Tag Archives: friendship

CS Lewis and the enemy of friendship

In the chapter entitled “Friendship” in CS Lewis’ The Four Loves, he has a trenchant observation about the shallowness of so much of our conversation.  It occurs in his discussion about male and female friendship, and the difficulty of friendships between those who have little in common.  His argument is that someone with little to say will sabotage the conversation of others simply out of selfish discomfort.  Instead of real conversation, that person will insist upon,

Talk, by all means; the more of it the better; unceasing cascades of the human voice; not not, please, a subject.  The talk must not be about anything. (The Four Loves, [New York: Harcourt Brace 1960], p. 109)

Two thoughts occurred to me after I read this.  First, this describes so much of our entertainment these days – TV in particular – that it is almost funny.

Secondly, I’m reminded at how little patience I have for “small talk”.  There are times, of course, when we all have to fill a void in a conversation with something akin to cotton candy – weather, sports, gossip, etc. – but perhaps this is symptomatic of something more sinister.  That is, despite all our lip-service to being “real” nowadays, there is very little interest in or discussion of the truly real.  God, the good life, truth, beauty – these things are left out of what passes for conversation.  And if our conversations do not touch on anything that truly matters, it is worth asking whether the hollow relationships on which are based upon such chatter are friendship in any true sense.

Friendship, the Christian Life, and Good Conversation…

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The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.

-John Wesley

I’ve been reminded today, on more than one occasion, of the importance of friendship to the Christian life.  One reason that the ‘lone ranger Christianity’ that seems to be so pervasive these days is a false gospel, a heresy, a perversion of Jesus’ message and life, is that we are simply not constructed to walk with God as if no one else exists.  We need people to hold us accountable.  People to fellowship and learn with.  “Iron sharpens iron,” as we hear in Proverbs 27.

In view of this conviction, I share with you a brief conversation, informal because of the context (Facebook), but still meaningful.  I found this edifying; perhaps you will agree.

We need each other.  There is no true discipleship without the companionship of others on the journey.

Pastor Mack (henceforth PM): I worry about Christians in China especially…

Shawn: Me too, but if there is one thing about the faith, it thrives best under pressure. God bless them.

PM: Yeah one of those amazing paradoxes. It also can’t bear success, which is i think why the US church is in shambles.

Shawn: Dude, you are so right. I don’t think that emergent church or any of these new movements is doing any [darn] good. I mean, do we need to be under pressure to appreciate what we have? It just sucks we can’t praise God as heartfelt in good times as when we need God in the painful times.

I don’t know what the answer is. Human condition, I guess.

PM: I guess there is no ideal time for the church, it’s always under threat either from direct persecution or the milder persecution of respectability.

So much of our faith today in America consists of little more than practical advice about being better dads and moms and citizens and financial planners, or how to think “positive,” it’s no wonder people have a hard time believing in God – we’re not really helping them meet Him.