The origin of this book is as follows. Several months ago I was at a small dinner-party, and someone—a sincere and professing Christian—began violently attacking my friend Canon Collins for his political activities. He was (figuratively) letting down his cloth, the lady said: he had dedicated himself to the service of Christianity, but clearly had no sense of its meaning. Christianity was a matter of "private" life, of the relationship between individual and individual, and of communion with God.
Two of the other guests were Christians, one professed atheism, and the others were nothing in particular. To my surprise they all joined in the attack—the Christians and the atheist with almost fanatical vehemence.
I did the best I could for John Collins, for the sake, not of friendship, but of truth: for though there are many points on which I disagree with him (as I disagree with much in his essay here—I am more of an absolutist than he is), I have always seen in Christian Action, with the various activities that have sprung from it, one of the few genuinely religious manifestations of our time. I asked whether it might not all be a matter of emphasis: whether you might not, after all, have three true Christians, the first concerned, most of all but not exclusively, with the political implications of his creed, the second with individual relationships, the third with absorption in the Divine. But I made little headway: it was indeed suggested, with perfect courtesy, that perhaps, as a Jew, I didn't quite see the point.
So it seemed a good idea to let Canon Collins speak for himself: but to add an essay on Communion— which I am particularly happy to print, seeing that (without any loss of enthusiasm for "political" religion) my own chief interest happens to lie there. And, since I had often heard Canon Collins attack Moral Rearmament as emphatically as my fellow-guests were at the moment attacking him, I thought it only fair to let Peter Howard speak for that movement: especially as, at a luncheon they had once invited me to, I attacked them violently myself.
I ought to add that the contributors have not seen one another's essays.