Anyone acquainted with our (Christian Reformed) periodicals, both “official” and, as this one, free, will have noted that the brethren of the Christian Labour Association of Canada have not been hiding their light under a bushel! They have engaged in sharp debate with all comers, and the discussions produced have served to enlighten at least this observer with respect to the issues involved.

Like much debate, theirs, too, has often seemed quite fruitless. So far as we can sec, no one hears anything that compels modification of position. The very articulate and learned opponents of the “separate organization” position continue to say that such activity may be desirable but is not at all necessary. It is suggested that if we are really to count for Christ in our time, we must take our place in the existing organizations and make our witness from such a vantage point.

My personal experience is that the evidence of such distinctively Christian effort is scarcely nOticeable. I know that hundreds of Christian workers, for example, are members of the larger trade unions in the Grand Rapids area. However, I never saw much of an effort to do more than request people at union meetings not to swear so much.

But let’s forget about such things. Possibly considerable positive Christian testimony is being offered in these organizations of which I have never heard a thing. I hope so!

Our Canadian brothers, however, have been making a bit of commotion in their country. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. Without further comment except to ask if actions here aren’t speaking more loudly than words, I quote from the Kingston (Ont.) Whig-Standard, a daily newspaper, its editorial comments on CLAC action:


We hear often enough that this is a “Christian” society; it is generally assumed that this country was founded upon “Christian principles” and for practical purposes most people accept this generalization. There are certain principles of conduct and ethics which are part of Christian dogma, at any rate, which we can all accept and which we like to think govern our affairs.

It is strange, therefore, to find a professedly Christian movement under vicious pressure from sources which are the first to profess their moral superiority. That movement calls itself the Christian Labour Association of Canada and those sources are, mainly, organized labour and certain newspapers. We hold no special brief for this association but a study of its regularly published organ, The Guide, makes us feel that, although it may be a bit cranky, it is fundamentally decent and rather courageously forthright.

The trouble is that the CLAC believes in the freedom of each man to work without being forced to join any association. Organized unions in Canada believe just the opposite. The issue had never been forced until a man named Clarence Mostert was recently fired because he refused to join the International Association of Machinists in Vancouver when his employer signed a collective agreement with that union.

The employer was not eager to let Mr. Mostert go but said it had no choice. However, Mr. Mostert displayed an inconvenient and disconcerting amount of courage. He demanded to see the constitution of the union in question and after much opposition managed to do so. That constitution was so shot through with illiberality that Mr. Mostert and a good lawyer, along with the CLAC who are going to pay court costs, is going to fight his case right to the Supreme Court of Canada if necessary.

Tins will be the test case and it has been too long in coming. While newspapers such as the Toronto Star have consistently reviled the CLAC, others throughout the country have supported Mr. Mostert and his present backers. It may be that a new day of freedom for the individual worker is about to dawn in Canada.

J. H. P.


It has been said that the spiritual life of a church can be determined by the number of men that attend Men’s Society. If that is true, what is the spirituality of the Christian Reformed Church today? Judging from the reports that this writer has heard, the number of men attending Men’s Society is very small. Does it therefore follow that the spiritual life of our Church is poor?

It certainly is true that one’s relationship with the Lord will determine what kind of spiritual life he will have. And it is also true that the only way in which one can cultivate spiritual life is through the Word of God. Therefore by the study of the Word, one displays his interest in maintaining a strong and personal relationship with God. in Jesus Christ. On the other hand, if one has no interest in the systematic study of the Word, it certainly points to weak fellowship with God, if indeed it allows for such a fellowship at all. All of which comes down to this: if men show no interest in attending a society where the Word of God is studied systematically, they are showing little sign of spiritual life. The basic issue therefore is still, as always, the condition of a man’s heart. Those who have a real desire to serve God will find attendance at society a wonderful way to fulfill that desire. And the only way in which one can have that desire is through the power of the Holy Spirit. In the final analysis, therefore, we should ceaselessly pray for His life to revitalize our church.



A controversial, and admittedly difficult, problem is what our teen-age children in Christian high schools should be taught is good literature, and what therefore is recommended as good reading for them. Among our literati there is great difference of opinion. It is readily granted that such a course should cover a broad range. It is also agreed that a novel with some quasi-religious twist is not necessarily or because of this good literature. Some of the writing in this class is positively repulsive. What teen-ager, whether boy or girl, cares about these goody-goody stories, the piosity so unreal to the world he lives in?

But does this mean that boys and girls in our Christian high schools should be introduced to the foul sur-realism that disgraces the newsstands or the magazine racks of any drug store?

I have just finished reading one of the vilest of the vile. Now I could wish I had not done so, because to this moment its profanity rings in my ears. It is a book no one would read aloud in the presence of respectable company. The cursing, even in the presence of a child, makes one wonder why the author did not choke in the froth of his own corruption. Nor is this good literature. How could it be? It is trash, and nothing but trash. There is not one sentence in the entire book which impresses the reader, so that he would like to cherish it in his memory. And the point of the story seems to be that all of life is pointless.

Why did I read this book? Wen, someone told me that this was recommended reading in one of our Christian high schools. I could not believe it. But I had to.

C. H.