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2008-11-07

The Story of Brotherhood

Dr. Kagawa's message in Cincinnati, Ohio, as released by The Co-operative League of Cincinnati.

By TOYOHIKO Kagawa

CHRISTIANITY stands for love, and the history of the Christian church was the history of brotherhood until the Reformation. When you study it carefully you understand the history of the brotherhood movement. In the beginning it was on rather a small scale. We had not had brotherhood in the economic system.

When we come to the sixth century we have the organization of the Benedictine order. From the sixth to the eleventh century it was the chief factor in the culture of the world. During the next- hundred years the first Christian labor guilds were organized. About that time many of the cities of Italy were free republics. Labor guilds and mercantile guilds were organized in these cities, including the republics of Florence, Pisa, and about thirty-seven or thirty-eight other republics. When we study the Italian republics of that day we find listed about forty or more guilds; for instance, in Florence there were forty-two guilds at the time of Dante. These guilds fixed the number of appren-
tices, the kind of work, and were not governed by the cities or republics. The order of Saint Francis of Assisi was based on guilds. Later on these labor and mercantile guilds began to fight each other.

Since the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi entered into the common people, many brotherhoods have sprung up. Their idea was to teach, and their ideal was living the Christian religion. Later many churches became much prejudiced against this movement, especially against the nabaptists. There were many different schools in the Anabaptist movement. In Germany they had much trouble and made many serious mistakes. As the name "Anabaptist" came into great disfavor, the "Ana" was dropped, and the "Baptist" retained as the brotherhood movement grew. Menno Simons, founder of the Mennonites, a great leader and, I think, a great man, and another man, Jacob Huter in Switzerland, were very influential. The descendants of the disciples of Jacob Huter went to Russia and lived there, following the brotherhood ideas and in some sense in a communistic
way. Because they were wonderful Christians, Russia hated them. Some of them went to Paraguay and Brazil and established Christian colonies, much to the surprise of the Japanese farmers in Brazil. When we study their results we think of their movement as a wonderful one ; but, as I said, we are much prejudiced against the Anabaptists.

When I tell this story in American cities you say: "Mr. Kagawa, when we are happy we write a story; when we have a controversy, we write history. We are willing to write good stories." But a real story is a good story, so it is very important to write the story of brotherhood in the Christian world.

Troubles came, and eventually the catechism had to be compromised because the ideals of Christianity had to be maintained. At that time anybody who went against the laws had their heads cut off. The situation is different now.

However, there were terrible, disastrous wars between the Catholics and the Protestants — which was not really the command of Jesus. Some of these Christians were very sincere; for instance, the Brethren of John the Baptist. They were opposed to the Anabaptist ideas. When they were persecuted they came to this country, and today there is a wonderful group of Brethren spread out over the West. Also the Lutheran churches
tried to have a real brotherhood movement. Missionaries were sent out. Then there were the Moravians. The Moravians began with only 160 farmers but they worked together as one group of brothers and they sent out 200 missionaries within twenty years. This is the most wonderful record in the Christian missionary movement. John Wesley got the fire from this group and started the Methodist movement. Later they dropped the
"Methodist" ; they have only the church left. The real Methodist must get UD early in the morning — about five o'clock — and he must read the Bible three times a day and look after the poor. But the Methodists don't get up early any more. From this church the Salvation Army came. So we have a continuous history of brotherhood.

Since the great machine age has come, Christianity has failed to realize and retain this spirit of the old guilds. Today we have ten million people out of employment. Christian brotherhood stepped out of the church instead of remaining in it. In 1925 we had 266 sects, and I think this is too many.

The brotherhood movement stepped out of the church. They tried to extend the spirit of mutual assistance. In England they were called "Friendly Societies." If you read the history of these societies you find they have a wonderful history of mutual assistance. During the period of the Reformation these societies were thought to be co-operating with the Catholic Church, so they were destroyed. From these friendly societies labor unions were formed. Then came national health insurance, employment
insurance, and other functions for the public welfare. — This message is from the first part of Dr. Kagawa's message in Cincinnati, Ohio, as released by The Co-operative League of Cincinnati.

The Rochdale Movement

We had Christian co-operatives in the form of guilds, but unfortunately they were destroyed. In the year 1844 the Rochdale weavers, twenty-eight of them, started the first co-operative movement. They did not know the exact method, but they moved in the right direction. The Rochdale Movement was successful. They had three principles: first, one vote for one man. They had no split. Even the women had a vote ; but they were poor, also.

Political democracy does not mean economic democracy, so we try to have an economic democracy. Second, they divided the profits in dividends ^^^^ — ^,i^ ^*«E-, p - ^^rilH^ so that you received HI^^^S^sj^ ^iflpp ' ^"^^^^F^l back an amount ac- ^^^^Mi*^^*^ -- ' '- cording to your con-
sumption. In a store now the more you invest in that store, whether you buy from it or not, the more profit you receive when a profit is made; but in the cooperative movement the more you buy from the store, the
more of the dividends are returned to you. The third principle was neutrality on political subjects. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you should join the co-operative movement.

When I was in Washington, D. C, someone said, "That's very good for a Democrat." "Whether you are a Democrat or not," I said, "you must join
the co-operatives. You must avoid sects and politics."

The government of this country is trying to have a very good co-operative movement among the farmers. There is no way except through co-operation as in England, Scandinavia, Germany, and France. A republican government and cabinet, which uses some other policy, will fail ; but if it uses our scheme of cooperatives it will succeed.

This is the only method ; nothing else. This is the corner stone because it is based on Christian, idealistic principles.

With the capitalistic system, the more money you get the more you want. Capitalism is not completely Christian. I speak so much against the profiteering motive. I think good Christians are willing to sacrifice their wealth for the wealth of the Kingdom of God. If some of you are rich, please understand me better ; otherwise, we are heading toward terrible times.

Some capitalists say, "Well, Dr. Kagawa, when I get more profits I will turn it back to society."

— From Kagawa's address before The Co-operative League of Cincinnati,

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