It seemed like the whole world was on fire when C.S. Lewis stepped into the pulpit of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Oxford in the autumn of 1939. Only a few weeks earlier Germany had invaded Poland, provoking declarations of war from Great Britain and France, igniting the great conflagration that would be the Second World War. Across the United Kingdom out of a sense of duty and urgency young men were enlisting in the armed services and citizens were preparing for the war effort. And Lewis, the great Oxford don, had been tasked with addressing a room full of anxious young men beginning their autumn term at Oxford University.
Missio Dei series
“Follow me.” With these two simple words Jesus turned the worlds of Peter, Andrew, James and John upside down. Jesus called them away from the life that they knew in order to be apprenticed into a new Way, a new Truth, a new Life. He extended this call to Matthew the tax collector, to a rich young ruler, and to many, many more. Some followed. Some didn’t.
What, if anything, does my spiritual life have to do with my work life? Better yet, what does my spiritual life have to do with my life’s work? Is my specific vocation incidental or irrelevant to my spiritual formation? Or do these aspects of my life converge somehow? Similarly, are evangelical witness and the integration of faith and scholarship mutually exclusive concerns, one activity being suited to dynamic extroverts and the other to bookish introverts? Or is there a way in which these go together?
Greg Thompson once said in my hearing, “Mission without spiritual formation and virtue is impossible. But spiritual formation without mission is solipsistic.”