It was a shabby sort of notice in every sense. “You are now entering a military guarded area,” it warned. “When called ‘Halt’ stop immediately and follow the instruction of the military guards. The troops are ordered to shoot if the first warning to stop is ignored.” I was thinking of the fellow in the Bible who pioneered delicate walking when I was stopped and searched for the first time in my not untraveled career. The place: Geneva airport in peace-loving Switzerland.
Before I reached my destination next morning, the indignity was repeated at three transit stops. Finally, as our Ethiopian airliner winged in toward Addis Ababa with its jaded and cramped consignment of the overfrisked, the loudspeaker struck up the improbable strains of “God rest you merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay.”
The prospect thereafter became more pleasing when those of us who had come for the WCC Central Committee meeting were taken in tow and spared the miseries of immigration, baggage-claiming, and customs formalities. The administrative department from Geneva superbly organized every aspect of our Addis sojourn.
It seemed boorish, then, not to remain decently undismayed during the twelve-day sessions, but a WCC staff member cornered me near the end with, “Well, have you got enough controversial material this time?” Touche! A salutary thoughtfulness ensued. Was I really falling into the trap, which tendency I am wont to condemn in other evangelicals, of being a chronic and unbalanced critic?
At that point in the Addis proceedings I was more puzzled than anything else. Here let me concentrate on one specific controversial subject. Without a single dissenting vote, the Central Committee upheld the Executive Committee’s decision to make financial ...1
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