WE NEED TO REDEVELOP our view of friendship and its purposes. In our culture, a friend is someone you enjoy doing things with, or perhaps someone with whom you share your troubles. But history bears witness to other kinds of friendship. In the 1930s, an impressive group of men began to meet in Oxford. C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, and others, called themselves the “Inklings.” They talked politics and religion, and read aloud what they were working on. Just imagine: a group of young men hearing Tolkien read the rough draft of The Lord of the Rings and Lewis trying out segments of The Screwtape Letters! The criterion for being in the Inklings was simply this: Do you care about the truth? Members did not need to agree on the answers, but had to be passionate about the questions. Such a company of friends can be something like a school of virtue, in which we test our theories and practice doing good. …
Within the body of Christ we need to be intentional about the seed we sow, about how our behavior with friends should be preparing us for service out in the world. We need each other to draw us out of our self-centeredness. We need others to hold us accountable, to be like a mirror to help us see our lives and our doing in our faith more clearly. We need each other for mutual encouragement, to push further into serving the world than we might if left alone.
– James C. Howell
Yours Are the Hands of Christ
From pages 112-113 of Yours Are the Hands of Christ: The Practice of Faith by James C. Howell. Copyright © 1998 by James C. Howell. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Are you or have you been a part of a group described above? If so, how did being a part of the group affect your spiritual life? Share your thoughts.
He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”
Mark 9:35, NRSV
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This week we remember: Hildegard of Bingen (September 17).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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