Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 11. 22 July 1970
Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
It appears that one thing the author of your article in Salient regarding the Exclusive Brethren failed to understand, was the fact that many of the beliefs upheld by the Exclusives are not peculiar to them alone, but are basic, fundamental truths of the whole of Christianity. By attacking them, the author is attacking Christianity itself. This is something that no truly born-again believer, be his denomination Baptist, Anglican or Brethren, can suffer.
Christ's teaching regarding the Womans subjection to the Man, Women teaching in the Church, and prayer and fasting is not teaching for the benefit of Exclusives alone, but for all followers of Christ. Why then, attack only Exclusives for this? It isn't their teaching, it's Christ's teaching. It is not held merely by the Exclusive Brethren alone, but by all Christians everywhere.
I quote from the Article: "There is, in most Exclusives, an unshakeable conviction in the After-Life and Day of Judgement." Is this conviction of an After-Life and Day of Judgement held only by Exclusives? Most definitely it is not. The fact that there is an After-Life and a Day of Judgement is fundamental to the whole of Christian belief. If it is true that man is born, and lives his life here on earth, and then just returns to dust again, what is the purpose of his living? Why has man even got a conscience towards God? And most important of all, why was it necessary for the Son of God to become man and die at the hands of men for our sins? Take away God and one takes away the purpose of Man's existence. Christ's coming is more than a belief, it is a fact. We know not the day nor the hour, but we know it will come. The longer we wait, the closer is His return. "A day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness, but is long suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (II Peter, 3 v 8-9.)
I have read with great distaste Cecily Pinker's article on so-called Exclusive Brethren. My object in writing is two-fold: I wish for my own part, and I know on behalf of the great majority of those who for conscience sake have left the Exclusive Brethren, to dissociate myself and them entirely from the sentiments expressed in this deplorable article.
Next I would point out that when carefully studied this article is not an attack on Exclusive Brethren at all, but on Christianity itself—on much that is held in reverence by Christians in many denominations. Indeed the Bible itself is ridiculed and Miss Pinker declares, as plainly as she may, that she is not a Christian.
Furthermore, this article is full of inaccuracies, contradictions, uninformed criticism, and vitriolic effusion. The entire reason underlying the Brethren's sad decline has been entirely missed.
I do not know Miss Pinker personally, and bear her no ill-will, but I much regret her action in writing this article and yours in giving so large a space to it.
Thank you for yet another worthwhile issue of Salient. Your series of long articles on such things as pop music, minor political parties and, now, the Exclusive Brethren is proving informative and entertaining.
I would like in particular to compliment Cecily Pinker on her excellent article on the Exclusive Brethren, I remember the general press barrage against the sect around 1960. Her article was by far the best I have read on this topic.
I am sorry I did not know of your intention to publish my talk to the A.U.T. seminar, since I should have been glad of the opportunity to correct an error in the cyclostyled text.
In it (third paragraph of the Salient version), reference was made to the "demise of Bologna". The University of Bologna has not perished of course (and indeed has a long and distinguished history). What perished was the early structure in which the students elected their own governing body. I apologise for failing to note that I had dropped a line of the manuscript in transcribing to the final draft. The only extenuating circumstances in this piece of carelessness is the fact that the remark was purely parenthetical and is unimportant to the development of my main argument.
"P," as in "craP"
|1.||There have been three performances of Earth and Sky and four more are projected. Seven may not be many but it is certainly several.|
|2.||My name is spelt with a "p".|
|3.||It was more difficult to record and edit three live performances than to record in a studio.|
Mr Smalley can have had little experience of working with children if he thinks that spontaneity could be maintained over a 2-day recording session.
Everyone else who has heard the discs, including Miss McLeod, has commented on the effectiveness of the stereo. Perhaps Mr Smalley's radiogram needs attention?
Finally I can assure composers that, should we record their works, they will not necessarily need to be photographed with the Queen and it will certainly not be mentioned in any biography, just as it was not in Miss McLeod's.
Stick to the facts, Mr Smalley. Good journalism does not rely on cheap supposition but on informed comment.
Your reporter gave a reasonably full account of the Marijuana Seminar held in the Student Union. However, I wish to correct some errors and omissions in the account of the "drug which was similar to marijuana and was freely available in New Zealand." In fact, Dr Geiringer spoke of a substance, freely available in New Zealand, which could produce all the effects of marijuana. He gave a fuller list of its properties than appeared in your report—as well as causing hallucinations, being approdisiac, leading to cancer and being potentially lethal, he also said that the substance led to drinking and was psychologically addictive.
Your reporter's biggest mistake was in parenthesis "the drug referred to is understood to be nutmeg." In fact, I checked with Dr Geiringer on my analysis of what he had described, and he said that I was quite right. This dangerous hallucinogenic substance is, of course, sunshine.
Jane A. McMurray
It is time to reassess the demonstration as a tool and to examine our own ideas and methods of political action.
The demonstration is a tool with two interpenetrating uses. It is used firstly to inform the public about a cause, for example the Tour, or the War. This information is heavily laced with polemic and rhetoric to describe our stand, and persuade the public to adopt the same stand, and to take whatever action is required of this stand, withdrawing troops or Fergie as the case may be. This is the second or major raison d'etre of a demonstration. I will examine the Mobilisation of 17 July to see how efficient it was in these areas.
An estimated six hundred people marched for two hours on 17 July. In the afternoon we had a teach-in, which said the same things as were said before, to the same people as heard them before. Although these things are important, and I agree with the thoughts expressed, if not the verbal form they assumed, the whole exercise was futile, since nobody new heard anything, and for those who were there it was at once a gigantic verbal masturbation and a time consumer which required little or no thought. I will return to this point later.
The teach-in was followed by a visiting speaker whose rhetoric was out of the usual mould. Not even the questions elucidated anything new, since they mostly consisted of a statement by the questioner, prefaced with "Would you agree that . . ."
Then a concert. Cynics would say that this is the modern equivalent of martial music to get the troops out, or an attraction to boost numbers, or to keep the people there between 3 and 5. I don't know what its justification was, but it was enjoyable, I grant you.
Now the march. Forgetting those who marched because they had nothing better to do on a Friday night, the marchers were sincere, peaceful, well-organised and there were lots of banners and leaflets. But the public must be getting enured to demo's. They paid scant attention to the march, and only a trivial number came to the Town Hall to hear the speeches. I admit that I listened for only a few moments it sounded like the ninety-ninth playing of a cracked record. The press gave no real coverage of the march. The Dominion devoted four column inches to the demo, giving the number marching with a picture and what happened, and a further four column inches to the numbers marching elsewhere. No debate about the War issue, no opinion, no facts. And yet this was a good demonstration. Most would agree that it was one of the best this year, avoiding arrests and scuffles which detract from the point of the demonstration. So the only people to get anything out of the march were the marchers. So the march was a failure—it informed nobody, it persuaded nobody. The march was not just for the sake of marching even though it looked like it to some observers.
The reason the marches no longer lead to any debate about the issues outside the 'marching fraternity' is that the marches have nothing positive to offer in place of the ideas they criticise. The four demonstrations had something positive to offer-no tour and a positive effect on South Africa. These demonstrations had much more impact on the ideas of the public, even though they were partly negated by the violence which accompanied them. The only causes and ideologies which have ever swept their opponents out of power are those which had a fully thought out and publicised alternative approach (withdrawing troops is a first step—but what to do with the vacuum so formed), or those which were able to win a civil war against their opponents. We have seen that one eruption of violence by marchers leads to two by the establishment's forces, so the second alternative is not open to us on practical grounds, to say nothing of its philosophical inadequaces.
Perhaps it is unfashionable but, I think, none the less true, that truth is more closely approached alone, in contemplation and quiet thought in a library than in Willis Street on a Friday night, shouting your lungs out like six hundred sheep.
Gordon A. Findlay