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“I have noticed,” he said, “that if you want any good thing put across in the company, just smear it on one fellow and he will smear it on all the other fellows he touches."
This is a soldier's way of saying with Professor Rauschenbusch that a "man can make no richer gift to the work of social betterment than the contribution of a regenerated personality.”
5. Coöperation and sacrifice won the war, and these same powerful forces consecrated to peace efforts will build the Kingdom of God upon the earth.
But it is the spirit of fellowship which these united efforts make possible that really counts for most. If this intimate personal element is lacking, enmity is sure to rise. We cannot hate the fellows we really know and with whom we work at a common task. One day in August I came across a group of men working in a wheat field. There were five Frenchmen, seven German prisoners, four Algerian and four American soldiers.
They had grown to know each other and appeared to enjoy the fellowship of labor. At noon they shared a common meal. I thought to myself: If only America and Europe and Africa and Asia would work together like this, how easy it would be to solve the problems of food distribution and world markets which have been the cause of ninety per cent. of all the wars in the world's history.
It is sometimes marvelous how the exigencies of a great struggle will dissipate our petty prejudices and cause us to make common fellowship with all creation. One cold night in October I found myself alone on the road leading into Verdun. The truck on which I had been riding had broken down and, having no blankets with me, I was forced to seek shelter for the night. About midnight I came upon an American sentinel doing duty just outside a very small and mean-looking French village. To him I made known my desire for a place to sleep. After thinking it all over he replied, “There is just one way I know of, mister. Bill takes my place in twenty minutes and maybe he will let you have his bunk for six hours. That is, if you don't mind sleeping in a stable with some mules and a lot of other things." I assured him that under the circumstances I was quite willing to sleep most any place. Just then Bill hove in sight. He was a royal fellow from Missouri, tall and lanky and a veritable Great Heart just stepped out of Pilgrim's Progress. His bunk, the remains of his midnight lunch, being some dry bread and a can half full of jam, his pipe and tobacco, were all mine, if I would just make myself “to home and comfortable.” How this happy, good natured lad four thousand miles from home, cheered me by his earnest wish to share all he had with a stranger! It made me call to mind quite vividly some crabbed Christians in former congregations who refused to open their homes to delegates.
For a while we three stood looking up into the sky. A veiled moonlight glimmered through the scudding clouds. An air raid was on and flash lights moved back and forth searching the heavens. We could hear the whir of many planes and an occasional shot, but where and when a bomb would drop we had not the remotest idea. Presently Bill took his stand near the sentinel box and "Buddy" led me down a narrow lane to his palatial residence, the stable. It was dark as we crept to our corner and lay down, amidst a medley of sounds and smells. Little by little I made out the nature of the various inhabitants. There were just one million of us in that barn that chill October night. There were fifteen mules, seven French poilus, four French dogs, five German prisoners, six American military police, one Y. M. C. A. secretary, one British sergeant on leave, fifty-two rats and nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and nine cooties. By daylight all were astir and active except the rats. As I climbed out of my corner and took my share in the work of getting things started for the day, I could scarcely refrain from singing, "Hail! Hail! The gang's all here!” And Bill was there. God bless Bill and the thousands of fellows like him, who in their own quiet way are trying to make the world a sweeter and a happier place in which to live. Such is the fine fellowship of real coöperation, fit oil for the machinery of any family or factory or church or peace conference.
In this chapter we have tried to emphasize the fact that, as a result of the war nothing but a new world will satisfy the hungry heart of man. He has heard the voice of Jesus speaking out of the New Testament, "Behold I make all things new.” It is upon the principles set forth in the Bible that men must build this new world and there are at least five of these which must be made basic. (1) The ethical idea of God. (2) A spiritual conception of man and human labor. (3) A social conscience sensitive to the Biblical teachings concerning sin. (4) The principles of righteousness and justice as set forth in the Ten Commandments, the teachings of the Prophets and in the life and death of Jesus. (5) The spirit of coöperation expressed in that fine fellowship which banishes all preju. dice and selfish, cut-throat competition. The whole task of social rebuilding is a splendid challenge to the Church to liberate througth religious education, the dynamic power of Christian love as a regenerating and socializing force in the world. If the contents of this chapter rests upon the valid religious experience of many men, and we think it does, then the religious educational curriculum of the future must undergo considerable modification. The Church has never had and probably never will have such a unique opportunity to direct the mind of the world in a conscious effort to build the Kingdom of God upon earth.
FOURTEEN EDUCATIONAL LAWS
THE program of religious education must aim
to bring the coming generation to share in
the discovery of the real things of life which have been made possible by the war and which have been the deep and abiding experience of so many of the soldiers who fought in France. In Chapter II of this volume we tried to describe the nature of the great spiritual realities which the world conflict has made plain to the men who saw with the eyes of God. They beheld God so near and real that the barriers which separate earth and heaven disappeared; they fought with men from many nations, beheld their manhood and grew to reverence the sacredness of human personality wherever found; they saw virtue stripped of all outward ugliness and deformity, beautiful and priceless, as duty, honor, loyalty, courage, faith, and love. These lads felt themselves a part of the potent principles of righteousness, justice, and self-sacrifice; they dreamed splendid dreams and then put reality into their dreams. On the battlefields of France men discovered down deep in the human heart the indispensable value of the home and the sacredness of love. They watched nations in the agony of a soul struggle which alone makes governments great;