Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Opus 37, Book Notes: Mere Christianity

Notes from
Mere Christianity

by C.S. Lewis

Book 1, Chapter 2

p. 13, “Progress means not just changing but changing for the better.  If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring civilised (sic) morality to savage morality, or Christian morality to Nazi morality.”

Book 1, Chapter 5

pp. 28-9, “We all want progress.  But progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be.  And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer....There is nothing progressive about being pig-headed and refusing to admit a mistake.”

p. 32, “Comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it.  If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end:  if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth...”

Book 2, Chapter 1

p. 35, “If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through.  If you are an atheist you have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the world is simply one huge mistake.  If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all those religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth.  When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view.  But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong.  As in arithmetic - there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong; but some of the wrong answers are much nearer right than others.”

Book 2, Chapter 2

p. 40, “It is not good asking for a simple religion.  After all, real things are not simple.  They look simple, but they are not.”

p. 41, “Such people put up a version of Christianity suitable for a child of six and make that the object of their attack.”

p. 41, “Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd.”

p. 41, “Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed.  That is one reason I believe Christianity.  It is a religion you could not have guessed.”  Hugh Ross said much the same in The Fingerprint of God.

Book 2, Chapter 3

p. 48, “Some people think they can imagine a creature which is free but has no possibility of doing wrong; I cannot.  If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad.  And free will is what has made evil possible.  Why, then, did God give them free will?  Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.”

p. 52, “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:  ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God:  or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit on Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronising (sic)  nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.”

Book 2, Chapter 5

p. 61, “We have to take reality as it comes to us:  there is not good jabbering about what it ought to be lie or what we should have expected it to be like.”

pp. 62-63, Discussion of free will in the context of physical life

Book 3, Chapter 1

p. 69, “Every moral rule is there to prevent a breakdown, or a strain, or friction, in the running of that machine.”

p. 72, “Morality, then, seems to be concerned with three things.  Firstly, with fair play and harmony between individuals.  Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonizing the things inside each individual.  Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole:  what man was made for:  what course the whole fleet ought to be on:  what tune the conductor of the band wants to play.”

p. 74, “Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about seriously if I am going to live forever.”

Book 3, Chapter 3

p. 87, “Most of us are not really approaching the subject in order to find out what Christianity says:  we are approaching it in the hope of finding support from Christianity for the views of our own party.”

Book 3, Chapter 4

p. 91, “Human beings judge one another by their external actions.  God judges them on their moral choices.”

p. 93, “Good people know about both good and evil:  bad people do not know either.”

Book 3, Chapter 5

p. 94, “Thus, while the rule of chastity is the same for all Christians at all times, the rule of propriety changes.”

Book 3, Chapter 6

p. 109, “But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love.”

p. 110, “Our experience is coloured through and through by books and plays and cinema, and it takes patience and skill to disentangle the things we have really learned from life for ourselves.”

p. 112, statement about marriage

Book 3, Chapter 7

p. 119, “All killing is not murder any more than all sexual intercourse is adultery.”

Book 3, Chapter 9

p. 129, “But love, in the Christian sense, does not mean an emotion.”

Book 3, Chapter 10

p. 134, “Hope is one of the theological virtues.  This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not...a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do....  If you read history you will find that Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”

pp. 136-7, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

p. 137, “The answer for such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them.”

p. 137, “People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, He meant that we were to lay eggs.”

Book 3, Chapter 11

p. 139, “The batle is between faith and reason on one side and emotion and imagination on the other.”

Book 3, Chapter 12

p. 148, On the tension between faith and obedience:  “...but it does seem like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary.”

Book 4, Chapter 1

p. 155, “For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novelties today are simply the ones which real theologians tried centuries ago and rejected.”

Book 4, Chapter 3

pp.  166-71, Explains the paradox of free will and foreknowledge in terms of God being outside time.

Book 4, Chapter 5

p. 178, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”

p. 178, “But that is guesswork.  You and I are concerned with the way things work now.”

Book 4, Chapter 6

p. 183, “Have the words ‘could have been’ any sense at all when applied to God?”

p. 186, The Devil:  “He always sends errors into the world in pairs - pairs of opposites.”

Book 4, Chapter 8

p. 198, Wheat vs. grass

p. 198, “It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through.”  - take this to why salt added in cooking is better than at the table or why marinades give more flavor than a shaker

pp. 198-199, “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird:  it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg.  We are like eggs at present.  And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg.  We must be hatched or go bad.”

Book 4, Chapter 9

p. 201-6, A chapter on Christian Perfection

p. 203, Quoting George MacDonald, “God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.”

p. 205, “The command “Be ye perfect” is not idealistic gas.  Nor is it a command to do the impossible.”

Book 4, Chapter 10

p. 208-9, Controversial comments on salvation

p. 209, “But when we are comparing Christians in general with non-Christians in general, we are usually not thinking about real people whom we know at all, but only the two vague ideas which we got from novels and newspapers.”

p. 210, “To judge the management of a factory, you must consider not only the output but the plant.”  I would add raw materials also.

Lewis, C.S.  Mere Christianity.  Norwalk, Connecticut:  The Easton Press, 2002.

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