This weekend I had the mighty privilege of visiting New St. Andrews College, located in the heart of the very progressive university town of Moscow, Idaho. Here, Doug Wilson and his band of classical christian thinkers wage a worldview war of sorts, raising the next generation of faithful christians that seek to live out all of Christ in all of life. The annual Wordsmithy Workshop is designed to do this precise thing in the context of thinking christians who want to write more and write better. It was quite the intellectual and spiritual feast and it set my thoughts and inspirations ablaze in a number of new directions.
The theme of the conference was the writing life of C. S. Lewis. We had the great privilege of having Micheal Ward (perhaps the foremost Lewis scholar on the planet) lead us in a deeper peek into the mind and work of this great and historic thinker. The following is my attempt at sharing some of the gold nuggets I take away from my time at NSA.
This week I am headed down to Moscow Idaho for the Wordsmithy writer’s workshop at New St. Andrews College. One of the homework assignments was to reflect on the influence of C. S. Lewis on my life so far.
To my great regret my personal acquaintance with the actual writings of C.S. Lewis are limited. Until now I have had the illusion that I knew him well because I have been surrounded by quotes and conversations about him all the time, I was well versed in him myself. Nevertheless, I do feel that the limited exposure to him that I have had has had a very important place in my growth as a christian and a thinker.
We live in a world that is always in conflict, and physical war is only the tip of the iceberg. At it’s essence, the warfare that permeates our societies and cultures is a warfare of ideas. Moreover, this is not a war that you can fight for others, or protect others from. Every persons mind is a battlefield on its own. And its a battlefield they alone can man. Anyone with a mind is both a potential weapon and potential target. We are all in it whether we like it or not.
The battlefield of the mind is perhaps both the most powerful and most vulnerable kind. Ideas dictate the rise and fall of history. The greatest triumphs and tragedies have all arisen from individuals deeply gripped by worldviews and ideas, individuals who have sought to live out that which they firmly believed to be true.
People die and fade away. Even the personal memory of those who knew them fades. But there is one things that does not fade away: their words. What one writes down, continues to have resounding impact on the world many many years after the author has faded from the scene. Those who were most influential hundreds of years ago are still some of the most influential ones today through the things they have written. They continue to shape how people think and live, people they never would have met, people they never would have understood. This is the marvelous power of the written word.