Thursday, March 31, 2016

Today is Launch Day. This is how we are going to do book club.

2 Weeks Each Section

While reading make notes. If any quotes stand out to you then post them. Also list questions you have from the reading. People are free to respond. Put the question in a discussion form. Realize the purpose of the question is to create open and honest discussion. We are not so much trying to teach this book as we are trying to discuss the views it develops. Mere Christianity isn't a book you can master in one reading. You will come back to it to mine it's depths at other times in your Christian Life. Above all do not give up on it because you can't understand what he is saying. Lewis will go along for a while expressing views and then all of a sudden "pull a string" and make it all come together. Take time and don't become discouraged on a first reading.

Schedule of Reading - have reading of this section done by this date:

Book 1: April 14

Book 2: April: 28

Book 3a (chapters 1-7): May 12

Book 3b (chapters 8-12) May 26

Book 4a (Chapters 1-6) June 9

Book 4b (Chapters 7-11) June 27


See you on the blog, happy reading.

I will share videos from time to time. See below.
















Monday, March 28, 2016




2001, C.S. Lewis’s book has sold 3.5 million copies in English alone.177 COMMENTS


ENLARGEBy GEORGE M. MARSDEN March 24, 016 6:22 p.m. ET

During March Madness several years ago, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Emerging Scholars Network ran “The Best Christian Book of All Time Tournament.” Beginning with 64 entries, participants voted on a series of paired competitors through elimination rounds. C.S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity,” a first seed, easily made the Elite Eight, where it handily defeated St. Augustine’s “City of God.” In the Final Four it beat Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship,” but in the finals it was edged out by Augustine’s “Confessions.”


Not bad. Who else could have gone up against Augustine? And Lewis hadn’t even planned for “Mere Christianity” to be a book. During the dark days of World War II, the writer presented four sets of BBC radio talks on basic Christianity. He had these published in several paperbacks. Not until 1952 did he collect them together under the new title.C.S. Lewis in 1950. 


The book always sold well, but in an unusual trend, its popularity has grown with time. Since 2001, “Mere Christianity” has sold more than 3.5 million copies in English. It has been translated into at least 36 languages and is said to be the book that, next to the Bible, educated Chinese Christians are most likely to have read. Its greatest popularity is in the U.S., where it is still read by thoughtful evangelicals, along with thousands of Catholics, Orthodox and mainline Protestants.

What accounts for its lasting popularity? Lewis was determined to present only the timeless truths of Christianity rather than the latest theological or cultural fashions. In the book’s preface, he describes it as an attempt to explain and defend “the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.”

He elsewhere criticized “chronological snobbery” or the assumption that the popular beliefs of one’s own era were superior to the “antiquated” ideas of the past. The peculiar intellectual fashions of our time, he wisely understood, will soon look quaint to later generations. It is not surprising then that Lewis’s time-proven views are still flourishing while most other mid-20th-century works are nearly neglected.

Lewis’s determination to present only timeless views also helped him avoid political temptation. He believed it divisive to emphasize “Christianity and . . . ” as in “Christianity and the New Order.” In “The Screwtape Letters,” Lewis has the senior devil tell his protégé to encourage a man to intertwine his political and religious beliefs. This eventually leads the “patient” to believe politics is paramount and that Christianity’s value derives chiefly from its support for his party’s positions. Accordingly, Lewis carefully avoided tying his presentation of Christianity to partisan politics.

The writer’s knowledge of history also helped him connect with his audiences. As a prototypical Oxford don, Lewis might have been expected to have difficulty understanding the many varieties of ordinary people who listened to wartime BBC broadcasts. In fact, he used his expertise as a student of the history of literature for the opposite effect.

Studying many eras of literature and language made Lewis acutely alert to the peculiarity of how mid-20th-century British people thought and spoke. He also had a good ear for listening to how ordinary people talked. He saw himself as a translator who worked to bring common Christian teachings into the vernacular.“Mere Christianity” contains arguments enlivened with images, metaphors and analogies that capture the imagination. The Lewis of “Mere Christianity” is the same as the Lewis of “The Chronicles of Narnia.” Imagination, he believed, was “the organ of meaning,” even if reason was “the organ of truth.”

Lewis’s first ambition had been to be a poet. It shows in his prose, where meaning is often conveyed through vivid analogies. Lewis writes that when God enters your life, he begins “to turn the tin soldier into a live man. The part of you that does not like it is the part that is still tin.” He explains that becoming Christian isn’t an improvement but a transformation, like a horse becoming a Pegasus.

A final strength of Lewis’s book is in his ability to stand aside and point toward his subject—rather than himself. Lewis once wrote that a poet should not be saying “look at me,” but rather “look at that.” Lewis acts like a guide on the journey from unbelief to faith. He points people to see, as he has, the time-tested beauty of God’s love in Jesus Christ. Not everyone will see the beauty or be persuaded. But those who get a true glimpse will be drawn in by its power.

Mr. Marsden, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Notre Dame, is the author of “C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity: A Biography” (Princeton University Press, 2016).


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Please sit down and be comfortable. Perhaps get a cup of tea, coffee, Dr. Pepper or some sweet tea. This will be a learning experience for all of us. 

Let me set down some ground rules for our discussions of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.

  1. Reading must be done. You can’t be a part of a book club without reading the book.
  2. There are several different types of people in this group from various backgrounds. We all will have different views at times. So everyone is to be cordial to one another.
  3. I am here to organize discussion. I will do my best to explain things.
  4. There will be questions based on the reading in hopes of facilitating a lively discussion.
  5. C.S. Lewis is the real teacher, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
  6. Post will be made each Thursday starting March 30, 2016.
  7. It is possible that I will ask some of you to handle the post. If you would like to that let me know. 




  
Now so that you know something about who we are reading about this is a Bio of C.S. Lewis.

Clive Staples Lewis—known to his friends and family as “Jack”—is one of the most influential writers on Christian faith of the twentieth century. Author of more than 70 titles, including works of science fiction, fantasy, poetry, letters, autobiography and Christian apologetics, Lewis’s book sales are reported to be more than 2 million annually.
Born in Belfast in 1898, Lewis was educated at home and at boarding schools in Britain. After his mother died when he was almost ten, “Jack” grew closer to his brother Warren, who was two years his senior.

Lewis studied English and philosophy at Oxford and served in the military. He became a university man who taught (mostly English literature) at Oxford’s Magdalen (pronounced “Maudlin”) college for much of his life. Later in life he was appointed to a professorship at Cambridge. As a member of the Oxford faculty, Lewis developed a strong reputation in English literary criticism and a much larger reputation as a witty and imaginative writer of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction works on Christian faith.

In a time of growing secularism, Lewis was a persuasive defender of Christianity. Some of his best-known books began as broadcast talks in which he explained the essentials of the Christian faith to a broad listening audience. To do this, he spoke in simple terms, using homely comparisons. These talks were collected and published as Mere Christianity, one of the most popular books about Christian belief in recent history. Mere Christianity has brought many people to the Christian faith and contributed to ecumenical dialogue, moving easily across Christian denominations by focusing on the basic teachings that most Christians believe.

As a young man, Lewis was agnostic—possibly even an atheist— though he had been raised as a Christian. After serving in World War I, he returned to Oxford to teach, and there he experienced a religious conversion. His religious quest was stirred in part by literature and vigorous use of the intellect. He was partly influenced by friends at Oxford who were thoughtful believers, among them J.R.R. Tolkien.

Because of his conversion experience, Lewis turned his creative energy toward Christian writing. Many of his books were attempts to answer his own nagging questions. The Problem of Pain took up the perennial question of how God, if he is good, permits suffering. Miracles examined questions about divine intervention and supernatural events. Lewis also wrote two treatments of his own conversion—The Pilgrim’s Regress, in which he attempted a modern narrative inspired by John Bunyan; and Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, which traced his own pursuit of faith in a strongly literary vein, describing how books and events had converged to bring him to his knees. Lewis became a faithful member of the Church of England and developed a strong spiritual life.

Friendship—especially male friendship—was vital to Lewis. Together with his brother Warren, a former military man and a writer, C.S. Lewis took part in a literary circle known as “The Inklings.” Over decades this group met to share their works in progress. Such works as Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were first read at the Inklings. Many of these scholars and writers had a common view of literature and faith. Another of Lewis’s ventures was the Socratic Club, in which he argued questions of faith with any atheists who were rash enough to debate him.

Late in life, after Mrs. Moore’s death, Lewis became involved with an American divorcée, Helen Joy Davidman. They married. Joy’s death from cancer shattered that happiness. Lewis captured his agony in a touching memoir, A Grief Observed. The influence of their marriage is also found in his book, The Four Loves, which he dedicated to his late wife.
Lewis died at his home, "The Kilns," in Headington Quarry, near Oxford, on November 22, 1963, after a brief illness. On his gravestone is a line from King Lear—one of his mother’s favorites: “Men must endure their going hence.”
copyright ©2005 Emilie Griffin

This should be fun and eye opening. Look forward to the first official post next week March 30.

Question 001: Why are you reading this book?