Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Courage part 2

Ella's comments provoked further thoughts. Here are some of them.

Thinking of courage made me think of the cowardly lion, and that made me think of C. S. Lewis, that Aslan is not a tame lion...and to be tamed, arguably, is to have been intimidated (or persuaded) into obedience.

In a Christian context, courage could then be framed as a refusal to be intimidated by - oh, the world/sin/Satan/powers and principalities/imperial economic and political systems - whatever you want to call it.Tolkien writes about people (hobbits) who seem self-involved and self-absorbed, but are basically good, and can "rise to the occasion", finding unlikely stores of courage when pushed to the test. Which I suppose would be, as Ella might be suggesting, a counterpoint to the video. Lewis, on the other hand, wrote that courage was not simply *a* virtue, but *the* virtue, or something to that effect - that every ideal one claimed required courage to live by, and if one lacked that courage when put to the test, one didn't have that virtue. At least, that's probably a garbled version of what he said.

Anyway, there is the kind of courage that is shown when we're really tested - that's when we find out our true mettle, what we're made of. But - it's one thing to rise to the occasion when your back is against the wall. It's something else again to choose risk freely, in the cold light of reason - to take the less-travelled road, as Frost said, or the road to the fire, as they decided at the Council of Elrond, or the way to the cross, as Jesus decided in Gethsemane. Personally - in some ways I've been pushed recently, but my back's not to the wall. I have options. I'm beginning to get some insight into those options, and I now need courage.

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