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The Church and the Hour
Reflection of a Socialist Churchwoman

By Vida D. Scudder, A.M.

New York: E.P. Dutton, 1917.


ALTHOUGH this little book is entitled Papers by a Socialist Churchwoman, there is no discussion of socialism in it. This is because the author does not feel that the Church at large should be called upon to commit itself to any Ism, or special set of economic doctrines. She does not see, to be candid, how an intelligent Christian can help being a socialist. But that is her narrowness. She is obliged to confess that many devout and able minds do not embrace the creed so dear to her; and she is not concerned in this place with propaganda, but with considering the distinctive work and function of the Church as it is. If she is privately convinced that such action and attitude as this book calls for will lead all communicants ultimately to the socialist position, that is her own affair and might form the subject of another book. Her effort has been to pierce below controversy; to be very practical; above all, to suggest only what everyone on reflection must agree that honest discipleship to the Son of Mary under modern conditions would involve.

It may be noticed that some of the papers strike a more pessimistic and critical note than others in regard to the probability of the Church's furnishing effective social leadership. That is because these papers were written at intervals during the last five years, and circumstances have caused the prospect to appear now brighter, now darker. That the Introduction which is the latest written should also be the most optimistic, may be of good augury.

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