Dare We Be Christians - Walter Rauschenbusch - ebook
Opis

GOD’S world is great; too great for a little mind like mine to hold. I have traveled over thousands of miles of it, but for the most part my memory holds only a blur of space and movement.But there are a few places which my memory has made all my own. I know a place, just above Little Mud Turtle Lake, where the Gull River tilts around the rocks and sweeps in a curling crescent of foam around the wooded basin below the rapids. That place is mine because I swam in it with my boys; the river carried us down the rapids and around the whirlpool, shouting and laughing. ’Way up on the Ox Tongue River is a high, straight fall, and above it a platform of rock. I lay there one night in the open, while the cool night wind moved the treetops, and watched the constellations march across the spaces between them. That place is mine by the emotions and prayers it inspired.The world of the Bible, too, is a great world. I have wandered through it all, but I have never made it all my own. But some friendly hills and valleys in it are mine by right of experience. Some chapters have comforted me; some have made me homesick; some have braced me like a bugle call; and some always enlarge me within by a sense of unutterable fellowship with a great, quiet Power that pervades all things and fills me.Such passages make up for each of us his Bible within the Bible, and the extent and variety of these claims he has staked out in it measure how much of the great Book has really entered into the substance of his life.

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Dare We Be Christians

BY

WALTER RAUSCHENBUSCH

THE PILGRIM PRESS

boston

new york

chicago

COPYRIGHT, 1914

BY LUTHER H. CARY

Hope. Inspiration. Trust.

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CONTENTS

DARE WE BE CHRISTIANS?

Paul’s Praise of Love

Emotional Religion

Social Utility in Religion

An Inspired Interruption

We Need a Modern Supplement

The Scope of Love in Society

Love and Social Progress

The Breakdown of Love

Love and Modern Business

Love Validates Itself

The Outcome

Love and Christianity

About Crossreach Publications

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DARE WE BE CHRISTIANS?

GOD’S world is great; too great for a little mind like mine to hold. I have traveled over thousands of miles of it, but for the most part my memory holds only a blur of space and movement.

But there are a few places which my memory has made all my own. I know a place, just above Little Mud Turtle Lake, where the Gull River tilts around the rocks and sweeps in a curling crescent of foam around the wooded basin below the rapids. That place is mine because I swam in it with my boys; the river carried us down the rapids and around the whirlpool, shouting and laughing. ’Way up on the Ox Tongue River is a high, straight fall, and above it a platform of rock. I lay there one night in the open, while the cool night wind moved the treetops, and watched the constellations march across the spaces between them. That place is mine by the emotions and prayers it inspired.

The world of the Bible, too, is a great world. I have wandered through it all, but I have never made it all my own. But some friendly hills and valleys in it are mine by right of experience. Some chapters have comforted me; some have made me homesick; some have braced me like a bugle call; and some always enlarge me within by a sense of unutterable fellowship with a great, quiet Power that pervades all things and fills me.

Such passages make up for each of us his Bible within the Bible, and the extent and variety of these claims he has staked out in it measure how much of the great Book has really entered into the substance of his life.

Paul’s Praise of Love

Some passages are common camping ground for us all. The thirteenth chapter of Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians is one of these. That half-page of print has been a force in human history. If we could follow its course through the generations, we should find it marked, like the windings of a brook, by a special greenness of life, by ferns and buttercups and gentians and cardinal flowers of human kindness. It has set the mired runnels of good-will flowing again. It has gentled our resentful feelings and made us forgiving. By making us feel the worth of love, it has made us feel the worth of those we ought to love. The old psalm ascribes to the pilgrim saints of God the capacity to “pass through the valley of weeping” and leave it “a place of springs.” This saintly little chapter has done just that by its irrigation of affection and cleansed will.

It has such power to move us because it moved Paul deeply as he wrote it. His sentences suddenly grow rhythmic. His style runs into prose-poetry. His language rocks with the wave-beat of emotion. He was sure of a similar response from the Christian hearts to whom he was writing. This chapter is first-class evidence that primitive Christianity was charged with a high voltage of human affection and social enthusiasm, for this Christian man was shaken with deep feeling as soon as he began to touch on this live subject that was sure and common ground for the Christian consciousness.

The chapter is also documentary evidence of inspiration. Here we can watch inspiration in the very act and see the spirit of Christ bearing up the flutterings of the human mind with the sweep of mightier wings.

Emotional Religion

Paul apparently had not intended to write this chapter. It came to him while he was discussing the vexed question of “spiritual gifts.” In aftertimes Christianity came to mean largely creeds, rituals, rules, holy buildings and priests—a sort of religion at second hand with a reflected light and warmth. But in the first generation it came over men as a power direct from the unseen world; as a new and sweet vitality that melted their hearts with a glow of divine love and overwhelmed the baser passions of the past; as a revelation and vision that made their intellect clairvoyant, creating an insight and foresight that transcended the mental powers of which they had previously been conscious, inspiring prayers and longings so intense and lofty that they seemed to hear God’s own spirit groaning in travail within their breasts. Such spiritual life was fertile in manifold expressions. The Christians called them “spiritual gifts” and classified them.

Now, when religion comes over a whole community with this elemental force, it is not an unmixed blessing. The power that establishes the souls of the strong may unhinge the minds of the weak. Look around and you will find plenty of men and women who do not realize God in the life-giving power of the sunshine and the daily goodness of life, but who do realize him in thunderstorms, earthquakes and sudden blessings. Religion for them begins beyond the boundary line of the normal, and becomes the more divine the more abnormal it is. They take joy in yielding their emotions and their intellect to mysterious powers and abdicating the possession of their own personality in favor of uncontrollable psychic forces.