Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Experience of C.S. Lewis

Up until a few weeks ago, this blogpost title would have been non-existent; I had close to no experience of C.S. Lewis. Of course I'd read some of his famous works (The Chronicles of Narnia) as a child, but when others would speak of C.S. Lewis, I didn't even know he wrote those works.

C.S. Lewis

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During conversations with other Orthodox youth, especially with our OCF (campus ministry) at the University of Kentucky, they would speak of C.S. Lewis with a certain "awe" in relation to Orthodox Christianity. I would listen as they described their experience reading his work and how they felt it related to their own understanding of Christianity. I could never relate and found myself asking them: "Who is this author? Is he Orthodox?"

My friends would describe his works, ending each desciption of him by saying, "he was an 'anonymous' Orthodox." Their meaning was that his words and thought process was completely Orthodox, but that he wasn't a baptized member of the Faith. They strongly recommended that I read some of his works, especially Mere Christianity.

Although an avid reader, I was very prideful about mainly reading only Orthodox authors. So I thought it was just silly to read any book about Christianity not written by someone who shares my Faith. I'm not really into fiction, and although I enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia as a child, I wasn't interested in taking the time to read anything else. There are plenty of great Orthodox authors, what's the need to read about Christianity by someone who wasn't?

All that changed a few weeks ago as I finally decided to pick up a copy of Mere Christianity (with great reluctance).

When I'm wrong, I'm wrong. This work excels with its simplicity; very genuine in its approach to living as a Christian in society. Truly a timeless work in that I'm able to place his personal experience within my own context. 

Some quotes from this work:

“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

“If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.”

"My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?"

"Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man."

"Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be sons of God. We shall love the Father as He does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us. He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has — by what I call "good infection." Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else."

I'm very appreciative for the persistance of others in their desire for me to experience this masterpiece and I highly recommend it to others!

- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director


Anonymous said...

I really like this...maybe I'll have to pick this book up...

Fr. Philip said...

Now that you have broken the ice with that one, Paul, go pick up Screwtape Letters and the Great Divorce! 2 more fantastic reads!!! God bless your work over in Houston.