Necessity of Chivalry

“C.S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way.” (New York Times Book Review)

Today is Good Friday. I wanted to do something “Christian”. I didn’t expect to end up with C. S. Lewis.

As a birthright Episcopalian I think of Lewis as one of us. I’m always a little surprised when other denominations fall in love with him, seemingly unaware he’s not one of their own. Then, at the same time, I’m not comfortable with him myself. His audiences read him as if his bland moralisms support their theological positions.

One of us. Not to be trusted.

But then I remembered this essay, which I’ve always enjoyed. Lewis not making any rigorous academic arguments here. Let’s not pretend he is. He’s contemplating one of the contributions of medieval European culture to our modern world.

That is, the idea that a man should be both strong and gentle.

Let this be a Good Friday meditation. Even with our glowing chivalrous tradition, we live in a world where the rich hold the reins of government and use their power to oppress the poor—and Christians cheer them on. So, let the altars be draped in black today and let us mourn the death of our ideas.

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