That Hideous Weakness

By

Nate Wilson kicked off our friendship with a bang. When he came to his first Hutchmoot the first thing he did was hand me a first edition of Till We Have Faces, which is possibly (depending on the weather) my favorite  C. S. Lewis book. He didn’t know it was my favorite, which made it an even sweeter gift. Last year I headed up to Moscow, Idaho, to teach at a workshop at New St. Andrews and Nate gave me yet another most excellent gift: a first edition of That Hideous Strength, the final book of the Space Trilogy. I had only read the first two (thanks to Kevan Chandler), and couldn’t really imagine book three outshining the sweep and wildness of Perelandra.

One thing is clear: opinions abound about That Hideous Strength. I know of no other Lewis book that polarizes like this one. I’ve talked to quite a few people who never finished it, others who finished it but didn’t like it, and still others (like Nate) who claim that it’s Lewis’s finest work. Well, I just finished it. And while the book as a whole may not have blown my mind like Faces, and while it took me longer to read than any other Lewis book, its effect on me was undeniable for a number of reasons.

There’s a word that’s given me a lot of trouble in the last few years. A word that we tout a lot around here. It’s a word that’s easy to use and hard to embody, a word that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and a word that, thanks to Dr. Steve Guthrie, I’m just now beginning to realize represents a great deal of power. That word is chartreuse. I dare you to say it without shuddering at its import!

But seriously: the word is community. I’ve called the Rabbit Room “an experiment in community,” and at Hutchmoot we talk about carrying whatever light we encounter back into our communities. I’ve lauded the way the community of Christians here in Nashville has shaped my life and work and ministry. The Local Show is (hopefully) a way to plant community seeds. Community, community, community. I mentioned Steve Guthrie—he’s a brilliant dude, a professor at Belmont University who helped launch the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at St. Andrews University in Scotland. I’m about halfway finished with his book Creator Spirit, and in chapter four he lays out a brilliant case for the way the Holy Spirit is embodied in us through singing and music—particularly the way singing brings about the “Oneness” of the church. He writes:

“Those filled with the Spirit . . . listen and respond to one another in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. As they sing, they gain experience in hearing one another; they learn to move in time and in harmony with those around them. They are reminded that the new humanity in Christ includes voices other than their own—voices of different quality, timbre, and register, to which they must tune their own song. . . In song we learn and enact a kind of mutual submission in which we do not lose, but discover, our voices.”

We learn submission and humility, losing ourselves even as we become who we’re meant to be. Our own voice finds its best home when it is joined with the great chorus. If you’ve ever been to the Behold the Lamb concert at the Ryman and sung “It Is Well With My Soul,” you know what I’m talking about. That’s Oneness in the Spirit. That sounds great, right? Then why, you may ask, is music in the church one of the most divisive issues in recent history? You could say the same thing about baptism, about communion, about marriage, Guthrie points out.

“Perhaps the fact that we can so easily produce examples of this sort suggests that these practices wound and cause division not despite but because of their power to create community. Bread and water, song, and physical intimacy bind us to one another, but they bind us together in all of our woundedness and in all of our power to wound.”

If he’s right, if these beautiful and sacred means of Oneness are at the same time so historically divisive, then maybe it’s because Satan hates them. Maybe he attacks us in these particular ways because he knows that honest, humble, Gospel-centered community is a powerful enfleshment of God’s Kingdom here on earth. Few things gratify the forces of darkness like the destruction of Christian community.

That Hideous Strength, like so much of Lewis’s writing, helped me to see not just the sin but the sin behind the sin. Mark and Jane Studdock, the main characters in the story, are constantly beset by the temptation to lean away from the light and toward the darkness, away from humility and toward status, away from submission and toward self-preservation. Mark, who has always longed to be a part of an Inner Ring, is seduced by what he would probably call community: an elite group of scholars and power-players in a sort of shadow organization called the N.I.C.E. The whole organization—which, it turns out, is bent on the destruction of the world—is arranged to make a person feel as though he is comfortably “in” one circle of trust while at the same time uncomfortably “out” of an even deeper one. Everyone in the N.I.C.E. speaks in vagaries, pretentiousness hangs in the air like smoke, and it all wakes in Mark a mad desire to do whatever must be done to move deeper into the “community.” Once they get their claws into him he’s on a crash course for utter destruction. Part of the book’s brilliance is the mounting, pervasive dread one feels while reading of Mark’s slow and steady seduction by the N.I.C.E.

I won’t tell you how it ends, but as I read it I recognized something hideous lurking in my own heart. I recognized how cowardly I can be in certain situations, like when I pretend to know what’s going on and I really don’t, or when I say things that don’t mean much of anything because I’m trying to maintain some percieved even keel in a conversation, or when I choose to speak to this person instead of that person because they seem to be on the “inside” of something, or even the perverse satisfaction I feel when I’m on the backstage list at Some Important Person’s concert. All of this is a false and destructive form of community—a faux community. True community is Oneness in the Spirit—it’s a unity of Jew and Gentile, black and white, cool and uncool, artist and plumber, old and young, all singing their own part in one glorious song.

That’s what we want the Rabbit Room to exemplify. If you’re reading this and you think there’s some secret we all know that you don’t, or that you’d be happier if you could hang out with the Right People, or if we’re purposely structuring things to keep you out, then rest assured that we’re all knuckle-headed and glorious men and women fumbling about in the palace of this great paradox: by Christ’s mercy we see that we’re beggars at the door, and by Christ’s mercy we discover that we’re children of the King—wonder of wonders, there’s a seat reserved for us at the feast.

This year at the Ryman concert, one of the special guests said to me, “Thanks for letting me in, man.” And because of That Hideous Strength I had the presence of mind to say, “This is the Church. We’re all ‘in.'”

That’s a song worth singing.

Profile photo of Andrew Peterson

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


No Comments

  1. Kristen P.

    I love that last line – “This is the Church. We’re all ‘in’.”

    How true that is. Thank you for the challenge to make it seem true as it is true.

  2. Laure Hittle

    Yes! My joy at reading this post was most voorish.

    This, Andrew. This is why i love you. (Plus all those other reasons.)

    i was hoping you’d post something about That Hideous Strength, and look, i got incarnation and community, too.

    More thoughts to come as i collect and number them. Meanwhile, i’m chair dancing.

  3. Jeremy byrd

    This is exactly what I struggle with in the rabbit room as well as Hutchmoot. Looking for community here as opposed to where I’m at in life (geographically). It is a seduction that can really cut into real community matter where or who we are. Especially if were looking for “the right people.” Thanks for the reminder that were all in.

  4. Tom Murphy

    “True community is Oneness in the Spirit—it’s a unity of Jew and Gentile, black and white, cool and uncool, artist and plumber, old and young, all singing their own part in one glorious song.”

    You should consider reading “To Change the World” by James Davison Hunter, AP. Don’t let the title throw you off…

    Tim Keller’s quote on it, “No writer or thinker has taught me as much as James Hunter has about this all important and complex subject of how culture is changed.”

    The whole book is actually how we can not really change the world, other than being a faithful presence within it. His theology of faithful presence is quite possibly the best articulation of what the Rabbit Roomers are doing.

    Love you bud! Thanks again for putting Jenny and Tyler up on the stage at Hutchmoot this year…

  5. Jud

    I speaks very highly of Andrew and Pete that they’ve fought so hard to prevent Hutchmoot from becoming “the ‘inside’ of something” that it could easily become. I know I viewed it that way to a degree in my earlier years. But the goal has always been for attendees to take that community back to their hometowns.

    But just to make sure: Thomas doesn’t keep a Saracen’s Head in the basement of Church of the Redeemer, does he?

  6. Jennifer Hildebrand

    There just aren’t many writers who can birth truth in the middle of fiction like C.S. Lewis. I still remember how “The Great Divorce” shook me almost as much as the Narnia saga, and I haven’t gotten around to reading the Trilogy yet, but now it’s on my necessary reading list.

    Thank you for these words and for the encouragement toward community. Personally, I find myself always wanting to be “part of” rather than working to “build” when it comes to community. Or maybe the two processes should just go hand-in-hand. I’m certainly grateful for the Hutchmoot community (they’re quite welcoming to new faces) and for the friendships and collaborations that seem to have been born therein. Really beautiful stuff.

  7. JoeB

    I love that quote from Creator Spirit, about music in the church. Being in the worship team I miss much of this, surrounded by monitors and a congregation that isn’t really inclined to really belt it out. I really love this about being in a choir though.

  8. Laure Hittle

    i hear you, Jeremy. Me too. i feel pulled in two directions: One is relief at finding people who match me, even if they aren’t nearby. (Lewis’ “You too?”) The other is the need to live into my own context. The desire for incarnation can easily become decarnation if we let it. And decarnation means unsouling and dehumanization, of ourselves first and others as well. Andrew wrote a stunning warning about this a few years ago in one of his Money posts (link below).

    i think, though, that the two (relief and envy) can work together. Discovering this community is helping me to learn to be who i am, and that makes it more possible to give myself to whatever community i’m in. And meanwhile, the attractiveness of a community that seems to be everything i wish i had but don’t (at least, not in flesh) drives me to seek out and build community where i am, to fill that need. And the online distance community is also a Kingdom thing: We are going to know and love one another, belong to one another, do community together, forever. We are like Lucy and the mermaid. These online relationships are just the beginning. It’s practice for something very much better.

    Take note of the second paragraph under point 3.
    http://www.rabbitroom.com/2010/09/money-part-3-seven-suggestions-to-chew-upon/

  9. S.D. Smith

    This is great, Andrew. So much of the “if we could just move to Nashville” talk is hooked to this. I have been as guilty as anyone. We’re all so desperate for validation until we get it and then we want another level of validation until we get that…

    Well said! And I’m glad you’re pointing people to the wonderful Ransom Trilogy (if you were “in” you’d know that this is the correct name for this trilogy).

    This “inner ring” ingredient is only one of the myriad marvels of CSL’s masterful That Hideous Strength, which is so refreshingly out of date that it’s a wonder it hasn’t been banned. It’s outstanding.

  10. Laure Hittle

    This is why i want a teleporter. i don’t want to move to Nashville; what’s happening here is too important and beautiful to miss. But i do sort of want to be in Nashville all the time.

    It’s probably good that i don’t have a teleporter.

  11. Dave Bruno

    So good. Thanks Andrew.

    Can’t help adding that having read THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH and thinking about N.I.C.E. has helped me survive a few committee assignments in higher education 😉

  12. Esther O'Reilly

    That Hideous Strength is so timely that reading it today is almost frightening. So many young Marks in the world desperate to be accepted by the elite of our time.

  13. Karoline

    I just finished the Space Trilogy for the first time. It was an amazing read, and this post is the perfect wrap up. Thank you also for the reminder that “This is the Church. We’re all ‘in.’”

  14. Profile photo of

    David Mitchel

    @

    Good in so many ways. Thank you.

    That Hideous Strength has been on by “to re-read” list for about the last year. This is the nudge I needed finally to dust it off. Thanks.

    I had not heard of Steve Guthrie until today, but I shall now have to find and read Creator Spirit. The second quote you posted reminds me of what Buechner’s Godric said of his friends:

    That’s five friends, one each for Jesu’s wounds, and Godric bears their mark still on what’s left of him as in their time they all bore his on them. What’s friendship, when all’s done, but the giving and taking of wounds?

  15. Sarah Rees

    Great post, Andrew! I’ve just finished rereading “Out of the Silent Planet” last week, and I want to re-read the other two. It’s been a long time.

    Have you read this article “The Inner Ring” by Lewis before? It’s a really good one, worthy of re-reading even if you have. http://www.lewissociety.org/innerring.php

    “There are no formal admissions or expulsions. People think they are in it after they have in fact been pushed out of it, or before they have been allowed in: this provides great amusement for those who are really inside. It has no fixed name. The only certain rule is that the insiders and outsiders call it by different names. From inside it may be designated, in simple cases, by mere enumeration: it may be called “You and Tony and me.” When it is very secure and comparatively stable in membership it calls itself “we.” When it has to be expanded to meet a particular emergency it calls itself “all the sensible people at this place.” From outside, if you have dispaired of getting into it, you call it “That gang” or “they” or “So-and-so and his set” or “The Caucus” or “The Inner Ring.” If you are a candidate for admission you probably don’t call it anything. To discuss it with the other outsiders would make you feel outside yourself. And to mention talking to the man who is inside, and who may help you if this present conversation goes well, would be madness.”

    It’s a big pull for me too. I’m thankful for Lewis and how he shine the light on this elusive desire.

  16. Jasmine Ruigrok

    Oh hurt. How often I fall prey to the faux community, when all I long for is to build the real thing! Chasing after the echoes and missing the sound. Thank you for this.

  17. Alyssa

    These were just the right words for my mid-winter Internet-lurking stay-at-home-mom prone-to-community-envying self. Such a relief. Thank you.

  18. Wendy

    What is kind of interesting is how many people posting here made reference to being ‘in’ with this community; pointing out they have been to Hutchmoot, that they know Andrew personally. A nice example of how powerful the urge is to identify oneself as being on the inside and how important it is for all of us to feel part of something bigger than we can be as individuals.

  19. Aaron Wolcott

    Thank you for this post Andrew. It resonates with much of what God has been teaching me lately.

    Am currently traveling in Turkey and was privileged to attend the local church on Sunday (1 church in a city of 2 million!). What encouraged me most was the diversity of the gathering of brothers and sisters from all over the world as students from Africa, Asia and other parts of the Middle East attend. It reminded me of how we got the title “Christian” to begin with in the city of Antioch (Currently called Antakya – not far from where I am). There, people gathered from diverse backgrounds and ethnic groups and ultimately there needed to be a new name to describe these people who gathered in community from all walks of life in the known world of the time…and so we became the “Christ-followers” – what a beautiful title that we have so often abused in our attempts to define the “in” crowd!

    Thanks for the reminder that in the church we gather from the four corners of the globe, from all walks of life, and we are all “in” because of Jesus!

  20. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Lewis’s “The Inner Ring” has long been one of my favorite essays. But it is odd how sometimes, or even very often, we are not even remotely aware of what we are doing. The quest for the Inner Ring breaks us in pieces, deteriorates the soul, and crushes what is left (speaking from experience here).

    “The quest of the Inner Ring will break your hearts unless you break it. But if you break it, a surprising result will follow. If in your working hours you make the work your end, you will presently find yourself all unawares inside the only circle in your profession that really matters. You will be one of the sound craftsmen, and other sound craftsmen will know it. This group of craftsmen will by no means coincide with the Inner Ring or the Important People or the People in the Know. It will not shape that professional policy or work up that professional influence which fights for the profession as a whole against the public: nor will it lead to those periodic scandals and crises which the Inner Ring produces. But it will do those things which that profession exists to do and will in the long run be responsible for all the respect which that profession in fact enjoys and which the speeches and advertisements cannot maintain.

    And if in your spare time you consort simply with the people you like, you will again find that you have come unawares to a real inside: that you are indeed snug and safe at the centre of something which, seen from without, would look exactly like an Inner Ring. But the difference is that the secrecy is accidental, and its exclusiveness a by-product, and no one was led thither by the lure of the esoteric: for it is only four or five people who like one another meeting to do things that they like. This is friendship. Aristotle placed it among the virtues. It causes perhaps half of all the happiness in the world, and no Inner Ring can ever have it.

    We are told in Scripture that those who ask get. That is true, in senses I can’t now explore. But in another sense there is much truth in the schoolboy’s principle “them as asks shan’t have.” To a young person, just entering on adult life, the world seems full of “insides,” full of delightful intimacies and confidentialities, and he desires to enter them. But if he follows that desire he will reach no “inside” that is worth reaching. The true road lies in quite another direction. It is like the house in Alice Through the Looking Glass.”

  21. Suzanne Tietjen

    Thank you for this. We are complicated creatures, aren’t we? Sometimes you give words to a struggle I can’t name. And it helps.

    (So did Ron Block’s thoughts on the subject).

  22. Lisa

    In late December I decided that in 2015 I will reread a bunch of Lewis, starting with the Space Trilogy, so this was a nice reminder of what awaits. I read these books for the first time in my late teens, a time of longing to get in to the Inner Ring if ever there was one. But it is so true, that when you pursue that particular path there is no ending to it. The reflection that one of the reasons we struggle so much with the things that should bring about the most unity is because Satan hates it so much is a sobering one. And I have to admit that there have been times that I feel on the very outer ring of this community, and have to struggle against discontent. But it is so true – even if I could attend every single Hutchmoot, Local Show, Behold the Lamb show, and meet (in person) all of the people who I so resonate with here, I’m sure there would still be another layer of the Ring that would present itself and that I would long after. So thanks for this, Andrew, and for all the commenters, there is much to chew on here! I’m hoisting a cup of tea in your general direction(s) and appreciating the ties that bind us…..

  23. Tom Murphy

    So, how do we keep Hutchmoot culture alive everyday wherever the Lord leads in our home towns?

    I have inklings, but would love to hear what other people are doing or planning on doing.

    The local Church is my go to and calling brothers and sisters to be “faithfully present” with our neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family. Escapism is the death knell to all real community.

    The latest iteration for Lyndsay and I in Dallas is to build a community garden in our neighborhood across the street from our place and then invite fellow Rabbits to join us for home group concerts once the blossoms bud.

  24. EmmaJ

    One of my favorite parts of that story is the bit at the very end when the ladies choose the robes for each other. “I don’t believe we were meant to see ourselves,” said Jane. “He said something about being mirrors enough to one another.”

  25. Jen Rose Yokel

    I read this several times yesterday, and still keep thinking on it. (And thanks Sarah for the link to “The Inner Ring”… I’d never heard of it, but it was so good to read!)

    One thing (probably a thought tangent) this post brought to mind is that community, for me anyway, is a process. The deepest, strongest communities I have ever been a part of were ones I didn’t really go looking for. Before I moved, the ministry I worked for was my strongest “Inner Ring,” even closer than my church. The people that prayed, hosted baby and bridal showers, took care of pets when someone was on vacation, or brought dinner for days when someone had surgery. I didn’t go looking for that… it just happened because I happened to see these people 5 days a week for almost 10 years.

    I didn’t really go looking for the Rabbit Room community either. I just happened to like the blog, and read it, and a few years later randomly bought a Hutchmoot ticket. And now I have a lot of dear friends (and a husband :)) that I met through this experiment I found.

    So…. here’s where this challenges me. There’s a lot of talk in Christian circles about “being intentional” about community… a lot of discussions about “well, what are you *doing*?” Frankly, that intimidates me. It’s like when your boss tells you to network and sit with people you don’t know at a conference… it never works for me. Is this part of that whole idea Lewis suggested about how there is no formality to moving in or out of “the Inner Ring”? That it just happens over time? Does community form when you show up over and over?

    Sorry for an essay of a rambling comment with no conclusions. This is a fragment of the thoughts this post stirred up yesterday, and it made way more sense in my head… maybe I should’ve written a blog post instead. 🙂

  26. Aden S

    What an article!

    Thank you AP for this reminder about community. As one who struggles with loneliness where I am and a desire to be around you all in Nashville, this was a balm for my soul! Hallelujah that because of Christ we are “in.” Such a profound and simple truth that is so frequently overlooked… Thanks for the reminder!

    @ Tom Murphy:
    Hmm, as one who hasn’t been to a Hutchmoot yet, I don’t know how to answer specifically to the culture aspect. But, I think it would be helpful if all Rabbits in any particular city would unite to do something, especially if their churches were uniting/supporting them as well.

    For me, I live in Arlington, so not too far from Dallas, but besides you I don’t know of another single Rabbit in the nearby area. I can’t help but wonder if stuff like that is part of the problem of not being able to fostering that community in and near our individual homes. It would be great if there was some sort of sheet posted up on here that could have those who wanted to share them, write their names, state and city of residence, and email addresses. That way people could have a platform to know like minded believers in the area God has placed them in who also share the same vision and passion of the Rabbit Room. Just a suggestion, though.

    Overall my point is, it’s too much for any single person, couple, or family to start a community like this in their area alone. There needs to be teamwork. Ultimately, it would be great if churches locally would also join in and help (whether that would be your own church or ones you know of). But, it’s been mentioned here before and I agree. Most churches today don’t like supporting the Arts at all, let alone Christian communities based on them. Sad!

    I hope that in the coming year, I and everyone else, will know a lot more Rabbits in their own towns and cities to more effective and United for The Kingdom! Prayerfully, something will happen along these lines!

    Thanks again for the post!

  27. Dan R.

    This was a great post, but can I just say that my favorite part might be the comments? And does saying that in a comment of my own make me a hypocrite?

    @Aden: I feel like I’ve been in a similar situation. Meeting other Rabbits for the first time was, for me, an experience full of all the speechless wonder and satisfying rambling conversation that I’m sure you’ve read about. I agree that gathering our “local” rabbits would be nearly ideal, and I like your idea of a sort of RR Directory (that would undoubtedly have a better name). But as I read your comment I couldn’t keep from thinking about all the joy and hope that comes from the idea, not of meeting, but of MAKING fellow Rabbits in our own communities. Not to try to create any inner rings, but I don’t believe those “you too?” moments are necessarily limited to people we’ve never met before.

    Then again, maybe I’m the only one who thinks that way ;D

  28. Aden S

    @ Dan:

    Haha, yes. I just can’t wait for the amazing digital conversations I’ve been watching on here to become actual face to face ones! Absolutely. Having more people in my circle and community to become Rabbit Roomers in the sense of discovering like minded passions would be awesome. But, until that happens, it would be great to know other people who are already Rabbits!

    Trust me, it’s not for a lack of trying! 😉 Most everyone I talk to regularly has been encouraged adamantly by me to check out the Rabbit Room as a source of inspiration and encouragement. Sadly, I don’t usually hear from them if they do check it out.

    I greatly appreciate the encouragement, Dan! It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one out there who has had similar trains of thought! 😀

  29. John Gould

    I grew up as a Christian in the heady days of the Jesus movement in the 70’s, when Christian contemporary music was new and exciting. As I look back on those times…community living; community singing; community prayer (Rich Mullens was part of that as well), we were actually seeking community…the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. That rich fellowship is difficult to come by today, but I see hope in places like your Room, and in the hugs of my grandchildren!

  30. Laure Hittle

    This conversation keeps haunting me. There’s a lot going on here in everyone’s comments, and it keeps bringing to mind things i’ve been struggling with and learning for the whole last year.

    Jen, you brought up the tension between intentionality and the communities that “spring up unbidden.” i feel that too. The closest community i am currently experiencing is a ragtag group of weirdos we call the Geek Family. A few of us started getting together about four and a half years ago to watch through the entirety of Star Trek: The Next Generation. We finished the show about a year later, but we still get together every week and throughout the week. We live together. We talk about dumb stuff and we talk about heart stuff. We share things we enjoy. We make each other laugh. We offend each other and apologize. And i have no idea where this is going. About half of us are unsaved, and i could not love them more. And the beauty of it, the grace of it, is that we did not go looking for this. The Holy Spirit did this all on His own. We just wanted to watch a TV show with my college roommate and her current roommate.

    At the same time, i’ve been learning that love is hard. Community might spring up unbidden, but community cannot exist without love, and love is never unintentional. It requires us to deal head-on with conflict, to prefer one another, to be honest. It requires us to show up and not run away. And in the last year, i’ve had a lot of opportunities to live out what i’m learning, both with the Geeks and with others, and i’m grateful for it. It’s changing me. And it’s hard, and it’s joyful. It’s worth every penny of the price we pay, although it costs us everything.

    i don’t know how to end this ramble either, because we’re still in process. i’ve also been thinking of writing a blog post, but this is such gut-level stuff that i’m not sure how to start.

  31. April Pickle

    This was convicting and painful. Couldn’t you have just talked about chartreuse?!

    “… honest, humble, Gospel-centered community is a powerful enfleshment of God’s Kingdom here on earth.” Oh for grace to find our identity and affirmation in the gospel, to know that we need not be afraid. Dear God, forgive me, and open my eyes to see that I am beautifully both a beggar and a child.

  32. April Pickle

    And hello Aden.. If you’re looking to meet some rabbits in person, some of us Dallas-area ones are planning to see Andy Gullahorn and Jill Phillips on the 30th. They are playing at Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse. 🙂

  33. Tom Murphy

    @ Aden

    I am getting married in June and living in Dallas proper then. Right now, I actually live in Arlington and there is a whole hutch of rabbits in Fort Worth.

    Might you be interested in coming to Andy and Jill’s show that @April mentioned above (01/30)? Lyndsay, my fiancé, and I will be going and I know a few other Rabbits are planning on attending…

    BTW, I live off Green Oaks in Arlington if you want to snag a cup of coffee. Look me up in Facebook – search my email TomMurphy28@gmail.com and it will get you there…

  34. Tom Murphy

    @ Aden

    We also have Art House Dallas Exchange meetings every 3rd Thursday of the month from 6:30-8:30 at British Beverage Co. in Uptown if you would like to join as well. I’ll be going this month.

    Are you familiar with Art House Dallas?

  35. Aden S

    @ April and Tom:

    Gee, thank you so much guys for the invite! I’m touched that you are willing to reach out like that. Sadly, haven’t had a lot of that in the church… Anyway, I hope my calendar will be and stay clear! 😀 I’ll hopefully be able to come. And if I do, you’ll know me as the person standing with a glazed over look and gaping mouth looking on in ecstasy at everything. 😉

    Tom- Green Oaks, really?!? I live off of W Pleasant Ridge. That’s so funny. We will absolutely have to get a cup of coffee soon! No, sadly I don’t know about Art House Dallas. But, I must remedy that situation and do some research! Oh, I must also admit that I don’t have a FB account. (I’m one of the “ancient ones, I guess).

    Thank you again, you two! My day was just made!

  36. Jen Rose Yokel

    Laure, I’m glad that made sense. Lately I’ve been in a pretty vulnerable, somewhat angsty place when it comes to this topic, so I wasn’t sure if it was just rambling. 🙂 Your Geek Family sounds wonderful. I think that’s how community begins… you gather around, you keep showing up, and over time amazing things grow from that.

    For me the tension comes from feeling like if I am not in community, it must be because I am lazy/not being intentional/not doing enough. Now I’m remembering that it takes a while to naturally build the circle of trust and affection, and for the first time in years, I’m having to start from the beginning. Thanks for your encouraging words. 🙂 Yes, gut-level stuff indeed…

  37. Mike

    “This is the Church, we’re all in?”

    I agree, but I’m not sure we all would agree who the “we” is??

  38. Jeremy

    Laure,
    thanks for the link…I remember reading those words from Andrew, good re-read. I like the reminder that this is a community that inspires us to seek out community.

  39. James Cain

    Thank you for this post. Your realization about “the sin behind the sin” got me thinking about something Peter Leithart says about Jesus’ ministry, that whereas John had been vocal in his opposition to the leaders–Herod, the Pharisees, et. al.–Jesus never mistakes them for the real enemy.

    How important that is for us, particularly as our believing communities (and those within them) grow and strengthen. Talk of extending the Church’s influence is good and worthwhile, but we must be able to handle our strength position better than we have handled our decline.

    And the resolution of THS captures this perfectly, with Mark Studdock worrying as he approaches Jane and St. Anne’s, approaches “her world.” He is all ready to let her go, assuming that her association with Ransom and Logres will have made their future impossible. But that’s not what happens at all. Instead, he finds “some place of sweet smells and bright fires, with food and wine and a rich bed.” That’s what the Rabbit Room has been for me, virtually. It’s what I hope my own circles will be for those around me.

  40. JamesDWitmer

    I recently read Alan Jacob’s The Narnian, and his section on Lewis’ own attraction to the idea of “We few…” was similarly challenging to me – yet encouraging to realize that he wrote from experience.

    I attended Hutchmoot 2012, and underneath all the joy and encouragement I took away, I carried off a deep discomfort, related to this very issue. I hesitate to promote my own blog post, but it relates a key piece of my own journey to value community and avoid the Inner Ring. Maybe it will encourage someone?
    http://www.jamesdwitmer.com/2014/10/a-nashville-welcome-or-what-i-brought.html

  41. Profile photo of Chris Stewart

    Chris Stewart

    @illustewartgmail-com

    “In the sphere of Venus I learned war. In this age, Lurga shall descend. I am the Pendragon.”

    The whole exchange between Ransom and Merlin, as well as the descent of the gods has always sent chills up my arm. THS became my favorite of the series by the time I’d read it through twice.

  42. Profile photo of Chris Stewart

    Chris Stewart

    @illustewartgmail-com

    “I recognized how cowardly I can be in certain situations, like when I pretend to know what’s going on and I really don’t, or when I say things that don’t mean much of anything because I’m trying to maintain some percieved even keel in a conversation, or when I choose to speak to this person instead of that person because they seem to be on the “inside” of something, or even the perverse satisfaction I feel when I’m on the backstage list at Some Important Person’s concert. All of this is a false and destructive form of community—a faux community.”

    Oh, yes. Stunningly true of myself, as well. Amazing things to draw from Mark Studdock’s desire to be in the ‘community’ of the N.I.C.E.

  43. Laure Hittle

    Jen,

    i’m sorry—i saw your last post right away but left you hanging. But you’ve been on my heart and mind a lot in the last couple of weeks, and i want you to know that i’m praying for you and Chris as you search for and struggle into a new community. i know how lonely that can be.

  44. Aden S

    @ Tom Murphy:
    Hey, I hope you see this!

    Couldn’t make it to either event sadly… I’m sorry for not making it. 🙁 But, if you’re willing, could you gimme a shout out at my email? – killjoy.and.canem@gmail.com – I checked out your site and was thrilled, to say the least. I would so love to get to know another Rabbiteer in the area!

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