Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Mere Christianity" Forward

Not that much attention should be drawn to the forward as it is not a part of the original writings, nor is it written by the actual author in question, in this case C.S. Lewis, but this forward was particularly filled with wonderful gems of sunshiny encapsulations of that which is C.S. Lewis, that one(this "one" referring to me in this instance) could not help but share their enthusiasm for it.

In case of different editions of the book, I am specifically discussing the one by Kathleen Norris.

The beginning merely serviced to establish both Lewis' credentials, and Lewis' purpose, which are important, but mundane to the already informed and eager to read on(once again, I am making references to my own first reading of the tale).

She does delves into a matter that Mr. G.K. Chesterton also discusses.
"All our notions of progress and alll our advances in technological expertise have not  brought an end to war. Our declaring the notion of sin to be obsolete has not diminished human suffering. And the easy answers: blaming technology, or, for that matter, the world's religions, have not solved the problem. The problem, C.S. Lewis insists, is us." 

The line from the above exert that strikes me the most would have to be the one about "declaring the notion of sin obsolete," which is something Chesterton addresses head on,

"They begin with the fact of sin- a fact as practical as potatoes. Whether or no man could be washed in miraculous waters, there was no doubt at any rate that he wanted washing. But certain religious leaders in London, not mere materialists, have begun in our day not to deny the highly disputable water, but to deny the indisputable dirt. Certain new theologies dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved."

(I would love to enumerate on the many things that follow from just this idea, but I have so many more gems from the forward to share).

On C.S. Lewis specifically she writes,
" C.S. Lewis, who was once described by a friend as a man in love with the imagination, believed that a complacent acceptance of the status quo reflects more than a failure of nerve."

In your face, my ever so silly psychology text. Modern psychology seeks to establish that if a thing can be proved to be "normal' then it must be alright...thats what that quote reminded me of.

And finally,
"The Christianity Lewis espouses is humane, but not easy: it asks us to recognize that the great religious struggle is not fought on a spectacular battleground, but within the ordinary human heart, when every morning we awake and feel the pressures of the day crowding in on us, and we must decide what sort of immortals we wish to be."

...gasp...don't take yourself too seriously(consult last post)!


Don't take yourself too seriously...

My favorite authoress(upon things philosophical), Mrs. Madeleine L'Engle gives me great advice to follow in everyday practice. One of the most astounding and hard to follow thus far being her warning not to take yourself too seriously. On the battleground of apologetics, and in everyday life encounters, her warnings spur in me a now automatic response to check myself, to make certain that I have not fallen into that haughty holier-/better- than thou art attitude.

Eclipsing this perhaps,as concerns genuine importance, is G.K. Chesterton's words concerning the man who only needs to believe in himself.

He likens the man who believes in himself to such historical figures as Nero, who allegedly, and if true unsurprisingly, fiddled whilst flames engulfed and burned the great city of Rome down.

On complete self confidence he says,
"Complete self-confidence is not merely a sin; complete self confidence is a weakness. Believing utterly in one's self is a hysterical and superstitious belief"

Chesterton says such men reside in lunatic asylums, at the very least figuratively, as he writes,
"He is in the clean and well lit prison of one idea: he is sharpened to one painful point."

The point, per usual, calls for a happy medium(not like the ironic one portrayed in Mrs. L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, for that matter).

To achieve a happy medium, I think we are constantly required to actively practice such virtues as faith, hope, and charity, as well as temperance, fortitude, and prudence.

And so dear reader, (I know you must be out there somewhere...maybe), I charge thee to think upon this, and make sure in your daily life encounters you're not taking yourself too seriously.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Policies and Other Mundane Details

Before the dooming and glooming of exam weeks begin( and hard core studying), I thought it would be best to get this out of the way.

Due to the amount(by amount I mean lack thereof) of traffic for this cite, The Daily Lewis, will now become and weekly Lewis.

Also, I will be posting at least one poem a week, we'll call it, "Poem of the Week".

Any other writings I do post will be random!

Thank You,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Daily Lewis: 04/12/2012

Today's Lewis quote, pictures artistically above, courtesy of google, reminds me of the importance of perspective.


Friday, April 6, 2012

The Daily Lewis: 04/06/12

The Daily Lewis...infused with Chesteron...and then more Lewis.

Today as I meandered around my campus, I saw a small group of children wandering about...

Suddenly I was pulled out of reality and into the realms of nostalgia!
A beautiful, blinding, and outright brilliant nostalgia in which I thought about the beauty of all the books I read in my childhood. From Little Woman to A Wrinkle In Time to The Scarlet Pimpernel I found one factor that all these books have in common; that factor being the little bits of truth I got out of them.

And so, without further ado, one of my favorite lines from one of works of C.S. Lewis, generally thought to be written for children, but enjoyed by all who dare take them up and read(nota bene St. Augustine conversion story reference):
From The Last Battle:

'You see,' said Aslan, 'They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their minds, yet they are in that prison, and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.'

Pure brilliance about what is true close-mindedness.

To continue my narrative:

What did this little passage that I had memorized(I'm crazy) remind me of?
It came to me!

It was Chesteron, from his beautiful work, Orthodoxy,
He is in the clean well lit prison of one idea: he is sharpened to one painful point. 
-From "The Maniac"(Chapter Two).

Then again my mind flew to another brilliant idea from Lewis, namely, his chapter on "Human Wickedness" from The Problem of Pain. 

To classify it as an idea, is perhaps not so accurate. I would say this particular section offers several steps on how to stay OUT of the prison of one idea.
But the illusion has grown, in modern times, so strong, that I must add a few considerations tending to make the reality[of sin/ human wickedness] less credible.
Essentially here Lewis pinpoints eight different ways in which we tend to rationalize away the wrong doings we act.
1.We are deceived by looking on the outside of things. We suppose ourselves to be roughly much worse than Y, whom all acknowledge a decent sort of person, and certainly(though we should not claim it out loud) better than the abominable X...We imply, and often believe, that habitual vices are exceptional single acts, and make the opposite mistake about our virtues-like a bad tennis player who calls his normal form his 'bad days' and mistakes his rare successes for his normal...
 2.  ...We feel ourselves to be involved in a iniquitous social system and to share a corporate guilt...For corporate guilt cannot be, and certainly is not, felt wit hthe same force as personal guilt...
 3. We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin...
4. We must guard against the feeling that there is 'safety in numbers'. It is natural to feel that if all men are as bad as the Christians say, then badness must be very excusable. 
 5. The larger society to which I here contrast the human 'pocket' may not exist according to some people, and at any rate we have no experience of it. We do not meet angels, or unfallen races...From considering how the cruelty of our ancestors looks to us, you may get some inkling on how our softness, worldliness, and timidity would have looked to them, and hence how both must look to God.
6. ...we have become so[an increasingly cruel age] in an attempt to reduce all virtues to kindness. For Plato rightly taught that virtue is one. You cannot be kind unless you have all the other virtues.
7. The Holiness of God is something more and other than moral perfection: His claim upon us is something more and other than the claim of moral duty. I do not deny it: but this conception, like that of corporate guilt, is very easily used as an evasion of the real issue. God may be more than moral goodness: He is not less. The to to the promised land runs past Sinai. The moral law may exist to be transcended: but there is not transcending it for those who have not first admitted its claims upon them, and then tried with all their strength to meet that claim, and fairly and squarely faced the fact of their failure. 
8. Many schools of thought encourage us to shift the responsibility for our behavior from our own shoulders to some inherent necessity in the nature of human life, and thus, indirectly, to the Creator.
This has been a mere summation of just one part of the the beautiful book that is The Problem of Pain...
I have this tendency to want to connect all the things I've ever read, EVER, in my mind, so I hope it made as much sense for you as if did for me... I apologize if the road trip was long, at the very least is was scenic.


The Daily Lewis: 04/06/2012

Actually, as concerns recent developments in my own life, and more generally THE ENTIRE WORLD, I do deviate from Lewis, and give thee Madeleine L'Engle in his stead this day,

"If Jesus was a threat to Herod two thousand years ago, he is still a threat today, because he demands that we see ourselves as we really are, that we drop our smug, self-protective devices, that we become willing to live the abundant life he calls us to live." -The Rock That is Higher

Any thoughts?
I think it is also significant as Easter approaches(two days).

Have a blessed Good Friday. 

The Daily Lewis: 04/05/2012

Rather short today, as Easter approaches and my computer time becomes ever the more self-restricted and sparse. (I'm working on a bigger post, well, two actually, but not both on here.)

For you edification: 

"Either it is a mere twist in the human mind, corresponding to nothing objective and serving no biological function, yet showing no tendency to disappear from that mind at its fullest development in poet, philosopher, or saint, or else it is a direct experience of the really supernatural, to which the name Revelation might properly be given." -The Problem of Pain

Any thoughts?