirit that loves everyone and wants to help him, instead of condemning him.
Among the things I have recently read that are worthwhile are these: “Are We Facing the Dole,” by Guy Greer in the Outlook of December 24 (1930); “What’s Coming in Religion,” by Professor George Coe, in the Christian Century of December 31 (1930); A Friendly Debate between Science and Religion, by Dean Inge; “The Return of Religious Faith,” by Gilbert Chesterton in the December 28 Sunday magazine of the New York Times; as well as assorted articles in Christ’s Ambassadors and the Pentecostal Evangelical. I have had some time with Henry Drummond and just a glimpse into the 1930 Yearbook of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, edited by our gifted friend Isaac E. Marcuson, of this city (Macon, Georgia).
Mr. Greer, who was a member of the reparations committee gives some startling official statistics on unemployment that have not heretofore been published. These statistics show that from 1919 to 1927 the increase in manufacturing products, mining, and railroad transportation had been as high as 42 percent in manufacturing, nearly that large in mining, and 12 percent in railroad transportation. At the same time, nearly one million men in these industries had been laid off, and either joined the army of unemployment or had to find work elsewhere. These statistics also show that the agricultural output increased 29.5 percent, and notwithstanding that increase, about a million workers less were required in this great industry. During this period we were selling heavily to Europe and the automobile and other new industries picked up a great many of t hose thrown out of employment in the great basic industries. Then, too, high powered salesmanship and installment selling enabled industry to continue at high speed for some time.
Mr. Greer’s contention is that there was something radically wrong in our system heading towards unemployment on a vast scale prior to the break on the stock market which sent stocks tumbling and created a panicky state of mind. All of the highly industrialized countries are suffering from the same malady that afflicts us. Why is it? The reason is the economic selfishness that causes men who can monopolize the dividends from industry. The machines and capital enabled them to do this. Before the machine can be used in the interest of everybody, the humane, friendly, brotherly, an Christian spirit must take the place of the selfish and grasping spirit.
The business intelligence of the country, as Mr. Greer says, will have to come to the aid of the people and government, giving advice as to how much to produce and also aiding the government and the whole people. It will require a great intelligent and generous pull together, or unemployment will increase. Our whole development, if it continues to go on the basis of selfishness will enable ever bigger fortunes on the part of those who are in control of the machines and increased suffering among the workers, or those who cannot get work. On the other hand, the foundation is laid if we will only move in the right spirit and in the interest of everyone, for all to have enough with less work hours than has ever been known.
As Mr. Greer says, the letting down of selfish tariff walls would help. In fact, the letting down of every kind of selfishness would help. Things have headed up in a way that God has us in a corner. We have got to be brotherly or pay the awful price if we do not. Part of that price might be anarchy and revolution. As we have quoted Lloyd George before, it is either chaos or the Kingdom of God; either Christ or anarchy.
What is Coming in Religion
Professor Coe is of the opinion that while Christianity and Judaism contain a deposit of religious power that might change the whole current of present tendencies, it looks like Roman Catholicism and other forms of popular religion will receive heavy jolts until the walls of our selfish nationalism and industrialism are broken down and we learn our interdependence. He closes his remarkable article by saying, “The major obstacle to this development of our culture is an economic system that organizes, endows, and idealizes selfishness and lust for power. The rationalization of today is one of its culminating points. But current events show that this system is self-defeating. It may go down in a bloody cataclysm, of course, yet is likely to be dissolved by more gradual processes. The realization that all classes and people are interdependent is spreading and deepening, and the inarticulate classes are acquiring ability to speak.”
Coe is also feeling that we will end up in a “world-wide economic fellowship.” Of course, there must be this fellowship and a fellowship in every realm of life.
The weakness of Professor Coe’s article is in his failure to see that God and Christ are above the realm of human life as well as seeking to triumph in the human. The kingdoms of this world must become kingdoms of God and of Christ. This must be because is above all as well as in and through all. The delay is in getting man ready to co-work with God, but his folly in not doing it finally brings him t the place where it is either by yielding to God and to the love way of life or ever deeper plunges into desperate destruction.
As Mr. Chesterton says in his able discussion of religious faith, the whole philosophy of materialism and skepticism when applied to life, “enslave in stark paralysis.” The moods that materialistic life and skepticism produce are “stricken with cowardice and sterility.” The world belongs to those who believe, hope, love, and who “can make promises and keep them.”
Personally I expect the fulfillment of the visions of the Hebrew prophets and the Christian apostles, and hope to live to see them fulfilled. As every intelligent student of the Old and New Testaments knows, these visions include the reign of mercy, justice, righteousness, peace on earth between men and nations, and among all things. The wildest and fiercest things are to be tamed when man is tamed.
Christ Jesus is the next fruit of the new creation. Next a company raised to His likeness, either by resurrection or translation. Next the redemption of the creation; in the end a new heaven and a new earth where there is no more pain, nor sorrow, nor death. God has the victory in man and man has the victory God. The two have become one.
When this hope and vision take possession of us, we are lead on to make the necessary surrenders and yielding that make it possible for us to be like Christ. When once we have tasted of such a hope, nothing short of its realization can satisfy us. Then, too, the divine drama of Christ’s coming in our likeness to make us and the creation in His highest realization. We must not only receive Christ within and be baptized with His Spirit, and come into His nature, love, and wisdom, but we must also be lifted to His realm and throne and be everlastingly with Him, and be co-workers with Him in all of the blessed tasks of eternity. Christ, being what He is, could not be satisfied with anything short of this and making us as His heirs and joint heirs with Him, we cannot be satisfied with anything short or it.
January 11, 1931
Macon Telegraph and News