Thursday, April 8, 2010

Interesting Letters

My book club discussed CS Lewis' Screwtape Letters last night. I again found myself in the minority. Most people thought it was uninspiring and grueling. Not I. I can honestly say I continue to think about it. I definitely plan to read it again and pass it on. There was so much food for thought.

Without getting in too deep on the subject matter (if you've read it, I'd love to hear from you), Screwtape is one of Hell's minions/angels/tempters who writes letters to his nephew, Wormwood. Wormwood, for lack of a better description, is aspiring to move up Hell's corporate ladder. To do so, he needs to convert a man (only known as "the patient") to Hell, or more so away from God. Screwtape is his mentor.

I think it is a major achievement for any author to take a subject matter or voice he/she doesn't truly know and make it their own. For instance, I loved She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb because he made the female voice so believable (I often checked the front cover to remind myself a man indeed had written it). CS Lewis did an amazing job of speaking from the Devil's point of view especially considering his strong Christian beliefs.
There was so much I needed to digest (no pun intended since Screwtape ends up eating Wormwood - sorry for the spoiler). One of the biggest themes was the road to Hell is a gradual one which left me analyzing my entire life. I think it's sad today that Christianity is synonym to intolerance, when I can truly say I believe the opposite is true. I can only speak for myself, and like anything there is a small fraction of Christians that are used to represent the majority. I am a believer, but I also don't think I'm so infallible or intelligent that I can speak for God. I don't pretend to know his criteria for Heaven, so I'm certainly not going to throw stones at others. I'm going to lead my life (you lead yours) the best way I can. My life is truly a ripple in a big ocean.
I've never been one to push Christianity on anyone. It's too personal. If someone asked me, I'd share, but I don't proselytize. I've been so many Christian religions from Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Non-denominational, Lutheran, Methodist. etc. The nice thing it taught me... I take the most important pieces instead of arguing about the few things that separate all of those. All that being said, it's sad how little I speak of being Christian among friends and family for fear someone will be offended or bothered. Worse yet, thinking someone would pigeon hole me as an intolerant person. (Although admitting I'm a Republican has been almost as difficult lately - again, you can't let the thoughts of a few represent the thoughts of many.)
I found many of the following CS Lewis quotes more than interesting and thoughtful. Yet, I didn't put them on my Facebook because I knew some people would be offended. Sad. Then again, I wish other people would put a few less thoughts on Facebook.

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell."

"Aim at Heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth, and you will get neither."

"Can a mortal asks questions that God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable."
"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."

"Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see."



Mary (The Sweet Bookshelf) said...

I LOVE CS Lewis! I've never read this though, I must pick it up. If it provided that much insight I just need to have it. It is now on my list.

I also feel it is hard to let people know you are Christian. It is like a stigma these days. I have tried my best to have integrity and do what I feel is right but people "assume" things about you just because you are Christian. Intolerance is right. They assume you think everyone is going to hell but you and all kinds of non-sense.

Bach said...

I'd love some recommendations on other CS Lewis books if you wouldn't mind. I'm enthralled. And thanks for your words. It's weird to feel alone on the subject of Christianity when I know there are so many of us out there.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Christianity has a stigma, and with good reason. (I say this as a devout Christian, though most folks wouldn't know it by looking at me.)

I think the quotes you posted are completely inoffensive and thought-provoking, especially the last one.