from the book pile:
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
I love the way my new friend Lael explains in her Facebook profile why she loves reading C.S. Lewis. "CS Lewis is also on the top of the list. He makes me feel smart."
I'm positive that I am probably one of the last people-of-my-age-and-religious-background to have read this book. For that reason, I'm feeling a little sheepish writing any kind of review. That takes me back to my goal, though, and I press on.
First of all, Lewis has this incredible skill of writing really heavy, profound truths in simple, straightforward statements. So simple that I find myself part-way into any of his writings, thinking "OK, when is this gonna get good?" I confess I did that in all of the Narnia books. I did it some with Surprised By Joy (although since that leans more toward an autobiography the feel of the entire book was different for me).
So, I'm ambling along into this book that seems to have become one of the classic apologetic books of the twentieth century (i already confessed to being behind the curve, so leave me alone already!) I'm kind of picking along, feeling more and more superior with every page I turn. I've conveniently forgotten that the superior feeling is a kind of gift from the author. A willingness from this Oxford scholar/professor to not leave me in the dust, and, in fact, extend a gracious hand to me -- his reader. To invite me along with his unique genious so that this book-writing and book-reading can be a shared experience.
I'm tripping along now about 30 pages into the book and POW! KABAM! WAMMO! Lewis smacks me with his brand of genious with this gem tagged onto the end of your everyday, next-door-neighbor kind of sentence tucked into the quiet street of the fifth chapter. The one named "We Have Cause to Be Uneasy".
God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need
and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we
have made ourselves His enemies. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of
absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still
only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great
danger -- according to the way you react to it. And we have reacted the
Now, I'm not saying there were no other great sentences written before or after that statement. You may have been smarter than me when you read this book (which, as I said, I'm certain was a long, long time before now). You didn't get hyponotized by Lewis' subtle use of simple words and illustrations and begin to believe you were just as smart as him and were only reading this book to say you read it -- to check it off your reading list. No, I'm not saying that at all.
But if I were to try to include every perfectly-written sentence or describe every clear illustration Lewis uses to wrap mysterious truths in crisp, clear and precise language I'd have to pretty much re-write the whole book. I only write those couple of sentences to mark the moment in time that I sat straight up in my chair with the sudden recognition of my own Cause to be Uneasy.
I read the rest of the book with a deeper, wiser humility. I will encourage each of my children to read the book when they are ready. It's just that good.
from Speeches I Could Make In Case I Get the Chance
found in Livingpalm (the prequel), dated 1980
In honor of tomorrow's Super Tuesday, I clear my throat, step up onto the soapbox, dot all my 'i's' with a fat open circle and offer you these thoughts from my fifth-grade worldview. (out of respect for my 10-year-old innocence, I leave all spelling and grammar the same as the original document -- my fat, orange spiral-bound notebook)
Can a woman be a politician? Most people don't think so. I say "why not?".
I am not liberal (repeat), but I do think women should get into politics as much as men. I think that is vital in a free country. BUT women can not expect to get up, go out and instantly be recognized as a true politician.
1. Women have to work harder then men because most people think a women could not lead a city. A lot of people think that if you're a politician youre liberal. Not so!
2. You MUST be patient. People are going to knock you down, but in order to succeed you must get up and show that you're going to fight to gain respect, if not votes. BE PATIENT!
3. You're not goin gto recieve fame and fortune overnight. Nobody does, especially women. You must work to get there. Don't expect too much. Polotics can be discouraging, but more often then not very rewarding.
So I urge you not to go out and expect to be the first women president, but to go at it as an adventure.
I don't expect to become anything, but am doing this because I love it.
I urge you now to try.
WARNING: the views expressed in this website do not neccessarily represent what they sound like they might be representing, if they, in fact, were intended to represent anything.