Monday, May 19, 2008

Brethren Have a Plumb Line

Kenneth Morse gathered the following quotations of Kermit Eby as a sidebar in the Brethren Encyclopedia.

In almost every article Kermit Eby wrote (whether for labor union, educational, or church publications) and in almost every speech he gave (whether for a professional gathering or a popular assembly) he described and reflected upon his Brethren heritage in words similar to the following:

  • "I grew up in a Brethren world. I went to church twice on Sunday, prayer meeting on Wednesday, and revival meeting from two to four weeks each year...."
  • "Grandfather's religion as he inherited it from the Brethren was nonauthoritarian, without dogma, and all inclusive. Brethrenism was a way of life, not a cult, not an exclusive sect; nor was it to be an institutionalized church."
  • "Grandfather's world was a world in which the way a dollar was earned was as important as its earning."
  • "Increasingly I realize my own sectarianism. Increasingly I am of the opinion that the fire goes out when the sect becomes a denomination and the denomination a church making its peace with the world."
  • "My Brethren ancestors were "levelers." Brethren ministers were chosen by lot .... At communion time, ... the ministers usually sat at the front of the church, but on a bench at exactly the same level as those of the congregation. Theirs was an elevation of character, not of status."
  • "Brethren, it seems, cannot escape their curse - a sense of purpose. They are under a mandate to leave the world a better place than they found it."
  • "The Brethren turned to the New Testament as their source of truth, and then looked out into the world ... These truths which they distilled from their suffering are very real today, for we Brethren have a plumb line by which we can measure our faiths and our lives."