Saturday, May 15, 2004

Surprised by Joy 

I finished C.S. Lewis' "Suprised by Joy" last night. I had wished for more on the Christian end of things but I am also reading his "Mere Christianity" which has all I wished for.

In particular, in the Forward of "Mere Christianity" Lewis writes of Christianity being like a great hall. Once you accept that God exists and the Jesus is His only son, you've entered the great hall. All along the hall are doors leading to all manner of differing offshoots of Christianity: Methodist, Catholic East and West, the Church of England, etc. Lewis writes,

above all, you must be seeking which door is the true one, not which pleases you best by its paint and panelling. In plain language, the question should never be: 'Do I like that kind of service?' but 'Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this? Is my reluctance to knock at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular door-keeper?'

When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more: and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.

That hit home for me, as I've been rather tough on my previous room, the Methodist Room. It was one of my original goals that my Methodists friends, encountering this web log, might follow; or at least understand. I need to be more true to that goal. In "Surprised by Joy" Lewis found himself converted to Christianity by the knowledge of intelligent people around him, and the authors he read, being openly and proudly Christian. No one pulled him into the hall, he was pushed by his own knowledge and experiences. That should be the tack we all take, yes?

Who is our C.S. Lewis today? With homosexuality and politics and scandal tearing so many churches apart, who is the modern Christian writer trying to make sense of, not Catholic or Protestant direction, but Christian direction?

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