Are You Reading C.S. Lewis? ~ BitterSweetLife

Monday, July 30, 2007

Are You Reading C.S. Lewis?

I usually read some
C.S. Lewis during the summer, one of the best prescriptions for restoring mental health and vitality, and I realized with shock a few days ago that I may not have time to hang out with Lewis before school starts this fall.

Don't count me out for sure, but, it could happen. Possibly my mind will rise up in protest, screaming, Give me Lewis, preferably The Weight of Glory!--in which case I will have to cave, and start taking showers every other day in order to free up some reading time. Hard to say.

So what I'm wondering now is if any of you are currently reading Lewis or have read him in the last few weeks. If so, I want to negotiate a deal. Here's the situation. I need my Lewis. This blog needs its Lewis. If I don't have time to turn the pages myself, I'm willing to let some other people help me.

If you've recently been enjoying summer school with C.S., I'd like to invite you to post some quotes on BitterSweetLife. Commentary is optional, but you could feel free to weigh in on the excerpts you share. You'd introduce yourself and your blog briefly, then lead us into the Lewisphere. Interested? Post a comment or send me an email.

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Jamie said...

I have totally been reading Lewis this summer. Well, it was almost two months ago now, but hey, that's still this summer...

Amanda said...

I actually have not read any of our dear friend Mr. Lewis this summer. However, you have reminded of one of the most powerful paragraphs I've ever read. It's from The Screwtape Letters and is as follows:

It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot "tempt" to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood.

Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

littlepeace said...

I am contemplating reading The Screwtape Letters and possibly re-reading the Space Trilogy. Last semester I dipped into The Discarded Image a few times for school projects about faery. Fascinating insights he has. One of my professors said Lewis tended to be biased and that his opinions were not recent enough for my project.

Ariel said...

Great quote from Screwtape, Amanda. It makes me want to read the whole book again, which, by the way, you would love if you like that quote.

One of my professors said Lewis tended to be biased and that his opinions were not recent enough for my project.

Some people. After I counted to ten, I'd point out that everyone is "biased," it's just a question of how, and at least Lewis is transparent about his loyalties. Maybe your project had to do with recent research? Otherwise, I'd just write off your prof. as shallow. But you didn't actually hear me say that.

By the way...I don't get at all irritated when I hear about Lewis getting unfairly dissed. ;)

If you decide to read some more Lewis, despite his lack of relevance academically, and feel like posting some quotes, let me know.

Oneway the Herald said...

"You have gone far wrong. Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth. What you now call the free play of inquiry has neither more nor less to do with the ends for which intelligence was given you than masturbation has to do with marriage"

--C.S. Lewis, bring the heat in The Great Divorce

Jeffrey said...

Currently reading: "Say your prayers in a garden early, ignoring steadfastly the dew, the birds and the flowers, and you will come away overwhelmed by its freshness and joy; go there in order to be overwhelmed and, after a certain age, nine times out of ten nothing will happen to you." - The Four Loves

At least until re-reading the quote Amanda posted, my favorite Lewis quote was:

"[Many] are afraid that heaven is a bribe. ... It is not so. Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul could desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, because only the pure in heart want to. There are rewards that do not sully motives." - The Problem of Pain

Mark said...

"There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not."

Mere Christianity, p. 87

Jeffrey said...

"Alone among unsympathetic companions, I hold certain views and standards timidly, half ashamed to avow them and half doubtful if they can after all be right. Put me back among my Friends and in half an hour - in ten minutes - these same views and standards become once more indisputable. The opinions of this little circle, while I am in it, outweighs that of a thousand outsiders: as Friendship strengthens, it will do this even when my Friends are far away. ... The little pockets of early Christians survived because they cared exclusively for the love of "the brethren" and stopped their ears to the opinion of the Pagan society all round them." - The Four Loves, p. 79

One other thought on the book. Lewis points out that the Bible has much to say about God's agape love for us (charity), His status as our Heavenly Father (affection), and the Bridegroom/Bride analogy (eros). But "Scripture uses Friendship so rarely as an image of the highest love." p. 87

Why do modern America Christians talk so much about Jesus as our best friend, or about a personal relationship with God? Not that it is wrong, it most certainly is not.

But if Lewis is correct, we are emphasizing the metaphor which is the one used the least in the Bible.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife