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EHR 6: Climb the Ladder of Integrity



Imagine a fleet of ships sailing together as a convoy. Consider a fleet of naval ships, travelling across the ocean during war time. How do the ships function well together as a fleet or convoy? This is an illustration CS Lewis used during WWII in his radio addresses “Mere Christianity.” These radio addresses were later published as a book with the same title.

In order for the convoy to be successful, in order for them to successfully get where they are going, they have 3 criteria. First, they need to avoid drifting apart, or bumping into one another. The fleet cannot afford to be spread apart too far because then they become lost and easy targets for enemy submarines. Similarly, they can’t afford to bump into one another because that causes damage to the ships.

The second criteria for a successful voyage is keeping your own ship “ship shape.” That is, keeping your own ship in working order. If you don’t take care of your own ship and crew, your ship will fall behind, slowing down the convoy, or potentially sin. Similarly, if you don’t keep your steering mechanisms in good order, you will bump into other ships, getting back to criteria 1.

Third, you have to know your destination. You have to know and get where you are supposed to get. If the convoy sets out from England and is supposed to get to NY, then even if they don’t bump into one another, it’s not successful if they wind up in Brazil! So there are 3 criteria- don’t bump into one another but still stay close together, keep your own ship in proper working order, and know where you are going.

It’s interesting that in 2017 the US Navy has had 2 serious and fatal collisions involving its ships and civilian vessels. In both cases, extensive investigations were done to find out how such collisions happened. In total, over a dozen US sailors died in these incidents! The result of the investigations was that they found fault lay with a bunch of people on each US Navy vessel. Some of the crew were not properly trained. Others were lax in their duty. The commanders of each ship were asleep when the collisions happened and nobody woke them in time. Some of the crewmen were unfamiliar with how the ships controls worked. In general, US Navy ships spend so much more time on active duty now that they don’t get time to train properly. It has been a big mess and several senior Navy leaders and admirals have been fired!

CS Lewis used this illustration of a navy convoy to describe how morality works in society. That is, how do we get along well in society? First, we need to know how to avoid bumping into one another. Second, we know how to keep ourselves in proper moral working order. Third, we need to know where we are going, what is our destiny? If we are merely the result of blind evolution with no God, then our destiny is very different than if we are spiritual creatures created in the image of God destined for an eternity with him!

Lewis was writing over 60 years ago, but even then he noted that society was only interested in #1. That is, society was focussed on how we avoid bumping into one another, but failed to consider how we keep ourselves in good moral working order and failed to consider our ultimate destination. Today the situation is even more extreme! We have reduced morality to the statement “Do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anybody.” We have reduced it to #1, just don’t bump into anybody. We have forgotten about not drifting too far apart. We have forgotten how to keep ourselves functioning well (spiritually, emotionally and morally healthy) and we don’t even allow people to talk about ultimate destiny or destination.

Categories | Sermon Audio


Filetype: MP3 - Size: 46.82MB - Duration: 51:09 m (128 kbps 48000 Hz)