"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Books of the Month ~ January 2008

To start 2008 off right, the first selection of the year will concentrate on two classic works from C.S. Lewis: "Mere Christianity" and "The Screwtape Letters". Mere Christianity was my first exposure to Lewis, long before I appreciated his Chronicles of Narnia series. Both books are excellent reads and are not overly long or technical.

Arguably the 20th century's most influential Christian writer, C.S. Lewis sought to explain and defend the beliefs in "Mere Christianity" that nearly all Christians at all times have held in common. Lewis employs thoughtful, logical arguments that are eloquently expressed. He describes those doctrines that the four major denominations in Britain (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic) would have in common, e.g., original sin, the transcendent Creator God, and the divinity of Jesus as well as his atonement and bodily resurrection.

Whether or not one agrees with Lewis's arguments, it is a pleasure to read such an eloquent work. This simple yet deeply profound classic, originally delivered as a series of radio broadcasts in the 1940's, is a work that is still relevant today; must reading for believers and skeptics alike.

On "The Screwtape Letters" (summary appears on Amazon.com):

Who among us has never wondered if there might not really be a tempter sitting on our shoulders or dogging our steps? C.S. Lewis dispels all doubts. In The Screwtape Letters, we are made privy to the instructional correspondence between a senior demon, Screwtape, and his wannabe diabolical nephew Wormwood. As mentor, Screwtape coaches Wormwood in the finer points, of tempting his "patient" away from God.

Each letter is a masterpiece of reverse theology, giving the reader an inside look at the thinking and means of temptation. Tempters, according to Lewis, have two motives: the first is fear of punishment, the second a hunger to consume or dominate other beings. On the other hand, the goal of the Creator is to woo us unto himself or to transform us through his love from "tools into servants and servants into sons." It is the dichotomy between being consumed and subsumed completely into another's identity or being liberated to be utterly ourselves that Lewis explores with his razor-sharp insight and wit.

The most brilliant feature of The Screwtape Letters may be likening hell to a bureaucracy in which "everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment." We all understand bureaucracies, be it the Department of Motor Vehicles, the IRS, or one of our own making. So we each understand the temptations that slowly lure us into hell. If you've never read Lewis, The Screwtape Letters is a great place to start. And if you know Lewis, but haven't read this, you've missed one of his core writings. --Patricia Klein

You can get them both in one volume here, and in two separate volumes here and here.

The final selection for this month is "Many Infallible Proofs: Evidences for the Christian Faith" by Henry M. Morris.

Many Christians today are woefully ignorant about the Bible, and what impact it can have on a world in darkness. Even skeptics can get some solid answers to many common questions about the Bible and its authenticity and reliability. In this excellent book, Morris discusses such hot topics as:

Problems in verbal inspiration
Fulfillment of Prophecy
The structure of Scripture
Alleged Bible contradictions
The Bible and science
The Bible and ancient history
The unique birth of Christ

You can purchase your copy here, here and here.



At 02 January, 2008 00:26, Blogger American Guy said...

what gets me is how very much lewis looks like Kevin Spacey in that photo.

At 02 January, 2008 10:08, Blogger green said...

Yes, I suppose he does. Never quite thought of it that way.

But I'm really more interested in if you've ventured to read any of these books, you know to broaden your horizons or some such.

Ah but wait. I forgot-you're a man of science whose horizons are broad enough already.

Isn't that (one of) the excuse(s) you use as a crutch for your trapped in the box thinking?

Thought so.

At 02 January, 2008 19:28, Blogger American Guy said...

yes, i did in fact read mere xianity.

And while i'll gladly agree that lewis was quite a talented writer, i found his arguments much less convincing than those like you who set out to believe every word he said.

Why? well the main thing was that he engages in rhetoric much more than logic. He makes impassioned arguments, leads his readers around in dizzying circles and then comes in for the kill with a "if you've understood anything i've said, then clearly I'm right" approach which gives the less sophisticated reader (who was previously undecided) two basic choices:

1) admit that you really didn't understand his argument, thus blaming yourself for your lack of percepetion. or

2)shrug your shoulders and accept the fallacy that becuase his prose was well written, it must therefore be true.

At 02 January, 2008 22:36, Blogger green said...

AG: Not surprisingly I think Lewis' arguments were clearly thought out and well presented in "Mere Christianity".

Are you saying you're a less sophisticated reader because those are the choices you felt you had after reading it?

You ought to give a go to "The Screwtape Letters". Highly amusing and inventive.

At 03 January, 2008 18:25, Blogger scribe said...

Lewis was a hack.

At 05 January, 2008 03:27, Blogger Esther said...

Another good C.S. Lewis choice is A GRIEF OBSERVED. The movie "Shadowland" with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger was based on this book, and it offers more background on the nexis of THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE in THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA series.

A GRIEF OBSERVED details Lewis' love affair with his wife and the process of her death from a terminal disease. It is a heavy book since it deals with issues of loss and grief, but it answers the question in Lewis' estimation if it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

At 05 January, 2008 15:39, Blogger green said...

e: I've not seen the movie OR read that book, which I just might actually have in one of my book boxes (in storage).

Will need to see that movie sometime soon.


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