The Power of Unity
These factors constitute a challenge for growing fellowship through united study and expression of view by means of the annual offerings of the Ministerial Reading Course. The necessities and possibilities of the Ministerial Reading Course as a unifying and really stimulative molding force are not understood or utilized to the extent they deserve. Surely a minimum of five especially strong and really essential books each year (including the elective), for united reading by all workers, is a narrow enough margin of safety. Ministers in these intensive times need to follow a program of intensive study, lest the careless be crowded out by those who are ever reaching out for more information, better understanding, clearer principles, superior methods, and greater spiritual light and life.
Most carefully chosen under wide counsel, and authorized by the large, representative Advisory Council of the Association, this 1938 offering of the General Conference united study program is bound to strengthen your ministry. And when a thousand ministerial comrades march forward with unity of view and oneness of understanding, great will be the results in the pursuit of such a program. This provision affords the only postgraduate work many ministers ever obtain. Constant, advanced study is imperative in these days of competition, for others who are abreast of the times will march on and leave the indifferent and unprepared behind.
The General Conference headquarters staff and the Advisory Council of the Association have already given their supporting example of personal enrollment in the new course, and have given us their permission to use this information. Let all—executives, evangelists, pastors, Bible workers, departmental leaders, teachers, ministerial interns, physicians, nurses, theological students—enroll for this course of exceptional value, and thus foster the unity of view and utterance so greatly needed at this time.
L. E. F.
Learn and Live
I enjoy listening to a good public speaker. Most people do. A well-spoken message is effective in that it is associated with the witchery of personal charm. It is arresting, compelling, convincing. But at last the voice is silenced. The magnetic spell is lost. The speaker is gone. For a whole hour he held us enthralled. Some of the things he said we can never forget. But much that we should like to remember is soon gone from us. After a few hours, or days at most, all we have left is a vague remembrance of beautiful words and phrases, chosen with great nicety and made to march in and out, round and round, in a galaxy of brilliance, at the will of a polished speaker.
Not so with the message printed on the pages of a good book. The printed page offers a perpetual invitation to the seeker after knowledge. It never tires in its mission of mental and spiritual enlightenment and never ceases in its work of contributing to culture and refinement. Books pass the torch of wisdom from generation to generation, and brighten the darkest recesses of earth's remotest preserves. The mind cannot come to its full fruition without their aid. And the mind is still the true measure of the man.
We begin life with many different endowments, but a sound mind is the greatest of all. In the ministry of life, it is the finest tool the Creator has given us. The best possible preparation for life is the training of this mind, First it must be filled with useful information.
Biology teaches us that nature discards or deadens any faculty or equipment that is not used. That rule applies to mind as well as muscles—and there is not much delay in applying it. The mind will dry up if it is not used frequently and sometimes vigorously. Fortunately, work lying mainly in the realm of the intellect can be fully as well learned late in life as early—in fact, it often seems to be mastered better after the fervid years of youth have passed. The minister must keep his mind growing, or he is lost. And the only way to grow is to reach out for new material.
In his book, "The Carpenter of Nazareth," * M. E. Olsen stresses that point convincingly and effectively, and in doing so he has performed an enduring service, not for our ministry alone, but for our denomination as a whole. Knowing the value of adult education and the need for futher supervised study of many of our workers and laymen who cannot return to the classroom for formal instruction, he writes infectiously under the captions, "The Carpenter of Nazareth," "Sons and Daughters," "The Call to Christian Service," and "Shall We Make Room in Our Lives for the Study Experience ?"
Doctor Olsen's book is an eloquent plea for self-improvement, pointing out avenues of advancement toward that mental, spiritual, and cultural energy which in our hearts we all so greatly covet. The next time I meet one of those half-starved, stifled souls who despair of further growth and power, and who need to renew old-time ambitions, I am going to suggest that he read this book.