Friday, January 16, 2009

Mere Christianity

There was a lot of hesitation in deciding if I should be honest on what I thought about this C.S. Lewis reading. . . I will be honest. I did not care for it all that much. So far many of the readings we have read have been deeply personal, and have touched me in one way or another. I came out with a sense of: "If I really apply this to my life, I will become a better person." (A better person, in simple terms, means less selfish and more focused on God) And many friends had told me how great Mere Christianity was. So, it was to my great disappointment that it is not written as tid-bits of advice, although one might find very useful advice and apply it personally. But me, all I could see was the argument Lewis was making. When I started to read I was not prepared to read an argument, but another advice piece, something that would touch and affect me. I wanted the personal connection with reader that The Weight of Glory, The Screwtape Letters, The English Syllabus, or We Have No Right to Happiness had. I just really worked it up in my head to be Lewis giving advice to Christians, and it was not. So naturally, I was disappointed. 

However! Once I get over the fact that it was not what I expected, it was good. Lewis is creating an argument for Christianity. It's very interesting. The end point is; We all have a moral law/Law of Nature (an idea that we should behave a certain way), and that moral law is directed by the maker of the universe. 

". . . when you say a man ought not to act as he does, you only mean that same as when you say that a stone is wrong shape; namely, that  what he is doing happens to be inconvenient to you."

This quote (and the paragraph it came from) really got me thinking. Because so many times when I have an argument, it is because of the simple fact we do not have the same moral law. What one person thinks is appropriate, I might think is completely inappropriate. But is its it the action that we should fight about? No. The moral law is root of issue, and once that is discussed then we can address the action. 

My sister and I fight quite often. And most the time it is because we are not seeing eye to eye. I think she has all these feelings, which don't matter to me. I know it sounds bloody awful to say. Well, I care a little bit, but she has so many feelings on so many different things, and most of the feelings are illogical. (Well, coming from me, illogical!) She shouldn't have the feelings, and she needs to get rid of them because we can talk or discuss anything because her feelings get hurt. So instead of discussing the real issue we end up talking about feelings. Our moral laws are different. For me, when discussing something, feelings are not too important, the event that took place is. And for her, the event that took place is not that important but how she felt about it. It can be very exhausting. . . 

Sorry back to Lewis!

"When a word ceases to be a term of description and becomes merely a term of praise, it no longer tells you facts about the object."

I had a friend that once asked me; "Annie, am I a Christian?" and knowing this person for many years, I smiled a little and said; "No." And he said "I am a Christian". I raised my eyebrows and said "Oh, really?" in a mocking tone. I spent my whole summer with my friend AJ. We were sweetmates in Yellowstone, we worked together for 8 hours everyday and went on hikes together,  I knew him very well. And when he asked me the question, I judged. I regret it, that in that pivotal moment, I judged him. He eventually went on to tell me that he was just kidding, but that he was very curious how I could say was a Christian was and was not. I thought of that moment as I read this quote. And then I read this quote:

"We do not see into men's hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge. It would be wicked arrogance for us to say that any man is, or is not, a Christian in this refined sense."

I love this, perhaps because judging others is one of biggest downfalls. I can always use a good kick in the rear end. I admit I have judged many on whether they were Christian or not. Or even more if they were good Christians. What is a good Christian anyway? I can not know, only God can. 

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