Dear Mr. Irwin,
Received your letter which contained programme of United service in town Hall together with the synopsis of your address and thank you very much for same. I had a letter from Karl written while he was home on leave from Kingston and I suppose he is home for good by this time a discharged soldier. I enjoyed reading the synopsis of your address very much and can assure you that I would liked to have had the complete address. I believe that I can substantiate your closing paragraph from the knowledge I have of the boys in France. I have lived among boys of every class and character from every corner of Canada (Atlantic to Pacific) for over two years now and it has given me a fair chance to arrive at some conclusions. The church is a wonderful organization but it certainly must rise to suit the occasion if it is going to hold the boys from France. “She has failed to put her stamps on her goods and has suffered appallingly thereby.” That is a statement that none of us can deny or afford to overlook but the church must show that it has done such. This has been an education such that boys demand to see things. They do not like the hidden and unseen things. They have been face to face with death and their Creator so many times that it has inbred that spirit of wishing and demanding proof on the surface.
Its going to the a severe test and a grave understanding to reinstate itself with the men from France and satisfy them but I feel convinced that it will rise and meet the occasion and master the situation. But it is my belief that the church will have to sympathize and not criticize. Men have learned and developed a new religion which I believe has greater volume and greater force of union than the religion of pre-war days. Men have forgotten the narrow forms of a church and have general ideas I believe. I do not mean the expression “narrow forms of a church” to be small and narrow in thought but the actual form of a church Religion heretofore has not been sufficiently universal but there is a greater tendency for such now I believe.
The church will have to meet the boys half way. She will have to accept new ideas. As well as the political, social and moral world under going a reformation so will the church and I believe the creed which sees and acknowledges that first is going to be the accepted church by the majority.
Perhaps Mr. Irwin I have misjudged the ideas of the boys not here or maybe I have cited the extreme but nevertheless I think it would be worth consideration. Wishing you the best of success happiness and health in your home and church and that I shall be able to see you by April.