The Odyssey of For A New World: how it began and the journey ahead
The odyssey began…
... with one man in the early 1900s. Inspired by men and women who were fascinated by the impact faith, especially Christianity fully lived, could have on a civilization in crisis, he signed on for the journey.
Frank Buchman, the inspiration behind the Moral Rearmament movement (MRA), was active for the first half of the 20th century. His legacy lives on in songs, plays, films, books - and most of all in stories. Stories of lives changed. Of thousands of people across cultures, faiths and countries who met, worked with Buchman and through personal change found a profound purpose for living. United in spirit but not members of an organization.
We set out here to give you a glimpse of what inspired, and continues to inspire, people to live and work for “a new world”. It is an open and living archive, giving a forum for people’s stories. The purpose is not to enlist or convert anyone. It is to make available the material and stories that moved people to embrace their potential and make a difference.
Some thoughts are universal truths and core values. Others are aspects that make it possible to understand how to live and apply the core values.
What a new world looks like is in the heart of each one. The picture will be different from one person to another, but it is in that field of tension, where we strive for what we believe to be the highest, that we will find common ground and action. Then, when we put our individual pictures of the new world together, the result is like a clear night full of stars. Breathtaking.
Buchman was specific about the role people could play. “Each age holds a capital of ideas in trust for its successors,” he said. “Today this feverish world requires that we transmit this capital to all and sundry, each of us in our own fashion.”
“What exactly does MRA aim at remaking? Remaking what is wrong? It is more than this. It is adding to what is already right. It is originating relevant alternatives to evil in economics and government policies. It is giving Christ’s basic experience for the human race.”
An experience you cannot join, only live.
The Journey ahead
Our allegiance is to a way of life and not to a man or a movement.
The moral and spiritual heritage being made available here has – like a great oak – branches, twigs and shoots. Some bear fruit today. Others may have withered and died.
It is not for us to judge, but to focus on the roots and the sources which give the tree sustenance.
Many of the roots have come from the Christian tradition, but over the next eighteen months we hope to rediscover and express the "core, care and commitment" of this way of life together with friends who are Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists.... or of no specific faith at all.
This is a journey where we together can define the elements that are universal for us, but also celebrate how people have made this heritage their own and added roots that are specific to their tradition. We believe it will create a field of positive tension that will challenge each of us to consider life from several angles.
This tree has lived through many storms and experienced its fair share of pain. Divides between individuals and groups have opened. Sometimes they have closed. Sometimes there has been reconciliation.
Our deepest wish is that this platform can provide a space for the humble sharing of personal experience that is often the beginning of healing.
And as stories, songs, poems, pictures and films are added, we may be able to look at the vast canopy of the tree, and perhaps better understand the poet T.S Eliot when he wrote:
"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time".
With gratitude for all who have worked to come this far.
Gunnar Söderlund & Edward Peters