Jun 042009

We must be about our Father’s business IN THIS WORLD, and paying attention to

WHO and WHAT and WHY is what helps us WALK IN PEACE.  HIS PEACE, not as the world offers. 

I found a writing today in Bases of World Order, a book of notes from a summerseminar led by Dr. Ernest Trice Thompson, of Union Theological Seminary,Richmond, Virginia.  Copyright 1945.  The seminar at Montreat Leadership School was in 1944.   A study was  set forth to “consider the Church’s responsibility and opportunity for the promotion and maintenance of a just and durable peace and for laying the foundations of a Christian world order.” (Foreword, Bases of World Order). 

There are too many editors to mention at this point so let the point be made here:  there were about 80 ministers, directors of religious education, professional educators, and accredited instructors secured to take part in this study.  They were all of high esteem, respected in their fields, and what they shared in their study I believe to be as relevant TODAY just as it was yesterday.  Bases of World Order takes a look at Spiritual, Political, Economic, and Social factors as being essential for world order.

Often when I flip thru the worn-out yellow pages I think, “WOW….can there ever be anything new under the sun?”  WHEN will we listen?  How will we learn?  How can a christian do his part in being ‘his brothers keeper’? 

The following is a rather lengthy excerpt from page 59 to page 68.
“III Specific Problems
A.  Relationship of Economic Security to Peace.
1.  Economic distress and conflict work against spiritual unity and peace.  Economic security is essential to man.  When he is not sure where his next meal will come from, whether his children will be properly housed or have an education, he cannot live his full life as a child of God.  The inconsistencies of living in a world where God has provided adequately for all His children, yet where there is acute poverty, make a spiritual conflict in man.  There can be no spiritual unity within a man or a group of men when the will of God for man is thus neglected.  The conflict in the economic world between the laboror and the employer is not conducive to peace, but rather is a training camp for war between individuals and nations.

2. …………..Poverty in the midst of plenty or the fear of povery has been and will continue to be an elemental motive for war…..Secretary Hull has said, ‘When goods cannot pass frontiers, armies will.’

3.  Extravagant living contributes to social unrest.  ‘The building of a good and peaceful world involves the building of national and local communities on the basis of justice, freedom, and co-operation’ (Delaware Conference)….Those who live in a so-called Christian democracy hope to see a new economic order which is just and equitable come through voluntary co-operation within the framework of democracy.  If this is to come about, there must be a willingness to sacrifice extravagant living by a few in order that the general standard of living of all may be raised.

4.  The economic welfare of all peoples must be provided for…including all other minority groups….No one group can live apart, indifferent to other groups. ‘The economic prosperity of one nation bears a direct and not an inverse ratio to that of others’ (from Delaware Conference Report)

5.  Is there need for governmental direction or control of production and consumption after the war?
….there is no new land that people may claim, which is the chief reason why the purely free-enterprise economy must be modified by some form of government control.  Government must be a ‘governor,’ using its constitutional powers to help keep the economic life stabel.

B. Present Economic Order in the United Stated
1.  The value of the profit system.
The profit system is designed to meet the exonomic needs of the world.  If by profit system we mean a return to the producer or distributor that is commensurate with the labor and time expended, the system is legitimate……….If we mean a return far in excess of a fair remuneration, if the sole motive of the producer or distributor is this excessive return without regard to the well-being of either worker or consumer, the system is selfish and is not legitimate.  It must be said that the system lends itself to selfish exploitations.  Can it be Christianized?  Or is another system required?

2.  The failures and inadequacies of the profit system.
…..no system is wholly adequate which places disproportionate value on the commodity produced, at the expense of the human value of those who produce it. 

When a few people derive large profits and at the same time a large majority of others, equally concerned so far as time and skill and effort are concerned, fail to receive from their labor an adequate livelihood, an adjustment to more reasonable proportions is indicated…….any system which throws millions of people out of work periodically cannot be accepted as adequate in an age in which it is recognized that it is no longer right for people to starve…….The acquisitive spirit fostered by the economic system tends to a wastage of natural resources…..destruction of the natural gifts given by God, and drives men to herd in cities…..Private enterprise encourages the money-making motive rather than the service motive.  …………the Malvern Manifesto, Section 11, states that “property is necessary to fullness of personal life; all citizens should be enabled to hold such property as contributes to more independence and spiritual freedom without impairing that of others.”…..Defects of the profit system with its resultant chaos have led certain countries in recent years to adopt an alternative way of production, which is based on complete management and control of all economic life by government.  With this has come a system of compulsion which deprives the individual of freedoms, economic, intellectual, and spiritual, necessary to human dignity…….the Delaware Conference said  ‘we do not believe that we are limited to a choice between these two evils.  If this seems the only choice it is largely because the churches have failed generally to inculcate Christian motivation.  Willingness to strive and to produce and to render services should not be dependent either wholly upon profit motivation or wholly upon compulsion.  We urge upon the churches that they have the great opportunity and responsibility to make possible a generally acceptable solution by bringing people to a different and more Christian motivation.

Any economic program which allows the quest for private gain to disregard human welfare, which regiments human beings and denies them freedom of collective bargaining, thus reducing labor to a mere commodity; any program which results in mass employment or dire poverty in mine or factory or farm; any program which fails to conserve natural resources and results in soil deterioration and erosion and along with it human erosion and deterioration of rural life in home and school and church, is manifestly wrong.  Against such evils the Church should arouse the conscience of mankind in every nation
.  The Church must demand economic arrangements measured by human welfare as revealed by secure employment, decent homes and living conditions, opportunity for youth, freedom of occupation and of cultural activities, recognition of the rights of labor, and security in illness and old age.  To secure these arrangements it must appeal to the Christian motive of human service as paramount to personal or governmental coercion.’ (end Delaware conference quote)
…..it was given to the American people to determine by struggle and experiment whether government by the people could be established and maintained on earth….It must now be demonstrated that human freedom is compatible with economic security…..only if our domestic order is born again with fresh vision and determination to meet the needs of men can America fulfill her new mission and bring hope and encouragement to a broken world.””””” END QUOTE Bases of World Order.

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