Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The "unnecessary" nature of Friendship / Lewis "The Four Loves" 6

You do marvel at how deeply a man like C.S. Lewis can think about a subject such as "friendship".  Most of us just blunder along and have friends.  It does make you wonder what is the necessity of all this analysis?  It seems that people have always talked and written about such things and, in any case, we probably would do well to analyze our close relationships more than we do.  Perhaps we are taking our friendships for granted.

P. 81

"I have stressed the 'unnecessary' character of Friendship, and this of course requires more justification than I have yet given it.

It could be argued that Friendships are of practical value to the Community.  Every civilized religion began in a small group of friends.  Mathematics effectively began with a few Greeks friends got together to talk about numbers and lines and angles.  What is now the Royal Society was originally a few gentlemen meeting in their spare time...  What we now call 'the romantic Movement' once was Mr Wordsworth and Mr Coleridge talking incessantly (at least Mr Coleridge was) about a secret vision of their own.  Communism, Tractarianism, Methodism, the movement against slavery, the Reformation, the Renaissance, might perhaps be said, without much exaggeration, to have begun in the same way.

There is something in this.  But nearly every reader would probably think some of these movements good for society and some bad...  What at any rate seems certain is that when Friendship bears fruit which the community can use it has to do so accidentally, as a by-product.  Religions devised for a social purpose, like roman emperor-worship or modern attempts to 'sell' Christianity as a means of 'saving civilization', do not come to much.  The little knots of Friends who turn their backs on the 'World' are those who really transform it."

--The Reformation?  Friends gathering?  Hmmmmm...   --We would probably say that the Reformation began in Luther's confessional time with Staupitz.  So we could say that the confessional was a small group meeting of two friends.  From there it went into Luther's study.  And from there to the university disputations.

But the aim was very much to improve civilization and the lives of the average citizen, to separate church and state and have the church cease waging wars, etc.  Luther went at this in a scholarly way, but not all by himself.

On the other hand the Lord Jesus said that he would be where two or three were gathered in his name.  Just worshiping him becomes a time of inspired friendship. The world would consider it a waste of time--"Unnecessary", as Lewis says.

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