Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

State and Church

The state is that organism of associated human beings and their commonwealth of lands and political principles which assures protection, providence and freedom for all its members. The church is that organism of associated human beings and their commonwealth of faiths and spiritual culture which affords the ordering of experience that is necessary for the personal fulfillment of its members and the cohesion of their society. The state is imperfectly just and the church imperfectly whole. The justice of the state requires regulations sufficient to protect all from the predatory movements of any and to provide for all, opportunities commensurate with their humanity. For these tasks, the structures of society need perpetual reformation. The wholeness of the church is hindered by the outer divisiveness of its sectarianism, but still more by the inner incompleteness of its spiritual survey. The faiths of the church need perpetual revision.

That church will best correct the faulty justice of government which most purely sees the changing revelations of its own prophetic light. That church will best sustain the state in its task of outer political order which most perfectly affords for citizens the integrity of an inner spiritual order.

Von Ogden Vogt (born February 25, 1879)

Altogether Indispensable Worship

Worship is like a breathing spell in a long and arduous foot race, or the hour of roll call in a prolonged and hard-fought battle: ... it is altogether indispensable to sane and wholesome living— it is important enough in life to warrant the erection of classical temples and Gothic cathedrals. It is  indeed so important that one finds one's self sometimes wondering how any of us can afford to do anything but educate ourselves in this art. ... To be effectively a person and thereby help others to be persons is the sum of abiding satisfactions in life. Worship in the sense of this aim is natural and necessary, and in the Great Community all mature people worship. Its objectives are not absolutely fixed as to their content.

    Guy Allan Tawney (1870-1947)

Von Ogden Vogt (1879-1964)


  1. I just received my copy of Modern Worship [published 1927 by Yale University Press] by Von Ogden Vogt and the second quote listed above Vogt attributes to Guy Allan Tawney at the beginning of Chapter 1 Religion as Celebration. So who is Guy Allan Tawney?

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  3. Thanks for the correction, which I just confirmed myself. I posted this passage from a typescript Unitarian Ministers' Association collection from the 1950s, which attributes it directly to Vogt. I have corrected the erroneous attribution.

    Guy Allan Tawney (1870-1947) was a the founder of the psychology department at Beloit College and later a professor of philosophy at the University of Cincinnati.