|MORAL AND SPIRITUAL RE-ARMAMENT|
'The world's condition', he began, 'cannot but cause disquiet and anxiety. Hostility piles up between nation and nation, labour and capital, class and class. The cost of bitterness and fear mounts daily. Friction and frustration are undermining our homes.
'Is there a remedy that will cure the individual and the nation and give the hope of a speedy and satisfactory recovery?
‘The remedy may lie in a return to those simple home truths that some of us learned at our mother's knee, and which many of us have forgotten and neglected - honesty', purity', unselfishness and love.
'The crisis is fundamentally a moral one. The nations must rearm morally...
'We can, we must and we will generate a moral and spiritual force that is powerful enough to remake the world.'5
Soon after this meeting Tod Sloan, a well-known East London militant who as a boy had canvassed for Keir Hardie when he stood for Parliament for East Ham, and in whose house Ben Tillett, Tom Mann and the 1899 dockers' strike committee sometimes met, saw a poster outside Canning Town Public Hall. It asked 'What is Moral Re-Armament?' and answered: It's not an institution, It's not a point of view, It starts a revolution by starting one in you!
He went in to the meeting and, as he later said, 'got a basinful'. He came to realise that his agitations on behalf of the unemployed and homeless, his fights for meals and boots for the school-children, essential activities which had sometimes landed him in gaol, had inadvertently taken a wrong turning. I’d always said that I loved my class and family . . . But I saw that the main thing I'd done was to teach them to hate. I'd said I was an idealist, but I'd made materialists out of them,' he said. One of the first things he decided to put to rights was his relationship with his wife.6 He later wrote to Buchman, 'The words, Moral Re-Armament, are God's property coined for His service and this is what goes into them - there will be no more unmoral bargaining, no more social injustice, no more conflict. Chaos cannot obtain if we work, live and practise Moral Re-Armament. It is a real laughing, living, loving, obedient willingness to restore God to leadership.’7
A few days after speaking in East Ham, Buchman visited Sweden. On arrival in Stockholm he told the press that his vision was that Sweden would become 'a reconciler of the nations' - a long step forward, in his view, from mere neutrality. He took part in King Gustav's eightieth birthday celebrations and, with his usual insatiable interest in public occasions and the character of public men, was present at the arrival, by boat or train, of most of the principal guests. The visit was in reality a reconnaissance on his part, as he had for three years been resisting invitations from many quarters to take a team to that country. When, for example, Archbishop Söderblom's son-in-law, Professor Runestam, who attended Hambro's house-party at Høsbjør, had pressed him to go there in 1935, he had answered, 'Are you clear what you want to accomplish? I think those who want to sponsor the work are beset by... misimpressions of its true character.'8 He had written to another friend, 'What I fear so much about Sweden is that what they want is something that will just be a "pick-me-up" for the Church . . . rather than the rebirth of everything in the Church. Men like these ... bishops and clergy are not willing to go through the pain of rebirth.'9