"A STRICKEN WORLD
A HEALING CHRIST"
Dr. Russell Conwell Barbour's
Written For The National Baptist
Voice And Published
August 15, 1944
We have a good start. The theme for 62nd Annual Session of the National
Baptist Convention, September 5-10, 1944, at Dallas is the above caption.
Instead of indulging in self-praise and hypocritical platitudes, we are
going to be realistic. We are going to take a good look at the world; then
look at ourselves, and then see what Christ has to say.
We will not meet in a happy world. It is a world that lies under a horror of great darkness, a world whose only light is the flame of battle, and whose dominating purpose is slaughter and destruction. It is a stricken world, lying wounded and prostrate, flat on its back. The superior races who believe in pride of blood; the lordly races who believe that divine destiny has ordained their dominance are largely responsible stricken world. Shattered Rottendom fire swept Coventry and London; the heaps or rubble that were Stalingrad and Sevastopol, and bleeding France and Germany are monuments to the genius of superior races. Did I say superior? I apologize. They are savages, murdering women and children, bombing churches and centers of art and culture. Yes this is sin and it is well that we understand the nature of sin. It is a costly sin. Innocent young men who are not responsible for these evils are dying for the millions to prove that blood tells. Whole libraries of books have been written about the causes of war; yet those causes are known to every rational man and can be summed up in two words--stupidity and greed.
World-Wide Epidemic of Hatred
The world is suffering from a world-wide epidemic of hatred. The Arabs hate the Jews and the Jews hate the Arabs; in Spain apparently everybody hates everybody; the Italians hate the French; the Russians hate the Germans; the Germans hate the Jews.
Several years ago a Nazi Journal called for a Jim Crow car for Jews in Germany. Jim Crow Jews--that is an outrage. But Jim Crow cars are not a Nazi invention. They are an American invention. The Nazis working out their program of racial discrimination are borrowing some of their techniques from us. We have our problem of racial prejudice too and history is keeping the record of the injustice with which personally and governmentally we have sometimes handled it, north and south alike.
|I was in El Paso, Texas recently.
Negro soldiers on the train complained that German war prisoners were fed
in the station restaurant while they were denied food. White girls danced
with Italian prisoners of war and Negro soldiers are shot on the bus. This
is the kind of a world in which we live.
A Repentant Church
This is no time for arrogance. Our churches are responsible for this atmosphere of hate, prejudice and racial arrogance. Political leaders do not move until they hear from spiritual leaders. In England the political leaders do not conquer as weak people until their spiritual leaders advise them that such action is the Christian thing to do. Dean Inge and the late Rudyard Kipling spoke of the white man's burden and the English responsibility of sharing a superior with savages. Their missionaries have the natives bow their heads and close their eyes in prayer when the natives open their eyes, their land is gone.
American preachers believe in pride of races. They say little about racial arrogance. American churches have sanctioned the racial evils of our social order. American congregations are nothing more than fashionable clubs. One listens in vain for moral indignation from the eloquence of our preachers. The American preachers deplore the German Harrenvolk philosophy (the lordly race theories) and ignore the same theories here at home. He that is without sin among you, let him cast a stone at her, "they" went out, "we read one by one beginning from the oldest, even unto the last," Jesus said, so in those wicked days days one finds himself gathering rocks to stone, others until one meets the eye of Christ. He that is without sin among you let him cast a stone." "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye but considerest not the beam that is in thy own eye; and then should thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
The Negro Church
The Negro Church is not without sin. We too, are guilty of petty prejudices; natty spirits; internal bickering, and tid-bit thinking. When it comes to black people the world is one. Some countries soften their prejudices at times but the racial arrogance is there beneath the surface. Black people should be the most united
|group in the world. Instead,
we are the most divided people. We divide and wrangle over nothing. In
as much as we have kept prejudice
alive amongst ourselves. We are responsible too for the conditions of the world. At Dallas (where the 1944 Convention met) someone must offer a prayer of repentance.
O Jesus, we thy ministers bow
The Healing Christ
Here is the tragedy of our day. There is not one Christian community in the world attempting to follow Jesus. He told us what to do about racial arrogance. He preached brotherhood. He loved th Samaritans. We would not have wars and strife and division if we took Jesus seriously. "Follow Me," he said.
Ah, Negro Baptist, during these dangerous days, we must be about our special business! Good-will against vindictive prejudice and passion; humility and penitence against self-complacent pride; faith, hope and courage for the future against the cynicism that makes men accept hell on earth when they might have the Kingdom of God--the need of battleships and airplanes is not more real than the need of such qualities now; if we are going to have a world worth living in.
"Come ye disconsolate where'er ye languish;