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´╗┐Title: Herein is Love - A Study of the Biblical Doctrine of Love in Its Bearing on Personality, Parenthood, Teaching, and All Other Human Relationships.
Author: Howe, Reuel L., 1905-1985
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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   | Transcriber's Note:                                          |
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   | The original title page verso was as below.                  |
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   | Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the     |
   | copyright on this publication was renewed.                   |
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HEREIN IS LOVE

by

REUEL L. HOWE



about this book

"God created man to live in relation with the world of things, with
himself, and with his fellow men, and to live in these relationships in
such a way that he will ... grow in his relationship with God," writes
Dr. Howe in this meaningful book. He describes the true significance of
Christian fellowship and how it can come about and exist. Living
responsibly by giving ourselves to one another--parent to child, child
to parent, pastor to congregation, congregation to one another, church
to the world--only in living out the Word of God's love in human
relationships can we experience the love of God.

Dr. Howe wrote this book at the request of the Division of Christian
Education and the Division of Evangelism of the American Baptist
Convention. It grew out of a series of lectures he presented at a
national conference on Christian education at Green Lake, Wis., on the
subject, "Growth in the Christian Fellowship."

It is intended that this book be used in study groups such as parent
groups or parent-teacher groups. Pastors and students of the church will
gain new insights from it. Moreover, any individual who is truly
interested in the Christian life will find that it is addressed to him.

_Cover Design by Alexander Limont_



HEREIN IS LOVE



By the same author_
_Man's Need and God's Action_
_The Creative Years_



HEREIN IS LOVE

A Study of the Biblical Doctrine of Love in Its Bearing
on Personality, Parenthood, Teaching, and All Other
Human Relationships

by

REUEL L. HOWE



The Judson Press
Chicago       Valley Forge       Los Angeles

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   |                                                              |
   | Copyright (C) 1961                                           |
   |                                                              |
   | by THE JUDSON PRESS                                          |
   |                                                              |
   | Sixth printing, April, 1963                                  |
   |                                                              |
   | All rights in this book are reserved. No part of the text    |
   | may be reproduced in any manner without permission in        |
   | writing from the publisher, except in the case of brief      |
   | quotations included in a review of the book in a magazine or |
   | newspaper.                                                   |
   |                                                              |
   | Except where indicated otherwise, the Bible quotations in    |
   | this volume are in accordance with the Revised Standard      |
   | Version of the Bible, copyright 1946 and 1952, by the        |
   | Division of Christian Education of the National Council of   |
   | the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, and  |
   | are used by permission.                                      |
   |                                                              |
   | LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOG CARD NO. 61-11105.               |
   |                                                              |
   | Printed in the U.S.A.                                        |
   |                                                              |
   +--------------------------------------------------------------+



_To my children_

Marjorie and Lanny



FOREWORD


This book was born out of a living encounter with the members of the
Christian Education Conference to which I lectured at the American
Baptist Assembly at Green Lake, Wis., in August of 1958. As I stepped to
the speaker's rostrum to begin my first lecture to that group, and my
first to so large a group of Baptist lay people, I wondered whether I as
an Episcopalian and they as Baptists had images of each other that would
help or hinder our communication. I shared with them my question and
learned later they had been asking themselves the same question. I
explained that I had prepared myself to speak to them in the hope that
through me some of the truth of God would be heard by them, and I
explained also that their lives were to be their preparation for hearing
what I had to say; that is, that I hoped they would work as hard to hear
me as I would work to make myself understood. They responded in good
spirit, so that the Spirit of God spoke through and to all of us.

I describe this occasion because it produced the experience and context
out of which the present book appeared. _Herein Is Love_ is, I believe,
an outward and visible sign of the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
experienced on that occasion; and I offer it as a means of opening to
others the possibility of participating in this fellowship of the Holy
Spirit.

The theme of the book grows out of that experience: As the love of God
required incarnation in Jesus of Nazareth in order that it might be
received by us, so the Word of God's love in our day calls for persons
in whom it may be embodied. The church, as the embodiment of divine love
in human relationships, has tremendous responsibilities and
opportunities in our modern culture. The old and familiar biblical
symbols and stories do not always communicate their meanings to men
today, and we must find a language that does. The language of the lived
life of both man and God is the one that we shall use here in an attempt
to open to us the meaning of the life of man and of God.

                                                  Reuel L. Howe

January 10, 1961



CONTENTS

                                                             PAGE
  FOREWORD                                                     7

  CONTENTS                                                     9


  I
  SOME FRIGHTENED FRIENDS                                     11

    "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear."
    --_1 John 4:18_


  II
  GOD IN THE WORLD                                            26

    "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son...."
    --_John 3:16_


  III
  HEREIN IS LOVE                                              43

    "Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and
    he who loves is born of God and knows God."--_1 John 4:7_


  IV
  SOME OBJECTIVES OF LOVE                                     61

    "Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in
    deed and in truth."--_1 John 3:18_


  V
  THOSE WHO WOULD LOVE                                        82

    "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because
    we love the brethren."--_1 John 3:14_


  VI
  LOVE IN ACTION                                              99

    "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us:
    and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
    --_1 John 3:16_



I

SOME FRIGHTENED FRIENDS

    "There is no fear in love,
                        but perfect love casts out fear."--_1 John 4:18_


"It seems to me that the church has lost its influence. Nobody pays much
attention to it any more, except some of its own members; and they don't
seem to be interested in anything except their own activities. The time
was when the word of the minister carried weight. Some may not have
agreed, but when the church spoke they paid attention. It's not true
now, though."

Mr. Clarke eyed the others in the group as if he were testing their
reactions to the statements he had just made. The church had always
given him a sense of security, and now he was both worried that it
seemed to have lost its power, and resentful that people no longer
listened to its teaching.

He was one of a group of leaders of a local congregation who, at the
request of their minister, were meeting to re-examine the purpose of the
church. Not all of the group had arrived as yet, and the minister of the
congregation, Mr. Gates, had been detained in his office by an emergency
call upon his pastoral care.

Within the minute after Mr. Clarke finished, Mr. Wise spoke up. He was a
thoughtful and compassionate member of the congregation who often raised
the kind of questions that carried the discussion to deeper levels. When
his questions were ignored, as they often were, he would smile
good-naturedly and continue both as a contributor and as a question
raiser. Turning to Mr. Clarke, he said: "I think I know how you feel.
The statements of our ordained spiritual leaders are important, but do
you think we should equate their words with--"

As usual, Mr. Wise's comment was interrupted, and this time by Mr.
Churchill who, with evident irritation, protested against any concern
over what others thought about the church. He said: "The church has got
to be the church, and the world is different from it. I don't like this
'return to religion' business. Christianity and the church aren't
supposed to be popular movements. If people want to join the church,
that's fine; but if they don't, that's their lookout. Let's be the
church and leave the world to itself."

"But why was Christ born _into the world_--" began Mr. Wise.

"I don't agree," exclaimed Mrs. Strait, responding to Mr. Churchill's
comment and not hearing Mr. Wise. "I think we should be concerned about
the world; concerned enough, at least, to set a good example, so that
people will know what they're supposed to live up to and to do. After
all, Jesus told us how we should live, and He did so in such simple
words that even children can understand them. All we have to do--and
it's written there for us to read--is to keep the commandments, imitate
Jesus, and live a good life for ourselves and others."

"Yes, but if it's that simple, why don't church people live better--"

"Not at all! _Not at all!_" pronounced the stately Mr. Knowles with some
disdain. "I don't agree with any of you. Our difficulties today result
from the ignorance of our people, and the answer to the problem is
education. We need to teach, and teach again. Church people must know
their faith and know why they believe in it. When I was a child I was
drilled thoroughly in the knowledge of the Bible, and I once won a prize
for knowing more Bible verses than any other child. We need more adult
education, and our children must be filled with the truth so they can
recite it forwards and backwards. In my estimation, there is too much
emphasis now on persons and not enough on the content of the faith."

"But didn't Jesus say, 'For God so loved the world--'"

"It seems to me," interrupted Professor Manby, "that all of you are in
too much of a hurry. Some scientists estimate that man has been eight
million years coming to his present state of life. In contrast,
civilized man is only four thousand years old. This being true, we
should be more patient. Given time, man will solve his problems."

"But has man's character developed in pace with his knowl--"

At that moment the Reverend Mr. Gates, with several other members of the
committee, came into the room, and after greeting everyone he said: "Now
let's get down to business. As you know, I've called this meeting in
order that we may consider the purpose of our church in this community.
I think we need a clearer understanding of why we are here. I wish we
could be surer that we are serving God's purposes and not our own. I
wish we all would assume as true that God's purposes for His church and
for us are greater than anything we may think they are, and that we
would hold our opinions and beliefs open to His correction and renewal."

"How can we be any clearer about the purpose of this church than to keep
it open and its organizations going, so that people can come to it if
they want to," exclaimed Mr. Churchill abruptly.

Mr. Wise now got to his feet, and with a twinkle in his eye began
speaking: "You've all interrupted me several times, but now I'm going to
speak my piece. I think Mr. Gates is right. We do need occasionally to
rethink the reason for our existence as a church, lest it become a
private club that caters to our own special needs. Our discussion so far
tonight suggests that we want the church to be what we need it to be. We
want God cut down to our own pattern and size. It may be that our church
is too small for God, and that we'll turn out to be a religious, but
godless, club."

"But how could that happen to us?" protested Mrs. Strait. "If we do
what's right, God will love us and use us as His obedient servants."

"I wish Mr. Gates would set us straight on these matters. Were you going
to say anything more, Pastor?" inquired Mr. Clarke.

"Yes, I'll have more to say," replied Mr. Gates slowly, "but this is not
my problem only. That's why I called you together. We need to help each
other think this question through. But to do that, we all shall need the
spirit of Christ to help us. We need to look at the concepts and
meanings that we bring out of our lives in the light of Christ's
teachings and example. He brought the gift of God's love, but He brought
also a judgment that was most disturbing to religious people. Instead of
our judging what is good for Christ, I pray that He will judge us, and
help us to be the instruments of His love."

"But you're our minister and teacher, so why don't you tell us what you
think the job of the church is in this community? I'm sure we'd all
support you in whatever you might suggest," urged Mr. Clarke.

"Mr. Clarke, I am not the church. I appreciate your confidence in me,
but I am only one member of the church. The fact that I am ordained does
not make me any more responsible for the church than you are, and I
refuse to assume your responsibilities for you. Instead, I want to use
my role as an ordained member of the church, and such training and
experience as I have had, to help you find _your_ role, so that together
we can carry on the functions of the church in ways that will serve God
and His people."

When Mr. Gates finished speaking there was silence. The reactions of his
hearers were varied, showing anxiety, irritation, confusion, and
blankness. And no wonder! The spontaneous discussion that had gone on
before Mr. Gates' arrival had revealed how little their understandings
of the church had prepared them to hear the question he was raising. The
viewpoints they had brought to the meeting now closed their minds to the
meanings he was trying to open to them.

What, then, were those concepts and meanings that made it so difficult
for them to hear and understand their minister? Each of them
represented a point of view that is widely prevalent in the church
today and which keeps the church from being fully relevant and
effective.


_Clericalism_

When Mr. Clarke thought about the church, he did so in terms of the
clergy and their work in the church. We might call him a "clericalizer";
that is, one who thinks that only the minister does the work of the
church. This idea is the basis of clericalism, the disease which saps
the strength of the church because one part of the body, the ordained
minister, is made to do the work of the rest of the body, the unordained
members. In the discussion Mr. Gates took exception to this idea, and
rightly so, for it results in a clergy that is overworked and
frustrated. Indeed, they find it impossible to do all that needs to be
done. And yet the idea has a hidden appeal for many of them, for it
feeds their professional pride and arrogance. But the damage done by
this disease does not cease there. It also makes for church people who
are lazy, who feel that the church belongs to the clergy, and who are
not themselves instruments through which God works in the world. God is
kept from doing what He would do for them, because He cannot do through
the clergy what He would do through the whole of His church.

Clericalism blocks the ministry of the church, because it tends to make
lay members second-class citizens who feel incompetent on matters of
religion. When the ordained member makes religious interpretation and
action his professional monopoly, the lay member responds by exhibiting
increasing ignorance and incompetence. Sometimes it seems as if lay
people show less intelligence in the church than in their world. It is
as though the practice of religion had a stupefying effect on them,
whereas in other areas of living they are intelligent, informed, and
perceptive. This clericalizing of the church's ministry produces in lay
members the sense that religion is separate from life. They are heard to
say to their ministers, "You stick to religion and leave the affairs of
the world to us." Religion thus becomes a Sunday business, and Sunday
business is kept separate from weekday business.

Still another and related ill effect of clericalism is that it keeps
laymen from discovering the religious significance of their work.
Parents, for example, are not only parents entrusted with the physical,
psychological, and social care of their children, but also are the
teachers, pastors, and priests of their children. A teacher may serve
God in his teaching, a doctor in his practice of medicine, a businessman
in the conduct of his business, a milkman in the delivery of milk, and
the garbageman in the collection of garbage. It is the business of the
church to help these members find their ministry, but clericalism never
allows them to make the discovery.

Clericalism, like any other concept, is more than a set of ideas. Mr.
Clarke didn't just happen to hold that notion of the church. He held it
because he needed it. His need grew out of his dependency, his timidity,
and his fear of assuming responsibility. He needed to exalt the clergy.
He wanted to be told what to believe and to do; and his "doctrine" of
the ministry, namely, clericalism, justified him in his need. People who
want to be told what to believe and to do inevitably will develop or
drift toward a doctrine that is authenticated by their need.

Ministers also contribute to the prevalence of clericalism. All men have
a very human and understandable need to be centrally important and
indispensable, and ministers are tempted to exploit this need in the
conduct of their work. It is only natural for them to think of the
church as "my church," of the people as "my people," and of the ministry
as "my ministry." These images cause them to function as if everything
depended upon them, and as if they wanted everyone to depend upon them.
Indeed, they may even measure the success of their ministry by the
number of people who depend upon them for guidance and support, rather
than by the number who are achieving mature self-sufficiency. As a part
of this same picture, some ministers are unable to accept suggestions,
much less criticism. The clericalized image they hold of themselves is
that of an "answer man"; that is, one who has all the answers to human
problems, and always right answers.

Thus, clericalism is a condition contributed to by both the ordained and
the lay members of the church, and it tragically diminishes the power of
the church. It is a symptom of Mr. Clarke's fear and of our own. It
shows that we are afraid to trust God and to let His Spirit work through
the whole of His people.


_Churchism_

Mr. Churchill's ideas, on the other hand, represented a different
concept, one which may be called churchism, or pietistic
otherworldliness, a concept which encourages the church's retreat from
the world. It creates an artificial distinction between the religious
and the secular, the religious being thought of as worship and all the
other activities that go on in the church building, and the secular
considered to be everything that goes on outside the building. In its
local version churchism is parochialism, or total preoccupation with the
church as an institution at the level of the local community.

The tragedy of such parochialism is that the creative thought and
energies of people are consumed in the mere maintenance of the church as
an institution, and in dead-end religious activity and worship. Mr.
Churchill, and thousands of others who are like him, think of the church
only as "gathered," as a congregation. They think that the church is
most truly the church when its members are assembled in the church
building and engaged in church work. They think of the church in terms
of "going to church," of working for its organizations, of planning for
its promotion, and of meeting the needs of the church as an entity
separate from the rest of life. What is even worse, these people think
that only when they are doing this church work are they serving God.
Theologically, their concept means that Christ died for the church.

Instead, Christ died for the world! The purpose, then, of the church is
not to meet its own needs but to serve God's purposes in the world. This
forces upon us the position that not only should we think of the church
in its _gathered_ sense, but also in its _dispersed_ sense. This means
that church people should think of themselves as members of the church
when they are out in the world, and that their work in the world is the
means through which God may act through them in the accomplishment of
His purposes. Therefore, in terms of the gathered church we can speak of
"church work," but in terms of the dispersed church we must think of the
"work of the church in the world," the work of the instrument of God's
purposes there.

The relation between the gathered church and the dispersed church should
be complementary. The church, as the people of God, comes together in a
conscious way from out of the world to be renewed, instructed, and
equipped for the purpose of returning, as the body of Christ, to its
task in the world. Then, out of its work in the world, the church
gathers again to worship, to make its offerings, and to be strengthened
anew for its work in the world. Elsewhere I have likened the church to
an army that has been sent on a mission. In order to accomplish its
purpose, it must have a base. In order to have a base, it must assign
certain troops to the task of building and maintaining that base, so
that the rest of the army may be free to accomplish its mission. We
tend, however, to forget the "mission" and wastefully assign most of our
people to building and maintaining bases, with the result that we do not
accomplish our true purpose. More members need to be assigned to and
trained for the mission, where the conflict between life and death goes
on unceasingly.

Contrary to the opinion of Mr. Churchill, therefore, a complementary
relation exists between the church and the world. The world is the
sphere of God's action, and the church is the means of His action. The
church must be found at work in the world, where it will encounter the
tension between the saving purposes of God and the self-centered
purposes of man.

As in the case of clericalism, so it is in the case of churchism. There
is a human reason for the existence of the concept and for its
prevalence in the church. The reason, in Mr. Churchill's case, was to
be found in the conflict that he felt between his human interests and
his church membership. He had certain real estate holdings and other
investments from which he was making an excellent profit. Some of these,
however, were exploitive and in contradiction to the faith which he
professed. It was necessary, therefore, for him to keep the church and
the world separate; and his doctrine of the church made it possible for
him to rationalize the split between his faith and his life. We must not
think that Mr. Churchill engaged in this contradiction deliberately. In
part, his action was the unconscious means by which he held on to two
conflicting values without suffering from the conflict between them. We
must not think that Mr. Churchill is alone in this kind of separation of
belief and practice, of splitting the church from the world. We all have
our own individual forms of it.

It is because of our insecurity and fear that we develop these defensive
attitudes of parochialism and churchism. We huddle like frightened
children behind the doors of the church, whereas, as soldiers of Christ,
we should be struggling courageously on the frontiers of life where the
conflicts between love and hate, truth and prejudice, are being waged.


_Moralism_

The next member of the group who spoke up was Mrs. Strait, and she
voiced for herself and for millions of other church people the
moralistic understanding of the faith. Moralism is perhaps the most
widespread of all the concepts that we are now discussing.

Moralism is usually identified as belief in good behavior as a source of
life. A group of church people, many of them leaders of their respective
parishes, were asked to describe the Christian. It would be no
exaggeration to say that their descriptions of a Christian made it
difficult to distinguish him from a Jew, because, according to their
statements, a Christian is one who achieves his status as such by
obeying the commandments of God. He must live a good life by keeping the
law. The imitation of Jesus is the method, illuminated by a study of
His teachings, especially the teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. And,
as Mrs. Strait indicated, they agreed that a Christian should set a good
example for other people.

When asked how they felt about this concept of the Christian life, many
of them admitted that they were not too enthusiastic about it, because
it was hard to achieve. They admitted that they failed often and
miserably. One man put it rather well when he said that he felt that
trying to be a Christian was like whistling in the dark. They all
admitted that their concept was widespread among their fellow church
members and that it had little appeal. When they were asked why such an
unappealing concept of a Christian was so prevalent, they replied that
it was due to people's feeling that they ought to be better than they
are. Their discussion revealed further that they were unable to accept
themselves as human beings, and that they felt they had to justify
themselves by doing good works and by moral living.

That is the reason why Mrs. Strait holds to the moralistic concept of
the Christian life. Separated from her husband and feared by her
children, she feels acutely vulnerable and guilty. As a defense, she has
built for herself a fortress made up of precepts, ideals, and rules, all
based on a foundation of righteousness, and this has made her a
formidable and rigid person. Like all self-righteous people, she
tirelessly dispenses obvious truths, and keeps her own life and that of
others narrowly proscribed.

Mrs. Strait is in no way an exception. The lives of moralistic people
are not beautiful to behold. They are apt to be conventional,
legalistic, and maintainers of the status quo. Because they have no
sense of deliverance themselves, they are apt to be ungracious in
relation to others. Because they live by the law, they do not show the
fruit of the Spirit: namely, the love, joy, peace, and long-suffering
which should mark the followers of Christ. They reveal how impossible it
is for a human being to be a Christian by himself. He needs the spirit
of Christ to live in him and to remake him. As we shall see later, there
is available to us the spirit of Christ, who accomplishes in us the
righteousness of Christ which is of the spirit and not of the law.

Moralism also is a sign of our fear and defensiveness. We reduce life to
the dimensions of a moral code, because we are afraid to trust the
Spirit and to risk the dangers of love and its communication. As one
person said, "Let's be proper so we won't need to pray, for there is no
knowing what God might ask us to do if we really listened to Him." In
other words, moralism is a way of "playing it safe."


_Intellectualism_

A fourth concept sometimes held by church members about the faith was
exhibited by Mr. Knowles. Its name is intellectualism. This
intellectualism, sometimes called gnosticism, claims that knowledge is
the source of life, and that the possession of knowledge delivers us
from the power of evil. This is an ancient heresy that lives on in every
generation. The desire to know and the achievement of skill in the use
of knowledge are indeed commendable. But to know is not justifiable as
an end in itself. Knowledge about God and man, about the Bible and the
Christian faith, about the church and its history, is good and necessary
for informed Christian living, but it can in no way substitute for our
dependence upon Christ and the work of His spirit in us. We need to know
about Christian faith, but it must not replace the need to love and to
be loved. Knowledge _about_ God must not become more important than our
_knowing_ God.

When religious and theological knowledge becomes an end in itself, the
church is apt to become coldly intellectual and sophisticated. I am
reminded of a group of laymen who became avid students of Christian
theology, and who became so prideful in their achievement that they
exhibited in their relations with one another, as well as with their
other associates, a spirit of pride, arrogance, and competitiveness.
They had acquired the knowledge of Christianity, but they had lost the
spirit of the Christ.

The work of Christians is not so much to hold and transmit a knowledge
of the faith as it is to be the personal representatives and instruments
of Christ in the world. To be sure, Christ's representatives should know
what they are talking about and intellectually be able to enter into
dialogue with all men. But their knowing should incarnate them, both as
persons and in their capacity to represent God and His Christ to men.

This brings us also to a controversy that exists in the field of
Christian education. Many people feel that the purpose of the church
school is to transmit the content of the Christian faith. Christian
education, however, must be personal. It must take place in a personal
encounter, and only secondarily is it transmissive. It is true, however,
that Christian education is responsible for the continued recital of
God's saving acts, and for the transmission of the subject matter of the
historical faith and life of the Christian community. The content of our
faith was born of God's action and man's response--a divine-human
encounter. It is neither possible nor correct to reduce this to subject
matter and substitute the transmission of subject matter for the
encounter, with the assumption that it will accomplish the same purpose
(it cannot, it never has, and it never will). Actually, the relations of
transmission and encounter are complementary. Both are needed. The
church, as the tradition-bearing community, contains both poles and
should not subordinate one to the other. When the content of the
tradition is lost, the meaning of the encounter is lost, and in the end
even the encounter itself. Then tradition becomes idolatrous and
sterile. Both are necessary to the community of faith, and both are
meaningless, even dangerous, if separated. Christian teaching is
concerned with both.

Mr. Knowles, however, is not happy about the required complementary
relation between the content of the Christian faith and his life. As
Mrs. Strait uses moralism for a defense, so Mr. Knowles uses his
emphasis on the content of the Bible as a way of protecting himself from
the deeper and more personal challenges of life. He is estranged from
his family, and he is regarded as austere and unfriendly by his
employees and many of his business associates. Personal relations
frighten him, but by mastery of knowledge he gains superiority and power
over others.

Intellectualism and gnosticism are not confined to the church. We see
their influence in every walk of life. Many people _talk_ much about the
importance of love in human relationships, but they do not love. They
use their knowledge _about_ love as an evasion of their responsibility
to express love. Man cannot be saved by what he knows, but only by the
way he lives with his brother. "If any one says, 'I love God,' and hates
his brother, he is a liar."[1] This is the stern but clear word of the
Scriptures.

But we can be so frightened by the risks of expressing love that we may
turn away from those who need our love and have a right to expect it
from us. How much easier and safer it is to know _about_ God and His
love, and to confine this meaning to the sanctuary and the study group!
Intellectualism, then, is another way in which we try to "play it safe."


_Humanism_

Professor Manby speaks for humanism, another point of view in the
church. He, with others, says, "Give man time and he will work out his
own salvation." Humanists, like Dr. Manby, often react against the
religiosity of the church with the complaint that the search for truth
is cluttered with obsolete myths and meaningless observances. On the
other hand, the humanists, while splendid in their devotion to truth,
have only their opinion of what is good and true to guide them. Because
they acknowledge no life beyond this one, they become the servants of a
closed system in which injustice frustrates the justice for which they
plead and work. The plight of the humanists is pathetic. Since they
accept no savior, they can draw only on their own human resources, and
are put in the position of trying to lift themselves by their own power.
They can only whistle in the dark. While man apart from God cannot save
himself, God's love for the world works in the world, and He has a part
for man to take. In the relation between God and man, there is need for
both the greatness of God _and_ the greatness of man.


_Dealing with Conflicts_

And so these five frightened friends, familiar types to us all, reveal
to us how easy it is to get lost in our preoccupations and to distort or
diminish the truth we would serve.

Mr. Gates, the minister, has his anxieties, too. He represents the
ordained ministry of the church, which is caught between the demands of
the theory of Christianity and the demands of the world; between the
demands of the pulpit and the demands of the pew; between the church as
an institution and the church as a saving power in the world; between
the surges of the spirit and the sucking drag of tradition. And he
himself is also trapped by the demands of his image of himself as a
minister and the demands of his people's image of him; by the idealism
of his training for the Christian ministry and the realism of the
demands on his ministry in the church and in the world.

He cannot resolve these conflicts by himself, nor should he try. These
are not his conflicts. They are the conflicts of the church's ministry,
and he and the people need to deal with them together. Neither he nor
they will be able to resolve the conflicts, because they are the
inevitable tensions between the spirit and the Law, and between life and
form. But Mr. Gates and all other ministers, together with the rest of
the people of God, by reason of the Christian faith, must live through
these conflicts and deal with them creatively.

Both Mr. Gates and his people need to accept conflicts as an inevitable
part of life, especially of a life that is lived in response to a call
or a loyalty. No growth or learning takes place at any depth without
such conflict: conflict between the known and the unknown, between our
need for security and our need for maturity. This is the nature of life.
As for the gospel, let us not forget that its universally accepted
symbol is the cross, a symbol of the conflict between love and hate,
between life and death. As Christians, our only realistic expectation is
that because of our Christian belief and practice, our conflicts will
increase and intensify rather than diminish. The only peace we may hope
to have is an irrational peace, an "in-spite-of" peace, the peace of
the depths beneath the storm-tossed surface; in other words, "the peace
of God, which passes all understanding."[2] To suggest how this may be
achieved in some areas of life is the purpose of this book.

Finally, Mr. Wise, the member of the group whose remarks were always
being interrupted by the others, represents a Christian point of view
which, in the church generally, is listened to no more than it was here.
What he was trying to say will be explored more fully as an answer to
some of the questions raised in this chapter.


   [1] 1 John 4:20.
   [2] Phil. 4:7.



II

GOD IN THE WORLD

    "For God so loved the world
                             that he gave his only Son...."--_John 3:16_


The concepts and attitudes of Mr. Clarke, Mr. Churchill, Mrs. Strait,
Mr. Knowles, and Professor Manby lead them and the rest of the church
away from God and the world. Their clericalism, pietism, moralism,
intellectualism, and humanism represent ways in which frightened and
disturbed people seek to make themselves secure. Unfortunately, however,
their security then is purchased at the price of their freedom. Their
lives become locked up in the small closet of their limited concepts.
Their literal and rigid understanding of the Christian church and its
faith makes them so loveless that their lives have an alienating effect
on others, and they themselves fail to find God.


_Concepts About God May Be Dangerous_

They do not, nor shall we, find God in our concepts about Him or about
His church. He is not to be found in assertions about Him or in abstract
belief about His omnipotence or other attributes. God is not an idea,
but Being itself, and our ideas are only our concept or image of Him.
When we confuse God with our ideas about Him, we are misled into
thinking that we know what He wants, and we tend to represent and act
for Him uncritically. This confusion between God and our ideas about Him
explains why the religion of so many people lacks humility and
reverence. It is one of the reasons why true Christian fellowship is as
rare as it is.

Not only may these ideas and concepts lead us away from God, but also
they may lead us out of the world and away from that encounter with the
world which began with the Incarnation. Separation of the church from
the world, its assumption that its task is to defend itself from the
attacks of the so-called secular, its defensiveness of God in response
to the unfaith of the world, all are symptoms of church people's lack of
faith in God and of their failure to understand how and where He works.
In other words, the otherworldliness of the church hardly harmonizes
with the worldliness of God, Who chose to create the world, to speak and
act in and through it, and Who finally entered it and made the life of
man in history His right hand. Our belief in the Incarnation and our
understanding of the love of God for the world should send us, as
children of God, into the world, into the so-called secular order, eager
to participate in its meanings, and to bring them into relation with the
meanings of God.

As we work at this, we shall begin to experience true Christian
fellowship, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, which I understand to be
the fellowship of people who have the courage to live together as
persons rather than to relate themselves to each other through their
ideas and preconceptions. Christian fellowship is living with and for
one another responsibly, that is, in love. "If any one says, 'I love
God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar."[3] And, "He who abides in
love abides in God, and God abides in him."[4] If we would find God,
therefore, and learn the meaning of life and love, we must live in the
world by giving ourselves to one another responsibly. It is for this
that the church exists. The church does not exist to save, build up, and
adorn itself. Nor does it exist to protect or defend God. The mission of
the church is to participate in the reconciling dialogue between God and
man. Here is the source of the true life of the world. Here, too, is the
source of the life of the church and its worship. Without this,
everything, including worship, is false and idolatrous.

These are some of the things which Mr. Wise was trying to say to the
group. He represents those in the church who see beneath the surface of
things and behind the distortions of conventional and defensive
Christianity. But the question that finally emerges is: How do we free
ourselves from the distortions of our faith? What should we do?


_We Find God at Work in the World_

The answer is simple. We should look for God in the world. We shall find
Him in the meeting between men. "Where two or three are gathered in my
name, there am I in the midst of them."[5] And, "gathered in my name"
means gathered in the spirit and after the character of Jesus. It does
not mean gathered only under special and separate religious auspices. To
be sure, the gatherings of God's people for worship and instruction are
indispensable to the life of the church, but unless we translate our
worship and instruction into action, our religious observances will be
idolatrous and sinful, and will separate men from each other and from
God. So we look for God where He works; that is, in the world and
between man and man.

The place where we encounter God first, in the course of our individual
lives, is in the family. The family provides the individual with his
first experience of living in relation to other persons, and this is his
first experience of Christian fellowship. Immediately we are confronted
with the nature of God's creation and, therefore, with the revelation of
Himself and of how He works. We are confronted with the relational
nature of all life; for nothing exists in isolation. Everything and
every person finds full meaning only in relation to other things and
persons.

We are used to thinking of persons as living in relation to persons; we
are less accustomed to thinking of things existing in relation to other
things. But does not the tree exist in relation to the earth,
atmosphere, and water? And does not the hammer exist as hammer in
relation to the hand that uses it and the object it pounds? The only
difference is that persons are active participants in relationship and
things are passive. But things may be made active symbols or instruments
in the meeting between man and man, as, for instance, in the case of the
bread and wine of the Lord's Supper.

God created man to live in relation with the world of things, with
himself, and with his fellow men, and to live in these relationships in
such a way that he will discover and grow in his relationship with God.
The terms "man" and "relationship" are synonymous. An old Roman proverb
puts it, "One man is no man at all." Alone we would cease to exist. We
all have had the experience of being shut out from some important
relationship and we know what a desperate feeling it produces. We lose
whatever sense of well-being we may have had, and we begin to feel
unwanted, depressed, and less alive. When we are warmly gathered again
into an important group, we begin to come alive. Our blood runs faster,
and we know the joy of life again. It is almost as though we had been
resurrected. The sense of being a part, the experience of fellowship,
makes the difference between life and death. I once visited in a home
where a teen-age girl was having one of her frequent "tragic" love
experiences. The boy she was currently dating had not called her up for
three days. She was full of gloom, moped around the house, and lost her
usual interest in everything. One evening the phone rang and the call
was for her. First we heard her laugh, and then she burst into the room
full of gaiety and enthusiasm. You would not have known her for the same
girl. Alone and rejected, as she thought, she was dead. Restored to
relationship, she came alive again. We may smile patronizingly at the
emotional excesses of this teen-age girl, but on the other hand we
understand deeply the fundamental meaning of her experience.

The patterns of relationship begin with our birth. We would not survive
if the whole community, centering in the basic function of the mother,
did not assume responsibility for us. Our dependence upon her for food
and care is the occasion for the beginning of relationship. And both the
infant and the mother have their part to play. She moves as a person
toward her child with the gifts of her milk and of her love. The infant,
on his side, in random and non-specific ways, calls out to her. He cries
and makes his simple movements. She responds to his cries with her care.
He responds to her care by sleeping and waking, by crying and cooing.
And thus begins the dialogical nature of relationship.


_Relationship Is Dialogue_

Relationship is dialogue. Dialogue occurs when one person addresses
another person and the other person responds. It is a two-way process in
which two or more people discuss meanings that concern them. To whatever
degree one part of the dialogue is lost, to that degree the relationship
ceases to exist. A marriage, for instance, ceases to exist, except in
form, only when either one of the partners ceases to communicate with
the other, and the quality of address and response is lost. Likewise,
true religion disappears when it represents only what God says and
eliminates the meaning of man's response. Religious dogma is sometimes
used to shackle human creativity, and the form of belief is allowed to
stifle the vitality of faith. Similarly, religion disappears when the
address to God and the response of God are eliminated. The Pharisee in
Jesus' parable had lost the dialogical quality of his prayer because he
"stood and prayed thus with himself...."[6] He was not speaking to God
and he expected no response, with the result that his religion lost its
dialogical quality since he was separated from God by his
self-righteousness. This dialogical quality is indispensable to creative
living. It is out of the dialogical encounter that the individual
emerges.

Only by the process of dialogical teaching can children really learn.
The relationship between parent and child is not one-sided. The child
may protest against the authority of the parent. This is the child's
part of the dialogue. The parent may recognize his child's need to find
himself as an autonomous person by making allowance for his protest and
exercise of freedom. The next stage in the dialogue between them is the
reassurance which the child experiences and reflects in his behavior in
response to his parent's affirmation of him as a person. He may show
this by a more realistic acceptance of the parent's authority. This in
turn may reassure the parent, so that he feels more relaxed in the
exercise of his authority. Gradually the parent and the child begin to
experience a more mature relationship with each other.


_We Are Responsible for Each Other_

Because of the dialogical nature of relationship, we have responsibility
for one another. Each of us has a responsibility to call forth the other
as a person, and each needs to be called forth since none of us will
develop automatically. We call forth one another in the same way that
the conductor of an orchestra calls forth the powers of his musicians
and the potentialities of their instruments. And they respond by calling
forth the interpretive genius of their conductor. Each draws out the
powers of the other.

The potentialities for development are inherent in us, but we need the
warmth and stimulation of other persons. This is certainly true in the
case of the newly born. The role of parents and teachers is to call
forth and welcome the personal responses and initiatives of their
children. This is also true of those who, because of the pressures of
life, start to unfold as persons but then withdraw in order to protect
themselves from further hurt. Here again, parents and teachers, pastors
and counselors, and indeed all men, from time to time, are obliged to
call forth some soul who is either in hiding or in retreat.

This role is easy to see in our relation with children, because
children's responses are sometimes so uncomplicated that the process we
are talking about is clearly revealed. Susie, feeling that an injustice
had been done her, retreated to her room and withdrew into herself.
After seeing that she would need help in order to come to herself again,
her mother finally asked her if she would like to help her bake a cake.
Soon Susie and her mother were chatting happily together in the kitchen
doing something that Susie loved to do whenever her mother had time to
help her. During the course of their conversation, the mother had an
opportunity to help Susie understand the situation that had upset her.
As a result, Susie emerged out of the situation more mature and
resourceful.

I once knew a bus driver who discovered that he, too, could call forth
people by the way in which he greeted them and did business with them.
On his morning runs he observed that many people were grumpy and sullen,
and treated him and their fellow passengers discourteously. At first his
inclination was to respond in the same way. Then he discovered that by
taking the initiative and greeting his passengers with a smile and
cordial word, and by making change cheerfully and being patient with
their grumpiness, the spirit of his passengers underwent a
transformation. Over the years a number of people told him how grateful
they were for his good cheer. They said that his influence had often
been decisive in their lives. It had affected their relations with other
people. Thus, his attitude toward people and his method of relating
himself to them as a driver of a bus became his ministry; and since he
was a member of the church, the church's ministry reached out and worked
through that bus driver into the lives of many who may never have come
anywhere near the church. Through such relationships. God is present and
active in the world.

The relationship between man and man, therefore, not only is important
to men, but also is a part of God's plan for the reconciliation of the
world unto Himself. It is given to us for our own sakes and also for the
accomplishment of God's purposes. Unfortunately, however, our relating
to one another often is hurtful because of our anxiety and insecurity.
We may attack others in order to make ourselves feel secure. Instead of
calling them forth, we cause them to withdraw. Even when we undertake to
love others, we may do it in ways that hurt them, because we love them
for selfish reasons. Human relationships, in themselves, are ambiguous,
and we need deliverance from the ambiguity of them, for these
relationships can either destroy people or call them forth.


_Human Love Is Ambiguous_

Furthermore, because human love can be ambiguous, we do not know whether
it is safe to give and accept love. It is a risk both to love and to
accept love, and all of us, to some degree, are afraid to take the risk.
Some people, to be sure, have more courage for it than others. They love
more courageously, and are more courageous in their acceptance of
others' love. These people seem to have a power of being that others
lack.

The giving and receiving of love implies responsibility for one another,
and we may withhold our love and reject the love of others as a way of
evading the responsibility of love. We are willing to love up to the
point where it begins to be inconvenient to love any more. We like the
image of ourselves as loved and loving people, but we would like the
benefit without the responsibilities of the role. When the response to
our love presents us with demands, we may begin to hold people off. We
may say: "Yes, to be sure, I love you, but keep your distance. I am
willing to give of myself, but not too much. I need to keep something of
me for myself." By this attitude we are admitting that when we love
another we have to give ourselves to him, entrust ourselves to him.
Commitment to another person is a courageous act, and it is no wonder
that we sometimes recoil from it.

What has been said about giving love is equally true of accepting love,
for the acceptance of love also calls for trust and commitment. If I
really respond to your love, I will open myself to the possibility of
being hurt because your love cannot be completely trusted. Furthermore,
if you should really love me, I am not worthy of your love and I do not
welcome the judgment of me that is implicit in your love. I shall,
therefore, make a cautious response to you and give myself to you
guardedly. Then the person who is giving love is made lonely because his
gift is not accepted. He, too, begins to withdraw and to dole out his
love, which in turn increases the anxiety of the one to whom it is being
given. This is an aspect of human fellowship which we need to recognize
before we talk much about Christian fellowship. Human fellowship is both
heroic and tragic; it is both renewing and destructive; it is both
healing and hurtful, but it is indispensable to life. This is our human
predicament.

Something is needed to cut into the ambiguity of human love. And this is
what Christ does. He draws the confused currents of human love into the
unifying stream of divine love, thus making possible a new relationship.
As the apostle Paul makes clear, we become new creatures in Christ, and
as such, a part of a new creation.[7]

Having considered some of the characteristics of human love and
fellowship, let us now look at Christian love and fellowship. One word
of caution is needed before we begin. The fellowship of Christian men
and women will still have its human look, but something new has been
added that makes a difference. What is it? How shall we describe the new
relationship?


_What Is Christian Fellowship?_

Christian fellowship is the relation of men and women who, by the power
of the Holy Spirit, participate in the life and work of Christ.
Christian living is participation in the continued living of Christ
through the activity of His Spirit. This concept stands in sharp
contrast to the ones held by the church members described in the first
chapter. The source of the Christian's life is not knowledge about God
or even our historical remembrance of His incarnate life, although they
contribute to it. Neither is it to be found in a determined imitation of
Christ's life, although that effort also will help. Nor is it in the
good will of man which, along with his power of love, is likewise found
to be ambiguous. No, the true source of the Christian life and of the
Christian relationship is the incarnation of His Spirit in the lives of
men. The presence and working of His Spirit transforms our own spirit
and provides a new dynamic for our living. This does not mean that we
cease to be human; the old conflicts are still there and the old battles
must continue to be fought, but a new power of being and of love is
given to us by the indwelling Spirit.

Just now we referred to the incarnation of His Spirit in us. The concept
of incarnation is an ancient one in Christianity, and represents the
embodiment of God in the human form of the historic Jesus, Who
participated in the life of man as man in order that man, through Him,
might participate in the Being of God. What happened is known to us all.
The incarnation produced the life of Jesus, His death, resurrection, and
the coming of His Spirit. These are not once-for-all historic events as
was the life of Julius Caesar or of George Washington. Through Him a new
power of love was released into life that continues unto this day. B.C.
and A.D. are not merely a way of dividing time, but are our way of
acknowledging that in the life of Jesus of Nazareth something radically
different entered into life, a new dynamic that changed the nature of
creation. We participate in the historic incarnation of Jesus of
Nazareth which took place 1900 years ago by the daily incarnations of
His Spirit in our individual lives and in the life of the people of God.
And since His incarnation meant God's entry into the world, so likewise
the indwelling of His Spirit in us also should mean God's entry into our
world and into its conflicts and issues.

We are Christians by doing what He did in the world, which was to have a
care and a responsibility for others. His Spirit seeks to incarnate
Himself in the day-to-day decisions of every responsible person in every
sphere of his living. Thus the mother not only serves God by her
decisions and actions in the home, but through these same decisions and
actions she may believe that God is present and accomplishing His
purposes for her and for the members of her family. So, likewise, a
businessman's sphere of Christian action is carried out in the decisions
and work of his business, but also he may believe that in and through
these same decisions and work God seeks to accomplish His purpose. So
the principle of incarnation means that God is both served and met at
the points of decision and responsibility of our daily lives. And this
is what it means to participate in His life by the power of His Spirit,
to bear the true mark of the Christian.

In the context of these thoughts, we may now look at the three parts of
the earthly life of Jesus Christ, and, as we examine them, the idea of
participating in His life may become clearer.


_Participation in the Life of Christ_

First of all, there is His earthly life, the life of the man Jesus, Whom
we call Lord and Savior, the Christ. This life gives us the picture of
what God meant man to be. Here is the perfect portrait of God's
creation--man. It as a stirring picture and we love to look at it,
contemplate it, read about it. It is a dull mind and heart that does not
quicken in response to His amazing compassion and strength; and as we
study his instructions to us, it becomes clear that He expects us to be
to our generation what He was to His.

When we realize what His teaching and commandment require of us, our
sense of the beauty and simplicity of His life is overshadowed by the
terror aroused in us by His expectation of us. We know that the ugliness
of our lives can never reproduce the beauty of His. From a human point
of view, the imitation of Christ is a complete impossibility, and one
wonders how so many Christians can go on, generation after generation,
thinking that this is their task and that they can accomplish it. Yet it
is clear that He expects us to be members of His body and to do His work
in our time. Is it possible that He asked us to do something that is
beyond our powers of accomplishment? If this is so, then far from being
Savior, He is one of the most cruel of men. There must be some other
answer.

The answer, of course, is that Christ did not leave us alone to carry
out His commandments, summed up in the great commandment: "You shall
love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and
with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as
yourself."[8] He understood only too well the ambiguity of our lives.
How understanding He was of vacillating Peter, and yet He called him the
Rock. Had Peter possessed any self-understanding, he must have wondered
why his Lord gave him that name. But after the resurrection and the
coming of the Holy Spirit, Peter became the Rock, because then he
incarnated the Spirit of his Lord. As with Peter, so with us. The
presence of the Spirit makes possible an imitation of Christ. Now we
can read the Gospels without dread, and not as patterns for us to
imitate literally and slavishly. The New Testament provides the
understandings that help us to test whether or not we are responding to
His Spirit and letting Him accomplish His work in and through us. Thus,
like Peter, we may become rocks, incarnating the Spirit of our Lord.

Nor do we need to be embarrassed by our humanity. We begin to sense that
we cannot be Christian without first being human, which means that we
shall be both loving and hostile, both righteous and sinful, both
courageous and cowardly, both dependable and vacillating. We are in the
world and of the world as other men are, and we share the lot of human
existence. But in addition, we have been given the spirit of power and
love and self-control, not that we may be condescending toward the
world, or try to regulate it as if it were a recalcitrant child, but
that we may be embodiments of the Spirit of God in human affairs through
whom He may accomplish His purposes in the world. In the process,
because His Spirit is in us, men will know that they have seen Jesus.

Thus we may come to understand the life of the people of God, and to
find therein a basis for a true evangelism; and thus we may participate
in the life and teaching of Christ, which are at once our ideal and
pattern of living, and at the same time our judgment.


_Participation in the Crucifixion_

Since the life of the Christian is participation in his own time in the
life of Christ, he must participate also in the crucifixion and death of
his Lord, which were a part of His life. Christ's crucifixion and death
were a natural consequence of His teaching and of the way in which He
lived. The acceptance of the unacceptable, the loving of the unlovable,
inevitably produces the necessity of the Cross, which itself must be
chosen and accepted if the life of love is to be triumphant.

We would like to evade this part of Christian living, if that were
possible. The Cross and all that it represents is the part of the
Christian gospel that we would prefer to skip. The lives of church
people reveal only too clearly how much they wish it were possible to
move directly from the contemplation of the ideal to its actualization,
and to bypass the experience of crucifixion and its meaning for us.
Lovers, for example, would like to move from the contemplation of the
romantic ideal of their love to its realization in their lives. But the
full meaning of their love cannot become available to them except as
they pass through the challenges and crises of their relationship and
die to themselves for the sake of the other. Nor can anyone master a
skill or a field of study except as he moves from the vision of what he
_might_ do, to its realization through the path of self-discipline,
which is a kind of dying to himself and to other values which he might
choose and cultivate.

Jesus Christ affirmed by His teaching and life this principle of
disciplined self-giving. If we would be partakers of His resurrection,
we must be willing to be buried with Him in His death. We are expected
to show forth His death till He comes, and we do this by dying daily. In
one sense, the life of the Christian is a life of dying. Being buried
with Christ in His death is symbolized in the act of baptism, especially
when it is administered by immersion and accompanied with such a
Scripture verse as, "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into
death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the
Father, we too might walk in newness of life."[9] In other words we have
to expect the pain of our relationships and accept the responsibility of
them for the sake of the glory in them that may be revealed later. We
are to accept the unacceptable in ourselves and in others, because on
the cross Christ accepted the unacceptable in all men. This is what
produced the Cross. And so He died, bearing the sin of man while He
perfectly fulfilled His own teaching; that is, He was perfectly obedient
to the full meaning of love. We too have to die daily to our desire for
peace at any price, to our desire to work out convenient and comfortable
compromises, and to our desire to be God and to have things run our own
way. Thus, we come to realize the meaning of His words, "Whoever loses
his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it."[10]

The Christian fellowship, therefore, is the fellowship of men and
women who accept dying as a part of living, and who are not surprised
by the presence in human relations of selfishness, betrayals,
misrepresentations, hostility, and all other violations of the ideal.
When we meet these things, we should not run away, or pretend that such
conditions do not exist. Instead, we should face these hostile and
negative human responses with courage. Because we are participating in
the life of our Lord, we may move through these experiences, knowing
that nothing can really separate us from the love of God which seeks to
make itself known in and through our relations with one another. We may
trust that if we accept the pain that we have in our relations with one
another and are obedient to the spirit of the love that seeks to reunite
man with man, we may emerge on the farther side of the painful
experience with relationships that are richer, deeper, and stronger than
they were before.

An excellent illustration of this principle is to be found in Tennessee
Williams' play, _Cat on a Hot Tin Roof_, the point of which many people
miss because of what they regard to be the vulgarity, profanity, and
licentiousness of its characters. In the play, Brock, the son, evaded
his problems with himself, his father, his wife, and his work through an
excessive use of alcohol. His father, Big Daddy, in his rough, profane
way was greatly concerned about his son. Finally, in a tremendous scene
between Big Daddy and Brock, the father pursued his son through every
kind of evasion and rationalization in a determined effort to break
through to his heart. Nothing that Brock could say to his father was
sufficient to cause Big Daddy to turn away. He could easily have
abandoned his sick boy and evaded the pain of what he was trying to do.
Instead, he hammered at the door of Brock's life with a love that was
willing to accept every rejection that his son could offer. And he did
not give up. Finally, he broke through, reached his boy, and brought him
back to his life with his family and his work. Because he was willing to
die to himself and every comfortable impulse. Big Daddy was freed to be
the instrument of a saving love. Here was a dramatic portrayal of the
truth which our Lord not only taught but exemplified, and which He would
like to see reproduced in the lives of all of us.

Incidentally, it is ironical that so many Christian people missed the
real message of this play because they were so easily offended by that
which is not pretty in human life. It is a shame that we would rather be
pretty than redemptive. We seem to place respectability above salvation.
Christians ought to be able to see through and behind the dirty and
sinful ways in which people live, and recognize them as symptoms of a
spiritual condition that calls for that which God is trying to give them
through us. It is tragic that some would-be Christians, like Mrs.
Strait, become so moralistic that they condemn rather than help people.
Christ could see behind the suffering of men, behind their sins, and He
was not distracted by what they did. He was concerned for men first and
for their behavior last. He knew that if He could reach the man, the
behavior would take care of itself. We are supposed to be like Him, men
and women who, because His Spirit indwells us and because we participate
in His living and dying, are able to see the hearts of other men and
women and to unite them with the power of God's love and forgiveness.


_Participation in the Resurrection_

This kind of living would bring us to our third participation in the
life of Christ, namely, in His resurrection. Because He was faithful to
His love and willing to die in obedience to its demand, He was raised up
in triumph, and with Him all things were made new. These were the events
of His life. But His life affirms the principle of God's life as it is
lived in human existence. Since His Spirit incarnates itself in us, then
we may expect that our lives will be triumphant also and be the source
of renewal for others. Another criticism that we can make of Christians
is that they do not have this sense of expectancy, this sense of
deliverance, this sense of triumph, and this appearance of having been
renewed. All too often we are grim and sad, discouraged and cynical, and
our lives contradict the faith we profess.

However, because we participate in His resurrection, we are given the
wonderful power of facing any problem with courage, even though it may
seem, from a human point of view, that no solution is possible. We live
in the faith that if we consent to be buried with Christ in His death,
we shall be made partakers of His resurrection. And this, not in the
hereafter, but now, in this present life.

A father told me of an incident with his son that illustrates the
principle we are now considering. He and his son had become involved in
a quarrel and both had lost their tempers. The father confessed that he
had said some harsh and cruel things to his boy. Finally, however, he
came to himself, realized what he was doing, and, dying to his pride, he
acknowledged his fault and asked his son's forgiveness. When the
exchange was over, the boy was still rather subdued, but later when he
came through the room where his father was seated, he called out
cheerily, "Hi, Pop." The cheerful greeting of the son was a sign of the
triumphant relationship between father and son, and, in the human
relationship, the father was participating in the resurrection of Jesus
Christ.

In other words, our participation in the life, death, and resurrection
of Christ will give us courage, faith, and hope. This way of life will
not save us from the pain of human living, nor will it save us from
going through dark times of indecision and lack of faith. We shall,
however, be able to live our lives out of the power of the triumphant
life that God lived in human life.

Our worship is yet another way in which we participate in the life,
death, and resurrection of our Lord. In worship we bring our lives to
the judgment of Christ's teaching and life, and these reveal how unequal
we are to live His life, and how greatly we need His Spirit to transform
our lives. By our confession of our sins we participate in His death for
us and for our sins, and the assurance of His forgiveness enables us to
participate in His resurrection so that we may rise to our feet, make a
confident offering of ourselves, and sing our praises of thanksgiving.

The Christian, we conclude, is one in whom the Spirit of Christ is
incarnate. By the power of the Spirit he participates in the life of
Christ, so that the presence of Christ and His Spirit has contemporary
power and meaning in the arena of human relations. The love of God is
for the world, and this world-love of God should be reflected in the
devotion of His people to His work in the world.

   [3] 1 John 4:20.
   [4] 1 John 4:16.
   [5] Matt. 18:20.
   [6] Luke 18:11.
   [7] See 2 Cor. 5:17.
   [8] Luke 10:27.
   [9] Rom. 6:4; See also Col. 2:12.
  [10] Mark 8:35.



III

HEREIN IS LOVE

    "Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and
               he who loves is born of God and knows God."--_1 John 4:7_


Thus far, we have identified the Christian life as participation in the
life of Christ, and the Christian fellowship as the relationship of men
who have been reunited to one another by the presence in them of the
Spirit of Christ. We need to make this concept even more specific and,
therefore, now ask the question: "How does one participate in the life
of Christ; how does one find the Spirit; what must one do?" The gospel's
answer is: "You shall love."[11] It has surpassing attraction, but is
also considerably disappointing. Love is appealing, but its practice is
appallingly difficult. While the Christian relationship seems to promise
a difference, it is hard to identify. What makes the difference? or,
What is the Good News?


_The Gift of God in Christ_

Christians believe that the gift of God in Christ confers something that
man needs but has lost. What is it that we do not have that we are
supposed to receive as a result of our new relationship with Christ? Let
us recall that in our earlier discussion we took note of the ambivalent
character of love. We want to be loved and we are afraid to accept love;
we want to love and are afraid to give love for fear it will not be
accepted. We are not free to love, therefore; that which by nature we
cannot have is the freedom to love. We believe that God is love.
Creation is the work of His love, and love is the work of His creation.
But the ambivalences of human nature keep us from being free in the work
of love. The coming of Christ, in the midst of history, changed the
balance of power between love and hate, life and death, and set us free
to love. Love became the energizing, reconciling force in human
existence. B.C. and A.D. marked the transition, not only of time, but
also of the old creation in which our power of love was imprisoned in
our fear to love, and of the new creation in which our power of love was
set free by the love of God in Christ. Now the triumphant power of God's
love is at work in the world and is available to all who seek to do the
work of love anywhere and for anyone. Accordingly, the work of love was
and is the breaking down of walls of separation, and the reuniting of
man and God, man and man, and man with himself, in all which work we
participate.


_What Is Love?_

Do we know what we mean when we think of love in this way? A clear
understanding of love is needed, because it is so gravely misunderstood
in our time. All too commonly, love is regarded as a sentiment, a
feeling, a "liking" for someone. While sentiment and emotion are
certainly a part of love, it is tragic to make them synonymous with
love. Certainly we mean more than that when we say, "God is love," or
when we wrestle with the concept of man showing his love of God through
his love for his neighbor. In these concepts we are thinking of love as
the moving, creating, healing power of life; of love that is "the moving
power of everything toward everything else that is."[12] Love reunites
life with life, person with person, and as such is not easily
discouraged. The most dramatic symbol of love's courage and triumph is,
as we have seen, the cross and the resurrection; it stands for the love
wherewith God has loved us. "In this is love, not that we loved God but
that he loved us...."[13] Having given us His love, we have it for our
response to Him, so that we love Him by loving one another with His love
which we received through His people. Thus, the nurturing of our
response to God's love is the work of the church. Our responsibility is
to love Him. We are to love God by loving one another, and in loving one
another we introduce one another to God. This is the work of the church
and the vocation of the people of God. We are called to love one another
reunitingly with the love wherewith God loved us.

In order for us to participate in the love of God which is at work in
the world, we need to understand ourselves and our own creaturely
problems in relation to love. Too much Christian thought about love and
its work is abstract rather than a reckoning with the complications of
human existence. In order to avoid this danger, let us turn to a
consideration of what is involved in recovering our freedom to love.


_Recovering Our Freedom to Love_

Because we are created in the image of God, our deepest need is to be
loved. This need is fundamental and has both human and divine roots. The
baby comes into being as a result of being loved. We take him in our
arms, care for him, call him by name, and reveal to him the love that we
have for him. Thus he experiences love. These experiences of love
stimulate, in turn, his love, which is the completion of his need of
love. His response to being loved is to love, and this response is not
long in coming. We see it in his smiles, in his cooing, when he pats his
mother's cheek, when he puts his little arms around her neck, and later
when he begins to toddle and bring his gifts to her. In many ways the
individual begins to show that he has been loved by revealing his
growing power to love.

Our day, however, seems to be one in which people are more conscious of
their need to be loved than of their need to love, with the result that
everyone is running around looking for love. But we do not find love by
looking for it; we find it by giving it. And when we find love by
loving, we find God. Our Lord gave us His love generously, not in order
that we might be loved, but that we might be freed to love one another.
"You received without pay, give without pay."[14] He calls us from our
childish preoccupations with security to the appropriate adult
occupations of the mature Christian. He calls us away from our suckling
tendencies to our responsibility to feed others, from receiving to
giving. If someone came to me and asked, "How can I find God?" I would
answer, "Go find someone to love and you'll find Him."

Unless the searcher was love-deprived and in need of reassurance, I
would not begin by figuratively putting my arm around him and cherishing
him. There are situations where this is necessary. People can be so
broken and so hurt that they cannot love, and they need to be cherished
and reassured until they can. One of the responsibilities of the church
is to be on the alert for those people who in later life need the love
and reassurance they should have had when they were younger.
Unfortunately, however, many of us are embarrassed when we are
confronted by emotionally needy persons. We may resent their need and
the demand which it makes on us, with the result that they may never
know the love of man and God, and may never be brought to the point
where they may participate in the life and work of Christ which is, as
we have seen, to love.

Of course, it is not easy to love, especially when we feel unequal to
it, are tempted to regress, and want to be loved and cuddled ourselves.
Yet even then the answer to our need is to love. Many of us have had
experiences that have borne out this truth. Once when my son and I had
had a quarrel in which I had lost my temper, and was feeling discouraged
as a father and not at all competent where human relations were
concerned, the phone rang and a young couple asked if they might come
and talk with me about the difficulty they were having with their young
son. Because of my feelings of wretched inadequacy, my inclination was
to say "No," but they were so obviously in need of help and so
importunate that I arranged for them to come to see me immediately. I
had no confidence in being able to help them, but I did try to listen to
them. As I listened, I participated in their thinking about their own
situation. When the session was over, they thanked me enthusiastically
for my help. After they were gone, I realised that however much I had
helped them, I myself had been helped. By accepting my responsibilities
as a counselor and by listening to them, I was loving them; and because
I loved them, I had the experience of being loved. The relationship in
which our love is needed may offer little apparent encouragement, but
once we give ourselves, the resources for the work of love become
available.

It is, therefore, as important for us to love as it is for us to be
loved, and our need to love is as great as the need to be loved. If we
are not able to love, life is as deficient as it would have been if we
had not been loved. We must not assume that because we have been loved
we shall automatically become a person who loves. Human beings do not
develop that automatically. Certainly the experience of being loved
prepares us to love, but we can misuse the gifts of love. We may decide
to appropriate them for ourselves. We may not want to assume
responsibility for others. But having received love and choosing not to
love, we may lose such love as we have. We then become self-centered and
selfish misers of love, and therefore loveless.

How can we love our children so that they will become givers of love
rather than hoarders of it? How can the freedom and power to love be
released in them? The answer is, by encouraging their love responses. We
have already recognized the importance, first, of the need to be loved,
and second, of the need to love. We now face the importance of our being
able to accept love and of encouraging the attempts of people, and
especially of our children, to express their love. We might assume that
it is easy to welcome their responses. Unfortunately, our expressions of
love do not always please those to whom we make them. Because our love
offerings are not appreciated and accepted, we may feel unloved and
rejected. After repeated attempts to express our love successfully, and
having been repeatedly rejected and discouraged, we may give up and turn
our love in on ourselves.

A rose gardener told me of an instance that illustrates how difficult it
is to accept some love offerings. He not only grew roses, but exhibited
them as well. On one occasion, he had several blooms that he was
nurturing for a coming show, one of which was being produced on a bush
of his favorite variety. On the day before the exhibit his four-year-old
son appeared before him with ecstatic face and with his prize rose
clutched stemless in his hand, saying, "Look Daddy, what I brought you."
It was obvious that the youngster, who adored his father, thought that
he was presenting the perfect gift of his love, because he knew how much
his father liked that particular rose. The father, on the other hand,
confessed that he responded as the rose grower and exhibitor, rather
than as one who had an opportunity to encourage his son's love responses
by recognizing, from his son's point of view, the appropriateness of
the gift. When, therefore, he very understandably scolded and spanked
his child for picking the rose, the little boy was dreadfully upset.
Episodes of this kind, if only occasional, are not serious, because they
are experienced in the context of a relationship that is predominantly
loving, supportive, and encouraging.

When the expressions of love and affection of children are not received
with understanding and acceptance, their attempts to learn to love find
no encouragement. Because they are being prevented from learning to love
their parents and others, they are being prevented also from learning to
love God in and through them. Our Lord's response to the gifts brought
to Him demonstrates the kind of responses we should make to one another.
Even when people's gifts were poorly motivated and ill-chosen, He was
able to look behind them and see and understand the person who gave.
Although Zacchaeus seemed to be motivated only by curiosity, our Lord
invited him to come down out of the tree and asked that He might have
dinner with him, thus moving behind the greed that had made Zacchaeus a
publican.[15] And because our Lord was able to accept the gift of Mary
Magdalene, her true love was called forth.[16] So it is with us. Our
offerings often are pitiful and ill-chosen, but He looks upon the heart
and sees there that really we are trying to express our love despite our
ill-chosen means of doing so.

If we are to participate in the life of Christ and be the instruments of
His love, we must learn to be hospitable to one another's efforts to
express love. Parents need to look upon the hearts of their children and
see deeply what they are trying to express. Husbands and wives likewise
need to look behind the externals of behavior. What we do on the outside
often fails to represent truly and adequately what is on the inside. We
all need encouragement to love, and hospitality toward human attempts to
express love is one of the surest ways in which we can participate in
the contemporary living of Christ in the world.


_Some Disciplines of Love_

Now there are some disciplines that we need to follow as we engage in
the dialogue of love. First, there is the discipline of giving oneself.
It is the discipline of keeping oneself responsible for and to one
another, responsible in facing issues and in making decisions. The only
way to love is to communicate love by word and action. We may learn to
use our power of being to speak and act the word of love. We should
refuse to withhold it for any reason, including our fear of speaking it.
Of course, there is risk in giving ourselves. Our gift of love may not
be accepted, may not be appreciated, and may even be exploited. In
giving love we may be hurt because of the nature of others' responses.
But we will be stronger for having given it, and others may be called
forth by it. Life cannot remain the same when love has been expressed.

Second, there is the discipline of holding ourselves to our own part.
This is the discipline of allowing others to speak for themselves; or
again, the discipline of refraining from trying to carry on both sides
of a dialogue. We are always doing this; that is, we speak to the image
we have of the other person. We try to anticipate his response and take
away his freedom to respond and speak for himself. We choose our part of
the dialogue in response to what we think his reaction will be and
thereby rob ourselves of our freedom to be. There can be no
communication between the images which two people hold of each other.
Communication is possible only between two persons who, out of mutual
respect, really address one another.

A third discipline is to accept the demand in love and our obligation to
meet that demand. The compulsive element in love is hard for us to
accept. But we cannot separate law from love. Law is implicit in love.
Our Lord, Who is the incarnation of divine love, warned that He would
not remove one bit of the law. He did not destroy the law, but by His
love fulfilled it. It is really good that law is a part of love. Our own
love relationships benefit from the presence of law in love, because law
guides and protects our relationship. When we are "in love," or in
union with one another, we are not conscious of the law, but it is
implicitly present. We can be said to be "living above the law."

The law that is implicit in the relationship between a man and a woman
who love each other is that they shall respect and act trustworthily in
relation to one another; that they shall care for one another in all the
ways that are necessary to their relationship. As long as love prevails,
they are not conscious of this law. They do not need it. But if for any
reason they should "fall out of" love, then they become conscious of
their obligations to each other. Their relationship is now lived under
the burden of law, and they will find it harder to observe than they did
before. They now are being held together by their obligations, and it
may be that while being thus held together they will again find each
other in love. When they look back on this period some years later, they
may call the whole experience love, because then they will see that the
obligations of their relationship are a part of their love. Obviously,
this is mature and not infantile love. Love that accepts responsibility
and its obligations is love that is not primarily concerned about its
privileges, although it gives thanks for whatever privileges it has. It
recognizes itself not primarily as an emotion, but as a way of life; and
it is more concerned about commitment than sensation.

By the employment of these principles that we have just rehearsed, we
can help our children grow in their capacity to love and thereby become
more capable of a heroic commitment to one another. This kind of
commitment should characterize the members of the Christian fellowship,
the men and women in whose lives the Spirit of the Christ is incarnate.

We have seen that we need to be loved in order that we may love others
and that we should encourage one another's love responses. Does this
mean that our attempts to express love should be accepted without
correction? What should the rose-growing father of the little boy have
done? One view is that the father should have accepted the gift with
thanks, recognizing only the child's intention. Certainly, his
intentions should be honored and his gift accepted. But the boy also
needed help in learning how to express his love to others. Here is
something we are always having to learn. All of us have had the
experience of doing or giving something that was intended to be an
expression of our love, only to discover that the gift was not
appreciated by the one to whom it was given, and we find ourselves
saying, "Oh, I didn't mean it to be that way." With children and with
one another we need to strike a balance between acceptance of the
intention and guidance in choosing the means for the expression of love.
Loving is an art, and we all need to learn the art and to refine its
practice. One would expect Christians and church people, who are
supposed to be incarnations of the spirit of love, to be masters of the
art. Yet, to the world, we often appear to be ungracious people. So let
us learn to love one another, and let us train our children in the
practice of the art of love, by encouraging and disciplining them in it.

If a text for this responsibility were needed, we might take it from the
ancient liturgical language of the church in which we say, "We receive
this person into the congregation of Christ's flock," which should mean
that we receive the person into the congregation of persons in whom the
love of Christ is incarnate.


_The Language of Words and Life_

Unfortunately, however, we often use the words that suggest the right
meaning but fail to carry out that meaning in our lives. All too easily
our religious statements become empty forms, separated from the vitality
and meaning which they are supposed to express. Remember, for instance,
how vainly we sometimes say the Lord's Prayer, which is a form that our
Lord gave us, by means of which we could express the vitality of our
relationship with God and one another. Likewise, we can honor and use
the correct verbal and other symbols about the church and Christian
fellowship, its rites and ceremonies, and yet fail to translate them
into action, with the result that our rites and ceremonies and
doctrinal statements become dry, empty forms. Instead of being the means
of new life, they may only disappoint people, because they do not really
communicate the meaning that they seem to promise. Every church should
always test whether its forms are really expressive of the truth which
it professes. It is not enough that we speak the truth; we must live it.

It has been given to men to communicate both by word and by the life
that is lived. There must always be a vital relation between the meaning
that is being communicated in the word and the form or means of its
communication. The breakdown of education and of religion occurs when
there is a breakdown between the human experience with its meaning and
the word which represents it. This breakdown is complete when speaking
the word becomes a substitute for living its meaning. This breakdown
also occurs when a culture undertakes to educate by means of words and
concepts only, and neglects to employ what happens between man and man
as an integral and indispensable part of the curriculum.

The word and the meaning of the experience belong to each other and need
each other, and the relation between them is a necessary part of
education. Let us use the word "fight" as an illustration. We have this
word because of man's experience in fighting. Out of the relationships
of conflict and combat comes the experience we think of as fighting, and
the word "fight" stands for it. The very young child learns to fight
before he learns the word "fight." So far as he knows, the experience of
fighting exists only between himself and his mother, and it is necessary
for him to discover that fighting is a universal human activity. He
learns the meaning of the word "fight" by the meanings that he brings
out of his own combat, and on the basis of these he begins to understand
the universal meaning of "fight." The word thus unites his little,
individual experience with the experience of the human race of which he
is a part. Therefore the word becomes an effective instrument in
teaching him the meaning of his experience in the context of the
experience of his own kind.

Similarly, because of his relationship to his mother, the child may
experience her trustworthiness long before he knows the word "trust,"
but he needs a word for this experience. Then, as he begins to acquire
the ability to convey these meanings with words, he learns the word
"trust" and immediately the door opens so that his experience becomes
related to the much larger experience of the people that have lived
before him. If a child is being brought up in the Christian fellowship,
the minute he begins to have a word to describe the trustworthiness of
his relationship with his mother, he also begins to understand the
meaning of trust as Christians have experienced it in relation to God.

On the other hand, it is difficult to convey the meaning of Christ's
death to a child. Here the words are crucial to the understanding of the
meaning, but he cannot bring out of his own life sufficient experiences
to make the meaning of the concept available to him. But it is important
to introduce him to these concepts by means of words against the time
when the words will carry meaning. As we live with our children we help
them interpret the meaning of their experiences. Some day they will be
able to move from the little meanings that they have accumulated about
life and death to the great meanings of the life and death and
resurrection of Christ by means of the little word "cross" and other
associated words. Education requires the use of both the language of
words _and_ the language of relationships. We teach children the words
of our faith, but at the same time we try to live with them in ways that
will provide the meanings that will prepare them for understanding the
meanings of the faith. And this is what I mean when I suggest that what
happens between us is an indispensable part of the curriculum.


_The Curriculum of Relationship_

This emphasis upon the relationship between parent and child, between
teacher and pupil, between person and person, as a part of the learning
situation, seems to put a heavy burden upon the teacher. After all, it
was difficult enough when the teacher had to be responsible for the
correct words for the transmission of the truth, and for the
understandings that must go with them. Now, in addition, we have to pay
attention to what is going on between teacher and pupil. The work of
teaching is much bigger than mere verbal transmission, and nothing less
is worthy of being called Christian teaching.

This kind of teaching requires that the truth being taught be incarnate
in the relationship between men, which was what God did in Christ. The
teaching of Christ is contained not only in His words, but also in His
life. His life gave meaning to His words and made them uniquely
different from any other words that had ever been spoken. Actually, many
of the things that our Lord taught were not new, but His life was, and
this made His teaching unique. The same principle must apply to us. Some
instruction given in the name of Christian education is dull,
monotonous, and irrelevant. There is nothing untrue about it, but it is
taught without the conviction born of experience, and it is not
expressed in what goes on between man and man. On the other hand, a
recognition of the responsibilities of this kind of teaching should be
coupled with the joys and satisfactions of it. It is the kind of
teaching that can relieve us of some of the anxieties of accomplishment.


_A Word of Encouragement_

Many parents and teachers are concerned about the quality of the care
and teaching which they give children, and they are particularly worried
about their failures and sins in relation to them. Present in many of us
is the fear that we may have permanently impaired the future welfare of
those for whom we are responsible. This leads us to try to be perfect in
the discharge of our duties and thus prevent serious injury to our
children. In other words, we would like to love them perfectly, which,
if we were able to do, would ill prepare them for their life in this
world.

Furthermore, and more importantly, implicit in this anxiety is a grave
misconception of what it means to be a Christian. The test of our love
and faith is not the absence of failure and sin and problems, but lies
in what we are able to do about them. Of course, Christian parents get
angry with their children and say and do things that hurt them. We are
haunted by the signs in our children that we have failed them, by the
evidences of their anxiety, by the problems they sometimes have in
relation to other people, by their lying and stealing, by their
hostility and quarrelsomeness, and by their excessive competitiveness
and jealousy. Sometimes the scenes around the family table are far
different from our image of what Christian family life and fellowship
should be. We wonder where we have failed, grow discouraged, and fail
again. We are embarrassed by the contradiction that our children see
between the things that we say and the things that we do.

Parents and teachers who, like Mrs. Strait, live by the law, either have
to blind themselves to what's going on in their relationships or else
become profoundly discouraged. And if we are like Mr. Churchill, our
decision will be to ignore human problems and to turn ourselves to a
devotion of God, as if that were possible! Dr. Manby would wait for time
to take care of the matter, and Mr. Knowles would frantically cram more
knowledge about the Bible into the minds of parents and children in the
hope that, somehow or other, knowing about God and Christian teaching
would produce the necessary changes. Mr. Clarke, of course, would turn
the whole "mess" over to the clergy.

Implicit in the situations we have been discussing is a concept of
success, the assumption being that if we love God and our neighbor
everything we do will turn out all right. My grandfather always
maintained that his business prospered because he kept the laws of God.
When we stop to think about it, we realize what a faulty concept this
is. After all, it was not easy for Christ to accomplish the purposes of
love in this world, and there is no reason why it should be any easier
for us. It is not easy to maintain the dialogue of life; it is not easy
to call forth the being of others; it is not easy to regain the freedom
to love even when we respond to the spirit of love. We recognize the
credibility and promise of all these principles, but wonder at the
difficulty of their application.


_The Work of Love_

We need to remember that even God, with all of His power and wisdom,
does not give His love to us in ways that take away our freedom of
response. He leaves us free to say Yes or No to Him, to love, to our
families, and to all the responsibilities of life. This means, as we saw
earlier, that we are to speak the word of love and leave the other
person free to make his response. We cannot expect a guaranteed response
from him. We cannot prevent him from making a wrong response any more
than we can make him give the right response. Our children are free, and
we must respect that freedom. This is why the achievement of a love
relationship is so exceedingly difficult. In the achievement of any
relationship we are involved in a life-and-death struggle. Our children,
for instance, want our love, care, and protection. At the same time,
they want to be their own selves and to assume responsibility for their
own lives. They can and do resent, with devastating hostility, action on
our part that looks to them like interference with their lives. On the
other hand, we love them and feel that we cannot do enough for them. The
effect of our zeal often is to overwhelm them with our care and deprive
them of the freedom in which to achieve their power of being.

Inevitably, then, the living dialogue between the parent and the child
is both a happy and a troubled one in which the powers of love and
resentment are exerted on both sides. The struggle between freedom and
tyranny in human relations is understood in the struggle of the cross,
which takes place in every individual and in every relationship. The
actualization of ourselves in relation to one another is both difficult
and painful. It is hard to understand how anybody could ever think it
was easy. The struggle calls for a love that is prepared to lay down its
life for its friends. The entrance of love into life brings, sometimes,
not peace but a sword. Tension and conflict may accompany the work of
love. The conflict between the love of God and the self-centeredness of
man produces an ugly, rugged, and bloody struggle, which the crucifixion
summarized.


_The Power of Love_

The good news of the gospel is not that a way has been given us by which
to avoid conflict, but that the power of love has been given us for the
conflict. With it we can enter into the shambles of life with assurance,
courage, and a belief that, even though we cannot always understand what
is going on, the purpose of love is to reunite man and man, and that in
Christ God's love won the initial victory in this process. We may,
therefore, participate in the life of the world with all of its
conflicts, including our own personal conflicts, with faith in the power
of reuniting love. We should not be surprised when we find ourselves
embroiled in conflict and involved in complex situations. Our faith is
not in our ability to do right, but in the power of God to help us
re-enter the difficult and unpleasant situations we have created with
new hope and with healing love. We may be thankful that God revealed
Himself through a cross and, therefore, made clear how realistic He is
in relation to the characteristics and conditions of human existence.

The power of love is liberating. It frees us so that we can use what
happens between us as a part of the curriculum of Christian living and
learning. Instead of wasting our time worrying about why things happen,
we can use our energies and our understandings to deal with them
constructively. The purpose of Christianity is not alone the prevention
of crime, but the redemption of criminals; not alone the prevention of
sin, but the saving of sinners. The great Christian word is redemption,
which means transforming a destructive relationship into one in which
the conditions and purposes of love are realized. Let us remember that
fine linen paper is made out of old dirty rags. Similarly, a wonderful
Christian relationship can be formed out of one that seems tragic. As we
have seen, the test of a man is not in what happens to him, but in what
he does about what happens to him. The transformation of what happens
in human relations is the work of the Holy Spirit, continuing the work
that was begun in Christ. The Spirit gives the gift of reconciling love
with which we may participate in the continuing work of Christ, which is
the redemption and transformation of life. So in the context of this
love we can relax while we also exercise our care.


_Love and Sin_

The power of love over sin is widely recognized. In the first place,
there is no judgment like the judgment implicit in love. The face of
love is compassionate, but it gives a light that reveals the darkness of
our hearts. We know that we are judged, but we know also that we are not
condemned. The judgment and the forgiveness come to us as a part of the
communication of love. Have we not felt this as we stood in the presence
of someone whose love was true? We wished to be rid of everything in us
that was unworthy of that love. In that same instant there may have
welled up within us a repentance and a determination to live in response
to that purifying, reuniting love. Such is our experience when the
Spirit of Christ brings us face to face with Him and His love. To be
loved is to be illumined, purified, and transformed, because love has
the power of re-creation.

Parents and others who are conscious of their failures and sins in
relation to their loved ones should remember that human beings are
fundamentally resilient and resourceful. Children's springs of life and
vitality are powerful. Their need to affirm themselves as persons is
undeniable, and any experience of love that they have is reinforcing.
Experiences of unlove are to them unbelievable and point, fundamentally
and finally, to the necessity and believability of love. While our
children are dependent upon us for their personal environment in which
to grow up, they bring powers and resources to their growing up which
are independent of us. They bring something to the dialogue in which
self-actualization occurs. Their part of the dialogue is just as
important and indispensable as ours. We cannot live their lives for
them. They have to live their own lives, and our part is to live in
relation to them and contribute our assistance to their powers of
becoming.

Parents and teachers are not the only ones who influence their children.
We live in a society in which different people have different roles to
play in relation to everyone else. We should not measure the progress of
a child only by how we see him or by what we think he is receiving from
us. Our impression of the child's progress may be mistaken. We may not
be able to know him as he is, nor know what others are contributing.
And, least of all, can we know the total effect of all his relationships
on what he is becoming as a person. Our anxieties about a particular
incident may exist because we fail to see it in its total context. Much
happens in the development of a person's life that we do not see, and
much of the transformation occurs secretly at levels so deep that we
cannot observe it. Although we may not see what is happening, we may be
sure that something is. In the sphere of the personal we need to trust
both God and man, and if we trust God we can trust man. We then may take
a long view of our task, and teach and work and live by faith.

This is what it should mean to be a Christian and a member of the church
of Christ. What a wonderful thing it is to belong to a fellowship that
is made up of people who may be united by the Spirit of God and through
whom we believe that God works! What a comfort it is to know that we do
not have to do and believe everything ourselves! Not only do we not have
to live and believe and love for ourselves, but others live and believe
and love for us at times when we cannot. But let us also remember that
we have to live and believe and love for them when weakness or doubt or
hostility seems to overwhelm them. This is the meaning of Christian
fellowship; namely, that we are not an aggregation of individuals, but
instead are members of one body, with every member having his own
function, and the function of every member standing in a complementary
relation to that of the others, of which body Christ is the head. Here
is the source of the love about which we have been speaking and the
process through which love is lived in the life of the world that God
loves.

  [11] Luke 10:27.
  [12] From _Love, Power and Justice_, by Paul Tillich, Oxford
       University Press, Copyright, 1954. Used by permission.
  [13] 1 John 4:10. The title of this book was suggested by the familiar
       opening words of this verse in the King James Version, "Herein is
       love...."
  [14] Matt. 10:8.
  [15] See Luke 19:2 ff.
  [16] See Luke 7:37 ff.



IV

SOME OBJECTIVES OF LOVE

    "Little children, let us not love in word or speech
                               but in deed and in truth."--_1 John 3:18_


The objective of love, as we have seen, is to "move everything to
everything else that is," especially to reunite person to person. This
is an identifying characteristic of the love of God, and it is to some
degree the characteristic of all love. We believe that this love was
incarnate in Jesus Christ. We believe that His Spirit, active in the
world in which we live, seeks to incarnate this love in us here and now.
Furthermore, we have identified some more general characteristics of
love. Now we turn to look at some of the ways in which love accomplishes
its purpose, a purpose which is the responsibility of the church in its
dispersion in the life of the world.


_Love's Sphere Is Personal_

The sphere of love's action is in the realm of the personal; it acts in
and through relationships. The process by which the person emerges is
both wonderful and fearful, and one for which we should have reverence,
the zeal to understand, and the willingness to be responsible for.
Certain specific things need to be accomplished which are the work of
love, which we have already identified as the calling forth of persons.
In this work of love we participate in the reconciling work of God in
Christ today. Let us remember also that children first experience the
love of God through their experience of their parents' love, and that
parents in loving their children are loving God, since we love God by
loving one another. How else can we love God than by loving one another?
With this understanding of the context in which we live and work and
serve one another, let us turn our attention to how love's task is
accomplished.

First, however, a word about what that task is not. The objective of
love is not to create or nurture a so-called normal human being. In the
first place, there is no universal concept of the normal, and the
criterion of normality varies from age to age and from culture to
culture. All men have problems and always will have them. The pursuit of
perfection is a perilous project that may cause all kinds of
imperfections and will inevitably produce disillusionment.

Adjustment cannot be the goal of Christian living and the objective of
love. The clam is adjusted about as well as any of God's creatures, but
has very little to offer beyond a passive role in a bowl of soup.
Instead of striving to mold a person completely adjusted to his
surroundings, love seeks to nurture a person who is capable of
maintaining a creative tension between his need and his responsibility,
between the vitality of spirit and the form of being. And, according to
tests, such creative people often are classified as not normal and not
well adjusted.

Nor is the pursuit of happiness the objective of love. Happiness for
human beings is a forlorn hope. Because of conflicts within himself and
between himself and others, man is doomed to be unhappy most of the
time. He is always having to deal with the inevitable conflicts and
accidents of life that give him a sense of vulnerability, both as an
individual and as a member of his tribe, nation, or race. Instead, the
objective of love is to provide the human being with resources, by means
of which he may face his human existence with courage and with a sense
of peace that passes understanding. It now remains for us to spell this
out in human terms.


_Dialogue Between Individual and Environment_

When the human being is born, he leaves the biological exchange of the
womb for the social exchange system of his society, where his gradually
increasing capacities meet the opportunities and limitations of his
culture. The appearance of the person, therefore, results from the
dialogue between himself and his environment, between his growing,
autonomous self and the directing community upon which he is dependent.
This dialogue between the individual and his environment often has, as
we have seen, the characteristics of a conflict. The individual
challenges and makes demands of his family, and the family challenges
and makes demands of the child. Each wrestles with the problems of trust
in relation to the other, each wrestles for autonomy that is equal to
the domination of the other, each strives for the initiative and
industriously competes with the other, and each seeks an identity that
may either exclude or include the other. The quality of the life of the
individual and of the social order depends upon the results of the
dialogue between them.

I am thinking of two families. In one, the parents helped their children
work through their difficulties with each other, thus assuming
dialogical responsibility for what happened between them. In late
teenhood, each child in turn became a person in his own right who had
achieved a relatively mature, congenial, and loving relation with every
other member of the family. In the second family, the parents could not
face the conflicts inevitable to human nature in a growing family, and
pretended a quality of relationship that did not exist between them.
When their children became late teen-agers and older, a smoldering
antagonism existed between them which occasionally broke out in venomous
quarrels. The parents of this second family had not assumed dialogical
responsibility for the content of their family life, with the result
that the interaction between the growing person and his environment was
not creative.

The process of unfolding patterns, of decisions made in response to
crises, of frustrations and achievements in living, are also the human
content for religious development, and provide opportunities for both
conversion and nurture. The development of a person is religiously
significant, and the events in his life have ultimate meaning. We may
think of them in only psychological and sociological dimensions, but
their meaning also is theological and religious. As we weave our
intricate way through the years of our lives, approaching and
withdrawing, attacking and retreating, victorious and beaten, decisive
and uncertain, being loved and being resented, loving and hating, and
sometimes gladly and sometimes reluctantly participating in the dialogue
between ourselves and our environment of influential persons, we may ask
ourselves this question: What contributes to our emergence as
responsible, resourceful persons? As participants in the dialogue
between our children and ourselves, for example, we should like to know
the kind of address and response we should make that would call them
forth as persons who will be responsible and helpful in relation to
their dependents, peers, and superiors; and enable us, through them, to
love and serve God. How can we so participate with them in living that
there will be called forth in them a courage that will dare the risks of
creativity and acquire the freedom to love?

The dialogue between the individual and life is initiated by the basic
question that is implicit in our being, and becomes explicit as our
capacities as persons increase. The basic question is: Who am I?, and
associated with it is its partner question: Who are you? These two
questions have to be asked together almost as if they were one question,
because there is no answer to the question: Who am I?, except as there
is an answer to the question: Who are you? And this twofold question is
not only asked implicitly by the newborn baby, but explicitly by his
parents, whose own dialogue with the baby involves asking and receiving
answers to Who are you? and Who am I? because the relationship is one in
which the child also may call forth the parent as a person.

This basic twofold question is one which we all continue to ask all
through our lives in many different ways. We must not associate
question-asking exclusively with verbalization. Obviously, the baby
cannot ask his mother in words who she is. He does it by his actions, by
his random movements, by his crying, by his protests, by his exploring
hands and eyes, by his mouth. And the mother does not give reply to his
question by word only, but by her actions; by her feeding and care of
him, by her neglect, by her joy in him and her irritation because of
him, by her coming to him and by her unexplained departures from him.
All her actions are a language by which she tells her child who she is
in response to the questions implicit in his actions. And her answer to
him as to who she is gives him the beginning of an answer to his
question as to who he is.

Thus, the dialogue between mother and child, which is largely nonverbal,
tells him that his mother is one who in some ways loves him and in
others does not, and tells him also that he is one who in some ways is
loved and in other ways is not. Out of this interchange emerges his
manner of response which may become his style of living and loving. But
we need to remember that his characteristics as a person are not wholly
determined by the action of his environment, because they also are
determined by who he is within himself as a unique being. His
inheritance provides him a given quality and capacity. Therefore, the
dialogue is to be understood also as a dialogue between heredity and
environment in which his experience of love releases his power of being.


_Sense of Trust_

The first objective of love to be accomplished out of the dialogue
between the individual and the world is the awakening in him of a sense
of basic trust. Trust toward oneself and toward others is acquired to
some degree during the first year. I have discussed this at some length
in an earlier book, _Man's Need and God's Action_,[17] and here, as well
as there, I acknowledge my indebtedness to the work of Erik Erikson.[18]
In this chapter I shall discuss the other senses that he identifies as
necessary acquisitions of the growing personality.

Perhaps the greatest contribution to the achievement of basic trust is
through the experience of being fed. The experience of being fed
regularly and responsibly causes the child to respond with trust, and he
learns to have faith long before he knows the word for it. Later, at the
appropriate time he acquires the word "faith" to point to the meaning of
his trust experiences. If, still later, he allows the words to take the
place of the substance of his faith, they will become empty words.
Responsible parents and teachers seek to combine the right word with
their action so that the meaning of the child's experiences is
correlated with the words for them. A mature correlation between word
and experience is one in which the child has the experience of finding
people both trustworthy and untrustworthy, and has been helped to deal
with the untrustworthiness in the context of trust. His first
experience, therefore, is a realistic one in which he is strengthened by
his experiences of trust, and is not made too anxious by his experiences
of the inevitable failures of his loved ones to take care of him
perfectly.

The child's experience of trust and mistrust contains the first meanings
for his Christian education. The care of the Divine Father is expressed
in and through the care of his earthly parents. His response to the care
of his earthly parents is his response to his Divine Father. This needs
to be interpreted to the child as he grows up, so that he will accept
and believe in the participating presence of God in human life. An
obstacle in the way of this achievement occurs when people separate God
from life and make Him a kind of absentee operator of the machine called
the world. It then is necessary for the child to make a huge leap from
his trust of his parents to faith in God. While we cannot equate
parental action with divine action, nevertheless we can affirm that
divine action takes place through human action. When such an affirmation
is made and accepted as a part of the parents' faith and is interpreted
to the child as he is able to receive it, he is helped to grow up with a
religious understanding of life itself, rather than conceiving of
religion as being merely a part of life. He will grow up with the idea
that being trustworthy and trusting others has not only psychological
and sociological meaning, but also theological meaning.

A sense of trust is basic, because without it the further development of
the individual would not be possible. Its foundations are laid in the
very first year of an individual's life. The act of taking from his
mother not just food, but her ministrations, her companionship and
friendliness, is the beginning of his emergence as an individual apart
from his parents. As he becomes an individual person, he immediately
begins to be a giver as well as a taker. Giving, as well as receiving,
must become a part of the dialogical relation between two individuals,
whether between a child and the parent, or between two adults. As soon
as a child begins to become a giver, the parent must consent to be a
receiver of that which the child has to give, and thus, again, is a
relationship of basic trust established.

Without parental reception the child would not be affirmed as a giver,
and would, out of his mistrust, become a compulsive taker, a result that
is tragic not only psychologically and sociologically, but religiously
as well. He will not be able to trust God; but because he needs to trust
God, he will begin to create images of God in the context of which he
will try to handle his existential problems. Thus, the foundations of a
false religion may be laid in early childhood, and this false religion,
as it matures, closes the person off from the truth of the gospel and
keeps him from becoming an instrument of the gospel in relation to the
whole world. The church is filled with people who do not really trust
God, even though they publicly profess their faith in Him. These people,
like Mr. Clarke, Mrs. Strait, and the others, live timidly.

We must not conclude that the establishment of basic trust concerns only
infants. The balance between trust and mistrust is something that
concerns us all our days, and the question is raised acutely again every
time we face a danger in the circumstances of our lives. I have observed
that when people come together in a new group relationship, their basic
questions, Who am I? and Who are you?, are reactivated. Significant
communication between them does not take place until some relationship
of trust is established on the basis of satisfactory answers. Our
initial asking of these questions in infancy is, to some degree,
repeated at subsequent times in our lives. They are repeated in times of
marriage, bereavement, retirement, death, or in my personal crisis; and
also when we face the threat of war or the possibility of interplanetary
existence, or in any economic, social, or political crisis. Needed at
these times of threat are relationships with sufficient power to enable
us to participate in the dialogue out of which will come the answers to
our questions. The objective of love is to provide the relationship of
love for a world that, again and again, and in an infinite variety of
ways, asks the basic questions: Who am I? and Who are you?

How wonderful it is to participate in the answer to the basic questions!
Mothers, for instance, who tend to lose the sense of purpose in the
minutiae of their responsibilities, could be helped to realize how
profoundly important is the care they give their children. The way in
which they feed and care for their families may be, if they opened
themselves to the presence and action of God in human life, the means of
their child's union with man and God.

As we try to meet the physical and emotional needs of children, and
travel with them through the various crises of life in which we both
participate, we may have the reassurance that we are doing a great work,
the full meaning of which we may not be able to see at the moment.
Furthermore, we may be reassured that we are participating in the work
of God in the world and engaged in the true ministry of the church in
the world. When there is this living that awakens and renews trust, the
formal teaching and religious observances of the church both receive and
give additional meaning.


_Sense of Autonomy_

The second objective of love is the achievement of a sense of autonomy.
We said earlier that as the child begins to take that which is given to
him, he begins to distinguish between himself and others, and thereby to
become a separate person. In so doing, he begins to achieve some degree
of autonomy as an independent person. This second task is made easier
for him, if he is able to approach it with a sense of trust. The need
for a sense of trust in the achievement of autonomy becomes apparent
once we recognize what this second task involves. It introduces the
child into a conflict of interests. On the one hand, he needs the
constant care, supervision, and love of his parents; and on the other
hand, he needs to assert his own will and stand over against his parents
as a separate person. He both needs to be a part of the mother and
distinct from her. The conflict between these needs increases as the
individual becomes a person.

This process, however, often results in a warfare of unequal wills
between the child and the parent. The child himself is capable of
violent drives which frighten him and which he is unable to control; and
the parent can be provoked to emotional responses that escape his
control and are frightening. The relationship between them, therefore,
may become one in which each is seeking to dominate and control the
other. This pattern occurs in all relationships and is often observed in
marriage, where, by various kinds of behavior, each partner seeks to
control the other.

The muscular mechanism basic to the achievement of autonomy is the
mechanism of holding on and letting go. By the employment of it, the
individual begins to be aware of his powers as a separate person.
Awareness of these powers and of the possibilities inherent in them
precipitates the struggle between him and others. A child can be very
pliable or very stubborn in his holding on or letting go, and it is not
long before parents discover that they cannot make a child do something
that he will not do. At this point, the parent's own maturity in the
employment of the same mechanisms will determine how he will respond to
the child's stubborn and often hostile efforts to achieve autonomy.

As people mature, the holding-on and letting-go tension is transferred
from the muscular to the emotional and psychological. If adults have
achieved a relaxed attitude, they will be able to provide the child with
firmness, and at the same time allow him some freedom in determining his
own action. An environment of freedom and authority will help him
achieve a balance between love and hate, co-operation and willfulness.
An early sense of trust, we see, is necessary for the development of
autonomy. Without trust the child will not feel free to struggle, as he
must, for its achievement. He will not feel free, because he does not
have faith either in himself or in his world, in relation to which he
must struggle.

The objective of love, therefore, is to provide a relationship of
firmness and tolerance within which a child may become autonomous and
acquire a sense of self-control, self-esteem, and relationship with
others. Otherwise he may suffer loss of confidence in himself and become
skeptical of others, a result which can be the fruit of either
restrictive discipline or unstructured freedom.

The achievement of a sense of autonomy must always remain relative, and
will vary from individual to individual. As we have seen, there is no
fixed norm for human behavior, and the best sense of autonomy that
anyone can possibly achieve is one in which there is a mixture of
co-operation and willfulness, of love and hostility. We can only hope
and pray that as we all mature our autonomy will be employed with
creative good will, and that it will be capable of dealing with the
results of our hostility and stubbornness.

Although our sense of autonomy appears during our second and third year
of life, its further development depends upon our relationship with
others. Furthermore, its employment has other arenas than that of family
life. The dialogue from which autonomy grows moves out of family and
into the neighborhood. It is quickened and disciplined by entrance into
school, is heated and tempered by the development of social life,
especially by the dialogue between the sexes when the need to surrender
oneself to the other meets the needs of each to be oneself.

Finally, the autonomy of the individual is sure to be challenged by the
complexities and organization of modern industrial society. More and
more the individual is being caught in the intricacies of a process in
which his sense of autonomy and initiative is violated. The problems of
the social order are so massive that the interests of the individual
often are sacrificed. Increasingly, people are unable to endure the
frustrations caused by their social, political, and industrial
environment, and develop neurotic responses in which their aggressions
are turned in on themselves. The autonomy and initiative that once
belonged to the individual have been transferred to the social order,
with the result that instead of individuals receiving their direction
from within, they now receive it from without, with the inevitable
demand for conformity, in which the integrity of the individual is apt
to be sacrificed. Every time he turns on his radio or television set,
his autonomy is assaulted by all kinds of pressures.

This condition presents education and religion with peculiar
challenges. In order to minister to the world, it is necessary that one
participate in the life of the world and share its problems as did our
Lord. But if we are to be the instrument of God's purpose in the work of
the world, it will be necessary for us to have a sense of autonomy and a
power of independence. This is what it means to be in the world but not
of the world.

One of the objectives of love, therefore, is so to live with one
another, especially with our children, that out of that relationship we
may emerge with such a power of being as a person that we shall be able
to face the complexities, pressures, deprivations, and dangers of modern
life. Our aim is to help the child become a responsible participant in
the crucial issues of life, and to preserve his integrity as a deciding
person. The answer to his questions, Who am I? and Who are you?, will
then be: I am what I will, and you are what you will; and our
relationship is one of mutuality in which each will call forth the
other. If the awakening of a sense of autonomy is an objective of love,
it is also the objective of the church's life, its teaching, and its
evangelistic endeavor. Without power of autonomy and independence,
Christians will be mere conformists and maintainers of the _status quo_.


_Sense of Initiative_

The third objective of love is to help the individual achieve a sense of
initiative. At the age of four or five, a child is faced with his next
crisis and must take his next big step. He must find out what kind of
person he is going to be. His search will be strengthened by his
experience of trust, and by whatever power of autonomy he has. Dr.
Erikson points out that he wants to be like his parents who seem very
wonderful to him, but who, at the same time, present him with very real
threats. During this age he plays at being his parents. According to Dr.
Erikson, there are three strong developments which help him, but which
also contribute to his crisis. "First, he learns to move around more
freely and more violently, and therefore establishes a wider, and so it
seems to him, an unlimited radius of goals. Two, his sense of language
becomes perfected to the point where he understands and can ask about
many things just enough to misunderstand them thoroughly; and three,
both language and locomotion permit him to expand his imagination over
so many things that he cannot avoid frightening himself with what he
himself has dreamed and thought up. Nevertheless, out of all this he
must emerge with a sense of unbroken initiative as a basis for a high,
and yet realistic, sense of ambition and independence."[19]

Initiative is the power that moves the individual to take over the role
of others; the boy, his father; the girl, her mother; later as the
driver of the car, and later still, leadership roles of various kinds.
The struggles in the process are accompanied by feelings of anxiety, of
inadequacy, and of guilt. Feelings of inadequacy in relation to the size
and powers of the adult can be considerable; and the feelings of guilt,
in response to the daydreams about replacing Daddy, for instance, are
crucial, and too often are unrecognized by many parents and teachers.
They need to recognize and accept the developmental reasons for the
child's preoccupations and fantasies about himself in relation to them
and their roles and functions. Furthermore, it is entirely appropriate
for him to be physically aggressive toward others, to overwhelm them
with his incessant chattering, his aggressive getting into things, and
his insatiable curiosity about everything. The objective of love at this
time is to provide the child with a reasonable freedom within which to
develop his initiative with a minimum sense of guilt in relation to its
exercise, and with the hope that by so doing he will become a person
whose creativity will not be frustrated by an overdeveloped sense of
guilt.

In contrast, many people are embarrassed by recognition of their
achievements, and are prevented from achievement because of guilt
feelings that block their creative efforts. Unfortunately, too much
religious teaching has made people feel guilty about initiative and
aggressiveness, both of which can be expressed creatively. From
childhood on, lives are hedged about by prohibitions in relation to
persons bearing authority, by belittling attitudes toward themselves and
toward their drives to compete and to get ahead, so that people become
self-restricted and are kept from living up to their inner capacities or
from using their powers of imagination and feeling. While some withdraw
into a dull kind of existence, others overcompensate in a great show of
tireless initiative and a quality of "go-at-it-iveness" at all costs.
These people often overdo to a point where they can never relax, and
they feel that their worth as people consists entirely in what they are
doing rather than in what they are.

The objective of love is to help the child accept the necessary
structures, authorities, and personal roles in relation to which he must
live, so that he may grow in his capacity to love persons and to use
things. During this stage of life, children often turn to other adults
for companionship and guidance. They do so because the conflicts between
themselves and these new adults do not seem to be as great as with their
own parents. They need these "fresh" relationships where they can
exercise initiative without too much conflict and guilt. Here the school
and church, with its trained teachers and workers, have an opportunity
to supplement, and even to correct, the experiences that children are
having at home. We should remember, however, that the identifications
with the parent are important, and that the experiences the youngsters
are having with others should be of a complementary nature, even if they
also are corrective.

Another and supplementary objective of love is the provision of a
relationship by parents or others in which a spirit of equality makes
possible an experience of doing things together, instead of a
relationship in which the child has to compete unequally with the adult.
Fathers, for instance, may be of great help to their sons. Boys are apt
to feel that their fathers are too big, too powerful, and too skillful;
but if the father will base the relationship on some interest or
experience common to them both, the boy has an opportunity to grow in
initiative and to develop his capacities without a sense of unequal
competition.

The answer to the child's questions. Who am I? and Who are you?, will
then be: I am what I conceive myself to be, and you are what I conceive
you to be according to my understanding of how you have revealed
yourself. At this particular time in the development of the individual,
there begin to be formed the powerful images of ourselves and others
that aid or hinder our relationship with one another.


_Sense of Industry_

A fourth objective of love is to help the individual to a sense of
industry, for the child has now become a busy little person who needs to
learn how to be busy with things and persons. A child's "busyness"
begins with his play. Children play separately at first. In their
youngest years, they may sit apart in the same room, each playing with
his own things, and each oblivious of the other except when one may
discover that the other has something he wants. Later, as they grow and
mature, there begins what we call parallel play. They play along side of
each other. Now they are aware of each other, and each keeps an eye on
his playmate. Their separate playing seems to have an influence on the
other in that they imitate each other. Then, at a still later stage,
they begin to play together. The high point of this achievement, still
later, is team play, which begins in adolescence or even earlier.

Now begins the capacity for directed fellowship. The fellowship of a
team is to be respected. Membership on the team may mean more to the boy
than membership in his church, and this may cause ministers, parents,
and teachers considerable anxiety. Instead, they should relax and be
glad for the youngster's experience, because team play is providing him
with an experience of relationship that later will become the basis for
his understanding of the ultimate meaning of all relationships. They
should accept the youngster's experience and use it creatively, to help
him understand the nature of the church, our relationship as brothers,
and the "captaincy" of Christ.

In team play, also, we see the occurrence of something that is very much
a part of Christian character. In order for there to be team play, it is
necessary for every member of the team to die to the desire in him to
be the whole show. A mature team member has learned that his strength
and skills depend on the strength and skills of others. This is the
theology of the playground. What has been learned in play may be
translated into work. Then, since a man's work is one of the great
spheres in which he may exercise his ministry as a representative of
Christ, the learning of this profound lesson in the process of play is
an important part of his religious education. And it can be religious,
even though it may not be learned in the formal church.

The transition from play to work takes place gradually. Children become
dissatisfied with play and make-believe, and have a growing need to be
useful, to make things well, and, therefore, to acquire a sense of
industry. They also learn to win recognition by producing things.
Through play they advance to new stages of real mastery in the use of
toys and things, and learn to master experience by meditation,
experimenting, and planning. The home, the school, and the church should
try to help them to make this transition easily in order that they may
develop this sense of industry without a sense of inadequacy. If they
are pushed too strenuously to produce, a sense of inadequacy may result,
especially when they still want to be cuddled and cared for. Family life
has the responsibility of preparing the youngsters for school, where, in
the context of their play experiences, they accept the disciplines of
work. Relaxed teachers are needed who understand the process by which
children learn to move from play to work, and who can encourage them to
make this transition without either sparing them the needed disciplines
or imposing them too strenuously. Here we see an area in which the role
of the family and the role of the school are complementary.

The acquisition of a sense of industry is a decisive step in learning to
do things with others and alongside others. This will become a major
source of satisfaction and the area of his greatest service.


_Sense of Identity_

A fifth objective of love is to nurture in the human being a sense of
identity which is acquired and consolidated in a new way during
adolescence. Dr. Erikson describes identity as the "accrued confidence
that one's ability to maintain inner sameness and continuity is matched
by the sameness and continuity of one's meaning for others."[20]

As an individual develops and acquires skills, he thinks of himself as
one who can do things, and his important people may hold a variety of
expectations of him: "He's clumsy," "He never can do anything right";
or, "I can always count on him," "He's got the right stuff in him." Out
of his achievements and the attitudes of others toward him, his sense of
self-esteem and prestige is built, little by little. As crisis after
crisis is passed and the individual meets each of them with reasonable
resourcefulness and receives the encouragement and recognition of
others, he begins to believe in himself, to have a consistent
expectation of what he will do in the face of various circumstances and
relationships. In this way he begins to acquire a style of living which
is his own and which contributes to his sense of identity and to others'
identification of him.

In the achievement of a sense of self-identity, the child needs models
with which to identify himself. Especially is this true during his
adolescence. He needs association with men who are clear about being
men, and women who are clear about being women, and who are capable of
and practice a reasonably wholesome relationship with each other. He
needs men and women who have convictions, who can distinguish between
right and wrong, who hold these convictions firmly, and yet not rigidly.
He needs guides and counselors who can help him bring together and
concentrate his various and fluctuating drives and interests, and who
are not dismayed or misled by the inconsistencies and fluctuations that
may accompany his development. He needs help in choosing a job, because
self-identification is dependent upon some kind of occupational
identity. Finally, he needs help in acquiring, as a part of his sense of
self-identity, a sense of vocation, of being called to something that is
greater than himself, which will draw him forth as a participant in the
deepest meaning of life. The providing of this kind of relationship to
help the individual acquire an indispensable sense of identity is
another of love's objectives.

Unfortunately, however, in our complex and technical society, the models
after which the youngsters may now pattern themselves are not as clear
as they might be. People are having to undergo tremendous adjustments in
a time of rapid technical growth, as a result of which their image of
the world in which they live is changing; producing, therefore,
uncertainties in themselves, and making it more difficult for
adolescents. Our changing age creates many difficulties for changing
adolescents. Cultural conditions often force young people to band
together in groups or movements that provide them with a point of focus
by means of which they stereotype themselves and their ideals. This is
one way in which they acquire stability and a sense of direction. We
need, however, to be tolerant of this and to recognize its purpose; we
need to realize also that if we provide them with alternatives, their
need for these stereotypes may disappear.

The church has a special role here. Most of the committee whose
discussion we read in Chapter I, gave no evidence of being able to
provide young people with the kind of models they need, for there was
nothing heroic, clear-cut, or creative about them. Their faith was
defensive, and it did not deal with the realities of life. Young people
turn away from that kind of "religion." And quite rightly. They need men
and women whose religion, instead of being a defense against life,
provides them with the courage to move into life and become a part of
it, to accept its problems and wrestle honestly for its meanings; whose
style of Christian living is not compulsive, but liberated; not
pretentious, but honest; whose reverence for God is not confined to the
sanctuary, but is exhibited in responsible relations with people. They
need models who, because of their religious faith, are able to admit
when they are wrong and can ask for forgiveness without feeling a loss
of personal dignity. They need religious teachers who can portray, both
by word and by example, the great personalities of the tradition, the
heroes and saints; teachers who are clear about what their contribution
really is, who can make clear to youth the heroism of a man of faith and
let it stand forth without all the confusions of superstitious
veneration. They need a church and religious teachers and members that
have a sense of mission, a reason and purpose for living that is related
to all the exciting meanings of human life, instead of being concerned
with such irrelevancies as churchism, parochialism, institutionalism,
and other modern idols. In the context of this kind of example,
adolescents, even in complex, modern, industrial America with all its
confused values, will have the aid they need in order to move through
the intricacies of their development and emerge with a sense of personal
identity and a capacity for relationship.


_Sense of Integrity_

A final objective of love is to help the individual, who by now has
become an adolescent and is fast approaching the threshold of adult
life, to achieve a sense of integrity. The acquisition of the senses of
trust, autonomy, initiative, industry, and identity through the years of
his development should prepare him for responsible living with himself
and others. Much depends, as we have seen, on the ability and
willingness of those in his environment to accept, respond to, and guide
him. But there is still unfinished business with which we must help him;
namely, the achievement of a sense of integrity.

A sense of integrity includes a capacity for intimacy with others. More
than sexual intimacy is meant, although that is of more importance than
many religious people want to admit. For the moment, however, we are
thinking of intimacy in a general sense, of our capacity to participate
in the meanings of one another's lives, to fuse into relationships
without losing our respective identities. We see young people striving
to achieve this kind of relation with each other through their talking
things over endlessly, by confessing what one feels like and what the
other seems like, and by sharing dreams, ideals, and ambitions. Where
this is not achieved by early adulthood, the individual may find himself
separated from others except for formal and stereotyped interpersonal
relations.

Only the person who is capable of intimacy can become a partner in any
relationship. People who marry with the hope of achieving the power of
intimacy are often disappointed, because mutually fulfilling sexual
intimacy requires a capacity for personal intimacy. What we are trying
to say here is that before one can become a partner, one must first be a
person. With this we have reached a kind of summary in the development
of our thesis which might be stated as follows: A person is called into
being out of relationship, but the person in his separateness is
necessary to the achievement of a new relationship.

Intimacy is not only platonic, but sexual as well. The growing person
needs help in acquiring a potential capacity for mutual, satisfying
intimacy with a partner of the opposite sex. Heterosexual mutuality has
religious significance, since sexual intimacy is supposed to be an
outward and visible sign of personal intimacy. Yet religion is often
strangely silent in this area, and our young people are often misled. A
teen-ager recently said, "I don't go much for this platonic stuff." When
asked why, he said, "I guess I'm too much of a wolf." When asked what he
meant by being a wolf, he said that he was interested only in making
love to a girl. His view of intimacy, which is similar to that of many
other young people, reveals at least two misunderstandings: first, the
separation in his mind between the platonic kind of relationship and the
sexual, and secondly, his association of the sexual with "wolf," which
is a symbol of the subhuman. Religious teaching needs to affirm sexual
intimacy as a part of people's lives, and nurture them so that their
sexual relationships may be a means of grace rather than a source of
guilt.

The achievement of intimacy, general and specific, leads to the
development of another capacity essential to integrity; namely, the
capacity for generation, whether of offspring or creativity of some
other kind. Generative capacity is basic to an individual's assumption
of responsibility, and to his ability to initiate and bring to
fulfillment new life or new expressions of life. The power of
origination is open to anyone, and we can either affirm the power or
deny it. If we deny it, we shall have to find substitutes which usually
are subpersonal and which involve us in a kind of superficial but
unfulfilling intimacy. On the other hand, the person with integrity is
one who can initiate creativity of his own, or consent to and
participate in the creativity of others. As Dr. Erikson has pointed out,
he can be both a leader and a follower. These are qualities and values
needed by all men, and the cultivation of them is the task of the church
and the purpose of its teaching.

The objectives of love, we see, are not abstract, but specific and
concrete. Love calls forth persons and reunites life with life by
providing the relationships in which the created needs of men are met.
The environment of saving love is needed to produce out of our
biological nature and the physical world in which we live the image of
God in each of us and the Kingdom of God for all of us.

  [17] _Man's Need and God's Action_, Reuel L. Howe, The Seabury Press,
       Greenwich, Connecticut, 1953, Chapter V.
  [18] _Growth and Crises of the Healthy Personality_, Erik H. Erikson.
       Pamphlet from _Problems of Infancy and Childhood_, Josiah Macy,
       Jr. Foundation, New York, 1950. Used by permission.
  [19] Ibid.
  [20] Ibid.



V

THOSE WHO WOULD LOVE

    "We know that we have passed out of death into life,
                           because we love the brethren."--_1 John 3:14_


Thus far in our discussion we have considered the nature of love, the
development of the needs of the individual, and the objectives of love
in calling persons into being. Now we turn to a discussion of the lover,
or of the person or persons who are the instruments of that love, such
as parents, teachers, ministers, and every man of whatever function. We
shall also consider the nature of the relationship in which healing and
reconciliation take place, and consider some of its resources.


_The Power of the Personal_

The doctrine of the Incarnation, which underlies the whole Christian
life, is really the doctrine of the personalization of love. By it is
meant the embodiment in man of the life of God Who is love. The
Incarnation makes this life personal, and persons, therefore, are of
primary importance to its existence and its meaning. In each generation
the Christian is called upon to reaffirm his faith in the power of
persons living in relation to God and man.

Our own generation has a special need for a reaffirmation of the
personal because of our preoccupation with science and technology, and
with vast space and enormous power. One wonders, and hears others
wondering, what good is a person in the face of all these masses,
spaces, and complexities. But it was revealed in Christ, and every now
and then it is revealed to us afresh, that the whole vast structure of
life is dependent upon the power of persons and upon our exercise of the
power of the personal. The character of man, expressed in his relations
with his fellow man, will finally determine whether we will use our vast
powers creatively or for our destruction.

The primary vocation of the Christian in this time is to respond to the
call of the person to be personal. The church members with whose
conversation we began this book, seemed oblivious to the personal nature
of the church's purpose. They were concerned about substitutes for the
personal, about institutions and professional groups, about a legalistic
morality, and about knowledge for its own sake. Any one of their
concerns, if caught up in the vitality of the personal, could have
valuable meaning. Law, as we have seen, has its role, if it is a part of
love. Human effort is important as personal response to what God has
done for us. Dependence upon the clergy is a part of the life of the
church, but the work of the clergy, as we have seen, cannot be a
substitute for the ministry of the whole church. The church is
important, but it does not find its meaning in its isolation from the
world. And knowledge about God, His creation, and redemption is
necessary to the Christian life, but such knowledge must find its
meaning in our living relation with God.

The recent emphasis on the interpersonal and group process has
contributed much to our understandings of the human relationships of
Christian fellowship. As a result of the emphasis, a new polarity
operates in the life and teaching of the church: one pole is the content
of the Good News; the other pole is the encounter between men in which
the Good News is realized. Unfortunately, the image of the relationship
between the encounter and the content of the Christian faith has been
and still is that of opponents in a battle. This concept is erroneous,
for any dialogue must have content. The conversation between two people
that is not informed by learning produces nonsense. Discussion groups
have revealed their poverty when they have not been informed by
responsible knowledge; fellowship for the sake of fellowship becomes
tiresome; and relationship without good discipline, whether in the home
or elsewhere, becomes chaos and anarchy. So, there are some disciplines
that we need to observe as persons in whom the Spirit of God seeks to
incarnate His love.


_We Need Informed Christians_

First, if we are to embody and express the love of Christ in our
generation, we must keep our minds alert and our interests alive. At
this point, church people fail in several ways. Instead of having minds
that search for the meaning of life in Christian terms, they sometimes
have minds filled with musty opinions and prejudices. An otherwise alert
lawyer, for example, said that he did not want his church to take a
stand on any of the great social issues, but stick to its subject,
namely, religion. This preoccupation with the subject matter of religion
apart from its relevance to life is a characteristic failure of many
church people.

As Christian churchmen, we do not need to be scholars in religion, but
we should be interested in the issues of life, open to new
understandings, and engaged in some kind of reading or study that will
keep us informed and intellectually awake. Only in this way can we keep
ourselves from falling into narrow little ruts and pulling the world in
after us. A part of our ministry is to participate in and help to keep
alive the dialogue between man and man, between the church and the
world, between Christian thought and the problems of existence.
Emotional and opinionated thinking about religion, values, and social
issues is appallingly prevalent among "religious" people. The
conversations of church members often are pitiful in their concern for
the trivial affairs of the local church and institution, about its
building and organizations, its suppers and bazaars. What a pathetic and
inconsequential way of serving Christ! He needs, instead, men and women
who are out on the frontiers of modern life, representing His message to
the world.

The accomplishment of an intellectually and socially responsible
ministry calls for some effort on the part of the local church. In the
first place, the minister will have to preach, and teach out of, the
gospel in its relation to life. Instead of talking so much about
religion as an end in itself, he ought to talk about life in the context
of the teaching of religion. The content of his sermons and instructions
should be the affairs of men, for these raise the questions for which
the gospel was given. The discussion of religion apart from life
produces a laity who, in their life in the world, are unable to
represent the message of the gospel, because they do not know that the
message of the gospel has any relation to the affairs of life. Then we
hear such laymen say to any minister who might try to speak relevantly
to human questions: "Stick to your subject; I don't think these things
are the business of the church."

Church members, as a part of their devotion to Christ who had love for
the world, should try to understand the life of the world in terms of
its deepest meanings, and not be content with merely its superficial
values. They will read articles and books and editorials, and listen to
speeches and forums on television and radio, not only that they may be
informed, but also that they may be informed for God and may serve Him
better in the world. Religion that seeks escape from the world, and
similarly the person who will not assume responsibility for God in the
world, is sinful and idolatrous. Protection against this sin and
idolatry is partly secured by serving God with our minds and our
interests.


_Prayer and the Life of Devotion_

A second discipline of the responsible Christian is the discipline of
prayer and devotion. We cannot live in relation to God and serve Him if
we do not communicate with Him. Prayer is one of the indispensable forms
of the dialogue between man and man, man and God, and God and the world.
Unfortunately, however, many people, including some clergymen, have
given up prayer, because it seems unrealistic and unfruitful in this
scientific age. A part of our trouble may be that we tend to separate
our acts of prayer from our life of devotion. Or, to use a concept we
have employed earlier, we separate the forms of prayers from the
vitality which provides the life of devotion. Both public and private
prayer lose their vitality by this separation of form from life, and by
the separation of God from the world, so that we make Him the monarch of
religion instead of the creator and redeemer of life. Because of our
belief in love as God's chosen relation to the world and in the
incarnation of love in the personal, it becomes possible for our prayers
and worship to be quickened through our devotion to the purposes of God
in the world.

An analogy may help us here. Every relationship has its devotional
rituals and observances which are important to it. Husband and wife, for
instance, because of their love and devotion to each other, develop
little rituals and ways of doing that are designed to express their
devotion to each other. They come together for this purpose. There is
the kiss, the touch of the hand, the gifts on special occasions and
those which come as surprises; their physical union is the symbol and
instrument of their spiritual union and becomes the sacrament of their
relationship as persons. But these acts of love presuppose and depend
upon their over-all and lifelong devotion to each other in everything
that they do. Their life of devotion to each other provides the content
and drive for their acts of devotion, and their acts of devotion are a
means of expressing their life of devotion. Their life of devotion needs
these acts of devotion, and without the life of devotion their acts of
devotion will dry up and become meaningless.

So it is in our relation to God. We cannot fall on our knees and cry
with any meaning: "O God, O Father, O Judge, O Savior," if our whole
lives are not lived in the context of the meaning of these exclamations.
Then our words become empty and cannot rise above our lips, and we are
overcome by the despair and futility of our prayers. Prayer may not be
recovered by going to a school of prayer to learn various techniques and
kinds of prayer, but by rekindling our devotion to the people and the
world for whom Christ died. Then, by practicing our acts of devotion in
the context of such a life of devotion, we may rediscover the meaning of
prayer. Our acts of devotion cannot be quickened by the intensification
of our prayer activity alone. Many people who are frantically trying to
whip up their prayer life would do better to get up off their knees and
go out and do something about their loveless, purposeless, and undevoted
lives. The devotion of the so-called "children of darkness" to the
pursuit of their scientific or industrial purposes may be more
impressive than the vain babblings of the so-called "children of God"
about their souls. The trivial concerns of some religious people stand
in uncomplimentary contrast to the heroism of the researcher's devotion
to his project and to the scientist's devotion to his experiment.
Perhaps the purposes of God are more served by them than by us, although
by them His purposes may not be served consciously.

How can the life of devotion and the acts of devotion be brought
together? When employer and labor leader meet to work out the problems
of fair employment, they may do so either as a necessary part of their
business, which of course it is, or as a way of expressing their
devotion to God. God's love is concerned with justice between employer
and employee, and the employer and the labor leader participate in the
work of God in the world by their devotion to these problems. This is
both their way of being responsible businessmen and citizens, and their
way of loving God and assuming responsibility for Him. To whatever
degree they recognize this as being true, they will find satisfaction
and meaning in the offering of their effort as an act of reverence to
God, together with a private prayer for His guidance that each may be
open not only to what God is trying to do through him, but open also to
what He is trying to do through the other.

In our acts of devotion, therefore, we pray for a life of devotion in
which we may be the instruments of God's purposes in the incarnations of
His Spirit. We pray also for others, for our children, for our pupils,
for our associates, whether they be employees, peers or superiors, that
they too may be incarnations of God's Spirit and instruments for the
accomplishment of His purpose.

Acts of devotion, in the context of this kind of life of devotion,
change the whole focus of human relations and get them off their
self-centered, competitive, and alienating basis. Acts of devotion are
revitalized by being restored to a relation to the life of devotion, and
the life of devotion is given an opportunity in acts of devotion to
articulate its meaning, and to be guided and renewed in the dialogue
between God and man as expressed in worship. And the union of the acts
of devotion with the life of devotion will illumine anew for us the
meaning of daily life, and our relationship with one another. It will
improve our dialogue with one another and with God.


_The Practice of Creativity_

A third discipline to be practiced by the person through whom the
Spirit would work is the cultivation of creative activity. By the
discipline of creativity, I mean the discipline of learning and
perfecting some skill in art or music or handicraft or sport in which
there is opportunity to co-ordinate motor and mental powers and to gain
therefrom some sense of achievement. A creative approach to life, of
course, is a part of a life of devotion. Creative activity is
indispensable to the health of the human soul, especially in this day
when there is an increasing gap between our efforts and their result.

Mothers are often frustrated and unhappy because they do not see
immediately in their children the good results of their long and painful
efforts in their behalf. Teachers can work with a pupil for months and
years and still not have a clear-cut sense of achievement. The man in
his office may be but a part of a huge organization, and the results of
his labors are neither conclusive nor a source of immediate satisfaction
to him. The researcher may have to work for years before he achieves the
results for which he is looking. Indeed, he may never gain them for
himself, because the work that he does may only lead to the work of
others, and still others will reap the harvest. Then there are many
engaged in work from which little sense of achievement can be gained,
and yet it is necessary work and provides them with a living. Lack of
response or delayed response to human effort can be profoundly
frustrating to the human spirit, and frustrated people do not make good
instruments for the expression of love. It is imperative, therefore,
that those who would be lovers of man and God should find substitute
ways in which to close the gap between their effort and their
achievement.

The person who has a sense of creative outlets is one, therefore, who
has greater powers of endurance, patience, and courage with which to
face the challenges and threats of life. He is apt to be more free to
love, and he will grow old more gracefully.

The discipline of creative action needs to be planned, time needs to be
allowed for it, and those activities chosen which are feasible and
appropriate to the person and his circumstances. We can learn to plan
ahead so that from time to time we are prepared to undertake new
projects. An elderly person of the writer's acquaintance began, during
his sixties, to learn something new each year. The result was that his
spirit remained youthful and his interest in life was kept alive. Not
only is this kind of activity fun, but also it is a way by which to keep
oneself open to the possibilities of life. It becomes a way in which one
can live devotionally and realize within himself and in his relations
with others the image of the creative God by Whom he was created.


_Relationship as Resource_

We come now to a consideration of the quality of relationship that
nurtures persons. We discussed this earlier from the point of view of
the child's need to be loved, his need to love, and his need to have his
efforts to love welcomed. But now we turn to a discussion of
relationship as a resource from the point of view of the one who is
giving the love. We are thinking of the parent, the teacher, the pastor,
or any other person who makes himself responsible for others.

It is curious how little we think of our relationship with one another
as a resource. When someone comes to us who is in trouble, we often say,
"I wish I could think of something to do or say that would help him,"
not realizing that the greatest thing we can do is to be a person in
relation to him. Here again we realize the meaning of the incarnation.
Everyone who hopes to participate in the life of Christ in the world
today is called to be a person in relation to others, and whatever he
thinks to do or say should be an expression of what he is.

If we say or do something that is helpful to others, it is because we
are really present to them, really hear what they are trying to say, and
they know that we are with them. On the other hand, we all have had the
experience, when we were in trouble and needed help, of having would-be
advisers and comforters make all kinds of suggestions and verbalize all
kinds of would-be comforting thoughts, but have lacked the feeling that
they were really with us. I sometimes have the impression that we like
the idea of being helpful persons, but dislike the demand and
disturbance that goes with it. It is easier to be depersonalized and
professional, but professionalism is the enemy of relationship.

Professionalism is the conduct of a relationship for its own sake or for
the sake of the "helping" person who is conducting it, rather than for
the one for whom it was intended. Physicians, for instance, exhibit
professionalism when they practice medicine without concern for the
patient. Teachers exhibit professionalism when they teach their subject
as an end in itself or for their own satisfaction. Ministers can be
professional in relation to their parishioners. Parents can be
professional in relation to their children. Any relationship can
deteriorate into mere professionalism.

What are some of the marks of professionalism? In the first place,
professionalism is marked by condescension in which an attitude of
superiority is evident. Parents are heard to say: "Children are just
children, you know. They don't know what they want; they don't know what
they're talking about." Attitudes of condescension are contradictory to
the concept of incarnation, which means to be a part of and identified
with another. Condescension, therefore, closes us to the possibility of
being indwelt by the Spirit and from being the instruments of love.

Another mark of professionalism is its manipulative tendency. We push
people around and get them to do what we want them to do, because it is
easier that way. "Mother knows best," "You do it because I tell you."
Obviously, the professional attitude is alienating, because people do
not like to be pushed around, and they will not be, if they can help it;
and if they are, they resent it. Professionalism impoverishes
relationship because, for instance, neither the parent nor the child
gives or receives. The effect of professionalism does not need to be
spelled out in any greater detail, because we all have experienced and
participated in it. We may more usefully turn our attention to a study
of the character of relationship that is the source of life.


_The Values of Mutuality_

Personal growth is nurtured best in relationships in which the quality
of mutuality makes growth a possibility for both the child and the
parent, the pupil and the teacher. If growth occurs on one side, it must
take place also on the other. If parent or teacher does not grow, then
we must conclude that the relationship is not mutual and that the child
will not prosper either. Mutuality means that the teacher and pupil, or
parent and child, are open to each other. When one speaks, he expects to
be heard by the other.

Communication inevitably takes place in a relationship of mutual
expectancy. Communication produces a personal encounter in which one
addresses and the other responds, and a real meeting occurs. We cannot
make this kind of personal meeting take place. We can only prepare
ourselves for it, which is one way of thinking of prayer. When we
practice expectancy in our relationships, we are preparing ourselves for
possible depth meetings that may take place between others and
ourselves. Preparation means ridding ourselves of prejudices and
preconceptions, fears and anxieties, ulterior motives and purposes, in
order that we may speak the word of love and truth to others, and really
hear the word of love and truth that they speak to us. In similar
fashion, we may prepare ourselves to be open to whatever God may speak
to us through persons or situations during that day. Finally, because we
have thus prepared ourselves for a real meeting between people, we will
not so easily seek to manipulate and exploit them.


_Mutual Attention_

The quality of mutuality calls for mutual attention. Those who would
call each other into being and be the instrument of God's love in human
relations must pay attention to each other. It is difficult to speak if
we do not have the listener's attention; it is difficult to listen if we
do not have the speaker's attention. Absence of mutual attention breaks
down communication. Sermons may not have the attention of the
congregation because the preacher's attention is fixed only on the
sermon as a production, or on himself as a performer, and not on the
congregation that he is now addressing, and whose response is necessary
if his sermon, as communication, is to be completed. Likewise, a child
may not hear the parent because the parent is not really paying
attention to the child. We hear ourselves saying, "Look here, you pay
attention to me." We say it in desperation because we know that our
angry command will not accomplish the desired result. The inattention
that we receive from one another discourages us personally and blocks
the possibility of the dialogue that might reunite us.

How can we secure the attention of others? The answer is simple: by
being attentive. As a teacher I have found that if I am really attentive
to my pupils, they pay attention to me. But if I am just doing a job and
not really concerned about them, they do not hear me because I am not
hearing them. If we want attention we must be attentive. If we want love
we must love. If we want anything we must give it. This is a Christian
principle. We cannot demand something and get it. Attention, then, is a
gift that we give one another. We give the gift of attention and receive
it in return. We have no automatic right to it, nor does anyone.

Attentiveness is something that can be learned. We learn by having eyes
that see and ears that hear. Eyes, of course, are made for seeing and
ears for hearing, but we can learn also to hear with our eyes and see
with our ears. When I am seeking to understand another, for example, I
find that what I see in his face and manner helps me to understand what
he is saying; and, likewise, attentive hearing helps me to understand
what he is also revealing in his face and manner. We pay attention by
watching the eyes, facial expressions, and behavior of people, by
listening for the question behind the question and for the meaning
behind the meaning, remembering that there is tremendous content behind
what is said and shown. If we would be servants of love, we must have
ears that really hear and eyes that really see; and, like our Lord, hear
and see deeply in order that the truth which men are really seeking may
be found. Such hearing and seeing was the gift of Christ to men, and
should therefore be the gift of Christians to men.

It follows, then, that the good teacher is one who, participating in a
relationship with our Master Teacher, can accept any question that a
person may bring, knowing that if he stays with it, he will be led, step
by step, to that person's real concern. When the teacher gives that kind
of attention, the students are more apt to respond relevantly, which is
their attention to the teacher. Then the teacher has the wonderful
experience of mutual attention in which meaningful communication has
taken place. What I have said about teaching and the relationship
between teacher and pupil is true of all relationships. The reward for
the gift of attention is that others will respond with clues in the form
of questions or comments that will enable us to meet them at the point
of the meaning of their life. Not only does this kind of listening
provide a basis for a highly significant curriculum for teaching, as we
saw earlier, but also a basis for true human community and
communication. Our self-centeredness, however, gives us a natural pull
away from attentiveness. But the Spirit of Christ Who, in drawing us to
Him, draws us to one another, will make mutual attentiveness possible so
that two-way communication will become a reality for us.

One current objection to this kind of mutual attentiveness travels under
two guises: one is the possibility of being offensively nosy and
intrusive; the other is the fear of really violating the privacy of
other people. Certainly, privacy should be respected, and we should not
force ourselves upon others, but attentiveness is not intrusiveness.
Every human being wants to be known and to know as a person, and in ways
that are both conscious and unconscious. We seek others that we may be
known and may know. Attentiveness is really alertness to the lonely cry
of man, and respects rather than violates the individual's separateness
and sanctity.


_Mutual Respect_

Mutual respect is also a necessary quality in human relations. Respect
for oneself and for others is not as common as one might expect. We find
self-concern and some concern for others, but not respect. Respect for
others is hard to maintain if one does not respect oneself, and it is
appalling to realize what low estimates many people have of themselves.
Although they may disguise from themselves and others their despair
about themselves in many ingenious ways, lack of self-respect
nevertheless is characteristic of many people's self-image. Their view
of themselves results largely from their experiences in relationship,
many of which we have already discussed. We may try to prevent the
development of negative attitudes and feelings toward ourselves and our
children, but no matter how loving we try to be, we shall inevitably
cause some injury, distortion, and deprivation to the maturing person.

What, then, is the answer to this human problem? If the effect of
growing up is to produce in us misgivings about ourselves and others,
how can we acquire the self-respect and respect for others which is
necessary for those who would truly serve God and man? Since mutual
respect is a necessary condition for creative human relations, it is
necessary that the vicious circle of non-respect be broken by someone.
It is at this point that our participation in the re-creating life of
God in Christ, which is made possible by the presence and work of His
Spirit in us, makes a decisive difference in our self-estimate.

The Incarnation is the affirmation of God's faith in His creation.
Christ is an expression of God's faith in man and what He is able to do
through man. The principle of mutuality, which we have been affirming in
our present discussion, is true not only for the relation between man
and man, but between man and God as well. For the love of God in Christ
affirms our value as persons in His desire to work through the people
who will respond to His love, and shows His respect for what they can
do. God's love and respect for men was expressed through the person of
Jesus and continues to be expressed through persons in each generation.
His people, the servants of His Spirit, are the ones who will break the
vicious circle of mutual non-respect, and give the gift of mutual
respect.

We can respect ourselves, therefore, because God shows His respect for
us by loving and working through us. When we have a great task to do
that calls for the courage and heroism of love, we can take a chance and
set ourselves to the task because our faith in God makes it possible to
have faith in ourselves and in those whom we would love. When we let our
misgivings deter us so that we turn away from the challenges of love, we
not only repudiate ourselves, but also turn our backs on God's affirming
judgment of us.

Mutual respect has some identifiable characteristics. First, we must
respect one another as autonomous, deciding persons. We cannot make our
children and others do what we may think they ought to do. We can only
meet them with whatever resources we have, and out of respect for their
own power of decision and action leave them free to make their response.
Then, when they have made it, we must respect it even though they may
not be doing what we want them to do or doing it in the way we think
best. Our decisions and way of life will not work for others.

We must also respect one another's dependence. But respect for others'
dependence should not increase it; that is, we should try to meet their
need, but not exploit it. Some years ago I was invited to lead a clergy
conference on the subject of pastoral counseling. During the opening
dinner before the beginning of the sessions, I sat next to a minister
who tried to impress me with how much he knew about pastoral counseling.
Among other things, he said, "You know, it's a wonderful thing to stand
up before my congregation on Sunday morning and be able to count the
increasing number of people who depend upon me for my pastoral care."
The temptation to exploit human need is insidious, and we have all
succumbed to it many times and in many ways. That pastor might better
have rejoiced in those of his congregation who, in spite of their
dependence and need, were able to use his help in their own independent
way and thus grow stronger and more resourceful. Likewise, we may
minister to the needs of our children and accept their dependence in
ways that demonstrate our respect for them and our expectation that they
will become more responsible.

Mutual respect also calls for respect of others who must answer for
their own lives. While it is true that we are dependent upon God and His
love for us, our response as individuals is a necessary complement to
what He has done. The source of our life and of our redemption is in
God, but we have to respond, and our responsible action makes complete
what God has done for us. Therefore, we respect ourselves as having
within ourselves the power of answer for our own lives. Mutual respect
for one another as responsible beings increases our self-respect, and,
conversely, our growing self-respect increases the respect we have for
others.


_Mutual Trust_

Mutual trust is a third necessary quality in human life. As we saw
earlier, nothing can happen in any relationship where there is not
trust, and yet, lack of trust is everywhere prevalent. The great
question is: How can we trust when we have such strong feelings of
mistrust not only of persons, but also of the process of life? I have
often had these misgivings as a teacher when, beginning with new
students, I wondered how we could go through the crises of learning
again. Where would I find the strength and courage for the challenges?
Would they respond to their opportunities and resources? Parents have
the same questions when they think of their children and wonder if,
after all the years of care, they will turn out all right. Sometimes we
become overwhelmed at the sheer weight and endlessness of our
responsibilities, and in those moments we become profoundly
discouraged. The need of love is desperate, and we feel wholly unequal
to meeting that need. How wonderful it would be if we could have more
confidence in ourselves and in others, and likewise in the processes of
life to which we must commit ourselves. The answer to this longing is in
the old, but ever new, affirmation that those who have faith in God can
have faith in man and in the relationships of life.

As we read Paul's epistles to the Corinthians, we may notice that he
seems to have been more confident of them than they were of themselves.
Yet, his confidence in them was not so much in them as it was in the
Holy Spirit. Because of the Spirit, he had reason to have confidence in
what the Spirit would do among, in, and through them. Along this same
line, a teacher made the following comment about his experience in one
of his classes: "On one occasion I was suffering from some agenda
anxieties, afraid that the members of the class, in the course of their
discussion, would not arrive at some important and necessary insights. I
was tempted to make sure that they saw certain things in the subject
that I felt they ought to see, but fortunately I was restrained from
interfering. Instead, I had an exciting morning hearing all the things
that I wanted to say said by them. It was a great experience! This
illustrates how important it is for us to keep ourselves from meddling,
and to have confidence in the Spirit. Then the truth appears in the
midst of us much more powerfully than if we handed it out, because when
it appears out of the midst, it comes with authority, it comes with
depth, it is memorable. The truth that comes to us in this way makes us
free. The moral is obvious: Let us trust what God is trying to
accomplish in us, and therefore trust one another."

To trust in the Spirit's working through dialogue does not mean that we
shall be successful in all our endeavors. People's response to being
trusted is not dependable or consistent. Man's response to God's trust,
expressed in the life of Christ, produced the crucifixion. We all have
had the experience of having our trust in others betrayed. This tempts
us to become bitter, to lose faith in man, and to lose faith in God. But
these responses are not a contradiction of trust; they are a part of the
curriculum of trust. Trust, if it is to do its full work, must include
mistrust, and faith must include doubt. I am helped to accept this
insight because of the awareness of the doubt that is so much a part of
my own faith which God accepts as a part of me and which gives my faith
something to do. After all, faith is for doubt, courage is for anxiety,
love is for hate. Instead of resenting hate, anxiety, doubt, and
mistrust, we should accept them as a part of life.

We are called by the divine love to be lovers, called by God to be His
servants, called by the Saving Person to be His person in the realm and
the relationship of the personal. We are precious and important to one
another and to God. We have a responsibility for others that must be met
by our first being responsible for what we are in ourselves, the
instrument for the revelation, in personal terms, of the power of love.
It is imperative, therefore, that if we are to love others as we love
God, we must love ourselves as being infinitely precious to God and
ourselves, and indispensable because we have responded to a means of
salvation for one another.



VI

LOVE IN ACTION

    "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us:
    and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."--_1 John 3:16_


We come now to the climax of our study. Love must lay down its life;
that is, it must give itself. The question then is: What is the mode and
place of its self-giving? Under this heading I want to consider the
nature of communication, evaluate the church as an agent of
communication, and dwell on the implications of our study for church
unity.


_The Importance of Communication_

Communication is essential to the expression of love and indeed to life
itself. Where there is love, there must be communication, because love
can never be passive and inactive. Love inevitably expresses itself and
moves out toward others. When communication breaks down, love is blocked
and its energy will turn to resentment and hostility. One of the
greatest of tragedies occurs when the partners of a relationship break
off their communication with each other. Without communication, the
possibilities for a relationship become hopeless, the resources of the
partners for the relationship are no longer available, the means for
healing the hurts that previous communication may have caused are no
longer present; and each, when he recovers from his need to justify
himself and hurt the other, will find himself in a bottomless pit of
loneliness from which he cannot be pulled except by the ropes of
communication, which may or may not be capable of pulling him out again
because of their weakened condition. Many of us know what it means to be
in a foreign country where we cannot speak the language, but the
loneliness of that condition is as nothing compared to the loneliness
that is the product of an alienation that has been produced by either
irresponsible use of the means of communication or a willful refusal to
employ them.

If there is any one indispensable insight with which a young married
couple should begin their life together, it is that they should try to
keep open, at all cost, the lines of communication between them.
Everyone needs and should have premarital counseling, if only to help
them to this all important insight. Here is a place where the church's
ministry needs to be strengthened, since so many people turn to the
church to have their marriages solemnized. Before each marriage is
performed, the minister should meet with the couple and help them
prepare for the relationship, and he should include in that preparation
the guidance that will help them to understand how indispensably
important to its preservation, and, therefore, to their life together,
are all the means of communication between them. Fortunately, more and
more ministers are assuming this responsibility; and fortunately, also,
more and more seminaries are providing instructions that teach
ministers how to minister helpfully at this strategically important
time. But much more needs to be done. Many marital breakdowns due to
failure of communication could be alleviated, if not prevented, by
giving young couples assistance when they are beginning their life
together.

But communication is indispensable in all relationships, and not only in
the personal ones like marriage. In labor disputes, for instance, the
bargaining relationship breaks down when either one or both parties
abandon the attempt to communicate with the other. Therefore, we may
conclude, in paraphrase of the Scriptures: If any man says that he loves
God and will not try to communicate with his brother, he is a liar!

But what is communication, and why is it so difficult to achieve? Most
people seem to think of communication as getting a message across to
another person. "You tell him what you want him to know." This concept
produces a one-way verbal flow for which the term "monologue" is
descriptive. Much of the church's so-called communication is
monological, with preachers and teachers telling their hearers, both
adults and children, the message they think they should know. The
difficulty with monological activity is that it renders the hearer
passive. It assumes that he is a receptacle into which the desired
message may be poured. It eliminates the possibility of his active
participation in the formulation of the message, and seems not to heed
that a part of the message is in the person who is to receive it.

Those who have studied the dynamics of communication and the process by
which it occurs are convinced that the monological principle is
contradictory to the nature of communication, and as a method is the
least effective. Reflective observation of our own learning indicates
that communication is most effective when we become a part of the
process and meet the message with our own content. Furthermore, the
monological principle is not one that was used by our Lord. He, Who was
the full incarnation of love, made people participants in the Good News
that He proclaimed. We think, for example, of His conversation with the
woman at the well, in the course of which she moved from her superficial
understanding of water to His understanding of the water of life,
wherein the meaning of her life was revealed to her.[21] Again, we think
of the lawyer who put Him to a test by asking what he must do to inherit
eternal life, and our Lord drew him out in such a way that he answered
his own question.[22] The Gospels are full of such illustrations of our
Lord's method of communication. It is curious, therefore, that the
church has settled for the opposite monological principle which is quite
unequal to the task of conveying the full meanings of the gospel.


_Communication Is Dialogue_

Our Lord's method, which we may call the dialogical, has been vindicated
by modern research into the dynamics of communication, which has
demonstrated conclusively that the to-and-fro process between teacher
and pupil, between parent and child, provides the most dependable and
permanent kind of education. What is that to-and-fro between one who
knows and one who does not? The monological argument against the
dialogical process is that the ignorant and untutored have nothing to
contribute, so that the addition of zero and zero equals zero. This kind
of comment, which is made by surprisingly intelligent and otherwise
perceptive people, and all too often by educators, demonstrates how
little they know about the processes of learning. Nor does it follow
that the dialogical principle forbids the use of the monological method.
There is a place for the lecture and for direct presentation of content,
but to be most useful they should be in a dialogical context.
Furthermore, it is quite possible for a person giving a lecture to give
it in such a way that he draws his hearers into active response to his
thought, and although they remain verbally silent, the effect is that of
dialogue. As a matter of fact, one should not confuse the different
methods of teaching with the dialogical concept of communication. Both
the lecturer and the discussion leader can be either monological or
dialogical, even though they are using different methods. The person who
believes that communication, and therefore education, is dialogical in
nature, will use every tool in the accomplishment of his purpose. When
the question needs to be raised, he may use the discussion method or
perhaps some visual aid. When an answer is indicated, he may give a
lecture or use some other transmissive resource. But his orientation to
his task is based on his belief that his accomplishments as a leader are
dependent partly upon what his pupil brings to learning, and that for
education to take place their relationship must be mutual.

What is it that the learner brings that is of such great value to the
teacher? What possibly can the child have that the parent needs in order
to help the child learn and mature? The child, and every person for that
matter, brings to every encounter meanings drawn from his previous
experience which, in one way or another, prepares him for what is to be
learned. In Chapter IV we considered some of the early, basic
acquisitions of the individual; for example, the meanings of trust and
mistrust acquired in his first year, of liberating autonomy or resentful
dependence, and other meanings which influence to a high degree his
openness to the teacher and to what the teacher has to give. In addition
to these basic meanings, he has a whole host of others which he has
picked up from his previous experience: knowledge of people, of himself,
of the world in which he lives, of the nature of things, all of which he
uses in response to the approach of parent, teacher, friend, or whoever
may be apt to confront him with new truth.

We need to remember that the meanings the learner brings are far from
complete and mature, and that he is in the process of growing and
becoming more adequate. He wants to learn, but he does not want to learn
at the price of his own integrity. In learning he wants to have the
sense of acquiring new powers. Any approach to him that seems to
diminish him in any way closes him as a responsive, learning person.
Furthermore, his experience thus far and its meaning produce in him
questions for which he would like to have answers. The individual,
therefore, brings to his meeting with others certain beliefs, attitudes,
understandings, knowledge, and questions, which, in one way or another,
have prepared him or closed him to learning. A good teacher,
accordingly, pays attention to what his pupil brings.

The teacher (and here I am not thinking of the professional teacher
only) first makes it his business to find out about his pupil or about
the person with whom he wishes to communicate. As teacher, he needs to
know as much about his pupil as he needs to know about his subject. He
wants to help him ask his questions, so that what is communicated will
be an answer to his questions. All too often what we offer as answers
fail because they are addressed to questions which have not been asked,
and, therefore, do not have meaning for them. The parent and teacher,
therefore, should seek to call forth and formulate the understandings of
children in order that they may more readily hear and understand the new
truth that is being presented.

The need to be aware of the meanings that each person brings to his
educational encounters is equally relevant to disagreements between
adults. Many a husband and wife, for instance, fail to deal with a
disagreement or quarrel constructively because each is thinking only in
terms of the meanings he brings to the conflict, instead of trying also
to discover the concerns and meanings his partner brings. We all know
that sometimes the real cause of a quarrel is not expressed, with the
result that the quarrelers can only deal with the superficial meanings
of the conflict and in ways that further alienate them from each other.
The responsibility for communication in such instances calls for each
partner to pay attention to the meanings that the other one brings to
the conflict, and try also to help the other say what he means, for his
own and the sake of the other. In this way, constructive communication
may be resumed.


_The Purpose of Communication_

The question now needs to be raised: What is the purpose of
communication? There is a tendency on our part to regard consensus and
assent as the goals of communication. The attempt to get people to sign
on the dotted line, as it were, makes our communications aggressive and
imperialistic. The hearer is not respected as an autonomous, deciding
person, and this may cause him to decide against the message because of
the alienating way in which it is being presented. When the gospel is
preached without respect for the autonomy and integrity of the
individual, the effect is alienating. The same results occur when
parents act imperialistically in relation to the educational
opportunities in the home.

The goal of communication is not to secure assent and agreement, but is,
rather, to help the individual make a decision and translate it into
action. We have to face the possibility that we may not like his
decision, but that it may be the decision he must make now. For the
moment, the child may say "No" to some admonition or instruction that
his parent is giving him, which may seem like a breakdown and failure of
communication. On the other hand, if it is the child's own decision and
if the parent can respect it, while at the same time protecting the
child from its unfortunate consequences, it may be a step in the process
by which the child will eventually say "Yes." Reflection will reveal how
often we have arrived at an affirmative response by the route of a
negative one. The negative response was then seen as part of the process
by which we moved toward accepting a truth.

Preparation for church membership of both young and old needs to employ
this concept of communication. The instruction of many church members
has been so ambiguous that they are not clear about what they have
decided for or against. After all, we cannot say "Yes" to anything
without also saying "No" to other things. People who are prepared for
church membership should understand and be able to state the reason for
the faith they affirm, and know what alternatives they rejected.

They need help also in discovering what their affirmations and denials
mean for their way of life. Only then will they be able to make strong
and enabling commitments. One reason for the uncertain witness of many
so-called Christians and church members is that they have been persuaded
to be Christians without either having that relationship or its
alternatives explained to them. Young people in particular need help in
knowing what they are choosing against in order that they may be
unambiguously for what they have chosen. In an age when values are
confused and people's need for clear-cut loyalties is great, it is
tragic that the church's communication is confused. Let us try,
therefore, to communicate in ways that will help people to speak their
own "yeas" and "nays" with clarity and conviction.


_The Agent of Communication_

This thought brings us naturally to a consideration of the church as the
agent of communication. The church, as the fellowship of the Holy
Spirit, is the instrument that God created to speak and act for Him in
each generation. Our human response to His calling us to be His people
and servants produced the church as an institution, with its
organizational and denominational divisions. As any perceptive person
realizes, there is often conflict between the church as the fellowship
of the Holy Spirit and the church as institution. As institution, the
church faces the temptation of being more concerned about itself than
about God and His purposes for His people. As we saw in Mr. Churchill's
remarks, in Chapter I, the church can become so preoccupied with itself
that it loses its sense of responsibility for its mission to the world.
We saw also that the relationship between the church and the world is
intended to be close, for the world is the sphere of God's action, and
the church is the means of His action. The church, therefore, must be
found at work in the world, and must feel within itself the tension
between the saving purposes of God and the self-centered purposes of
man. This is what might be called creative tension.

The maintaining of this creative tension requires that the church as
institution be open constantly to the reforming vitality of the Holy
Spirit, and church people should be open-minded, adaptable, and ready to
live for God experimentally. They must be prepared to face the crises of
life as they occur individually and socially with courage and a desire
to lead the way for their fellow men. Instead of this, we find that
church people have the reputation of being ultra-conservative,
reactionary, and lovers of the _status quo_. The children of light, as
it were, are being dragged along by the children of darkness, and are
being compelled by them to face up to responsibilities which they ought
to have assumed in the name of God years before anyone else. Of course,
the record of the church is not altogether negative. In many places the
leadership and the membership of the church have courageously pioneered
the way in times of crisis and change. This experimental approach to
life and crisis ought to be more characteristic of the church than it
is. Where it does not exist, it is safe to assume that the membership is
serving itself rather than the Spirit of God.

The church that is preoccupied with itself can no more express love for
others than can a self-centered individual. Church members who are
primarily concerned about the maintenance of a church and its
educational unit on a particular corner in a certain town create a
diseased organization. It suffers from a condition which, in an
individual, would be called hypochondria. It is necessary, of course,
for an individual to give some attention to his diet, cleanliness, and
health in order that he may live his life and do his work. Likewise, the
church needs to give some attention to its maintenance, for it needs to
be nourished in its gathered life in order that it may do its work in
its dispersed life.

The decisive role of the church is not in the church's church, but in
the world: ministering to people at the beginning of and during their
married lives, accompanying them in and through their marital failures,
and helping them to learn from their experiences so that if they marry
again they may do so with more understanding and resourcefulness;
guiding them in the raising of their children, and helping them to
correlate the insights of the social sciences that throw light on the
nature and meaning of human development, especially the ultimate or
religious meanings of that development; helping them find their place in
the world's work with as much meaning as possible, and nurturing in
them a faith and courage that makes it possible for them to face the
conflicts, temptations, and sins of modern industrial life; standing by
them in all the crises that they encounter in the course of their human
existence; encouraging them to advance in company with the most creative
minds on the frontier of human exploration and experimentation; and
fearlessly traveling with them as they wrestle with the changing value
structures of each new generation, and guiding them in the use of their
leisure. But most of all, in and through all of these ways, the church's
task is to try to reveal to men that, though their identity in the world
may be confused and lost, in their relationship with God they are known
and loved. The church, as a fellowship of men, should exist not only to
proclaim this truth in the abstract, but to live it in the sphere of the
personal and social.


_Various Concepts of Ministry_

Every congregation and every member of a congregation needs to ask what
image of the church governs its life, because our images can be idols
that keep the church from being the instrument of God's action, and
because that image can keep us from being persons in whom the Spirit of
God can be incarnate. Such an examination calls for that sort of
rethinking of our conception of the ministry that the Reverend Mr. Gates
called for in our first chapter. The conception of the ministry held by
both ministers and laymen will naturally reflect their conception or
image of the church. Here both the ordained member and the lay member
are caught in the grip of stereotypes that threaten to stifle the
vitality of the church's ministry. Especially is this true in a time
like our own, when the social order is undergoing radical changes.

All too often lay people assume that the problems of the ministry and of
the church belong to the clergy alone. Many conscientious ministers
today, erroneously assuming this responsibility, are confused as to what
their role is. The problem of ministerial roles belongs to the whole
church. It is not easy in this time of transition for ministers to be
sure of what is expected of them. They sense or see clearly that the old
images and patterns of the minister of the gospel do not fit the present
time, and, therefore, are not safe ones to follow. Nor do the unsettled
conditions of our civilization give very clear-cut clues for the
formation of new and relevant concepts of the ministry. Consequently,
many ministers, including far too many young ones, seek refuge in
different stereotypes which fail to serve the church, and only provide
them with the means of evading the real challenges of their task. What,
then, are some of these stereotypes?

First, some ministers settle for a stereotype of the priesthood. They
seek to recapture and transplant in our age an earlier and relevant
priestly vitality that succeeds today only in assembling the dry bones
or external forms of that role. Or, they may succumb to the preacher
stereotype. Under the influence of that image, they think of the
preacher as a performer, a sermon as a performance, and the congregation
as an audience. That image is partly a product of the monological
understanding of communication, and partly a result of the human need to
justify oneself by an oversimplified function. The proclamation of the
Holy Word as mere content and without dialogical intent is not true
preaching of the gospel. Holy words were never meant to be used to
justify ministerial function. The Word of God justifies us, but our
words about the Word of God do not justify us. Furthermore, the Living
Word did not enter the world imperialistically, and that Word should not
be preached presumptively now, but with the expectation of having to
engage the world responsibly. Still other ministers try to find a
contemporary concept of ministry by modeling themselves after one of the
respected patterns of our society: the business executive, the
physician, or the group therapist. But as controlling images of the
church's ministry, these are not comprehensive, and they too tend to
become constricting stereotypes.

Then there is the stereotype of the local church, which is still thought
of as a parish in a nineteenth-century neighborhood sense. In most
places the parish community is no longer the center of people's common
life. The neighborhood in which the church is located is an area to
which people come home from their varied activities in order to sleep.
And for an increasing number of men whose work keeps them on the road,
even sleeping at home occurs only on occasional week ends. These and
other stereotypes stifle the full power of the ministry and keep it from
being equal to today's task. Too many ministers, in consequence, feel
alone and separated from their people, and are bewildered by the
complexity of their work and the ambiguous results of their efforts.

Lay people, on the other hand, receive little help in overcoming their
stereotypes of the ministry and gravitate to a concept of the church
that is hard to distinguish from a middle-class country club or a social
service center. Another complicating influence is the current emphasis
on the lay ministry. The general stress on the priesthood of all
believers had made both clergy and laity less sure about the role of the
clergy, even to the point, figuratively speaking, of seeming to unordain
the ordained, and without clearly defining the ministry of the lay
member.

Is there an answer to these confusions and ambiguities? What can clergy
and laity now do to find their present and new role in the life of the
church and world? There is an answer to these questions which, if
followed, will open the ministry of the whole church to the renewing
vitality of the Holy Spirit.

First, the role of the clergy and the concepts of it are the
responsibility of the whole church. But the clergy are more conscious of
the problems of the church and of the ministry, and they should,
therefore, share them with the laity. Ministers make the mistake of
keeping "their" problems, which are really the problems of the church,
to themselves, instead of making sure that the rest of the church
members are aware of and assuming responsibility for them.

Second, if the clergy are to share these concerns with the laity, they
must break through the stereotypes held by both groups as described
earlier. There is evidence that both ministers and laity are suffering
restraints as a result of their false images of each other. The question
is: Do the clergy dare to reveal themselves as spiritual leaders who do
not always know the answers, and who themselves need desperately to be a
part of a church that is a supportive and accepting fellowship? When
asked why they do not discuss problems of the church within the church,
ministers often reply: "What would my people think of me? I'm supposed
to be the answer man." The truth is that many laymen welcome being
released from false images of the clergy.

Third, ministers, therefore, need to be dialogists rather than
monologists. This might turn out to be the appropriate concept of their
role for this day. As representatives of the gospel, which was born of
the full meeting and full interchange between God and man in Christ, the
minister must learn to engage in dialogue with his people, and to
participate in that dialogue with God which goes on in their living. The
great questions of the church and the ministry are not going to be
solved by the ordained ministers alone, but by the clergy and the laity
accepting communication with each other as a part of their common
ministry, and together bringing the gospel into dialogue with the world.

It is imperative that ministers and people talk to each other deeply,
not about the housekeeping of the church, but about the church and its
message, about its place in and relation to the world, and about its
ministry, including the respective roles of clergy and laity. This kind
of persistent, continuing talk is imperative for two reasons: first, it
brings out and correlates the truth that is in man about these matters;
and, second, the Holy Spirit reveals the truth of Christ to and through
men who give themselves to each other in earnest search for the truth.


_The Church and the World in Dialogue_

We may conclude, therefore, that the problems of the ordained ministry
in the world today are the problems of the church. Members of the
church, including the clergy, must take the risks of communication,
which are the risks of creativity, and talk with one another about their
concerns. We must do this with the expectation that God will speak and
act through our dialogue together, so that it will become our dialogue
with Him. Out of this will come new insights and concepts for our
respective roles, with a new awareness of our task for Christ in the
world. It would seem, then, that our most effective starting point for a
new and relevant image of ourselves for our task today is that of men
who are in dialogue with God through their dialogue with their people.
The spirit of this dialogue, however, must be the Spirit of Christ. The
form of the ministry needs to be rethought in each age, but it must be
formed by a double focus on Christ's ministry and the need of the world
today.

Some of this dialogue, of course, has already been going on, and out of
it certain insights have already appeared about the relation of the
clergy and the laity. In the _gathered_ church, with the focus on the
worship, pastoral, educational, and organizational life, the ordained
member is the chief minister and the lay members are his assistants.
This does not mean that the lay people are working for the pastor and
that their loyalty is to him. Instead, it means that both are working
together for Christ and their loyalty is to Him. Within that
relationship the congregation has called a member, usually trained and
ordained, to direct it in performing the church's functions. The
minister is entrusted, for example, with the educational work of the
church. Some of his educational responsibility is delegated to the
organization known as the church school. A few laymen are selected and
professionally trained to be directors of Christian education; others
from the congregation are trained to be the teachers, but, as such, they
are serving as assistants to the one who is officially responsible for
that activity. Likewise, when laymen are used in church visitation, they
do so as assistants to the minister, to whom this official
responsibility is delegated.

On the other hand, in the work of the _dispersed_ church, which is
active in and serving the world, the chief minister is the layman who,
in the home or in the office, on the street or in the shop, in the
school or in the university, or wherever the work of the world is going
on, _is_ the church in that situation and must be the minister of Christ
there. The ordained man, in this aspect of the church's work, is the
assistant or resource person.

This concept of the complementary relationship between the ordained and
the unordained should inform the church's gathered life. The sermon, the
preparation for church membership, all adult education programs, and the
general ministry of the church, need to be conditioned by the thought
that the purpose of the official teachers and preachers and
administrators of the church's program is to prepare and guide the
people of God in the performance of their work _in the world_, as
representatives of Christ there. Resources need to be created in the
church's program whereby people can come back from their ministry in the
world, be helped to understand what has happened, and by reflection upon
it learn how more effectively to be the church in the world. For this
reason, seminars for parents need to be held in order that they may
receive assistance in understanding their role as ministers of the
church in the home. Seminars for businessmen and professional people
also are indicated for the same reason. A point of focus for all church
membership courses should be the question: When you become a member of
the church, how are you going to exercise your ministry in the world?
This orientation could be the source of a new evangelism that would make
its witness heard in the depth and detail of human life.


_The Reunion of the Church_

We turn now to consider some of the implications of what we have been
thinking for the reunion of the church. If the church is the instrument
of God's action in the world, and its members are supposed to be the
incarnations of His Spirit by means of which He accomplishes His
purpose, the condition, as well as the concept of the church, is
important. One of the tragedies of Christendom is the fact that the body
of Christ is so divided and its parts live in such competitive
relationship that the purposes of God are obscured and blocked.
Movements toward reunion have borne fruit, with the result that some
denominations have resolved their differences and reunited. But much
more progress needs to be made, if the church is to be equal to the
demands that modern life is making on it for spiritual leadership.

In each denomination there are clergymen and laymen who have erroneous
concepts and understandings and expectations of the other denominations.
I direct a training center which is attended by clergy and laymen from
many denominations. These people often are surprised to discover, as a
result of studying together the church's nature and purpose, how much
they have in common. They discover that doctrinal differences are not as
great as they had thought, that there are no denominational differences
built into human nature or into human problems, and that they have many
resources in common, namely, the God-given and redeemed resources of
human relationships, the Scriptures, prayer, preaching, pastoral care,
and teaching. Many of them have been heard to say, "I am glad to have
had it revealed to me that in some ways our differences are more
apparent than real." This kind of insight, however, is not possible
unless a situation is created in which representatives of different
denominations can begin to trust each other, and to think and
communicate below the level of their differences. It is possible to do
this, however, and more of it should be done. There is no reason why the
local congregation should not invite neighboring congregations to come
together with it for a study program for the purpose of finding their
common brotherhood in Christ and their common responsibility for the
community in which they live. A divided church does not make a good
organ for the communication of love.

We come now to the distinctive contribution of our discussion thus far
in this matter of the unity of the church. The work of reunion, of
course, is the work of the Holy Spirit. But our response to Him in
approaching reunion should be centered in a study of His purposes for
the church _now_ and _in the future_, rather than on a reconciliation of
the _differences that occurred in the past_. It is exceedingly
difficult to undo the mistakes of the past and to change the rigid
images and patterns that have been forged by the misunderstandings of
our predecessors. Merely trying to adjust them to each other will not
do. It is something else again to be willing to change these by giving
ourselves to a responsible consideration of what God wants His church to
be and to do _now_, and thus attempt the reunion in response to present
and future values.

The images that Presbyterians and Methodists and Episcopalians and
Baptists and Lutherans now have of themselves might be changed, thus
making possible changes in their images of one another, and this would
certainly open the way to deeper levels of communication. Instead of
this, we have members of different denominations thinking rather rigidly
about themselves and others. Our identities and responsibilities are
accepted in terms of differences that were laid down in the past, and
may be held independently of what God may be wanting His church to do in
this moment. The church is not the Kingdom of God; it is not the end of
God's action. It is a means to an end, and, as circumstances of human
life change, it is not inconceivable that God would like to have us make
changes in that instrument for man's salvation which He created.

Proposals for the reunion of the churches often arouse the fear that our
respective denominations, to which we are devoted, will be replaced by
what some conceive of as a "superchurch." Such an arbitrary replacement
of church organization is not the objective of the unity movement.
Instead, we should respond to the Spirit's prompting to keep our
denominational loyalties subject to our loyalty to Him, in order that we
may be open to whatever form of church life and action the Spirit may
indicate for our generation. We are concerned about the church as the
body of Christ in our time. As His body, we must find our unity in Him;
but this may mean that we shall have to abandon some things that have
seemed good. Some words of our Lord are hard to bear: "He who loves
father or mother more than me is not worthy of me."[23] These words of
our Lord are equally applicable to all other relationships, including
our denominational ones. It does not follow, however, that our
denominational devotion is of itself disloyal to Christ, any more than
our devotion to our loved ones is disloyal. We do need, however, to make
sure that we love and serve Him, and not something or someone else. Our
concepts of ourselves and of others may need to be changed.

The changing of these images of ourselves and of others is not a
responsibility that belongs only to our top-level church leaders. Every
Christian in every church in every part of the world must share it,
because each person has a specific responsibility for his relationship
with his Christian brothers, by whatever name they may call themselves.
The parent who seeks to exercise his ministry in his relationship with
his child needs also to be open to his responsibility as a member of
some historic branch of the Christian church for the welfare of that
church and the relationship of its separate parts. We cannot accept what
we have inherited in the form in which we inherited it. Our inheritance
in many ways is precious and wonderful, but our human response can
deform it. Our church can be a means of fulfilling our discipleship, but
it can also be an obstacle to it. Therefore, our membership and
participation in a denomination needs to be kept under the constant
judgment of God in order that we as members may serve Him more loyally.

We are Christ's, brought into this relationship by His love, and we can
grow in this relationship only as we are guided by His Spirit.
Everything else is secondary to this. But all other relationships, if
offered to Him and illumined and corrected by His Spirit, can be
wonderful also, because then they too become a part of His means of
reuniting, by His love, men with one another and with Him.

"In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent
his Son.... We love, because he first loved us."[24]

  [21] John 4:5 ff.
  [22] Luke 10:25 ff.
  [23] Matt. 10:37.
  [24] 1 John 4:10, 19.



about the author


Reuel Lanphier Howe is recognized as one of the foremost counselors in
America in the field of personal relationships. The authoritative
conclusions growing out of his research are presented in this book with
earnestness and understanding.

He was born in the state of Washington and received his B.A. degree from
Whitman College in Walla Walla. From the Divinity School of the
Protestant Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, he received the degrees of
S.T.B., S.T.M., and S.T.D. He was ordained in the Protestant Episcopal
Church in 1929 and 1930. Whitman College and the Chicago Theological
Seminary have each honored him with the D.D. degree.

In 1931 he became Vicar of St. Stephen's Church, Elsmere, N.Y. Then, for
about twenty years, he was on the faculties of the Divinity School of
the Protestant Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, and the Protestant
Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia. In both of these situations
he developed a program of clinical pastoral training to prepare the
clergy to minister to the needs of people. He has served on many
important committees and boards and has lectured extensively, both in
America and abroad.

Presently he is the director of the Institute for Advanced Pastoral
Studies, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., a postordination training center
for ministers of various denominations who have been in the ministry for
at least three years. He takes part in many significant educational
programs outside his denomination. One of Dr. Howe's major interests is
in the correlation of the insights of theology with those of the social
and medical sciences. The enthusiasm with which his lectures and books
have been received points to his popularity as a thinker and writer.



   +---------------------------------------------------------------+
   |                                                               |
   | Transcriber's notes: Obvious spelling/typographical and       |
   | punctuation errors have been corrected after careful          |
   | comparison with other occurrences within the text and         |
   | consultation of external sources.                             |
   |                                                               |
   | page 12 line -3: changed "For God so loved the world--" to    |
   |                          'For God so loved the world--'"      |
   | page 111: corrected printer's error where lines -14, -13, -12 |
   |           should have appeared as lines -13, -12, -14         |
   |                                                               |
   +---------------------------------------------------------------+





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