After Rolland and Ebby worked the six steps and their spiritual disease was in remission (via a spirit awakening), they returned to NY City and carried their message to the Brooklyn Soup Kitchen, where Ebby T. said to Rolland H.; “I think I’ll call on Bill W.
The following is the second part of Bill W’s story as he later told it in his now famous 1939 Big Book, continued from the October 2nd issue of the Waynedale News.
With ministers, and the world’s religions, I parted right there. When they talked of a God personal to me, who was love, superhuman strength, and direction, I became irritated and my mind snapped shut against such a theory.
To Christ I conceded the certainty of a great man, not too closely followed by those who claimed Him. His moral teaching-most excellent. For myself, I had adopted those parts, which seemed convenient and not too difficult; the rest I disregarded.
The war that had been fought (WW1), the burnings and chicanery that religious dispute had facilitated, made me sick. I honestly doubted whether, on balance, the religions of mankind had done any good. Judging from what I had seen in Europe and since, the power of God in human affairs was negligible, the Brotherhood of Man a grim jest. If there was a devil, he seemed the boss universal, and he certainly had me.
But my friend sat before me, and he made the point-blank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself. His human will had failed. Doctors had pronounced him incurable. Society was about to lock him up. Like myself, he had admitted complete defeat. Then he had, in effect, been raised from the dead, suddenly taken from the scrap heap to a level of life better than the best he had ever known!
Had this power originated in him? Obviously it had not. There had been no more power in him than there was in me at that minute; and this was none at all.
That floored me. It began to look as though religious people were right after all. Here was something at work in a human heart, which had done the impossible. My ideas about miracles were drastically revised right then. Never mind the musty past; here sat a miracle directly across the kitchen table. He shouted great tidings.
I saw that my friend was much more than inwardly reorganized. He was on a different footing. His roots grasped a new soil.
Despite the living example of my friend there remained in me the vestiges of my old prejudice. The word of God still aroused a certain antipathy. When the thought was expressed that there might be a God personal to me this feeling was intensified. I didn’t like the idea. I could go for such conceptions as Creative Intelligence, Universal Mind, or Spirit of the Universe but I resisted the thought of a Czar of the Heavens, however loving His sway might be. I have since talked with scores of men who felt the same way.
My friend suggested what then seemed like a novel idea. He said, “Why don’t you choose your own conception of God?
That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last.
It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning. I saw that growth could start from that point. Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend. Would I have it? Of course I would!
Thus I was convinced that God is concerned with us humans when we want Him enough. At long last I saw, I felt, I believed. Scales of pride and prejudice fell from my eyes. A new world came into view. To be continued next issue of WN.
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