Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Return to C.S. Lewis

As I begin the first day of life post-sabbatical, I’ve naturally returned to work at Bidwell Pres. I’m also working on a concept for a new book, which represents something of a happy repayment on a thirty-year old debt.
It was sometime in 1979, as a wishy-washy junior in high school sixteen-year-old atheist-agnostic, that a friend handed me C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. I was dumbfounded: Here a writer, a Christian at that, was somehow making the whole Christian faith reasonable. I mean, I had been taught that Christianity was anything but reasoned. And it didn’t take the atheists to convince me that Christians weren’t intellectually engaged—it was the light-in-the-head church youth groups singing Jesus songs, which many of didn’t believe, accompanied by hand-signals that were totally mismatched with the message of denial, faith, and abandonment to God that I heard from Jesus. The flippant belief was all I needed to not believe myself. It wasn’t really hypocrisy; it was the frivolity that turned me away.
I didn’t know who this Lewis guy was, but he made sense. It was so similar to a sentiment that Lewis himself would record—and which I read many years later—about his own reading, as a young atheist, of the Catholic author G.K. Chesterton:
Then I read Chesterton’s Everlasting Man and for the first time saw the whole Christian outline of history set out in a form that seemed to me to make sense. Somehow I contrived not to be too badly shaken. You will remember that I already thought Chesterton the most sensible man alive “apart from his Christianity.” Now, I veritably believe, I thought—I didn’t of course say; words would have revealed the nonsense—that Christianity itself was very sensible “apart from its Christianity.”
Lewis, though funny, was never frivolous. He knew that Christianity was something worth our lives. And so—if plans proceed—I’ll be writing to invite others to the rich feast of Lewis’s writings where insights pierce the heart, where imagination takes us soaring, and where we might even touch God. The journey to get out those reflections sounds, not frivolous, but (excepting some of the times of hard work) entirely joyful.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Time for a Change, Time for View

I type this from one my favorite places in the world--not mountain biking the Flume Trail above Lake Tahoe's north shore where this picture was taken yesterday, although that was amazing--but not too far away, at the Tahoe house where our family's stayed at for the past 25 summer vacations (and have loved being here every time).

It's time to change the blog a bit--I'm doing some alterations on the look and content, changing color and adding some new links, that sort of thing. My hope is that it will be more interesting and engaging. Other changes, I suspect, will emerge over time. But more importantly, I'm widening the swatch of topics for reflection, to include the sciences and the arts as components of my reflections on culture. I've spent a number of years studying these fields, and I want to bring them into this blog more intentionally. (We'll see how this plays out...)

All this makes sense (at least to me) as my sabbatical enters its final month, and as I seek to listen to new ways that God is directing me. I'm riding down some new trails, hoping to gain some new vistas. If Madeleine L'Engle was right--"we have points of view, but God has view." I hope I'll even get a bit of the latter. Time for view!