"He Hath Made Of One Blood All The Nations..."
Following the publication in this column of a resume of the life of "George Washington Carver," I have received a letter from an American negro living in St. Louis, Mo., U.S.A. By some means or other he must have got hold of the Star of 8/1/44. His letter betrays something of his broad human sympathy and Christian understanding. He is an attorney, his age is just over CO, and his name is Louis G. Gregory. By Rev. C. W. Chandler "The founders of all the world's great religions," he says, "all believed in and acted upon true brotherhood, and set such examples as inspired the early followers of their respective faiths to vindicate their love for humanity by heroic deeds of sacrifice and devotion." Colour is a very superficial thing, and at heart all sincere seekers after truth are actuated by one Spirit, which is the Holy Spirit of God. Gregory, my negro correspondent, continues: "The Golden Rule is in all religions. The Holy Spirit is the one Reality. It is the Power which creates and gives life to mankind and to all besides. The early Christians reflected the idealism and sacrifice of the Exalted Christ, but all when remote from the time of their establishment, show a tendency unmistakable to lapse into forms which lack substance, and to substitute dogmas and ceremonials for loving kindness aud altruistic deeds."
Ming Tse Again To-day I also received a letter from Ming Tse, my Chinese friend, with whom many of you are already acquainted. As another of these "coloured" men he sees the failure of institutional religion. Quoting from a source unknown to me, he says: "Nearly half-way through the 20th century the nations of the West are no longer so confident of their superiority. They seek new gods. Science, which alone had given them that superiority, has turned in their hands, for they have not the wisdom to use it aright. Christianity, which gave to Europe at least the common bond of a spiritual form, has been destroyed by materialism, nationalism and reason, for even their virtues are at war, lacking the guiding Spirit. Christianity has gone—European civilisation is going."
Without agreeing that Christianity has gone. I would at least say that institutionally it is in a rapid process of decay. It is just platitudinous and powerless in the face of States organised for destruction.
Both this negro and this Chinese are feeling as millions are feeling everywhere, namely, that we see more of the shell than of the substance of religion, and that the further we go from our beginnings the deeper lies the pearl beneath the weight of accumulated dogmas, prejudices and misinterpretations. I feel honoured in receiving Gregory's letter, for he knew Dr. Carver, the negro scientist of whom I wrote on the occasion referred to above. His letter confirms my own deep-rooted conviction, that God is revealing Himself to-day in most unexpected quarters, that as in the days of Our Lord's earthly pilgrimage, He found more faith in outcast Samaritans, Roman Centurions, despised publicans and harlots, than He did in recognised religious leaders, so to-day, the challenge for true Christian living and courageous witness is coming from outside our churches—not exclusively, but in a measure that should humble our pi-ide, and help us to see that the Holy Spirit is far less orthodox than we ourselves are. The Pneuma tou Theos, or Breath of God, does not discriminate, for whoever humbly waits for the Spirit's prompting, be he white, black or brindle, can be sure of a generous response. lialia-u-llah
Louis Gregory is a follower of what is known as the Bahai Faith, which was founded by Baha-u-llah, a Persian, whose son, Abdul Baha, was knighted by King George V. "God in His mercy and love." says Gregory, "sends a new prophet or manifestation about every thousand years to renew the spirit of religion, and to give mankind new laws in keeping with the needs of the day." I would add that these later recurring manifestations are not in conflict with anything that has gone before. "The teachings of Baha-u----llah are the light of the age, and the spirit of the century, and are conferring new life upon mankind."
In the pre-Christian era we stoned our prophets. To-day we only ignore them. Who is to say that God did not inspire this Persian Seer with a message for to-day, and that the Christ Spirit did not dwell in him?
Archdeacon Townshend, of County Galvvay, Ireland, in his "Heart of the Gospel" (published 1940) says: "How many difficulties, hitherto insuperable. would disappear if only there could be kindled again in us the fire that burned in the hearts of the early Christians?" He concludes his book with this question: "What adequate plan of action survives for men to work to, save only that prophetically traced long since by the pen of Baha-u-llah?" In the non-racial discrimination of the Bahai Faith, rather than in the White Man's Church in America, wherein "niggers" are not allowed to worship, has my valued correspondent found a spiritual home. If he has been lost to any branch of the Christian Church, who is to blame?
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"He Hath Made Of One Blood All The Nations...", Auckland Star, Volume LXXV, Issue 66, 18 March 1944
"He Hath Made Of One Blood All The Nations..." Auckland Star, Volume LXXV, Issue 66, 18 March 1944
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