Let's start the column a day early - and see if we can get it there in time. This running behind schedule is getting to be downright embarrassing. Right here I want to tell you that Virgil Jr. had a wonderful birthday "season" - that was extended because of the delayed notice. He has not sent us the list yet, as he wanted to copy names and addresses (for letter of thanks) and then send us the cards, which he said were so clever and unusual. I just want you to know that your kindness is appreciated. The letter that he wrote after his birthday is something that his father and I will treasure all our lives. Of all the investments you can make on this old earth, children pay the highest dividends. What a blessed comfort it is to Christian parents who have had to part with a beloved child - to know that their richest treasure awaits them in Heaven!***
Long Beach is taking a religious census - to find out how many of her citizens are church-going people. A great forward step has been taken in promoting the brotherhood of man in that all faiths have united in this effort - Jewish, Catholic, Protestant. I am quite interested in knowing the outcome, and will report to you. In my own canvass (which is not yet complete) I contacted families that added up to 52 people. So far there have been none that "declined information," as was the case with many of our callers. Out of the 52, there were eleven who belong to no church. (I am writing now of adults); nine Baptists, eight that belong to the Christian Church; eight Congregationalists; seven Methodists; two Presbyterians; two Catholics; two Mennonites. One woman is in a class by herself; member of no certain church, she is benefactor to all. She loves her fellow-man, and she worships God with her gifts to His children. Her companion and chauffeur, a most gracious lady, told me the story of this Good Samaritan, who dedicates her life and her substance to helping the unfortunate. No matter what their color or creed, she never turns a deaf ear to a worthy call for help. Wouldn't you say that she is a most worthy member of God's "Universal church?"
The first call I made was upon two couples who had never gone to church. The older couple are parents of the young wife. Talking to them was like eating sad pancakes. There is no leaven in their lives. I took this job partly for selfish reasons. I wanted to find out what difference active church membership makes in people's lives and personalities. The difference is startling. Those who never went to church have "sodden" personalities - aimless, dissatisfied, yet not knowing why. Those who have drifted away are not happy. One cynic said, "I belong to the 'Round Church'," in reply to my puzzled look he explained - "so the devil can't catch me in the corner." There are the self-righteous, who go to church so that they are in good standing - with man, at least. But they haven't the shining countenance of him who goes because he loves his Lord, and loves to worship in His temple. That church-goer translates his worship into loving his fellow-man. More of this later.***
If you do not have the Reader's Digest, get hold of a copy of February's issue - and read "Father Flanagan's Toughest Customer" on p. 79. If that little story doesn't melt your heart, then nothing ever will. Would that there were a great many more Father Flanagan's in the old world - to help little distorted minds - potential criminals - go straight. And not only little minds and souls - but those in teens and maturity. Oh, Father above, let us try. Let us try!
Florence B. Taylor.
Next - 2/27/47 - Virgil J. Taylor, Columnist
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