Monthly Archives: July 2015

Sarah Neylan was born January 15, 1938. The first child of Mary and Daniel Neylan. After finishing school she would become an artist and a muralist. One of her most popular paintings is found in the waiting room of the x-ray department in the Radcliffe infirmary in Oxford. On December 31, 1960, she married Christopher Patrick Tisdall, at the time a lieutenant in the Royal Navy; they would have four children. Sarah’s godfather was C. S. Lewis.

In 1949, 11-year-old Sarah was preparing for her Confirmation service. She had invited, and was hoping, her godfather could attend. In a letter dated April 3, 1949, Lewis has to, regretfully, decline the invitation. In a lengthy but beautiful letter he begins, Continue reading

Some argue that gift cards are impersonal and lazy; they are a cop-out. But others contend that a gift card is the most personal present you can give. You get to buy whatever you want, whenever you want it. It’s a gift that says “We’re good enough (insert the relationship) that we don’t have to narrow it down.” Not a bad situation.

I imagine people have been giving monetary gifts for as long as they have been giving gifts. Granted, some may be given out of obligation, but others are given as an expression of their love. Continue reading

One of the downfalls of email, and of much writing, is a lack of inflection and tone of voice. I’ve received emails that made me feel like I was being scolded for reasons I did not understand. I have also been asked about emails I sent. What was my problem?

Come to find out, there were no such “tones” in the emails. What the reader read was not what the writer wrote. This is why it is so important to not only think of what you want to say, but to also anticipate how it may be read. This is difficult, perhaps impossible. But it’s good to consider the possibility your recipient will be in a bad mood. How will your note sound then? Continue reading

The last few years of an individual’s life can be hard on those around them. The needier the person becomes, the more they need family and friends. And the more one is needed, the less time one has to spend on self.

From what I have observed, this transition is not easy for either party. While the younger person is annoyed at being “on call,” the older individual doesn’t like having to call anyone. Putting the two together does not make for a happy couple. Continue reading

Though it probably wasn’t original with him, I remember hearing Johnny Cash humorously define a country singer as someone who got rich singing about how good it is to be poor. Poor looks different when you’re not.

A favorite passage of mine, and one that grows to be more of a favorite as I get older, is Ecclesiastes 4:13, “Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.” What I like about this passage is that the king appears to have all the advantages: he is rich, mature, and powerful. The only advantage the lad has is that he listens. He knows how to take advice. But to God’s way of thinking, this is the only advantage that matters. Continue reading

Occasionally I look around and take stock of my life. Why do I do what I do and why don’t other people do it?

An occupational hazard for a pastor is having to hear other people’s take on religion. I could have retired years ago as a wealthy man if I had received the proverbial penny each time someone said to me “I used to go to church,” “I really should go to church,” “I’m spiritual but not religious,” “I read the Bible once,” and “I think religion is important, it’s just not me.” Continue reading

Yesterday I had a conversation with someone and we were talking about the soul. Pure materialism didn’t work for her. There has to be something more than body and brain. We kicked around the example of the New Horizons spacecraft. The spacecraft, its cameras and rockets, are products of engineers, scientists, and the aerospace industry. But the desire to go to Pluto, and the awe and appreciation from seeing the pictures, is something other than a chemical reaction.

My friend’s conclusion is that we are both. We are physical and, in her words, “soulish.” And both are real. Continue reading

It’s been said that experience is the best teacher. I’m not so sure. I’ve met people who have experienced a lot and learned almost nothing. It takes more than saying, “Been there, done that” to prove you learned anything.

But when you’re fortunate enough to spend time learning from someone who is both experienced and wise, you have a lot to be thankful for. The other person’s experience will save you from having to unlearn bad habits and his (or her) wisdom could save you from being a fool. Continue reading

Ever go through a difficult time and ask why? Ever wonder why God doesn’t deliver you? Ever think God doesn’t understand?

You should rethink your idea of God.

To get to know God you need to get to know Jesus Christ. “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). What does he know about difficult times? Quite a bit. Continue reading

When C. S. Lewis’s mother, Flora, passed away of cancer on August 23, 1908, much of the care for him and his brother Warnie fell to the wife of Flora’s brother, Annie Sargent Harley Hamilton (1866-1930). Annie, a Canadian by birth, married Augustus Hamilton in 1897, and immediately became Flora’s best friend.

Though the boys would spend time at boarding schools, it must have been a daunting task to take on raising two small boys under such circumstances. In some situations the wounds are so deep and the challenges so great that the children and adults are not able to move ahead as one.

But the arrangement worked in the Lewis home, in no small part thanks to Aunt Annie. Looking back on those early years and to the example of Annie Hamilton, Lewis would write, Continue reading


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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