Friday, December 19, 2008

We need each other to really know one another and to really know God

As I was listening to Tim Keller a couple of days ago, he pointed out this amazing quote regarding community. It comes from C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves. For context, it's important to point out that Lewis is referring to community within the Inklings, a small group of men who met weekly for almost 20 years. Lewis's closest friends seemed to be in this group, and Charles and Ronald were both members (see Arnold's comment for more insight).
"In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity...Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald's reaction to a specifically Caroline joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him 'to myself' now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald...we possess each friend not less but more as the number of those with whom we share him increases. In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious 'nearness by resemblance' to Heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah's vision are crying 'Holy, Holy, Holy' to one another. The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall all have."


  1. Anonymous5:50 PM

    i love you. inklings 2.0 needs to start back up again (though in wont of a new name).

  2. Good quote, which provides a great insight.

    Slight correction: "Caroline" is an adjective which comes from the Latin for Charles, which is (I believe) Carolus. So a "Caroline" joke would be a "Charles-y" joke - in other words, a joke of the type Charles told.

    As you may know, "Ronald" is J.R. R. Tolkien. Interestingly, Tolkien never liked Charles Williams and wondered what Lewis saw in him. He also was a bit jealous of Lewis splitting his affections between him and Williams. So I wonder to what degree he would have endorsed this paragraph from Lewis!