Monday, November 01, 2010

Alcoholics Anonymous Oxford Group Facts (1)

Probably the first extensive research that I began twenty years ago had to do with the Oxford Group and its impact on Alcoholics Anonymous. And, though it has been revised and reprinted several times, my landmark book was and is The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works.

There followed a number of my later books which can be very useful to one who has heard of the Oxford Group, sensed that certain ideas in that group were incorporated into the Alcoholics Anonymous program, and wished to learn the whole story.

My own principal books on the subject, therefore, are:

The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous

New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A.

Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A.

Turning Point: A History of the Spiritual Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous

Making Known the Biblical History and Roots of A.A.

Anne Smith's Journal 1933-1939

Twelve Steps for You

This first factual article is limited to the suggestion that any student of the Oxford Group--Alcoholics Anonymous connection begin with the thoroughly researched, thoroughly documented, heavily footnoted books mentioned above--and pay particular attention to the bibliographies in those books.

Far too many writers have simply made the Oxford Group the subject of a mere scan, the victim of inadequate reading and research by the writer, or a template for some well-known criticisms of the group. These have been fomented by Roman Catholic periodicals, by those who focused on one remark by Frank Buchman about Hitler, by those who bought into Bill Wilson's apologetic remarks about learning more from the Oxford Group about what NOT to do, than what to do.

The correct approach is to read my books, note the immense amount of Oxford Group materials that were incorporated into A.A.'s Big Book and Twelve Steps, place those materials in context with other major A.A. sources such as the Bible, Anne Smith's Journal, Quiet Time, Anne Smith's Journal, and the teachings to Bill W. by Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr.

The facts in the articles that follow will simply hit the high points: (1) The origins of the Oxford Group. (2) The principal books by Oxford Group adherents that heavily influenced the thinking of some AAs. (3) The 28 Oxford Group ideas that impacted A.A. (4) The proper view of the differing Oxford Group roles in the early A.A. Akron Christian Fellowship, the things that Bill Wilson learned originally from Rowland Hazard and Ebby Thacher, the actual participation by Bill Wilson in a number of Oxford Group activities, the substantially lesser participation and imitation at the Akron level, the major importance of Rev. Sam Shoemaker's teachings, and the residual importance of the Oxford Group today taken in the context of the other major influences on the Big Book program.;

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