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Newspaper Page Text
IF THE CHURCH WERE REALLY YOURS
BY LIVY S. RICHARD '
A friend writes this fair question:
"You often say that the church
should 'go upstreamostop the rich
from shoving the poor into the river.
How can the church do this? Sup
pose you were made receiver of the
church, with absolute control, what
would you do?" 4
It is easier to say what I shouldn't
do than what I should or could.
I shouldn't hang on the necks of
the Rockefellers and Morgans, beg
ging contributions. If the church can't
pay its way without subsidy from
notorious robbers, hadn't it better
close up? Of course, it CAN pay its
way if it wants to.
I shouldn't re-employ a single
preacher who danced attendance on
the rich, played social favorites in his
congregation, or prided himself on
CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS
Music Teacher Didn't you ever
play a piece in A-flat?
Georgie No, sir. Mamma said it i
might disturb the other tenants. I
his "discrimination" and "tact."
To hold a job under me a minis
ter would have to be so full of the
spirit of Jesus that he would prefer
to mingle with the meek, comfort
the afflicted and serve the needy.
There is- a Methodist dominie in
Wakefield, Mass., who illustrates at
least part of my theory of what ithe
ministry should be and should do.
In that smug town a few are rich,
proud and stubborn, while many are
poor and miserable. , The few rule.
Until recently they ruled without
question. Then "agitators" came
along to organize the dispossessed.
The rule of the few was challenged.
It was sacrilege, of course, and the
authorities were sent forth to see
that it was stopped. They hustled
the agitators out of town, they ruled
against free speech and against
peaceable assemblage in short, they
did just those fool things which au
tocrats always do when at war with
democracy. But still the unrest per
sisted until a strike was declared.
At this juncture, forth stepped this
minister, offering his church to the
strikers as a meeting place.
He knew the rich mill men would
hire the halls and use the police to
harass the strikers as much as pos
sible. Instead of balancing behind sonor
ous generalities while the deacons
passed the plate to Mammon, he
thrust hfe church into the thick of
the fight for juster living conditions
and made it serve.
I believe that's what I should do
with all churches if I had the power.
To be sure, it would shock and
alienate many good souls who are
still living in the dark, and it would
force the big and little John D.'s to
rig up a new-set of churches all their
But personally I think that would
What do you think what would
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