Nor would we seek growth at any sacrifice of high quality or purpose. We do not expect large numbers and great popular applause. Unitarians are pioneers, and too independent and discriminating to stir the feverish pulse of the multitude. We seek the heights, and it is our concern to reach them and hold them for the few that struggle up. Loaves and fishes we have not to offer, nor can we promise wealth and health as an attractive by-product of righteousness.
There is no better service that anyone can render than to implant higher ideals in the breast of another. In the matter of religious education as sought through the ordinary Sunday-school, no one who has had any practical experience has ever found it easy, or kept free from doubt as to its being sufficiently efficacious to make it worth while. But the problem is to recognize the difficulty, face all doubts, and stand by. Perfect teachers are impossible, satisfactory ones are not always to be had. If they are not dissatisfied with themselves, they are almost always unfit. But as between doing the best you can and doing nothing at all, it would seem that self-respect and a sense of deep responsibility would leave no recourse. There is no place for a shirker or a quitter in a real Unitarian church.
Now and then some indifferent Unitarian expresses doubt as to the future value of our particular church. There are those who say, “Why should we keep it up? Have we not done our work?” We have seen our original protests largely effective, and rejoice that more liberal and generous, and, we believe, more just and true, religious convictions prevail; but have we been constructive and strengthening? And until we have made our own churches fully free and fruitful in spiritual life are we absolved from the call to service?
Have we earned our discharge from the army of life? Shall we be deserters or slackers! We ask no man to fight with us if his loyalty to any other corps is stronger, but to fight somewhere—to do his part for God and his fellow-men wherever he can do the most effective service.
We are not Unitarians first. We are not even Christians first. We are human first, seeking the best in humanity, in our appointed place in a civilization that finds its greatest inspiration in the leadership of Jesus of Nazareth, we are next Christians, and we are finally Unitarians because for us their point of view embodies most truly the spirit that animated his teachings and his life.
And so we appeal to those who really, not nominally, are of our household of faith to feel that it is best worth while to stand by the nearest church and to support it generously, that it may do its part in soul service and world welfare, and also to encourage it and give it more abundant life through attendance and participation in its activities.