|MORAL AND SPIRITUAL RE-ARMAMENT|
Some groups as well as individuals ceased to work actively with Buchman as a result of the launching of Moral Re-Armament. In Norway, for example, some who had come to rely for personal spiritual comfort on a weekly group meeting split away, calling themselves The Old Oxford Group. This also took place in other countries, sometimes on a considerable scale. Some maintained that Buchman's attention to matters not purely personal involved a change of principle. His own explanation was that if Moral Re-Armament was the car, the Oxford Group was the engine, and that individual change was the basis of both.
Others dissociated themselves because they thought Buchman was 'going into polities'. For Buchman, however, Moral Re-Armament was only the realisation of the aim he had enunciated to his students at Penn State and Hartford, which he redefined in 1921 as 'a programme of life issuing in personal, social, racial, national and supernational change'.22'The Oxford Group', he had often said, 'has nothing to do with politics, yet it has everything to do with politics, because it leads to change in politicians.'23
The individual withdrawal which Buchman most regretted was that of his old friend and travelling companion, Sherwood Day, who had worked closely with him for twenty-two years. During the winter of 1936-7, Day had pleurisy followed by pneumonia. During his slow recovery, he found himself increasingly reacting to some of his colleagues, to some attitudes, to some phrases. Was it right to consider that alcoholics were no longer part of their responsibility? Was the word 'moral' in 'Moral Re- Armament' misleading: did it imply self-effort and an end in itself? Was a fellowship becoming an establishment? Day eventually returned to the United States, became minister of a Presbyterian church, and settled to a life of steady usefulness with individuals, consciously leaving aside any attempt at a wider application of spiritual belief. Buchman missed Day personally, but never challenged his right to take a different path.
There were, of course, people who had found a transforming experience through the Oxford Group who felt a specific calling to work other than that undertaken by Buchman. One of these is Paul Tournier, the Swiss psychiatrist and best-selling author.* 'I owe him everything,' he said in 1982: 'all the spiritual adventure which has been in my life ... my own transformation, the transformation of our home, of our married life and our family life ... I owe him all my career, all the new orientation in the understanding of medicine and in our medical thought which I have been able to develop.'24
(* Since 1938 he has written eighteen books which have sold two million copies.)