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.