29 July 2017

C. S. Lewis and Tiny Rants

Bare with me.  This post kind of goes all over the place.  But if you like C.S. Lewis, and if you like tiny rants (tiny?) then maybe you'll want to keep reading!

The more books by C.S. Lewis that I read, the more I am convinced that he is most definitely someone I wish I could have met.  I know everyone raves about the Narnia books (and don't get me wrong, I love them) but so often, I think that people think that Narnia was all that there was to C.S. Lewis--and all there is.

Yet there is so much more.

Lately (meaning the past few months... like since January), I have been reading his Essay on Criticism.  I began this book a few summers ago while on vacation at my Aunt and Uncle's house, as I was left with nothing to do as my cousins were in the middle of something.  My Aunt showed me their book shelves, and I found this book and immediately decided I would read it.  One and a half chapters in, I began doing something else, and I never picked the book up again.  I remember, still, how fascinating Lewis' thoughts were, and decided to put the book on my reading list.

Fast forward to last December, my sister bought the book for me, and I finally have been reading it more often.  I admit, it is not a large book, and seven months seems like too long to get through 141 pages, but when I think about it, I can excuse myself, because Lewis' scholarly works have sentences and paragraphs which are more complex than his fictional works.  So it's okay.

But enough of me talking about the book and how I found it.  I want to talk about something which I read the other day.

"We must risk being taken in, if we are to get anything.  The best safegaurd against bad literature is a full experience of good; just as real and affectionate acquaintance with honest people gives a better protection against rogues than a habitual distrust of everyone."

Like wow.  

The amount of insight this man had on human nature and the world was insane.

This little bit of a paragraph was, I think, the punchline to the entire 9th chapter.  In this chapter Lewis wrote about Literary people, and non-literary people; the difference between the two, and how that changes the way they take in literature.  But what really fascinated me was the parallel that he made to relationships.

"We must risk being taken in, if we are to get anything."

Right away this made me think of how when you are getting to know someone, the only way to truly become close to them, is to become vulnerable. To risk being taken in.  But how much sweeter and truer is a relationship with someone you trust, than with someone who does not know the true you?

The second part of this section is what really got me though.

"real and affectionate aquaintance(s) with honest people [give] a better protection against rogues than a habitual distrust of everyone."

I don't know about you, but this really made me think of the a lot of Christians today.  They're boxed in.  They believe that their atmosphere is the only atmosphere, and if anything "unclean" enters it, that somehow they're no longer Christian.  I feel like this sentence of Lewis' book almost points straight at the hypocrisy of some Christians today.

I remember one time in Junior High at church in my small group, some students were talking about how sometimes they do not realize "who is influencing whom" in their relationship with a non-Christian, and how sometimes they think that they are being more influenced by their peers, than their peers by them. (please comment if that made any sense to you, because I just realized how confusing it sounds!).  Don't get me wrong.  Yes, we must make sure we are influencing the world more than it influences us.  But I believe there is more to this.

Anyway, I remember thinking.  Then speaking.  I told them basically that wouldn't they wish more that they show the light of Jesus, than worrying about being influenced by the world?  Obviously I said it more like a seventh grader, but whatever.

Now that I think about it more, I wish I could have said more.  We are told to "be in the world, but not of it."

We were called.  Called to show others Christ.  And if this means "associating yourself" with people you might deem "a bad influence" remember that "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion" (Philippians 1:6).

Yes we must guard our hearts.  Yes, the world is a scary and oftentimes downright disgusting place.  But we also have a purpose.  A calling.  And we were called to Shine God's Light.  We were called to show others that we're different.  We don't care if the world thinks we're too weird (even if they claim nothing is weird, and everything should be normal).  We should only care what Jesus thinks, and if that means talking, or getting acquainted with people who other "Christians" might disapprove of, so be it.

Remember, Jesus talked to tax collectors and prostitutes-- The two most loathed and "unholy" types of people in Israel.

And were we not called to be like Jesus?

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