February 14, 1934
We three boys called on the Huston Taylors with the idea of encouraging Jack's interest in chemistry, which is now in full bloom as a result of the Christmas beginner's set. The boy had taken pains to master the chemical names of the substances in his set. He wishes to use the experiments which require a flame - these requiring adult supervision - so I have tentatively arranged with Garth to visit for that purpose. The impression I got of Huston from his Philosophy of Life paper, in which he represented himself as a lackadaisical tinkerer, was given a jolt when I looked over the orderly and complete bacteriological laboratory he and his chemist wife had built in their basement. They conduct all the laboratory analyses for the local water company in this sanctum. Evidences of the constructive channels which the tinkering minds have developed are plenty, and were an agreeable discovery in view of the weak victim of relentless circumstance theme he would have the club members believe. The visit was highly successful in capturing Jack's imagination, and although it may prove just another passing interest he has the foundation of another career to choose from when the time comes. There is none of the artist in Jack. He knows the mechanics of music, but his ear just won't respond. He works like a Trojan on drawing, but again the mechanical features predominate. Jack is a realist - an enthusiastic one - while Dick lives in a dream of the pure joy or sordidness of living: he is an emotional bombshell.
At the men's club we find that even the parlor game of deck tennis can be developed into a vicious technique and intence rivalry. Four or five of the players may now be considered as fast company. Likewise table tennis requires agility and skill. Between activities, personalities and religion are likely to come under fire. John Stephens, for instance, usually opens up under the influence of the informal atmosphere. He is the sturdy hard working type who needs this form of emotional outlet. Without it he may have stewed in his disappointments until his tottering faith would have led him back to cigar store religion. Wayne has given him a new grip on truth, or rather the worth of everlastingly seeking it, and he now has as strong an objective in keeping up his church interest as Wayne himself. (in principle, at least) The question is always coming up as to why Unitarianism is not popular. I belive it is because it requires conscious effort, as opposed to a lazy acceptance of prescribed doctrines; and since most humanity prefers to let someone else work out personal salvation, there is a social presige in staying on the band wagon of precedent. The orthodox churches are attended by many out and out Unitarians, if you cornered them, who prefer the ease and avoidance of social friction of a definite stand on an unshackled belief. And I cannot say that I blame them. Religious beliefs are usually ingrown family traditions, and a strong emotional wrench attends all departures from tradition. And in a mixed marriage, for instance, if a concession to conformity will grease the family wheels, many a liberal will consent to a social acquiencence, and quietly keep his fingers crossed. Furthermore, and perhaps the greatest public stigma on a liberal faith, is that malcontents and rebels naturally flock to non-comformity; and who can blame ill-feeling on the part of the deserted household? Radicals, who are generally outspoken, are not known for their diplomacy, and bring their intolerence to the most tolerent of churches; and make a bad impression every time they open their mouths. Thank goodness Wayne is a stabilizer, and I look for him to remove some of the stigma, through his non-exciting appeal to reason and common sense. The church should have a great place any community, because it fills in a unique manner the gaps left wide open in the orthodox faiths. By exercising diplomacy in removing the irritation of non-comformity, the future picture may be changed.
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