Failure After Slavery

UncleTomsCabinI have just finished a book that I should have read long ago: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe.  I was amazed at the saturation of God and Bible throughout the story.  Slaves held strongly to the promises of the Bible that someday there would be a better day when God would put everything right.

However, the last chapter titled “Concluding Remarks,” which is Harriet Beecher Stowe sharing her thoughts, is worth reading, if nothing else.


Harriet Beecher Stowe asks the question about what people can do about slavery?  Here is where it starts according to her: “There is one thing that every individual can do,‑‑they can see to it that they feel right. An atmosphere of sympathetic influence encircles every human being; and the man or woman who feels strongly, healthily and justly, on the great interests of humanity, is a constant benefactor to the human race. See, then, to your sympathies in this matter! Are they in harmony with the sympathies of Christ? or are they swayed and perverted by the sophistries of worldly policy?”

 

Simple, yet profound.  That anti-slavery begins by feeling, seeing, or believing that slavery is wrong.  I think that she is on to something.

J.B. Gambrell, Southern Baptist president from 1917 to 1920 said almost the same thing: “It is preeminently the function of the pulpit to mould and lead thought, so that the thoughts of the people shall be God’s thoughts. Until people think right, they will not act right. As Baptist principles are peculiar to Baptists, every Baptist church, with all its appointments, from preacher to Sunday‑school teacher, ought to stand, in the community where it holds forth the word, for something different from any other congregation. When a Baptist church thinks of itself as just one of the churches in a community, with no mission above others, it has become a very weak affair.”

A great statement, however, Gambrell was also a scout for Robert E. Lee in the civil war!?  I believe our inconsistency is our biggest problem.  I speak of all of us, throughout all time.

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