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It seems that for every cause, concern, and cataclysmic event we face, words from C.S. Lewis help us find our bearings. Dick Parsons, the co-chief operating officer of AOL Time Warner, turned to the Christian scholar for wisdom this week. Monday, Parsons sent a message to all AOL employees, quoting liberally from Lewis's WWII speech "Learning in War-Time." Though I wasn't able to secure a copy of the excerpt Parsons chose, I'll thank him for calling attention to the still-timely address.

To put this speech in context, it's important to note that Lewis's experience with wars began long before the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. He had served and suffered injury in WWI, and though he was 40 when war broke out again, he was still eligible for being recalled to active duty. He dreaded the thought, writing in a letter to a friend:

"My memories of the last war haunted my dreams for years. Military service, to be plain, includes the threat of every temporal evil; pain and death, which is what we fear from sickness; isolation from those we love, which is what we fear from exile; toil under arbitrary masters. … which is what we fear from slavery: hunger, thirst, and exposure which is what we fear from poverty. I'm not a pacifist. If it's got to be it's got to be. But the flesh is weak and selfish, and I think death would be much better than to live through another war.""

Instead of serving at the front in WWII, Lewis served the Home Guard by patrolling Oxford, rifle on his shoulder, in the wee hours of the morning. But Lewis made a far greater contribution to the war effort with words. He was invited to speak to groups of soldiers, to students, and to his entire country via a series of BBC broadcasts. One of his best-known books, Mere ...

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