Friday, November 22, 2013

Why I Want to Win This Week's MEGA Giveaway from Brandon Vogt

"Lewis once described Arthur Greeves as his 'First Friend' and Owen Barfield as his 'Second Friend.' What was the difference? He said a First Friend shares all your interests and most secret delights and sees the world as you do: 'he and you join like raindrops on a window.' And the Second Friend? He shares your interests but approaches them from a different angle: 'He has read all the right books but has got the wrong thing out of every one.' The discussions and arguments provide a seedbed for affection." (Milton Walsh, Second Friends: C.S. Lewis and Ronald Knox in Conversation)
Today a young man named Brian Vogt, who is Content Director at Word on Fire, a Catholic ministry founded and run by Fr. Robert Barron, is accepting entries at his blog for his latest "Giveaway." This week's treasure is a collection of books about C. S. Lewis, who died fifty years ago today. A half-century later, few people have not heard of Lewis, who is still widely known and broadly influential through his many fiction and nonfiction books, most notably the Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity.

Vogt provides several options for entering his Giveaway. One option was to post on my blog about which of the six books offered is most appealing to me and why. The choice is easy: Milton Walsh's Second Friends: C. S. Lewis and Ronald Knox in Conversation, published by St. Ignatius Press in 2008. Saying why is easy too. There are two reasons. The first is because at a time in my life when my Christian faith was as small and weak and hidden away as an oven's pilot light, a "Second Friend" arrived in my life, and for nearly a decade, like a match striking over and over and over against a hard surface, got and kept enough of a fire going to enable a bit of baking in the oven (including but not limited to this sporadically kept blog).

Apparently Lewis (who came to his adult Christian faith through the desert of atheism) and the less-well-known Knox (a convert to Roman Catholicism) spent time together only once, at a lunch to which they had both been invited by a mutual friend. So the book's title refers not to an actual friendship but to the sort of friendship the author believes Lewis and Knox would have experienced if they'd had the opportunity. The book, then, is not about a friendship between two men, but about two men who found the one friendship that matters most: the one with Christ--which is my second reason for wanting this book: because it is my relationship with Christ that endures beyond the limitations and failures of the Second Friendship that drew me back to Him.

Even if I don't win this book from Brandon Vogt, it is now on my list of must-reads, and I am grateful to Vogt for bringing it to my attention.

Amen.

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