C.S. Lewis On Everything

From C.S Lewis’ autobiography.  I’m seriously at turns giggling and heartbroken.  What a fascinating individual.

On his greatest fear, insects —

“My bad dreams were of two kinds, those about specters and those about insects.  The second were, beyond comparison, the worse; to this day I would rather meet a ghost than a tarantula. … The works — that is the trouble.  Their angular limbs, their jerky movements, their dry, metallic noises, all suggest either machines that have come to life or life degenerating into mechanism.”

On his weird thumbs —

“What drove me to write was the extreme manual clumsiness from which I have always suffered. I attribute it to a physical defect which my brother and I both inherit from our father; we have only one joint in the thumb.  The upper joint (that furthest from the nail) is visible, but it is a mere sham; we cannot bend it.”

On his first narrative creation, Animal-Land —

“They were an attempt to combine my two chief literary pleasures — ‘dressed animals’ and ‘knights in armor.’ As a result, I wrote about chivalrous mice and rabbits who rode out in complete mail to kill not giants but cats.”

On his first spiritual experience as a young child —

“Before I knew what I desired, the desire itself was gone, the whole glimpse withdrawn, the world turned commonplace again, or only stirred by a longing for the longing that had just ceased.  It had taken only a moment of time; and in a certain sense everything else that had ever happened to me was insignificant in comparison.”

On the grief of losing his mother to cancer —

“We lost her gradually as she was gradually withdrawn from our life into the hands of nurses and delirium and morphia, and as our whole existence changed into something alien and menacing, as the house became full of strange smells and midnight noises and sinister whispered conversations.”

On the loss of childhood —

“With my mother’s death all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable, disappeared from my life.  There was to be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs of Joy; but no more of the old security.  It was sea and islands now; the great continent had sunk like Atlantis.”

On sailing —

“By great efforts I succeed in vomiting; but it is a poor affair — I was, and am, an obstinately good sailor.”

On his brother who cheated at school —

“Presently you were called up to ‘say a lesson.’ When that was finished you went back to your place and did more sums — and so forever. … My brother — I have told you that he was already a man of the world — soon found the proper solution.  He announced every morning with perfect truth that he had done five sums; he did not add that they were the same five every day.  It would be interesting to know how many thousand times he did them.”

Quote: Re-Created

“Who am I? What is my “self”? The answer is that I am a Jekyll and Hyde, a mixed-up kid, having both dignity because I was created and have been re-created in the image of God, and depravity because I still have a fallen and rebellious nature. I am both noble and ignoble, beautiful and ugly, good and bad, upright and twisted, image and child of god, and yet sometimes yielding obsequious homage to the devil from whose clutches Christ has rescued me. My true self is what I am by creation, which Christ came to redeem, and by calling. My false self is what I am by the Fall, which Christ came to destroy.”

— John Stott

Question: Why Christianity?

thevalidfallacy asked:
If you were a former atheist/agnostic, that meant you did not believe in god or any religion that supported a god. Why did you go back to Christianity, and not choose another religion that supported a belief in a higher being? How is Christianity superior to other religions that led you to take up the religion?

Thanks for your honest question. I checked out your blog, and you appear to be smart, well-informed, educated, and with a sharp cool streak running in your veins.  Not empty flattery here, but I recognize you’re not out to attack, and I respect your curiosity to reach out.

I’m well aware that I couldn’t possibly give you an answer that would somehow satisfy you without offending you, that would quench your intellect while at the same time appearing reasonable to your worldview. Particularly online, when words can be misconstrued and sentences can be analyzed word for word, where no one can possibly hope to convince (or even gently suggest) anyone towards anything else than their currently held paradigm, it is in all futility that I answer as humbly as I can.

Truthfully: I struggle to believe, I don’t have it all figured out or together, and some days I do feel this is all crazy.  I confess with great frustration that I sometimes long for the atheist worldview again, as if this were a simpler Occam’s Razor solution to a seemingly meaningless existence on our chemical continuum. 

Continue reading “Question: Why Christianity?”

Begging For Retroactive Grace: When You Realize You Were The Stumbling Block

I haven’t lived a very good life.

I know that in the eyes of Christ, because I believe who he is and what he has done, that I’m forgiven for it. But that doesn’t change the horrible ideas I’ve embedded in innocent minds, the trail of destruction I left behind, the blasphemous garbage from this mouth that has thrown people off a brighter path.

I have God’s grace, but I beg Him for grace upon others I screwed up.

Continue reading “Begging For Retroactive Grace: When You Realize You Were The Stumbling Block”

Quote: Shudder

“The universe shudders in horror that we have this infinitely valuable, infinitely deep, infinitely rich, infinitely wise, infinitely loving God, and instead of pursuing him with steadfast passion and enthralled fury — instead of loving him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; instead of attributing to him glory and honor and praise and power and wisdom and strength — we just try to take his toys and run. It is still idolatry to want God for his benefits but not for himself. Why would the universe shudder in horror at this idea? … It shudders because the universe is the theater of God’s glory and the Scriptures portray this theater as having the instinct itself that it is there to showcase worship. When we, who have been placed as stewards over God’s creation, go rogue and worship not the Creator but the creation, the theater is shaken by this blasphemous treason.”

— Matt Chandler

Question: I Like My Pastor But Not The People

Anonymous asked:
I’m impressed by your blog. I haven’t been impressed by a fellow Christian in a while. I grew up in church and still go every Sunday, and I was in a Christian school for twelve years. I know I’m a Christian, but yet I feel this disconnect with me and the church. I still believe the Bible, I still work with my relationship with Christ, but I still feel this disconnect. I connect to my pastor’s sermons, but not with the people, if anything I hate being around them. Any advice?

Thank you first of all for your kind words.  I really think you over-shot there (I’m hardly impressive in real life) but I’ll take it.

On that note: Where have you been all my life? Let’s hug this out bro.  What you’re feeling sounds exactly like what you should be feeling. You’re just being honest about it.  You’re the one in the class who’s raising their hand and asking, “Am I the only one who thinks we got all this wrong?” 

Let’s see: You believe the Bible, you got it going on with Jesus, you’re attending church, and you’re hearing out the sermons. That at least tells me you’re taking things seriously.  Your major itch is with the people and the weirdness at church.  Sounds like the growing pains of a Christian to me.

Continue reading “Question: I Like My Pastor But Not The People”

Quote: Happy

“Romans 12:15 says, ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.’ So if your friend gets a job, don’t be telling them how hard it’s going to be and how much they’ll hate their boss and how they need to save their money. Just be happy for them, bro. And if someone calls you and says their dad just got cancer, don’t try to crack some sitcom joke. Don’t give them a theology lesson on pain. Don’t tell them about the car you just bought. Go pick them up in your new car and let them scream and cry and vent.”

Question: Christianity and Psychology Can Reconcile?

joshtheyipper asked:
How valuable is understanding psychology in living a Christian life? Like, how much does it help us understand ourselves? Is the modern understanding of psychology valid (say, as opposed to pop-psychology)?

I’ve had this conversation plenty of times and it appears to be endless.  I’ll break it down as easy as I can.

1) Secular psychology is useful for diagnostics and research.

While I absolutely believe Scripture is the highest court of authority as God’s sufficient powerful revelation, both for salvation and wisdom, there are “lower courts” of authority worth a listen.

Psychology says some whacky things about the human condition, particularly the causes and solutions.  But two things in psychology are helpful: diagnoses and research. 

While certain diagnostic labels like “bipolar” or “manic depressive” are shotgun phrases that cover a lot of things (most psychologists still can’t agree on definitions), it’s a good starting place to know how you’re diving in.  Psychologists speak a specific language that others can pick up on, sort of a shorthand for an array of issues.  So at least upfront, the vocabulary helps.

Continue reading “Question: Christianity and Psychology Can Reconcile?”

Getting Back The Grace-Card

You’ve heard this: Give me back your man-card, usually after a statement like Twilight wasn’t that bad or I need a fork for these hot wings or Nothing less than 500 thread count sheets.

In hundreds of conversations with veteran pastors, new seminarians, drug addicts, ex-cons, single moms, high school drop-outs, and lonely outcasts: It’s easy to tell when someone has given away all their grace-cards.

It’s the slightly clenched inflection in their voice.

The head shaking back and forth with too much relish.

The blame, the shiny perfect version of themselves, the mocking of the other person’s voice.

The re-telling of so-called horror stories: And so he was like — And she goes — And can you believe that?

The constant demonizing, generalizing, categorizing, contempt-disguised-as-pity, the seething disgust and bitterness.

Never an insight into another’s point of view, never an empathy from another’s perspective, never even a half-sincere attempt at trying to understand upbringing, culture, wounds, and influences.

Or it’s just as simple as never mentioning the word grace.

I imagine the angels in heaven, right before Jesus was about to save the world by first heading to the earth as a baby in a manger, and all them telling him, “Don’t do this. Not for these people. They’ll ignore you, despise you, betray you, torture you, and kill you. You’ll come out of the grave and they still won’t believe you. Don’t do this, Jesus. Not for them.”

And Jesus telling the angels: “Give me back your grace-cards. Maybe you’ll get them back after you stop some car accidents or draw my face in more toast.”

Where is the grace?

Continue reading “Getting Back The Grace-Card”

Quote: Trade

“We have the best deal in the universe: trade in your sin for Eternal Glory and Endless Joy and the Creator of the Universe. Trade in your sorrow for rejoicing. Trade in your hurts for healing. Trade in a spirit of rebellion for a Spirit of fruitfulness. Trade in death for life. Trade in idols for Jesus. That’s a pretty good deal, you know.”

Quote: Conquering

So we want to ask that God would continue to stir up in us a heart for the nations, a passion for the nations and an open-handedness that says, “I want to be a part of what God’s doing here, what God’s accomplishing here and how He’s going to save and work here.” We want to more and more push all our chips in on the great drama that is unfolding and that we’ve been invited to, the great love story that encompasses the universe, the conquering of evil once and for all in Jesus Christ, the invitation to come be a part of something infinitely larger then ourselves.

— Matt Chandler

Quote: Toward

Justice must be about much more than balancing out the wrongs of the world. It must be about making things right, about the kind of restoration that does not reverse the pain, but moves beyond it toward something new.

— Rachel Tulloch