Something Beyond

I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Every one there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes. But this is near the stage where the road passes over the rim of our world. No one’s eyes can see very far beyond that: lots of people’s eyes can see further than mine.

-CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

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The “Atmosphere” of Truth

I was just re- listening to this bit from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

“Do you think I wouldn’t obey my own rules?” (CS Lewis, Aslan speaking.)

And it struck me again – this time in the light of Lewis’s The Abolition of Man (or should I say “the dark shadow?”), that good people – princes and subjects alike, all subject themselves to the laws of what is good. For somehow they understand that goodness is the very fiber of which reality is made. Unlike other “princes” who make their thrones on high towers, and pass down rules for those who serve under them, but they don’t have to abide by them personally, Christ, True Christianity and the good God we serve all stand in the light of goodness, virtue and truth. And he who would be the greatest, must be the first to be servant of all. This to me is the spirit of Christ, and in the vein of GK Chesterton, the “atmosphere” of truth, virtue and Goodness. By this we know if we are its disciples: if as we set out, we understand that we set out firstly to follow goodness, truth and virtue, and secondly to serve others, obeying the laws of life. If we set out with a desire to discover our own selves or “greatness,” and have a desire to be served by others, then we are in that moment, children of another mother, and not children of the true spirit of God.

~ Watergirl 🌸

Good Tidings

“His parents found him in the temple; they never really found him until he entered the true temple—their own adoring hearts. The temple that knows not its builder, is no temple; in it dwells no divinity.

But at length he comes to his own, and his own receive him;—comes to them in the might of his mission to preach good tidings to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance, and sight, and liberty, and the Lord’s own good time.”

Excerpt From

Hope of the Gospel

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=361696556

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On Free Will, With CS Lewis

God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going 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. A world of automata – of creatures that worked like machines – would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free.

If God thinks this state of war on the universe a price worth paying for free will – that is, for making a live world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings – then we may take it is worth paying.

~CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

A Personal Dignity

“There is something about the bearing and manners of the Arab significant, whether truly or not, of a personal dignity far beyond that common to the German, or French, or English … I was proud of them. Their religion teaches them that in the sight of God they are all equal, and they seem to believe it, more at least than Christians do; and this, combined with their fatalism, which naturally destroys all haste and perturbation, produces an indifferent stateliness of demeanour which many a man of Norman blood and fabulous origin might well envy.”

George MacDonald, ‘An Invalid’s Winter in Algeria,’ Good Words, 1862.

An Inexhaustible Wellspring

“Many a time the cloud went and came, and many a lesson it taught to Gabriel Grub, who, although his shoulders smarted with pain from the frequent applications of the goblins’ feet thereunto, looked on with an interest that nothing could diminish. He saw that men who worked hard, and earned their scanty bread with lives of labour, were cheerful and happy; and that to the most ignorant, the sweet face of Nature was a never-failing source of cheerfulness and joy. He saw those who had been delicately nurtured, and tenderly brought up, cheerful under privations, and superior to suffering, that would have crushed many of a rougher grain, because they bore within their own bosoms the materials of happiness, contentment, and peace. He saw that women, the tenderest and most fragile of all God’s creatures, were the oftenest superior to sorrow, adversity, and distress; and he saw that it was because they bore, in their own hearts, an inexhaustible well-spring of affection and devotion. Above all, he saw that men like himself, who snarled at the mirth and cheerfulness of others, were the foulest weeds on the fair surface of the earth; and setting all the good of the world against the evil, he came to the conclusion that it was a very decent and respectable sort of world after all. No sooner had he formed it, than the cloud which had closed over the last picture, seemed to settle on his senses, and lull him to repose. One by one, the goblins faded from his sight; and, as the last one disappeared, he sank to sleep.”

Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers