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The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1918

Christian Union

Christian Union

What the C.U. is.

Different people have different ideas about the C.U. It is quite possible that no two people, outside its fold or in it, will quite agree about the scope of its work or the methods to be used. The truth of the matter seems to be somewhat like this: There is agreement among us that the student is a "social animal"—to this every College Club is a witness; but It seems probable to some perverse or adventurous spirits (the epithet depends on your point of view) that he is something more. They have a notion (whether from the learned Teufelsdrockh cannot be known) that "there is an infinite in him." The idea is that the student, who is a "social animal," is also a spiritual animal. The Christian Union, then, is a society of students who find their spiritual ideal in one Jesus, whom they also call Christ.

What the C.U. Does.

About fifty "Wikkatorians" went up to Marton at Christmas for the annual Conference of the N.Z. Student Movement. The weather was good, the natives hospitable, lively spirits were not lacking, and the serious business had due time and attention. The mornings and the evenings were given up to study, addresses, discussion and devotions; in the afternoon all hands made merry. Moods shifted "from grave to gay" in happy alternation. The principal speakers were Rev. R. H. Hobday, M.A., Rev. A. B. Chappell, M.A., Miss I. Macdonald, M.A., the Bishop or Wellington, Rev. E. P. Blamires, Miss C. Cruickshank, M.A., M. Sc., Miss D. Gavan, M.A., and Capt. W. H. Pettit. Dr. Pettit also acted as Chairman for the Conference meetings.

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During the long vacation a series of discussions were arranged on "Issues of the War." These were well attended, and roused a good deal of interest. Particulars of the studies are given below.

The Year's Work.

The difficulty of getting students with such little time at their disposal to join study circles is not less than in previous years. However, about a hundred students are doing study circle work. Most of the circles are studying the "Acts of the Apostles"; some are doing Forduk's "Manhood of the Master." A class for systematic study of Old Testament literature is being conducted by Miss England. This year's book is "Ezekiel."

The opening general meeting was addressed by Prof. Easterfield on "Life Needs of Students." This was one of the best addresses we have had. Miss D. Gavin, M.A., spoke on "What is Christianity?" The third meeting was addressed by Mr. E. J. D. Hercus, M.A.His subject was "The Case for Missions." Mr. Hercus also led four mission study circles on the same subject. Other speakers on the syllabus for the first term are: Rev. A. M. Johnson, M.A. ("The Message of the Bible to the People of To-day"), and Mr. E. K. Lomas, M.A., M.Sc. ("Christianity and Citizenship").

On Saturday, April 20th, a whole day conference was held at Seatoun. Sixty or seventy students were present and spent a good day. Besides students, the speakers included Rev. A. M. Johnson and Rev. Robertson Orr.

The Handbook was produced as usual this year, and again proves its usefulness to all students.

Miss D. Gavin, Travelling Secretary for the N.Z. S.C.M., visited the Union from 26th April to May 3rd.

Vacation Studies—"The War and Its Issues"

This year's vacation studies roused very great interest among students and ex-students. The speakers, in each case, attacked the problem very earnestly and thoroughly, and the ensuing discussions brought to light not a few informing illustrations and improving opinions.

The first discussion, on "International Issues," was introduced by Mr. J. H. Sheat. The discussion ranged around the following points:—
(1)Should the proposed League of Nations include the Central Powers, and if so, on what conditions?
(2)Is nationalism, as commonly understood, included in, or opposed to the Christian teaching of "The Kingdom of God"? (Burgoyne Chapman's article in "Intercollegian," July, 1917.)
(3)It is frequently maintained that all wars are caused by quarrels concerning trade. Is it part of the natural order that nations can develop only at the expense of a neighbour, or could trade be internationalized?
For the second discussion, Mr. B. Blake, M.A., wrote a paper. The following considerations came up for discussion:—
(1)Prosperity, poverty and charity have existed together since the dawn of history; they are the cause of all our social troubles. Are they essential factors in human development?
(2)Competition is said to be a necessary adjunct to our commercial life, and yet it is the cause of rising prices and of much consequent suffering. Might society reconstruct its business life on other and better lines, i.e., co-operation?
(3)Is it compatible with the Christian conception of man's relation to God that society should be divided into two classes, i.e., those who serve and those who are served? Will the division continue in the Kingdom of God?
Miss M. England introduced the "Educational Issue." Special attention was drawn to Prof. Hunter's address, "Education or Downfall." The points at issue were:—
(1)In what way does the attitude of a State towards education prove the real conception of the meaning of life?("E. or D." pp. 6-9.)
>(2)Note Lord Bryce's comment on "that vast reserve of undiscovered talent" (ibid. p. 15).Does the N.Z. National education system deal effectively with (a) the discovery, (b) the training of such talent? If not, what reforms are necessary? (cf "Spike" p. 24.)
(3)"True discipline is based on liberty; otherwise, the individual's personality is annihilated; the work of liberating the race must begin in the primary schools." (Montessori.)
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Mr. D. J. B. Seymour, MA., took in hand the "Military Jesus." Discussion centred in the following questions:—
(1)When all the factors have been allowed for, is violence ever justified by the moral result? Is there a fallacy in "loving your brother with a stick"? Consider justification or necessity for force in dealing with (1) children, (2) intoxicated persons, (3) criminals.
(2)Which is final—the authority of the State or the moral responsibility of the individual? Are there rights of conscience? If so, what are their limits, and whence do they derive their authority? Should the State punish the individual whose conscience cannot sanction its action?
(1)Can war be moralised, or is it essentially unmoral? Is it possible to describe it as an unmoral necessity? If so, what are the ethical consequences of admitting such a principle?
(2)Are the methods of war determined solely by the urgency of the situation on the view of the combatants?
(3)Could you instance methods of war which you would rather see the Allies vanquished than descend to?
(4)Given full realization by the nation of absolute extremity, what methods do you believe British opinion would refuse to sanction, even if victory or defeat hung in the balance?

The discussion on the "Religious Issues" was introduced by Prof. Sommerville. A good deal of discussion ranged around the ideas of Mr. G. H. Wells, whose solution of the religious problem commended itself to the Professor.

An address was given by Mr. F. G. Dalziell on "National Reconstruction." Mr. Dalziell had recently returned from the Old Country and brought with him some new ideas of reconstruction. His address was most interesting.

The chair was taken in all the discussions by Dr. Gibb.