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Page 9 of Mountain Life & Work vol. 17 no. 1 Spring, 1941

Part of Mountain Life and Work

Spring, 1941 MOUNTAIN Lire AND WORK the wording might lend itself to various interpre­tations at one point or another, one dare not tamper too much with these phrases if the in- tegrity of the group discussion is to be respected. What are the particular strengths o f these sects? 1. They provide lay participation. 2. They are elementally emotional, providing recreation and release. 3. They are a Bible religion. 4. They are a class religion (the religion of the disadvantaged). 5. They are a group religion (placing more em­phasis on the group than on the individual so far as worship services are concerned). 6. They provide an easy, other-wordly religion. 7. They are cyclic religions, with alternating seasons of great fervor and of inactivity. 8. They are militant and dogmatic. 9. They are perfectionist. (Making few de­mands en the individual, such religion enables him to have a sense of achieving integrity by meeting those demands.) What are the problems and weaknesses o f tra- ditioraal religions? 1. Lack of understanding and sympathy: Intel­lectually we perceive, but not having been so disadvantaged, we do not understand their point of view. 2. Imposition of external standards-of wor­ ship, literature. 3. "Not sitting where they sit," or not sharing as Muriel Lester and Kagawa did. Taking away what people have without making replacement with an idea or practice which will adequately meet the felt need. Expense to the people: It requires nice clothes, and money for the collection. 6. Complaint rather than work: We complain about evils and perhaps about people's errors without striving zealously to remove them. 7. Peace for peace's sake: We sometimes follow a policy of appeasement with evil-i.e. we do not boldly criticize such practices as handling poisonous snakes and fire. 8. Conventionality: We are too easily satisfied with the forms of religion without the sub­stance. Failure to use simple ideas and language in striving to get our message across. 10. Traditional religions are too "programized" 5. 9. and "Institutionalized.­ Lack 11. of humorous self-criticism: If we could see our selves and what we are trying to do as others see us, and laugh at ourselves, that might help. 12. There is false and exaggerated promotion of work to outside agencies, leading to resent­ment on the part of the folks with whom we are working. 13. Localism. 14. There is paternalism: in the sense of "W;: come to do you good," and also in where the final power of decision lies. Where might we appropriate strength? 1. Provide for local and lay participation. 2. Minister to emotional needs: a. Through warm human fellow ship-sing-­ ing, recreation, cooperation. b. Through providing for complete re­ligious experience for each individual, suited to his temperament. Provide intelligent, intensive, and reverent Bible religion. Work toward closer identification with the folk with whom we are working. Develop a program to meet folk needs such as that proposed by Friends of the Soil. Provide a whole Gospel with proper emphasis on and interpretation of immortality. Arrange a well-balanced observance of the church year rooted in rural experience. Provide sacramental emphasis, as a moans of giving concreteness to a group to whom the abstract does not appeal. Insist upon clear-cut, total, and active com­mitment. Let us take our gospel and our re­ligion as seriously as the best of then, take theirs. How cooperate in a forward-going program? 1. Through Christian fellowship: a. In worshiping with them, i. e. those of fine, sincere type (they are not all alike anymore than are the members of other churches). b. In service, e. g. helping to rebuild the house of one of the neighbors who got burned out. c. In recreation-especially for youth. 6.

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