Monthly Archives: October 2015
Have you noticed that while at the same time Western culture devalues human life, it increases the value of animal life. While some people argue over abortion and euthanasia, others are spending a fortune getting their dog a kidney transplant or their cat therapy.
Far be it from me to tell people how to care for their pet or how they should spend their money. But I would like to share something C. S. Lewis wrote to a friend in a letter dated February 24, 1961, on this very subject, Continue reading
King Solomon put it simply, “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Unfortunately, he left me on my own to figure out when to do either one.
It can be hard to know when to speak and when to remain silent. Television ads against terrorism and spouse abuse have the slogan “If you see something, say something.” Such counsel has saved lives.
But sometimes saying something is little more than butting in. Often we give advice when it wasn’t invited or welcomed. Continue reading
I think it’s a good idea for generations to mingle. Young people can remind the elderly of their own youth as well as keeping them in touch with the times. According to King Solomon, the thing that made the “poor and wise youth” better “than an old and foolish king” is that the king “no longer knew how to take advice” (Ecclesiastes 4:13). I’m not sure just being old is synonymous with being respected.
And young people need to realize that just as that old person was once young, so the young person will one day be old. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for a young person to get the “lay of the land.” How do you learn to handle what’s coming unless you watch somebody handle it?
On September 24, 1960, C. S. Lewis responds to a question a lot of us would like to ask but few of us have the courage. How do you handle the loss of your wife? He answers, Continue reading
It’s not a word you hear often, but when you do you pay attention. A simple dictionary definition of it is “very strange or unusual: having the quality of a dream.” It can describe a pleasant experience or a horrible one.
I never realized the many ways the word has been used. It’s the title of a song by Ayumi Hamasaki, an album by Man Raze; there is something called surreal humor as well as surreal numbers. There is a videogame studio called Surreal Software and a Nintendo 64 emulator (whatever that is) for the Xbox called Surreal. And lest we forget, there was also Surrealist automatism, Surrealist Manifesto, Surrealist techniques, and Surrealist music.
On July 15, 1960, C. S. Lewis wrote a short, five sentence note to a friend, describing a surreal moment. The death of his wife. He opens and closes the note this way, Continue reading
It’s curious how some people can get worked up over things they don’t believe in. Personally I’ve never got too exercised over unicorns, elves, or Nessie the Loch Ness monster. And if I ever meet someone who believes in any of them, I can’t imagine getting angry at them. If anything, I might envy them a little. There is a sort of innocent wonderment in hoping there is something out there yet to be discovered.
But then I tell someone that I believe Jesus Christ died and rose again and instead of patronizing me with a “How quaint,” they go all cranky on me. They react as if I personally insulted them when I didn’t say anything about them at all. It’s curious. Continue reading
You’ve seen him. Everyone has. He’s a little stick figure on a bike, skateboard, surfboard, with his dog. Just above him it says “Life Is Good.” According to the company website, the two brothers who started the firm, Burt and John Jacobs, were inspired by their mother’s optimism. No matter how difficult the day, she always asked the boys to tell her something good that happened today. Good habit.1
I like the slogan and wear the clothes. Continue reading
Years ago Christian churches were struggling with music. To put it simply, it was a matter of the old versus the new. In the past, a church’s choice of hymns was as wide (or narrow) as their hymnbook. But then the horizons were expanded when Christian songwriters started putting out new songs intended not for the individual, but for the congregation. Suddenly churches were awash with new songs. And no longer was it just organ and piano; now it was guitar, drums, string and wind instruments. And you no longer looked down into a book. Now you looked up at a screen.
Unfortunately, some churches did not weather this change well. Worship leaders were dismissed, people left churches where they had grown up, new churches were started, and all because of music. Continue reading
I certainly don’t call it evangelism. If anything, it was more of an experiment. I wanted to field test an idea. Instead of simply inviting someone to church, I made it sound like a challenge. When someone said to me “I’ll have to stop in some Sunday morning,” I respond with something like, “Well, let me just warn you. You are going to find getting up to go to church on a Sunday morning one of the hardest things you’ve ever done.” The response is always the same — they are incredulous. They get up every Sunday morning, often early. They jog, shop, mow the lawn, have a leisurely breakfast, walk the beach. What’s the big deal in stopping in church for an hour?
That’s my question. And yet of all the people I’ve posed challenges to, so far not one has made it.
Chapter 4 of C. S. Lewis’ God in the Dock, is entitled “Answers to Questions on Christianity.” Among the 17 questions he answers, number 16 concerns the necessity of a Christian to attend church. His response is both personal and insightful, Continue reading
I have friends who love to move. They buy a home, settle down, and say, “This is it.” In the case of some friends, I’ve lost count of how many times they said it. It seems after a couple of years, they hear the Siren call and they must follow. Up goes the sign, in comes the boxes, and off they go.
But there are other people who dread moving. The upheaval, saying goodbye, leaving the familiar, it’s all too much. A friend who helped me move a couple of times, and heard the occasional bump of the furniture, once remarked, “Three moves are as good as a fire.” In other words, after three moves you might as well buy new.
C. S. Lewis wasn’t a fan of moving. He didn’t like change. He once admitted, “By nature I demand from the arrangements of this world just that permanence which God has expressly refused to give them.”1 Continue reading
It’s something of an old joke. Everyone wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to go now. I get it. And I’m guilty of it. But I’m not alone.
The apostle Paul himself once admitted, “I am hard pressed between the two” (Philippians 1:23). I take some comfort in knowing that he felt what I occasionally feel. Continue reading