Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Bigger God and goodbye wages

In this letter of Dad's there is a major change in his religious views. He says, " some of the Athiests were better Christians than I was. So I got busy and tried to figure it out and I can’t see as much in religion as I used to. When I finally made up my mind that I didn’t believe religion as I had been taught it" . One of my interests in posting the letters is to track this change in belief. When he entered he was a very Christian centered Quaker, who believed in answering calls for salvation. Over the 4 years he got what he calls a 'liberal education'. He now believes in a bigger God and he also seems to have a firm view about what he believes and that this will not be changing back to his old beliefs. It is interesting that his change seems to be shared by others in CPS. As for me here in 2011, I have been busy and have not been blogging and I am now having to catch up with the new blog format. Last weekend we had our Quaker women's retreat at Claires in Reserve. It was enjoyable. On the IRS side, they finally got some money, it came from my paycheck. they and the bank had said that money would be levied from my bank account for the taxes owed for 2008 and 2009. Then a week before payday I got an e-mail saying the wages would be garnished and I could submit some numbers for dependents so that they would take less. I did not do this and they took most of the paycheck. I believe they will do the same this week and that should complete the garnishing of the wages, for the taxes owed for those years. This week was the Whole Enchilada Fiesta and we set up the Peace Crane Memorial again. It is interesting, since where ever we have set it up it has meaning for some people, not huge crowds but some who are deeply touched. It is interesting work. I know during the last few weeks I have thought at times of what I wanted to write here, but now can not remember it. I'm glad I figured out how to get back into it with the new set up.

March 17, 1944

C.P.S #59 Elkton, Oregon Mar. 17, 1944 Dear Family, So youn’s had a blizzard! We have been having spring this week and it sure is hard to work inside. We had a lot of carrots that hadn’t been dug yet and we had to get them out cause the farmer wanted to plow the ground so several of us went down one afternoon and dug a bunch of them. Working in the sun sure made me wish I was putting in crops again. I don’t know whether I’m a farmer or not. I guess I’ve had too much of it to ever forget it in the spring. I found out what it would cost to come home and it’s $77.50 or something like that, I’m not sure of the exact cents. That isn’t bad is it. That was a good letter you wrote Dad. I havn’t had that much out of you for a long time. I’ve been wondering why for a long time and I don’t suppose that I’ll ever be satisfied that I know the right answer. I think that you and I are thinking somewhat along the same lines only you have been following some lines of it longer than I have. We’ll have to have a good talk when I get home. I’ve really had a liberal education in CPS. And I’ve had a chance to think and to read some and talk to a lot of people from different parts of the country and with different backgrounds. It would amaze you the number of men in camp that have very little use for organized religion as we know it. A lot of them think that the Service Committee is a good thing and they aren’t all Quakers either. When I first came to camp I looked them all over and said to myself, there is sure a lot of them that are missing the boat. But when I got better aquainted with then I found that what a man though of church had very little to do with how easy he was to live with and after all isn’t that a pretty good thing to judge people by, how they get along with there fellow men. When natiins can’t get along with each other we got to war but when we look around we see why nations can’t get along. When we aren’t fighting a war we are fighting among ourselves. There is a lot of graft and competition going on right now and people that are supposed to be patriotic are trying to avoid paying income tax and buying war bonds. Well, I found out that to cite the extreme, some of the Athiests were better Christians than I was. So I got busy and tried to figure it out and I can’t see as much in religion as I used to. When I finally made up my mind that I didn’t believe religion as I had been taught it was the answer I was supprised for find the I felt much better about the whole thing and tho I don’t know where this is going to lead me I do know that I’m on the right track. I know what I believe in but I’m now saying that I’ll not change my mind. I think that I believe most of all in people and that given a chance they will do what is right. All of Jesus teachings are sound. Love your neighbor and do good to those that dispitefuly use you He believed in something bigger than himself. He called it his father, People call it God. As I have said before God is a lot bigger to me than it used to be. I no longer think of God as He or being a being at all. To me God is the force of Good and right and truth in the world. I can’t exactly worship that tho and as I think back I wonder if I ever really did worship. I used to go to sleep. I wouldn’t say that preaching was exactly worship anyway. I have talked to a lot of the fellows about this sort of thing and I don’t find as many of them that agree with me about the worship business as about being discusted with the churches. There is a lot that I don’t know and I find more every day. I do know that it is going to be hard for me to go back to church again and I don’t know whether I will ever work at it like I did. We’ll talk about this when I get home. Lew has been in here a while this afternoon making a slat rig to put under the baby’s mattress in the cradle. The cradle has a solid bottom and it didn’t ventalate very well. We were just talking about some of these things and he said he didn’t think that he would ever go back to preaching again. He preached three years before CPS. He said he might if he could find the right church that was interested in working out the same things that he was but he wasn’t going to have any bunch of people tell him what to preach. I guess he would rather do more work and less preaching. The last letter I sent to Harry came back, I guess he never left any forwarding address. I’m putting it in with this as I said some things that I want him to get. Yours, Bernard