LASTing Peace: Are You a Half-Hearted Creature?

 

C.S. Lewis proposes that humans, in general, don’t expect enough out of life, don’t search hard enough, far enough, deep enough–don’t pursue their full joy. What do you think?

Lewis Does It…Again

I so wish I could’ve met C.S. Lewis! He “gets” me like he’s inside my head sometimes. Then again, other times, he washes completely over my head and leaves me gasping for breath, dazed and confused.

This arrived in my inbox last Thursday. I love everything about it. From the consideration of redeemed creation to the gentle appreciation for broken-down bodies.

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On the resurrection of the body and of all creation; and on the goodness of the bodies we now have.
26 November 1962
My stuff about animals came long ago in The Problem of Pain. I ventured the supposal—it could be nothing more—that as we are raised in Christ, so at least some animals are raised in us. Who knows, indeed, but that a great deal even of the inanimate creation is raised in the redeemed souls who have, during this life, taken its beauty into themselves? That may be the way in which the ‘new heaven and the new earth’30 are formed. Of course we can only guess and wonder.
But these particular guesses arise in me, I trust, from taking seriously the resurrection of the body: a doctrine which now-a- days is very soft pedalled by nearly all the faithful—to our great impoverishment. Not that you and I have now much reason to rejoice in having bodies! Like old automobiles, aren’t they? where all sorts of apparently different things keep going wrong, but what they add up to is the plain fact that the machine is wearing out. Well, it was not meant to last forever. Still, I have a kindly feeling for the old rattle-trap. Through it God showed me that whole side of His beauty which is embodied in colour, sound, smell and size. No doubt it has often led me astray: but not half so often, I suspect, as my soul has led it astray. For the spiritual evils which we share with the devils (pride, spite) are far worse than what we share with the beasts: and sensuality really arises more from the imagination than from the appetites: which, if left merely to their own animal strength, and not elaborated by our imagination, would be fairly easily managed. But this is turning into a sermon!
From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack

Courtesy of Bible Gateway

A Bit of Borrowed Wisdom

TO EDWARD LOFSTROM: A letter of great encouragement for someone who had been struggling with excessive self-awareness.

10 June 1962

You are of course perfectly right in defining your problem (which is also mine and everyone’s) as ‘excessive selfness’. But per- haps you don’t fully realise how far you have got by so defining it. All have this disease; fortunate are the minority who know they have it. To know that one is dreaming is to be already nearly awake, even if, for the present, one can’t wake up fully. And you have actually got further than that. You have got beyond the illusion (very common) that to recognise a chasm is the same thing as building a bridge over it.

Your danger now is that of being hypnotised by the mere sight of the charm, of constantly looking at this excessive selfness. The important thing now is to go steadily on acting, so far as you can—and you certainly can to some extent, however small—as if it wasn’t there. You can, and I expect you daily do—behave with some degree of unselfishness. You can and do make some attempt at prayer. The continual voice which tells you that your best actions are secretly filled with subtle self-regards, and your best prayers still wholly egocentric—must for the most part be simply disregarded—as one disregards the impulse to keep on looking under the bandage to see whether the cut is healing. If you are always fidgeting with the bandage, it never will.

A text you should keep much is mind is I John iii, 20: ‘If our heart condemns us God is greater than our heart.’ I sometimes pray ‘Lord give me no more and no less self-knowledge than I can at this moment make a good use of.’ Remember He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can’t see it. So quietly submit to be painted—i.e., keep on fulfilling all the obvious duties of your station (you really know quite well enough what they are!), asking forgiveness for each failure and then leaving it alone. You are in the right way. Walk—don’t keep on looking at it.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack

Shared from Bible Gateway, C.S. Lewis Daily

LASTing Peace, Week 20, Eating Disorder Awareness Month

February is National Eating Disorder Awareness Month. Join Project Purple to promote eating disorder awareness and to share the story of why you care. Why do you wear purple?
https://www.facebook.com/events/204936729705275/

Ella Curry will interview me on March 19 at 8:30 EST. Hope you’ll be listening!
https://www.facebook.com/edccreations?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

My interview with Megan, Authors Supporting Authors will be on her blog on February 14!
http://www.megancyrulewski.com

My interview on The Christian Author’s Show will be live on February 10th!
http://www.wnbnetworkwest.com/WnbAuthorsShowChristian.html

And my book blast, hosted by WNL Book Tours will be on March 19th.
http://wnlbooktours.com

Also, you can check out the kind book reviews of my new book, or pick up the e-version here at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Predatory-Lies-Anorexia-Kelly-ebook/dp/B00HFGMBJA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1391288846&sr=8-2&keywords=predatory+lies

BUZZ word!! “Religion”

Bear with me, one more conversation with C.S. Lewis. (I never tire of this man.)

Recently, I wrote a brief word study on “religion” for Swagga4Christ Ministries. Wouldn’t you know, the very next day in my C.S. Lewis Daily devotional from Bible Gateway, the sage himself wrote on the topic. So I thought I’d share our perspectives. It’s a hot, controversial topic. I’d love for you to add your voice!

My words:

Bound by Freedom

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13

No one really knows where it came from. The word “religion” is kind of mysterious. For hundreds of years, scholars have debated its origin.
One opinion I stumbled upon bothered me at first. Modern scholars think it might have been derived from the Latin word ligo, meaning “bind or connect”.
I got hung up on the word “bind”. Many people today view religion that way. They feel that it binds them, constrains them to a certain list of rules. But Galatians 5:1 says that Christ set us free, so our faith must have nothing to do with being bound. However, there is a different kind of binding, of connecting. Colossians 3:14 says, “Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony.” The Christian faith is not merely a religion. Jesus came to bring us freedom from the law—a long list of do’s and dont’s. But it is also the love of Christ that creates harmony among believers. We must be diligent as we enjoy our freedom in Christ that we work for unity among our Christian brothers and sisters.

C.S. Lewis:

I remember once when I had been giving a talk to the R.A.F., an old, hard-bitten officer got up and said, ‘I’ve no use for all that stuff. But, mind you, I’m a religious man too. I know there’s a God. I’ve felt Him: out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that’s just why I don’t believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who’s met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal!’
Now in a sense I quite agreed with that man. I think he had probably had a real experience of God in the desert. And when he turned from that experience to the Christian creeds, I think he really was turning from something real to something less real. In the same way, if a man has once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real to something less real: turning from real waves to a bit of coloured paper. But here comes the point. The map is admittedly only coloured paper, but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a single glimpse, the map fits all those different experiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach, your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map. But the map is going to be more use than walks on the beach if you want to get to America.
From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis

What do you think?
Is religion the same as faith in Christ?
Do you need Jesus to get to Heaven?
How do you experience Christ?

Sacred Sustenance

Ah, I need more time to talk to you! I’ve tuned my ears on this journey of walking and hearing voices  such that I’m finding so many things to share with you. And the truth is, I’m gleaning so much wisdom from the sages I’ve chosen to “walk” with that there’s scarce enough time to fit a word in edgewise. So then, without further ado, listen to C.S. Lewis’ words:

By the bye, what are your views, now, on the question of sacraments? To me that is the most puzzling side of the whole thing. I need hardly say I feel none of the materialistic difficulties: but I feel strongly just the opposite ones—i.e., I see (or think I see) so well a sense in which all wine is the blood of God—or all matter, even, the body of God, that I stumble at the apparently special sense in which this is claimed for the Host when consecrated. George Macdonald observes that the good man should aim at reaching the state of mind in which all meals are sacraments. Now that is the sort of thing I can understand: but I find no connection between it and the explicit “sacrament” proprement dit [“properly so called”]. The Presbyterian method of sitting at tables munching actual slices of bread is clearly absurd under ordinary conditions: but one can conceive a state of society in which a real meal might be shared by a congregation in such a way as to be a sacrament without ceasing to be also their actual dinner for that day. Possibly this was so in the very early Church.
From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II
Compiled in Words to Live By

Maybe this doesn’t affect anyone as it does me. But as a former anorexic, the concept of all meals, taken in gratitude, being sacred arrests me. Food, that so-long-enemy, as a means to honor and embrace the Savior…

Walking, Hearing Voices

I’ve set my ONE WORD this year as: Walk, and we’ll talk about that much in the coming weeks. It might even be the seed of a new book germinating (very deeply and slowly) in my heart.

At the end of 2013, God brought several new voices into my life. I’d heard the echoes of two of them many times, but only began to recognize their wisdom recently. The other one I’m sharing with you today is a new friend, and in coming weeks you’ll get to “sit” down with Brenna Kate Simonds and get to know her personally.

But, these are the voices of a couple of people I plan to walk with this year.

C.S. Lewis: “You do not have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”

Rick Warren: “For change to happen in any area of your life, whether it’s financial, vocational, educational, mental, or relational, you have to begin with the physical.

Why? Because your body affects your behavior. Your muscles affect your moods and your motivation. Your physiology can actually affect your psychology.”

Brenna Kate Simonds: Wherever you go, there you are.

Have you ever thought about what this really means? We get so focused on changing our external circumstances that we forget this simple truth: Most external issues flow out of internal issues. So no matter where you go or how much weight you lose, inside you are still you. If we don’t allow God to change the internal, changing the externals will not have the hoped-for result. We will experience the same trials, the same struggles, the same unhelpful thought patterns. We will do the same thing again and again and expect different results.

Obviously, these voices span the ages, but there is wisdom in each. Throughout this year, as you “walk” with me, I will introduce you to many other voices that will influence us to walk in the freedom that Christ purchased for us.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Eph. 5:8

You Can’t Take it With You, I Dare You to Try

“You can’t take it with you.”

It’s kind of a throw away phrase in the church culture. Of course we all know we can’t take our earth-toys to the heavenly realm. Up there, we’re told, everything is supposed to be superior to earthly shadows.

We say this to pacify ourselves when we things we love are wrenched from our grasp. And we say it to admonish others against materialism. After all, “You can’t take that shiny new car, your six figure salary, even that perfect body you’ve worked so hard for.”

In fact, you can’t take your accolades, the receipts for your charitable donations, your church attendance record or all the journals in which you recorded heartfelt prayers, either.

In the same way that we cannot take our here-and-now treasures into heaven, we cannot take our law-keeping, good-girl selves into a relationship with the Father. I think this is what Jesus means in His parable about new wine in old wineskins. (Mark 2:22) The Father has no use for our prettified behavior, our swept clean spirits, our tidied thought life or our white-washed worldview.

The only thing that will endure the transition from this world to our face-to-face introduction to the Father, is Christ’s righteousness for us. Like a meteor ripping from outer space into our atmosphere, all the things we’ve worked so hard to do for God will disintegrate into oblivion.

This week I’ve been pressed to think more deeply about my priorities. If I can’t take it with me, why have I spent so very much of my life working to polish and perfect my body? If I can’t take it with me, why do I feel so guilty when one of my good deeds or best intentions goes sour? Really, if none of the things I love so much here can survive in the glorious atmosphere surrounding my Father’s throne, then really what use do I have for them now?

I believe that when I accepted Christ’s payment for my sin, He immediately came to dwell inside of me. That means, I’m living in His presence, the atmosphere of Heaven, every breathing moment. What good then is all my pre-packaged, personal perfection?

He has made all things NEW, all things are fresh and REAL in Christ. Why would I sip old wine or dine on stale crumbs?

I love the way C.S. Lewis depicts the two irreconcilable worlds in his book, The Great Divorce.

“I could see him [the ghost] feverishly trying to fill his pockets with the apples [of Heaven, that real country]. Of course, it was useless. One could see how his ambitions were gradually forced down.”

When he finally succeeded in lifting the smallest apple, “he set out on his via dolorosa to the bus, carrying his torture.”

The ghost longed to keep the riches of Heaven and still return to the bus which would take him back to his comfortable, familiar hell.

‘Fool. Put it down, ‘ said a great voice suddenly. It was quite unlike any other voice I had heard so far. It was a a thunderous yet liquid voice…’You cannot take it back. There is not room for it in Hell. Stay here and learn to eat such apples. The very leaves and the blades of grass in the wood will delight to teach you.’

Under the blood of Jesus, standing tall in the purity of His imparted righteousness, we can again dine from the Tree of Life, and in His presence! I would chose nothing less!