Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Hall of JusticeChristianity

I've started reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. One of those books that everyone says to read and I've had on my shelf for forever. But it's time has finally come! The Fates have decreed that it is the title I pulled from the Bag of Non-Fiction!

I've just finished the preface, which is Lewis explaining his intentions for the book (which actually began life as radio broadcasts, something I did not know!) and why he left some things out (because he didn't feel qualified to speak on them). I found the last few paragraphs of the preface very interesting.

"I hope no reader will suppose that 'mere' Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions - as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think, preferable. It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get to your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light; and, of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and panelling. In plain language, the question should never be: 'Do I like that kind of service?' but 'Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me toward this? Is my reluctance to known at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular door-keeper?'


"When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house."

6 comments:

  1. Love that! It's really thought-provoking especially in this time where we seem so hateful to those who aren't exactly like us! I enjoy people reminding me, "Hey, ya know, you are supposed to love and pray for your enemy, right?" Not that it's easy, but ... anyone can follow the natural inclination to smack someone upside the head and curse them. It takes God's help to refrain.

    And I'm glad "the Fates" decided it was time for you to read this book. I look forward to your thoughts on it.

    Oh and I absolutely love the "sleep is for the weak" label! Haaaaaaaaaa!

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  2. Susanne,

    The hate of the 'other' isn't anything new, really. It's taken different forms over the millenia, but it's always been there.

    I think the smacking upside the head is more fun. That's why we gravitate that way! :)

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  3. Yes, Jesus wanted to ruin our fun! :-P
    Hah!

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  4. I know. Such a party pooper!

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  5. I like the not-judging others part of that passage. Thank you for sharing. I've been told to read that book too!

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  6. It's the best part of the passage, though I find it all very nice imagery. I've recommended this book before, on the strength of, well, *everyone* says it's a great Christian book to read. I'm not sure I'd do that again. It's not a bad book, and I'm still in the beginning so maybe I haven't gotten all of it yet, but the thought process isn't working for me.

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