|MORAL AND SPIRITUAL RE-ARMAMENT|
Stolpe himself, meanwhile, was beginning to reassess Buchman. He was immediately impressed by the people who accompanied him. 'Buchman had dozens of the finest people you ever saw. Those boys and girls. Incredible! Absolutely convincing! You felt kindness, purity, absolutely clean air around them. They thought of others all the time and had nothing to hide. They never got you into a corner. They had a sort of absolute loyalty' to God, a burning conviction, yet laughing all the way,' Stolpe recalled forty years later.
Then he noticed Buchman's attitude to the workers whom Blomberg and he had brought with them. 'They interested him far more than the young lords. He made the two lots meet and like each other, torpedoing the twentieth-century nostrum of anti-class.'
What did all this say about Buchman? After a bit, Stolpe worked out his own explanation: I saw he was an inspired man, a kind of poet. Not a charmer, but someone guided by God. Why? I couldn't understand it. Then I remembered the Finnish poet Runeberg saying that if God wants to play a beautiful tune, it doesn't matter if He does it on a poor instrument. Buchman seemed to me the strangest instrument I had ever seen: but God had chosen him.'
The interpreting went well. ‘I never heard anyone lead a meeting like him. He always ended at the highest note. He was deeply serious, doing only one thing - and he had to do it. Your impression was, "Here is a man, a genius. There are ten thousand more gifted people in Europe, but he is enough for God to remake the world with."’10
The assembly started well. Many people found deep personal spiritual experiences, and there was good press coverage of the public speeches. But Buchman was uneasy. For most of one night he was awake, praying and listening for God's direction. His speech the next morning was made straight from his jotted notes of the night before, wrecked the apparent success of the proceedings, and presented the small-minded and complacent among his hearers with an uncomfortable dilemma.
'I am not interested, nor do I think it adequate,' he said, 'if we are going just to start another revival. Whatever thoughtful statesman you talk with will tell you that every country needs a moral and spiritual awakening. That is the absolutely fundamental essential. But revival is only one level of thought. To stop there is inferior thinking.
'The next step is revolution. It is uncomfortable. A lot of Christians don't like the word. It scares them. It makes them goose-fleshy. That's where some of your critics come from - goose-fleshy Christians with armchair Christianity. What the Oxford Group will give this and every nation is a spiritual revolution.'