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George Jung
03-26-2011, 11:19 PM
Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for?


Ran across this from CSLewis, and thought how apt that was, especially for some who frequent the Bilge, and have obvious Favorite Personal Causes.

Any fans here? Favorite quotes or books?

oznabrag
03-27-2011, 01:08 AM
Lewis was weirdo.

A lovable, respectable weirdo, but a weirdo, nonetheless.

Yes, I am a fan!

'The Screwtape Letters' is a perennial favorite.

purri
03-27-2011, 01:09 AM
Yeah, read his book on WW1 experiences as a fighter pilot.

Ian McColgin
03-27-2011, 06:52 AM
I did not like Screwtape as they show Lewis at his didactic worst. Even the Chronicles of Narnia, which I read aloud to children with great success, are not as good as Lewis's friend and fellow Inkling Tolkein's Ring Cycle. Lewis was always squashing his poetic voice to make a theological point. When Lewis dealt straight from the heart with his own experiences of death and love he had real power.

And Puddleglum's speech as to why he chooses to believe is the only - not proof of but - assertion for the existence of God I've read that really moved me. Especially as read aloud, Puddleglum with a thick Downeast Mainer's accent, by William Cabness.

George Jung
03-27-2011, 09:15 AM
I just re-read Screwtape Letters; I really enjoyed it. Different strokes, I guess.

Discussing his works in a classroom setting would be interesting. I'm re-reading Mere Christianity, next. The Four Loves was suggested by my wife, not one I've covered before.

George Jung
03-27-2011, 09:18 AM
BTW, the epilogue Lewis wrote for Screwtape was interesting; apparently he found 'getting into character', in order to write as Screwtape, difficult and somewhat depressing.

I'd not classify him as weird, but more likely genius by writ of his total immersion in what he was processing, and writing. Nothing too detached about that.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
03-27-2011, 12:15 PM
May I put in a vote for "The Allegory of Love"?

As a first year undergraduate I had to get through both that and Tolkien's edition of the Gawain-poet. I vastly preferred Lewis's erudite unpacking of the concept of courtly love, a very alien notion to those of us alive today, to Tolkien's dry and didactic footnotes.

oznabrag
03-27-2011, 03:01 PM
I did not like Screwtape as they show Lewis at his didactic worst....

As a person who couldn't give a rat's backside about the Christian God, I feel fortunate to have escaped that facet of the book.

What I enjoy so well about it is the very realistic portrayal of evil, and how it gets its hooks into us.

@ George Jung, I had read the same thing about Lewis' getting into character for his various writings, and that he could get really spooked out as the characters began to become more and more real, and more and more in control of him.

I think that may be one of the reasons he became such a devout Catholic, after having spent the first half of his life as an iron-clad atheist!

Oh, and no offense intended to anyone with the weirdo comment. We're all weirdos, after all!

Andrew Craig-Bennett
03-27-2011, 03:21 PM
Tiny adjustment - JRR Tolkien was an English cradle Catholic, who manifested the chip on the shoulder which is a common (but by no means universal) hereditary ailment of English cradle Catholics.

CS Lewis was a late convert to fairly muscular Anglicanism, something which was guaranteed to rub Tolkien right on the chipped shoulder, as indeed it did, so that the falling away of their friendship was triggered not by Lewis's atheism, which did not bother Tolkien, but by his Protestantism, which did bother Tolkien!

George Jung
03-27-2011, 03:49 PM
That's rich!

oznabrag
03-27-2011, 03:51 PM
Tiny adjustment - JRR Tolkien was an English cradle Catholic, who manifested the chip on the shoulder which is a common (but by no means universal) hereditary ailment of English cradle Catholics.

CS Lewis was a late convert to fairly muscular Anglicanism, something which was guaranteed to rub Tolkien right on the chipped shoulder, as indeed it did, so that the falling away of their friendship was triggered not by Lewis's atheism, which did not bother Tolkien, but by his Protestantism, which did bother Tolkien!



I had always thought that Lewis was a Catholic.

Thank you, Andrew!

George Jung
03-27-2011, 03:56 PM
Perhaps Andrew could clarify, but I understand Lewis purposely wrote ecumenically.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
03-27-2011, 04:08 PM
The fault probably lay more on Lewis' side than on Tolkien's, although Tolkien was probably over-sensitive.

Lewis was occasionally quite assertively anti-Catholic after his conversion, yet Tolkien had had a hand in that conversion and had naturally hoped that Lewis would finish up on the Roman side. Tolkien did not think much of Lewis's grasp of theology, and he probably let it be known that he thought so. I suspect that Lewis's occasional anti-Catholic remarks, such as calling Catholics "Papists", had their origins in his Northern Irish Protestant background, and were probably quite unconscious, but Tolkien was of course offended by them.

Keith Wilson
03-27-2011, 06:23 PM
I had the unfortunate experience of reading the Narnia books after reading Tolkien, when I was looking for something similar. While JRRT had his faults, applying ponderous allegory by the shovelful was not one of them. I was probably too old (14 or so).

peb
03-27-2011, 08:36 PM
Mere Christianity, despite a couple of obvious theological flaws, is one of the best books ever written. Period, end of story. I don't think Lewis was that proud of the Screwtap letters, but they were good. I do not think he was trying to do his own LOTR with the Narnia books, the obvious allegories were intentional and strong and are what the books are all about, the story of salvation. If one was looking for a LOTR fix, and didn't find it, that was the reader's fault, not the author's.

pefjr
03-27-2011, 08:59 PM
When Lewis dealt straight from the heart with his own experiences of death and love he had real power.

Well, he musta had some kind of power to write of his own experiences of death.:confused:

Glen Longino
03-27-2011, 11:03 PM
I've never much appreciated Lewis or Tolkien as philosophers or voices of reason.
However, I did learn to appreciate them as entertainers and artists back in the early seventies, reading them to my young daughters at bedtime.
In fact, my young daughters much preferred my on fictional stories to all others, and they still do at 47 and 49.

Glen Longino
03-27-2011, 11:18 PM
"my on fictional stories"

I tried to edit and make it "own", but I'm a salve, er, I mean slave to my incompetent forum administrator.
Somebody get a rope!;)

bobbys
03-28-2011, 12:23 AM
One of my fav short little essay's is.

Mediation in a woodshed..

Perhaps because i can understand God through a beam of light or raindrops on the lawn or clouds rolling by..

Give it a read.

http://www.pseudobook.com/cslewis/wp-content/uploads/2006/09/meditation.pdf

Glen Longino
03-28-2011, 12:32 AM
You can understand God?
Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!;)

bobbys
03-28-2011, 12:58 AM
You can understand God?
Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!;).

What did you find in that short Essy, Did you read it and do you have any comments on it?.

bobbys
03-28-2011, 01:03 AM
And you thought guys who said they understand women were stretchin'!.

The thing i like about CS LEWIS is his understanding of God through his particular Philosophical teachings even using mundane things..

It appears you did not read it because he talks about love in the essay to.

Glen Longino
03-28-2011, 01:07 AM
Heheh!
Gods are easy compared to women, don't you agree, John T?
You can always talk the One-Way conversation with God and make up your own responses from Him, but you can't escape the truthful response from a Woman's lips.
You can ask God to forgive your trangressions, and you can quickly conjure God's response in your own mind...."Yes, my child, you are forgiven."
But women ain't that easy!
I'd rather be condemned by a real woman than praised by a god of my own imagination.

Glen Longino
03-28-2011, 01:26 AM
.

The thing i like about CS LEWIS is his understanding of God through his particular Philosophical teachings even using mundane things..

It appears you did not read it because he talks about love in the essay to.

I don't resent your fascination with CS Lewis, bobby!
But my own experiences with life and love are more mature and real to me than Lewis' writings. Aren't your own personal experiences more real to you than Lewis' writings?
Yes?
I figgered!

Nanoose
03-28-2011, 08:27 AM
Thanks for that link, Bobby.
Mere Christianity - absolutely.
I also really liked The Great Divorce.

TomF
03-28-2011, 09:39 AM
"Mere Christianity" doesn't work for me anymore. It's too methodical, the answers seem too "pat." It's a logical treatise, and the experience of life, for me at least, isn't always logical. Especially the tough bits; one's Faith needs to be able to respond to when something cracks you in the teeth without provocation. While it's been a long time since I read Mere Christianity, the last time I did so it seemed brittle; a very fine creation which might not survive being kicked really hard.

On the other hand, "A Grief Observed," in which an older Lewis confronts the pain of the death of his wife Joy Gresham, spoke to me a lot more strongly. In that book you don't see Lewis the professional crafter of arguments, but Lewis the man who's been sideswiped, and is trying to cope. It's honest and raw, and the honesty and rawness is more compelling to me now than the brilliant construction of the earlier work. And the Faith it describes is, for me at least, a lot more useful.

George Jung
03-28-2011, 11:55 AM
I noticed in a brief biography that Lewis married late, and that his wife, who died of cancer, had been battling that illness for 4 years - approximately the length of their marriage.

It wasn't addressed there, but I wonder/suspect the diagnosis was known before they married.

TomF
03-28-2011, 12:14 PM
I noticed in a brief biography that Lewis married late, and that his wife, who died of cancer, had been battling that illness for 4 years - approximately the length of their marriage.

It wasn't addressed there, but I wonder/suspect the diagnosis was known before they married.Yep. After corresponding for a couple of years, they met in 1952 while Gresham was still married to someone else. Over time she got divorced (from an unfaithful & alcoholic husband), her relationship with Lewis deepened, then she got diagnosed with bone cancer. Ultimately their relationship deepened to where they decided to get married; the marriage happened at Joy's hospital bed.

The play (and movie) Shadowlands describes this love story movingly. Joy had a brief remission in her cancer, but she died from it in 1960; A Grief Observed was Lewis' book trying to come to terms with her death ... and his faith.

Nanoose
03-28-2011, 02:35 PM
And I appreciated more the thinking in Mere Christianity. A Grief Observed wasn't as strong for me.

When "life kicks us in the teeth," as you note Tom....Emmanuel. God with us, in the midst of it, never leaving nor forsaking us, has been my discovery. I have found that experience even more powerful than a potential dissolution or resolution of the source of pain. But, the challenge remains, "why does God allow evil/pain/suffering." I'm contemplating a thesis along those lines, so it is something I toss around a fair amount. I think the question itself is wrong.....

TomF
03-28-2011, 03:28 PM
God doesn't leave or forsake, but it can sure feel like it. It felt like it to Jesus in Gethsemene, and on the cross - for me, that is the single most useful contribution Moltmann's writings make. Jesus didn't go through the Passion entirely confident that it was all going to be OK in the end. He vascillated. Was ambiguous - telling a thief he'd soon see him in Paradise, but also crying out "why have you forsaken me?"

Emannuel indeed. Unless God's been there, what's the bridge when we're there? When we feel abandoned, or at least feel ambiguous. How can a God that's never touched real anguish, real doubt, speak knowledgeably to ours? I can't be "saved" by a God who's never suffered, I think.

Theodicy and its variants is a pretty big topic for a thesis, Deb. Lotsa ground covered already, none of it definitively.

Nanoose
03-28-2011, 03:53 PM
Of course...it will burrow down as I keep reading (now, at least, possibly something along the lines of the implications of evolution and original sin on the free will defense. Still in the percolating stages.....).

We have both, I think, come to know His presence, particularly through the rough edges of life. It has given me a new perspective on the important/unimportant, among other things.

I'm not sure Jesus was ambiguous at that point. I believe he was confident in the one who was/is trustworthy to do as he'd said he would do. He understood his forthcoming death and resurrection, even though it was necessary to experience them. He told the thief of what they would experience that very day. As for "why have you forsaken me," the cry would have immediately taken every good Jew to Ps.22 (just as hearing "The Lord is my shepherd..." makes many ramble off the rest of Ps.23 in their head). Verse 24's "he has not hidden his face," and particularly the conclusion, "all the earth will remember, and turn and bow down." It was a declaration of fulfillment more than a statement of forsakenness, particularly in light of God's character and promise, and the contents of the Ps. itself, imho. What looked like abandonment to those witnessing the events of the day was in reality something else altogether....as is often the case. ;)

George Jung
03-28-2011, 04:03 PM
I happened upon this commentary on the CS Lewis site; seems appropo:




by Winn Collier
“Good could never come of such evil,” said the forlorn prisoner in Tale of Two Cities. Lewis, fond of Dickens, would have enjoyed a squabble with this character’s conclusion. While Lewis resisted any notion that God was the ultimate instigator of evil (some of his punchier lines are leveled at such ideas), he steadily insisted that human redemption hinges in part on this fact: God exploits evil toward good ends.

For Lewis, the incarnation tells us that God is not stoically distant from our devastation but enters the chaos, refashioning wasted remnants into something beautiful again. “The world is a dance,” said Lewis, “in which good, descending from God, is disturbed by evil arising from the creatures, and the resulting conflict is resolved by God’s own assumption of the suffering nature which evil produces.”[1] (http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=4791643267868102990#_ftn1) God does not ignore the wreckage. God subsumes it into himself.


Lewis’ posture coalesces with two of the texts for the first week of Lent (Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7; Matthew 4:1-11). These narratives provide us with a tale of two temptations: Adam and Eve’s temptation in a Garden and Jesus’ temptation in a wilderness. One is a tragedy; the other is a comedy (think: Shakespeare, not Modern Family). One tells of ruin; the other of redemption. One suggests evil wins; the other announces that evil has been forever wrecked.

TomF
03-28-2011, 04:09 PM
...I'm not sure Jesus was ambiguous at that point. I believe he was confident in the one who was/is trustworthy to do as he'd said he would do...I used to believe that. My thinking on suffering has changed a bunch over the decades though, and now I take the other view.

It used to be more important to me that the Cross is empty, and all that means. It's now more important to me that the Cross was full, and all that means.

Nanoose
03-28-2011, 04:13 PM
Thanks, George. Gonna clip and save that....

Yes, I think the larger question is why does God redeem suffering? show up in our suffering? what does that tell us about God, suffering, the world, ourselves....

Thanks again.

George Jung
03-28-2011, 04:15 PM
I used to believe that. My thinking on suffering has changed a bunch over the decades though, and now I take the other view.

It used to be more important to me that the Cross is empty, and all that means. It's now more important to me that the Cross was full, and all that means.

While it strikes me that you couldn't have 'empty' without the 'full', I'm curious - what's your reasoning, as concerns your discernment on this point?

Nanoose
03-28-2011, 04:18 PM
(...sorry for the thread drift, all...but conversations have a way of doing this, don't they!...)

Tom - have you heard of a young, Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart? I was introduced to him on line, then purchased "The Doors of the Sea" followed by "The Beauty of the Infinite," basically his dissertation. Perhaps it is the freshness of Orthodox thinking, but I have thoroughly enjoyed his work.

(...back to your regularly scheduled programming...:o...)

TomF
03-28-2011, 04:33 PM
Catholicism has always emphasized the "full" cross - the suffering Christ. Protestants always the "empty" cross, symbol of the resurrection. And over the years, as I've lived a bit more and been close to some people with frankly pretty intractable suffering of one kind or another, it's become more important to me that God's here, rather than that God's there.

To one degree or another, people continue to be crucified. The promise of a future without suffering is important, but it only goes so far towards helping you through the suffering that's now. For that, it's more important that God's with me now than that God's got a good retirement package planned out.

What's made the difference? Taking suffering as seriously as I think it ought to be. Growing up.

TomF
03-28-2011, 04:34 PM
(...sorry for the thread drift, all...but conversations have a way of doing this, don't they!...)

Tom - have you heard of a young, Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart? I was introduced to him on line, then purchased "The Doors of the Sea" followed by "The Beauty of the Infinite," basically his dissertation. Perhaps it is the freshness of Orthodox thinking, but I have thoroughly enjoyed his work.

(...back to your regularly scheduled programming...:o...)
gotta go - nope, not heard of him ... but i'll be checking him out now :D

Keith Wilson
03-28-2011, 06:34 PM
I do not think he was trying to do his own LOTR with the Narnia books . . . If one was looking for a LOTR fix, and didn't find it, that was the reader's fault, not the author's.Oh, certainly. It's not Lewis's fault at all, although the allegory in the first book especially is awfully heavy-handed. The later ones are better in that respect; not so obvious, with the exception of the last one. But I was looking for a story, and Lewis was writing a sermon.

TomF
03-29-2011, 08:44 AM
... But I was looking for a story, and Lewis was writing a sermon.Precisely. I love the last book especially because it's a sermon. I love the Creation story in The Magician's Nephew for the same reason. And when I can ignore certain bits of the first book (the parts which are too conventionally orthodox), it works too. They work for me not because they're masterful storytelling, but because they "ring true" with what I otherwise use to structure my life.

For me they don't work because they're masterful stories, but because they are extended sermon illustrations. The middle books have always been less attractive to me, because except for the Dawn Treader, I've never found the storylines desperately compelling. IMO there were, and are, better creators of gripping children's fiction.

Steve Paskey
03-29-2011, 09:47 AM
On a lighter note ...

"Life isn't all fricasseed frogs and eel pie."

............Puddleglum in "The Silver Chair," by C.S. Lewis

Andrew Craig-Bennett
03-29-2011, 09:50 AM
Have to disagree, Tom. Both my boys, and their father, rate "The Horse and His Boy" much the best of the series!

TomF
03-29-2011, 10:07 AM
Errr, horses for courses? :D

Andrew Craig-Bennett
03-29-2011, 10:49 AM
I think it was the last one that he wrote, though he had plans for another similar story, set in the same era.

TomF
03-29-2011, 12:35 PM
Re-read all of Narnia early last Fall with my son. Yeah, A Horse and his Boy was fun, gotta admit. I liked the commentary on social class ... whether among humans or horses. I was thinking more of Prince Caspian and The Silver Chair, neither of which did much for me - either the first time, or more recently. Even though I too liked the character Puddleglum.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
03-29-2011, 02:08 PM
I agree about Prince Caspian and The Silver Chair.

Puddleglum is fine, but I don't care for the rest of the book.

peb
03-29-2011, 04:48 PM
Have to disagree, Tom. Both my boys, and their father, rate "The Horse and His Boy" much the best of the series!

I will agree with Andrew, I only listened to it as a audio book on a road trip with the kids, but I liked it a lot.

bobbys
03-29-2011, 06:09 PM
I don't resent your fascination with CS Lewis, bobby!
But my own experiences with life and love are more mature and real to me than Lewis' writings. Aren't your own personal experiences more real to you than Lewis' writings?
Yes?
I figgered!.

Say Glenn looks like some others here like CS to.

How come your not mocking them?.

Hurry bring packs and Ozenbrag.

Big Village!