Table of contents
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.
Background of For A New World
Part of the capital from the sale of Alnäs, the MRA centre in Sweden, in 2001, was given to the association Kultur for Livet (Renewal Arts, Sweden), aimed at focussing the arts in MRA. In 2012 the members of the association put that capital into a foundation with the simple purpose of making available for all people of the world, a means of exploring, primarily through the internet, the spiritual and moral heritage of Frank Buchman and his work. The purposes of the foundation are listed here.
An international group of people has worked over several years to clarify the aims and scope of the project. Work was done to gather material, classify it, and to define the database structure to hold the resources. Some initial ideas for website design were prepared.
To read a PDF file with more extensive information about the background, click here.
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
In 2018 all this preparation work took off, with a strengthened team dedicated to producing the first version of a website. What you see today, which was launched in January 2019, is only a very simple illustration of the possibilities of what is an enormous undertaking.
During 2019 we are concentrating on adding a great deal more content, as well as presenting it in more useful and interesting ways. This includes a completely new front-end design and user experience, which will be implemented during the first half of 2020. We hope to have a 'Beta' release in August 2020. Both the Alpha and Beta are private releases.
We will then spend a few months finalising the first full public release, before the end of 2020.
In order to fulfil this plan, we need to raise a lot of money. You can read about this here.
A word on languages
One of the major challenges of this web platform has been the number of languages for which we wanted to have full interface text, as well as content. The United Nations website has six languages. But we wanted to have 11 interface languages, and material in many more – over 30 in all. If there is not yet a lot of material here in your language, please be patient with us, this is a work in progress.
And we would be delighted for your offer of help (see separate section about offering help).
How you can help
To get onto this platform even a fraction of the possible resources will need the contribution of many more people than just the project team. Here are some ways in which you could contribute if you would like to:
- Write your own personal story of your life's journey - or provide it if it already exists
- Provide photographs with captions and other information;
- Research a particular subject (in agreement with us) and collect key resources in order that the subject can be properly presented on this website;
- Translate existing and new material into the language(s) you know;
- If you have some technical aptitude, learn how to upload material directly onto this website, edit online, etc.
If you would like to have a part, please press the little 'Feedback' button at the bottom of the site.
Who are we?
We who have contributed to the creation of this platform are a diverse multinational team of varying age, ethnicity, background, profession and connection to MRA/IofC. Click here to see all the main contributors.
We also want to pay tribute to the Indian web design company AddWeb who have worked with us tirelessly for nearly five months to implement the front end design created by Sylviane Borel. You can see who they are here. You can also view a video in which the two teams discuss the experience of working across two timezones.