The problem of a consensus on ‘good’

Perfectly Evident

Back in the good old days (whenever and whatever they were) I was in a situation in which off and on I was invited out to English tea. One of the nice things the English did was to invite at least one person as a center of attraction for the afternoon tea, and the rest of us clustered around. Of course, for undergraduates the center of attraction was usually a cake from home or a box of cookies, but people of greater age and spirit made their occasions on higher levels.

One Sunday afternoon, after enjoying a tea for the better part of an hour, I was introduced to Canon Dick Shephard, who at the time was at St. Martins-of-the-Fields in London and who was known as the leading exponent of pacifism in a day when this was a pretty live issue. I have to make two points here. One is that at this time Canon Dick Shephard was one of the biggest names in Great Britain and was also of world renown. The second point is that I didn’t know he was there until I was introduced to him. He made no effort in any way I could see to “make himself known,” and yet once you knew who he was all kinds of important things clustered around his name. He was listened to in high places, but he never had to raise his voice. Power and effectiveness are not always where we think they are.

On another afternoon I had the same experience with C. F. Andrews of India, who was back in Great Britain for a leave of absence. Again there was no effort on the great man’s part; and yet, as the afternoon moved on, the other guests were increasingly affected by his inner strength and the majesty of his manhood.

When Jesus cured the Gadarene demoniac, the man begged to be taken along in the disciples’ band. Instead of this ...

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