CS Lewis: Why A Community Needs a Mission

Thanks to the 400 or so people who joined us for the Coram Deo Missional Community Bootcamp last weekend – including many who traveled from places as far away as Denver and Dayton. And thanks to Dundee Presbyterian Church for the use of their beautiful and historic building.

One of the points we made at the Bootcamp was that community won’t necessarily lead to mission, but mission will always lead to community. A community can’t just be about “community;” it needs a mission to sustain it. This morning, a thoughtful Coram Deo attender sent me this quote from CS Lewis which makes the same point:

“Friendship arises…when two or more… discover that they have in common some insight or interest … As Emerson said, Do you love me? means Do you see the same truth? or at least  Do you care about the same truth?  The man who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance can be our Friend….That is why those pathetic people who simply “want friends” can never make any.  The very condition of having friends is that we should want something else besides friends.  Where the truthful answer to the question “Do you see the same truth?” would be “I don’t care about the truth—I only want [you to be my] friend,” no friendship can arise.  Friendship must be about somthing, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice.  Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travelers.” [CS Lewis, The Four Loves, quoted in Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 113-114]


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  1. Thank you, Pastor Bob, for this posting.

    As I reflect on friendship and how my friendships have changed and developed over many years, I appreciate the truth presented by CS Lewis.

    One thing that “jumped out at me” from this posting is the following sentence from CS Lewis:

    Where the truthful answer to the question “Do you see the same truth?” would be “I don’t care about the truth—I only want [you to be my] friend,” no friendship can arise.

    I have learned that friendships can be “messy.” I grew up thinking (basically) that if there was any kind of conflict, disagreement or hurt feelings in a freindship, that those “negative” things needed to be “buried” and / or not discussed.

    Mostly, this was on MY part. I “believed” the LIE that to show my anger & annoyance and/or stand up for something I believed (if it would cause a disagreement), was not a part of friendship.

    Now (and in the past few years) I realize that the things I mentioned above are a part of a “healthy” friendship—

    Clearly, if a friend and I are berating each other or intentionally being mean and hurtful, that is NOT healthy.

    However, part of healthy relationships (be it a friendship, a marriage, a family connection AND community–church, MC or otherwise)


    disagreement, discussion, conflict and “being annoyed.”

    I’m SO GLAD I have learned this—for many reasons.

    So—speaking to the thoughts of CS Lewis and their connection to our Coram Deo Church Community (particularly our “NEW & IMPROVED” Missional Communities [my term for our fall 2012 and beyond MC’s])—

    I believe that healthy friendships and relationships in the Church of Jesus Christ (worldwide and here in Omaha)are so important. As I read my own statement, it seems that would “go without saying.”

    But as a long-time follower of Christ and a person who grew up in a Christian family and was at church “every time the doors were open,”—

    I realize that in the interaction between fellow believers (AND the non-believers we encounter inside and outside the “church walls”)

    is “messy,” and contains conflict, thoughtful discussion (even civil “arguing”) and other normal human emotions & “icky stuff.”

    So—here we go—we are launching into a new season of MC’s, community and clearly DEFINED and SHARED mission—that (God-willing) will lead to SERVICE, OUTREACH and the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    ***Thanks to all for reading this post [especially due to its VERBOSE and LONG nature]. 🙂

    Also–I’m sending heartfelt THANKS to ALL who made the MC Bootcamp on Aug 25, 2012 a reality and a success—

    from the people who organized the food & beverages, the presenters & speakers, the technicians and sound people ‘behind the scenes,’ the worship leaders and musicians and all the staff who volunteered and served.

    I truly appreciated the Bootcamp and am excited to apply what I learned from the event.

    Sarah Peterson

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