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From Patience to Poker

Colin Duriez, in his book on the Oxford Inklings (Lewis, Tolkien and Their Circle), describes the conversion of C S Lewis in terms of a card game. For Lewis, the avowed atheist, life was like a game of Solitaire. It was just him and the cards. Nothing else. No One else. All materialistic. Nothing supernatural. A thoroughly impersonal chance dealt the cards, and the game was won by one’s own skill and wit and intuition.

But then his fellow Inklings, Owen Barfield, John Tolkien, and Hugo Dyson, went to work on him. Barfield on Lewis’s materialism, Tolkien on the logic of the Christian Faith, and Dyson on the joy of a warm Christianity. And Lewis perceived the game changing from Patience to Poker. Someone else was at the table. Someone else was playing the game; and Lewis wondered if he was holding the losing hand; by which he meant that he was feeling forced to surrender his measly pair of atheistic materialism.

How many have found themselves in a similar position. Suddenly perceiving that they are not alone, but that there is another, and higher Being, at the table. And One not wanting to tempt them and trap them and trump them, but One with the offer of friendship and fellowship. Some unfortunately are scared and dismiss the sensation with a quick reshuffle. But all who enter into the altered game, find not just an opposing Three-Of-A-Kind, but a Loving Player who holds their lives in his hands.

DM 15th July 2019


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