Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Christian AA Days

Christian A.A. Days, The Upper Room , and Other Devotionals

Author: Tom Thompson

The Upper Room was a daily devotional in wide use in early Alcoholics Anonymous. It was a quarterly and a Methodist publication. Its first issue came out in 1935 just before A.A. was founded. And how did it become a part of the morning Quiet Time and other daily devotionals so common in the early A.A. Christian Fellowship founded in Akron, Ohio, in June 1935?

First of all, Dr. Bob—cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous—had been exposed in his days as a youngster in Vermont to the Christian Endeavor Society's Quiet Hour. Bob had been very active in the Christian Endeavor Society in North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury, Vermont, where he and his parents, grandmother, and foster sister were all regular attenders. The Quiet Hour had numerous advocates in the 1880's. Among the adherents was the YMCA which often called it the "Morning Watch." Also the great evangelist Dwight L. Moody, the evangelist F. B. Meyer, and Christian Endeavor leaders like Amos Wells and Dr. Francis Clark. And the substance of the practice was: (1) Reading of Scripture. (2) Prayer. (3) Seeking God's guidance. (4) Studying a devotional and its verse and other matter for that day.

Second, many years later, both Bill W. and Dr. Bob were exposed to an offshoot as it was presented by Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman, founder of the Oxford Group. It was called Quiet Time, and numerous books and pamphlets were written about what Quiet Time was and how it should be practiced. Then Reverend Sam Shoemaker, rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in New York, also became a proponent of the practice and wrote about it in several of his books and articles.

Third, when A.A. was founded in 1935, Dr. Bob's wife Anne Smith began holding morning Quiet Times at the Smith home in Akron. And these were attended by AAs and their families. Again, the format was the same—Scripture reading, prayer, seeking guidance from God, and use of devotionals. (See Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous). To these practices was added the regular sharing that Anne Smith did from the personal journal she had kept between 1933 to 1939. And Anne Smith's writing is filled with descriptions of Quiet Time and  meditation, and how to conduct them. (See Dick B., Anne Smith's Journal, 1933-1939, 3rd ed.)

Now that we know the books that Anne Smith recommended and what she said about Quiet Time, we see that there was more than one devotional in use. We also know from unearthing the books in Dr. Bob's library just what those devotionals were. (See Dick B., Dr. Bob and His Library, 3rd ed.; and The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth, 7th ed.) We also have a vast number of references to the Quiet Time books Oxford Group people used. (See Dick B., The Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous, 2d ed.)

And here are the major devotionals that were in use in early Akron Alcoholics Anonymous: The Runner's Bible; The Upper Room; My Utmost for His Highest; Victorious Living; Daily Strength for Daily Needs; and The Meaning of Prayer. The Upper Room came on to the scene almost by accident. "Mother G." would bring a number of copies to Dr. Bob's Home. And, though the books were not always welcomed with excitement (according to Dr. Bob's daughter); "Mother G." was a relative of Dr. Bob's daughter. The little quarterly was quite small, had an appeal to the not-too-frequent readers, and fit nicely into their back pockets. Hence it was not only used along with the other devotionals; it is mentioned frequently in A.A.'s DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers. There seemed to be no particular favorites. Dr. Bob often studied and circulated The Runner's Bible. "Mother G." circulated The Upper Room. Henrietta Seiberling spoke some about My Utmost for His Highest. Victorious Living is actually mentioned in one of the stories in the First Edition of A.A.'s Big Book. The Frank Amos report on the original Akron A.A. "Christian Fellowship" program simply mentioned that the required time observance and readings were part of the scene. And A.A.'s own General Service Conference-approved literature pointed out that Quiet Time was a "must."

For a study devoted to this particular aspect of early A.A.'s religious observances, see Dick B., Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A.

Gloria Deo

For more information on christian drug rehab centers visit Dick B's Web site
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/mental-health-articles/christian-aa-days-the-upper-room-and-other-devotionals-2441798.html

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