As I mentioned in a previous post, staying busy with my photography business has tried to kill off any energy I could possibly have for reading. HOWEVER, I am making an effort to revive reading in my life! I started with One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I really have no idea how I chose the next book to read, but it ended up being Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
Now, there may be one or two of you out there that remember that I mentioned wanting to read this book years ago. And Lauren, being the perceptive good-remembering friend that she is, immediately purchased me a copy and gave it to me for that Christmas. (I say THAT Christmas because I can’t find it in my archives and I don’t want to spend too long looking for it.)
And I just read it.
It takes a while for things to get done round these parts.
Anyway, even though I struggle reading non-fiction, it was easier for me to read this book because, well, it’s written with a British accent. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that the Narnia series are my all-time favorites, so Lewis already had a leg-up in being my “favorite author.”
I would recommend this book for all Christians, and for unbelievers who are at least willing to toy around with some faith-based ideas. Lewis was an Atheist before he was a Christian, so he knows where both groups are coming from and I think he speaks effectively to both.
This book is actually a collection of broadcasts that Lewis made on the radio during World War II. You would think that this would make it outdated, but, on the contrary, I was amazed at how many issues he described that we are facing today.
The purpose of this book was to break down the basics of Christianity and explain them in layman’s terms. The book starts with Lewis asking basic questions like “Is there a God?”, and by the end he has covered Christian Morals, and the doctrine of the Trinity. He purposefully avoids nit-picky details that denominations disagree on (like baptism,) because he wanted to describe Christianity in its purest form.
Now, I could go on and on about this book. But if there’s one thing that stands out about C.S. Lewis, it’s how quotable he is. I mean, he just has a special way of wording things. Since I read this book with a pen in hand, I thought I would flip through and share some of the quotes with you. I figured that would be more effective than for me to try to describe it in my own feeble words.
I will also include page numbers, but of course, this will only be beneficial if you have the same copy that I do. I am quoting from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, published by Zondervan Publishing House.
And now the part I’ve been looking forward to…
“I will tell you another view that is also too simple. It is the view I call Christianity-in-water, the view which simply says there is a good God in Heaven and everything is all right – leaving out the difficult and terrible doctrines about sin and hell and the devil, and the redemption.” pg. 40
“That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed.” pg. 41
“When you are arguing against Him, you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all.” pg. 48
“We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it.” pg. 57
“He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants everyone to use what sense they have.” pg. 77
“I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.” pg. 86 (I love what he says in this chapter about giving!!!)
“The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.” pg. 102
“The Christian law is not forcing upon the passion of love something which is foreign to that passion’s own nature: it is demanding that lovers should take seriously something which their passion of itself impels them to do.” pg. 107 (This chapter on the Christian marriage is great!)
“It is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction.” pg. 110
“Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” pg. 122 (The chapter on pride is very convicting. God is still pointing me back to it!)
“A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” pg. 125
“If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.” pg. 128
“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did.” pg. 131
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” pg. 137
“Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” pg. 140
“Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means – the only complete realist.” pg. 142
“If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.” pg. 143
“If what you call your ‘faith’ in Christ does not involve taking slightest notice of what He says, then it is not Faith at all – not faith or trust in Him, but only intellectual acceptance of some theory about Him.” pg. 148
[I don’t have a quote from it, but the chapter “Time and Beyond Time” is about God’s relation to time and it’s really great. Maybe I just feel that way because we’re working our way through Dr. Who, but I think it’s really great. ]
“‘God is love’ have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person.” pg. 174
“Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.” pg. 177
“You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage; but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” pg. 205
“Our careless lives set the outer world talking; and we give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity itself.” pg. 208
“The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God.” pg. 211
“A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world – and might even be more difficult to save.” pg. 216
“The more we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become.” pg. 225
I mean, could you word things like that??? I certainly couldn’t!
I could say a lot more, but in short, God used this book to convict me about some things in my life, particularly my pride. He also used it as a huge reminder that He is not done with me yet!
Practically speaking, this is a great book for a busy mama because the chapters are very short; I “assigned” myself two chapters a day and I probably averaged only 15 minutes of reading a day.
I have saved my favorite quote for last because, well, it’s my favorite! And it will be on my wall some day. (Not my facebook wall, but my actual wall. In my house.) Not only does Narnia draw an allusion from it, not only does it sound charming, but it is also so true, and that is why we can have hope.
“And that is precisely what Christianity is about. This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumour going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.” pg. 159