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CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 



The Semicentennial of an Interdenominational Church. — Bethany 
Union Church of Beverly Hills, Chicago, has just celebrated its fiftieth 
anniversary, April 30-May 7. It was organized as a Union Church 
May 5, 1872. A small group of families who at that time had recently 
moved to what was then the village of Washington Heights found them- 
selves without church privileges. They organized a Union Sunday 
School, had preaching services conducted in turn by three ministers 
who lived in or near the village. They felt the need of a permanent 
organization, but realized its success depended upon holding together 
all the religious people of the community. As a result Bethany Union 
Church was organized with fourteen charter members representing six 
different denominational affiliations. It today has over four hundred 
members with eighteen or twenty denominational affiliations represented 
in its membership. It has had seven pastors — three Presbyterians, one 
Free Baptist, one Methodist, and one Congregationalist. While not 
affiliated with any one denomination it believes that the Community 
Church that has the faith of Christ in its heart must have the world in 
its vision, and therefore it seeks to co-operate with denominational 
boards and other agencies in the world-wide ministry of the church. 
The church has its own missionaries in the foreign field. It is situated 
in a rapidly growing residence section of Chicago and will undoubtedly 
have a large growth in the next ten years. It welcomes to its member- 
ship all who purpose to follow Christ, to live and to labor in his spirit, 
in faith and hope and love. 

Jesus and His Mother. — Perhaps no other words grate so harshly 
upon modern ears as Jesus' words to his mother, "Woman, what have 
I to do with thee ?" says Dr. W. Beet in the April number of the Inter- 
preter, "A mother, it is instinctively felt, has a great deal to do with her 
son, and has many claims upon him, prominent among these being 
courtesy, sympathy, and help. No right-minded son could, without a 
blush of shame, think of himself as rounding upon an anxious mother in 
such terms as, upon this occasion, fell from the lips of Jesus." And yet 
"the earthly life of Jesus is rightly esteemed as an example of human 
life at its highest and its best; and as presenting an ideal which it is 

432 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 433 

the bounden duty of all men to strive after, if haply they themselves 
may realize it in the daily routine of life. This being so, it seems, on 
the face of it, passing strange that the Master himself should be pictured 
as addressing his mother in terms which we, for all our infirmities of 
tone and temper, should hesitate to employ." This difficulty is patent, 
but it ceases to exist in the light of a historical and critical study of the 
words which Jesus used. Jesus' reply is known to us in translation 
only, and a translation that has not been able to reproduce the exact 
coloring of the idiomatic expression of the original. The real meaning 
of Jesus would be rendered freely in these words, "Lady, leave it to me." 
Here there is nothing harsh or discourteous. That Jesus' mother had 
received the answer she hoped for, and that she did not at all feel rebuked 
but rather satisfied is realized when she hurries off to the servants to 
warn them, "Whatsoever he bids you, do it." 

Alcohol as a World-Problem. — An article on the findings of the 
Sixteenth International Anti-Alcohol Congress, held at Lausanne, 
Switzerland, August, 1921, is found in the May number of Review of 
Reviews. "As many as 500 members were assembled from all parts of 
the world, and 32 different governments were represented, including a 
representative of the Holy See." An international scientific bureau 
was founded to collect literature on the subject and disseminate it in 
French, English, and German. Dr. R. Hercod, director of the Inter- 
national Bureau at Lausanne, already announces the publication of a 
monthly review to combat alcoholism in Europe. Leading representa- 
tives of the Congress put the following facts on record as having been 
scientifically demonstrated: that alcohol exerts a deleterious influence 
upon the race, that the consumption of alcohol favors certain special 
diseases, either because it diminishes the resistance to temptation or 
aggravates and complicates the symptoms of the disease when con- 
tracted, and finally, as to the medicinal value of alcohol, the writer 
cites the statistical reports of the Temperance Hospital in London, 
where in twenty-seven years, among 17,000 patients treated, the mor- 
tality was only 7.5 per cent, which was 10 per cent less than the mortality 
in the other London hospitals. 

A Call for a Covenant of Church Unity. — "At the time when the 
leading nations of the world are entering into a covenant of ten years 
for the readjustment of their military forces for the sake of keeping the 
peace of the world, shall not the churches of Christ do likewise ? Shall 
the diplomats of the world be wiser for their generation than the leaders 



434 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

of the churches?" Speaking for the Congregationalists, Dr. Newman 
Smyth replies in the May number of the Christian Union Quarterly, 
"Now is the time for practical agreements. Our spiritual unity needs 
to be made so visible that the man on the street may see it." The 
following objectives may serve as the basis for continued action: 

i. The fellowship of the members of any particular church in and 
with the members of all other churches. 

2. The mutual recognition and utilization of the ministry of the 
different churches for common needs and service. 

3. The offering thereby to our young men of larger fields and greater 
incentives to enter the ministry, as well as limiting thereby the number 
of ministers required for effective home service in places where one may 
be better than two or more. 

4. Such gradual consolidation or combination of the educational 
institutions as would prove advantageous for the best education and 
fellowship of the ministers of the different churches. 

5. The co-operation in philanthropic, social service, mission, or 
federated work of the different churches. 

Factory Labor in India. — Some of the economic changes that have 
come to pass in India are set forth in an article in the May number of 
the Review of Reviews. "We are told among other things that people 
of all castes are found in the factories, that nobody is deterred by his 
caste from going to work in these establishments, and that Hindus and 
Mohammedans work side by side." Here then is a powerful influence 
in the direction of solidarity among the working classes which has 
perhaps led to a stronger nationalistic feeling and the precipitation of 
the present state of unrest. In 1918 there were in India a total of 
4,868 large industrial establishments with a working force of 1,238,238 
people. However, "there has not yet appeared a sharp distinction 
between the laboring classes and the people from whom they are emerg- 
ing. Unlike the wage-earning classes in Europe and America, the 
majority of the laborers still retain their homesteads, and some of them 
even own a piece of farm land, small though it may be, and they do not 
yet depend completely upon wages for their livelihood." In 1921 a 
resolution was passed in the Indian legislature ratifying the draft con- 
vention of the International Labor Conference at Washington of 1919, 
which reduced the working hours in Indian factories to sixty hours a 
week for both men and women. Previously the average working time 
per day for the whole year was approximately twelve hours and five 
minutes in textile factories. 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 435 

The Ethics of the Ministry. — Almost every profession has its code of 
ethics. Is the ministry an exception to this rule ? An answer is given 
by Dr. S. Z. Batten in the May number of the Annals of the American 
Academy of Political and Social Science. Here Dr. Batten points out 
that " the ministry as a body has no code of professional ethics. Yet 
the ministry, as a body of men dedicated to a certain life and service, 
has very rigid standards by which men are pledged and their conduct 
tested." A formal code of ethics would be impracticable because it is 
felt that it would cast discredit upon the very idea of the ministry. 
Moreover, the religious bodies are divided into so many diverse denomi- 
nations that it is impossible to bring together representatives of all 
religious bodies for the full and free discussion of any questions either 
of faith, polity, or conduct. However, among themselves all religious 
bodies test the personal lives of their ministers very exactingly and 
this applies to their private as well as public life; whereas, professional 
codes deal primarily with professional conduct. The churches accept the 
New Testament instructions as final for the ministry. Here are instruc- 
tions from Paul and other writers "that deal with a minister's life and 
conduct as a man, a husband and father. They define his qualifications 
in personal character, in aptness to teach, in general deportment. In 
view of this it seems almost needless to attempt any formal and elaborate 
statement of professional ethics." However, in theological seminaries 
students for the ministry receive very careful instruction in ministerial 
ethics that deal with the protection of the profession, its standing and 
dignity, its motive for service, professional honesty, and professional 
courtesy. They are taught the necessity of a dignified conduct, the 
abandonment of the motive of mere profit, the obligation to hold sacred 
confidential information, the courage to speak the truth come what will, 
co-operation with the Union Minister's Conference, avoidance of 
sensational and unfair methods of advertising, and such other considera- 
tions as apply in the change of pastorates. Above all, "The true minis- 
ter's loyalty must be to an inner standard, to an unseen Master, to the 
applause of his own conscience." 

Christian- Jewish Friendship.— Are the Jew and non-Jew gradually 
arriving at a mutual understanding and respect which are clean of 
religious prejudice ? This is the opinion of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, as he 
gleans over the discussion in a recent symposium where the means to a 
better understanding between the two faiths were discussed. Jew and 
non-Jew were invited to a frank discussion, and the result affords a 
brighter outlook. In the Literary Digest for May 20, a quotation from 



436 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

the rabbi contains the prerequisite for a friendly relationship from a 
Jewish point of view. Says Dr. Wise, "I maintain there will be no 
appreciable lessening of prejudice among Christians as against Jews 
until Christian churches earnestly and solemnly affirm that the death 
of Jesus, at whosoever's hands, was incidental to the eternal fact of the 
birth and rise and teaching and influence of Jesus, the young Judean 
of Nazareth. Whatever Christians may have taught or believed 
touching this in the past, their duty in the present is clear as are the 
heavens in the noon hour — the duty of affirming that incalculable and 
eternal is the debt of Christians to Israel, of whose gifts Jesus is treasured 
as the chief est. ' ' That there actually is a change of attitude in present-day 
Judaism toward the historic Jesus is evidenced by Dr. Calisch, president of 
the Central Conference of American Rabbis, when he advises a campaign 
of education among the Jews as follows: "A general expression on the 
part of the leaders and teachers of the Synagogue of deep appreciation 
of the profound and far-reaching influence of the man Jesus, and 
of the sweetness and beauty of his life." On the other hand, we 
wonder whether historical honesty is not modified when he further 
continues, " together with a statement of the lack of historical basis for 
the accusation by the Church of the responsibility of the Jews for the 
crucifixion of Jesus."