Feb 17

The Christian Way

There is the Fool’s Way, there is the way of the disillusioned ‘Sensible Man’ and then there is the Christian way of handling those things in life that lose their novelty.

Remember from Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, when he wrote. “There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality.”

“Now there are two wrong ways of dealing with this fact, and one right one.”

C.S. Lewis went on to discuss the right one.

“(3) The Christian Way— The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well , there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death ; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.

There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of ‘Heaven’ ridiculous by saying they do not want ‘to spend eternity playing harps’. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them. All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible. Musical instruments are mentioned because for many people (not all) music is the thing known in the present life which most strongly suggests ecstasy and infinity. Crowns are mentioned to suggest the fact that those who are united with God in eternity share His splendour and power and joy. Gold is mentioned to suggest the timelessness of Heaven (gold does not rust) and the preciousness of it. People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, He meant that we were to lay eggs.”

Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (p. 137). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

We were not meant to lay eggs.  We were meant to make the main thing, the main thing.

What do you think that you were made for?

 

 

Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (pp. 136-137). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

 

Feb 10

The Way of the Disillusioned ‘Sensible Man’

There is the Fool’s Way and then there is the way of the disillusioned ‘Sensible Man’ of handling those things in life that lose their novelty.

Remember from Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, when he wrote. “There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality.”

“Now there are two wrong ways of dealing with this fact, and one right one.”

After discussing the fool’s way, C.S. Lewis went on.

“(2) The Way of the Disillusioned ‘Sensible Man’— He soon decides that the whole thing was moonshine. ‘Of course,’ he says, ‘one feels like that when one’s young. But by the time you get to my age you’ve given up chasing the rainbow’s end.’ And so he settles down and learns not to expect too much and represses the part of himself which used, as he would say, ‘to cry for the moon’. This is, of course, a much better way than the first, and makes a man much happier, and less of a nuisance to society. It tends to make him a prig (he is apt to be rather superior towards what he calls ‘adolescents’), but, on the whole, he rubs along fairly comfortably. It would be the best line we could take if man did not live for ever. But supposing infinite happiness really is there, waiting for us? Supposing one really can reach the rainbow’s end? In that case it would be a pity to find out too late (a moment after death) that by our supposed ‘common sense’ we had stifled in ourselves the faculty of enjoying it.”

Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (p. 136). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Spoiler alert:  The third way is the “Christian Way.”  You’ll read about that in my next post.

As I type these words, I’m reminded of our church service this morning.  It was one of those watershed moments when I couldn’t hold in my fear, my excitement, my anxiousness, my love, my brokeness, my passion, my desires and my tears.

This is a good day.

I look forward to telling you all about it when we meet again.