Monthly Archives: May 2015

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Any search of the greatest opening lines in literature will find the following: “Call me Ishmael” (Herman Melville, Moby-Dick); “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” (Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice); “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” (Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina), and “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” (George Orwell, 1984).

But there is another opening line, not as well-known, that should be included. Writing about the death of his wife Joy, C. S. Lewis opens his book, A Grief Observed, this way, Continue reading

The answer doesn’t really make much sense. But it often works.

Children often ask questions adults can’t answer. What is darkness? Why is there air? Who made God? Why can’t I do it? After stumbling through a response that sounds like it should make sense, the child will often follow up with another question and then another. Finally, out of frustration, a parent will resort to “Just because.” At that point children usually know the conversation is over.

Christians often ask the question “Why does God love me?” The first reaction is usually about trying to find some redeeming value in one’s self. God must love me because he sees something in me that prompts his love. But such reasoning is working backwards. To understand why God loves me requires me looking at God, not myself. Continue reading

Before getting too deeply involved in a debate, it’s good to assess just how much you really know about the topic. There are times when the ignorance of an opponent leads you only to pity. At other times you hope he shows some pity to you.

In a letter dated May 15, 1952, C. S. Lewis seeks to impress upon his correspondent, Genia Goelz, that her salvation is dependent completely upon grace. With a quote from David Cecil’s book, Lord M.: Or the Later Life of Lord Melbourne, whose hero, Lord Melbourne, loves to defend the indefensible,  Lewis writes, Continue reading

An analogy often used about something that is easy to remember years later, is to say it is “Like riding a bicycle.” It seems no matter how long it’s been since you’ve been on a bike, it will only take a few wobbly minutes to be peddling down the road.

In that moment of your first firm, strong pedal, you are able to recall the excitement of the very first time. That moment when the adult lets go of the seat and you were officially “riding a bicycle.” Continue reading

Ms. Genia Goelz was the daughter of Mary Van Deusen, a long time correspondent with C. S. Lewis. In time Genia too would write to her mom’s pen-pal and friend.

On May 9, 1952, Ms. Goelz wrote to notify Lewis she was being confirmed in the Episcopal Church. She was excited, in Lewis words, “just a trifle too excited.” But something happened to Genia prompting her excitement and causing her to get involved in the church. On May 15, Lewis responds in a way that both encourages and cautions his young friend, Continue reading

Jonathan Francis ‘Frank’ Goodridge was an accomplished academic. He served as secretary of the Socratic Club (1947–1948) and as Senior Lecturer in English at St. Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, London. He was also senior lecturer in English at the University of Leicester.

But before taking any of those positions, Frank was a pupil of C. S. Lewis. When he applied for the position of Senior Lecturer in English at St. Mary’s College, he asked his former teacher for a letter of recommendation. In a letter dated January 1, 1950, C. S. Lewis makes clear why he thinks Mr. Goodridge would make an excellent lecturer and closes with this paragraph, Continue reading

A basic tenet of the Christian faith is the consideration of others. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2); “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4); “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well” (James 2:8).

Any questions? I have one. How do you think of others when overwhelmed by your own concerns? It’s not easy but it can be done. Sometimes it takes nothing more than a short note of honesty. Continue reading

I believe it was the great actor, film director, screenwriter, and radio personality, Orson Welles who said, “We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”

Strong stuff. And sad.

I can understand someone reacting to Welles by saying he is simply wrong. We are not alone. Love and friendship don’t create illusions, they are the ways that people who are not alone relate to one another. Maybe Welles didn’t experience the kind of love and friendship many of us do. Continue reading

“Chip off the old block.” “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” “He is a mirror image of his father.” All these terms are used to describe how much two people are alike, usually of parents and children.

As close as parents and children are, the relationship of a husband and wife is described by a term not used of parent and child, “and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24).

This oneness should not be confused with sameness. It should be thought more of as a mirror image. A reflected duplication of an object that appears identical but reversed. Continue reading

Sometimes we are tired but can’t sleep. Insomnia, an unresolved issue, reliving some cutting remark, a child on Christmas Eve. No matter how hard you try, it’s not happening.

There are other times your body wants to sleep but your mind knows it can’t. Working overtime, making a long trip, standing guard. Sleep beckons but you must not listen.

There is another kind of fatigue in a category all its own. It’s the fatigue of loss. Continue reading

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Thank you for visiting. This blog is the result of a lifetime of reading C. S. Lewis and a desire to sit down opposite him over a cup of tea seeking his advice. His responses are based on his letters and books.

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