CS Lewis Saturday
Mere Christianity – Preface
One can not get past the preface of this wonderful book without finding enough wisdom to fill pages. That is the gift of Lewis – few but profound words. He actually blistered me in the very first paragraph when he explained the editing process of turning these radio broadcasts in to printed matter. He explains that originally he used italics to emphasize the written words that he had also emphasized with his voice but later realized it was a mistake. He says, “A talker ought to use variations of voice for emphasis because his medium naturally lends itself to that method; but a writer ought not to use italics for the same purpose. He has his own, different, means of bringing out the key words and ought to use them.” So my friend C.S. would not like the way I emphasize my words, at all. *sigh*
Today’s Selected Quotes:
On his attempt at explaining ‘Mere Christianity’ and not simply putting forth as common something which would be peculiar to the Church of England:
“It is at her centre, where her truest children dwell, that each communion is really closest to every other in spirit, if not in doctrine. And this suggests that at the centre of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks with the same voice.”
I have learned from experience that when I was least “centered” is when I was the most argumentative. There are basic tenets of faith that all evangelicals hold to. Don’t you think it would make God smile if we could find unity in our commonality instead of being on the ‘lunatic fringe’?
To summarize the true purpose of the book, Lewis explains he does not intend to present an alternative to creeds of existing communions, but rather:
“It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in.”
So it is the hallway my girlfriends where we should strive to bring others. Not to say I don’t prefer they go through the same door as me, but I will have succeeded if I have inspired someone to try the doors.
Finally, in encouraging unity, Lewis urges us to obey the ‘rules of the house’:
“When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.”
The common rules of the house…I love that concept. May we be gracious to those whose chore charts differ from our own.
** Please join in with your own insights about these quotes….I am so interested in knowing what you take away from this…Have a great weekend!
I haven’t read “Mere Christianity” yet, but it’s on my list to do so this year. My husband had a co-worker give him a copy and he read it just to be polite–he’s now on his third time through in a row only this time he’s going through with a notebook and pen in hand so that he can capture all of the thoughts that speak to him.
He’s read me just a little bit but I have to cut him off after about 10 minutes…it’s such good stuff that I need time to wrap my head around it! Looking forward to getting my turn with the book.
Lisa, the one truth that hit me more than anything is that we are commanded to pray for, more importantly, love our enemies. I don’t know about you, but I find that very difficult to do and haven’t done it. I’m finding that not praying for them, but in my heart despising not only their actions, but them, is robbing me of my joy. I don’t outwardly declare that I “despise” because that would not be a very ministerial wifey thing to do, but in my heart of hearts, those are my feelings and they are wrong.
Thank you for your insights, and for posting some of the most insightful and deep thoughts from the great C.S. Lewis, which has reminded me that I need to remember the “rules of the house”.
I love your explanations, Lisa. I have to admit…C.S. Lewis is a little heave for me. I guess my little German brain can not comprehend. Maybe I should order his books in German, that might help. Do you think they are translated?
Blessings to you, my friend.
I loved the hallway too. Lewis’ mind pictures are priceless!
I guess I can accept the fact that everyone chooses their own ‘door’. That is fine to a point. There are some denominations out there that are destructive and somewhat cultish though. I would have a hard time watching someone get caught up in something like that. I’m a huge believer in sound doctrine. I know every denomination differs to some degree but the basic core doctrines would have to be intact or I would have to drag my friend out of the room and put them in time out. :)
I want to try to remember to do this on Saturdays. Thanks for the info and invite!