Saturday, October 19, 2013

Don't Fence Me In -- Edgar DeWitt Jones

Edgar Dewitt and Frances Jones (1952)
I spent much of the past week at the Disciples of Christ Historical Society rifling through the papers of Edgar DeWitt Jones, founding pastor of Central Woodward Christian Church (and thus my ministerial ancestor).   I will be sharing more in coming weeks, but in my wanderings through these nineteen boxes I came across this most interesting piece.  I'm not sure of the date, but think it comes from the mid to late 1940s based on the Wendell Wilkie reference.  I thought it might have something worth reflecting upon in these difficult times, as it touches on some of the areas we deal with at this moment. -- Don't fence me in!


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Don't Fence Me In
By Dr. Edgar DeWitt Jones, D.D.

"Don't Fence Me In" was one of the popular songs some time ago.  Whether one likes the tune and words or not, the title is alluring.

Don't Fence Me in Religiously.  Let me climb out of the valley of sectarianism to the mountain-top where the air is pure and the panorama inviting.  Let me learn from Catholic, Jew and Protestant, as well as other seekers after God.

Don't Fence Me In Politically.  Let me gravitate from the Democratic fold at will into the Republican reservation, and vice versa, when the going or coming is good.  Political parties are a means to an end and that end is good government.

Don't Fence Me In Nationally.  I love my country, but I am a citizen of the world and all men are potentially neighbors, and the "One World" idea is older than Wendell Wilkie, though he gave it a fresh proclamation.

Don't Fence Me In Economically.  In the words of a Bible sage, "Give me neither poverty nor riches."  Give me a chance to make a living in order that I may make a life.  Let me earn a little and spend a little less.

Don't Fence Me In Socially.  Let me choose my friends regardless of what side of the track they live on.  I wish to judge men by their characters, not by the color of their skin or the circumstances of their birth.  "Honor all men" is a solid New Testament teaching.

Don't Fence Me In Literarily.  Let me gaze over many literary fields -- fiction, biography, science, theology, history and poetry.  Let me live with the deathless authors of all times.

Don't Fence Me In This Body, I pray, longer than I am useful to others.  "This body is my house, it is not I . . . Triumphant in this faith I live and die."  



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