Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Making Sense Of It All

This C.S. Lewis class was nothing like what I expected it to be. I had always loved the Chronicles of Narnia and thought that’s the only kind of writing C.S. Lewis produced. I knew that C.S. Lewis was a Christian and that he had other writings, but what I found out is that Lewis wrote a lot more then children stories. Lewis was a Theologian.
I had never been a big fan of Theology and coming into this class was very skeptical. The reason I didn’t like Christian Theology is because I feel it tries to bring God down to “our level” so that we can find a way to understand what he does. I am not saying that trying to understand what God is doing is wrong. It’s that we tend to start believing these theories as if they were completely true. This is where my problem with Theology comes in. I felt that this kind of thinking takes away from God, because there is no way to really understand the way God works except for what he tells us. I wasn’t sure what I would get out of this class.
I was surprised after about two weeks in, when I noticed that I was actually learning a lot in this class. I was learning to think for myself. I had always grown up believing everything that I had heard from the bible and what people told me about it. I never really stopped to think about it for myself. This class required me to think every day about different aspects of God and the way he works. Bible verses that I heard before, but never really stopped to think about them were presented to me every day. This class brought up ideas and points about these verses that I had never even thought of before.
I was glad that I got to see C.S. Lewis for the person that he really was. After reading a lot of these essays and excerpts. It was nice to see that C.S. Lewis was a normal man. A lot of times after reading something by him you felt that he was a “superman” who lived this glorious and perfect life. After seeing through this class that he was just a normal human being, it reassured me that I can live a good life.
One of thing that I took from this class was new look on education. I had never really though about my education that much until this class. I don’t know why this class gave me such a new look on it, but it did. After reading “Our English Syllabus” I began to see education as a tool to get where I want to in life. That education is a system and not learning. It’s a system that uses learning as a tool. I was never big on education, and had always thought of education and learning as the same thing. This essay really showed me that If we can find a way to use Learning to further our education that education can get you to where you want to go. I have a brand new look at education.
This is not the only thing that I have gained from this class. As I said earlier this class has helped me look at God’s word and God in my own way. It has made me feel that the relationship that I have with God a more personal one.
It was also nice to see the relationship between my two professors. It was nice to see that they were living what they were teaching in this class. They “practiced what they preached”. The love they showed for each other and for their students really showed that they believed what they were teaching. This really helped me really believe what they were saying.
This class is great. It is great to see inside the mind of a great Christian thinker. This class has really helped me in looking at Christian Theology in a different way. I still feel sometimes that theology can be dangerous, but I what I have found out is that it helps us think and remember what God had done for us and how grateful we should be. I loved listening and sometime participating in the arguments and discussions in this class. It was nice to hear what other people thought and how they felt. That they were thinking about the same things that I was. Most of all it reminded me that I am not in this alone, but that there are other there. That we are there for each other, and that Christianity is about family. I loved learning with such a great group of kids who share the same basic belief that I do. That is that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.


In this essay Lewis talks about people's longing to be a part of something bigger or a group. In this case "The-Inner-Ring". I know this to be a fact, because in my psychology class we learned that it is a part of our genetic makeup, this longing to be a part of something bigger. We don' t want to be unique, we don't want to be a different, we want to be just like everyone else. We always strive to be in group, wheter it be big or small. We are even willing to be something completely different then what really are. Just to fit into into a group.
As Christians we are called to be different from the majority of the world. Which goes against our genetics and science it self. When we choose to live for God and become Christians we choose to to be completely different from the world. We have to put up with people looking at us weird or treating us different. Just because we are not the same as them. We can find comfort though that we are not alone in this. We are a part of the Body of Christ. So at the same time that we may feel alone in this world we are not. We have fellow Christians out there that believe the same thing we do.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Problem Of Pain

Problem Of Pain, this essay is about the question that billions of people ask themselves every day. That is "If God is such a loving God then why does he allow us to suffer so much?" I really liked this essay because I have asked myself this question many times in my life. I have lost love ones, and every time I find myself asking God why would he allow me endure so much pain?
I believe that the reason that we go through pain is because we are fallen. I know this may seem like an obvious reason, but its the one that I believe. Sense we are fallen we must put ourselves through pain to become more like God. We must sacrifice ourselves to become followers of Christ. I have learned to look at pain as something that comes before happiness. If you think about it what would happiness feel like if you never experienced pain. We also grow stronger through pain. If you think about weight lifting. When you lift your muscles become soar and weak, but when after that pain they become stronger and are capable of enduring more. The same applies to our relationship with God. We go through trials and tribulations. The pain that we go though during these times is just like our muscles. As we go through these pain it may seem that God has forsaken us. The truth is that these pains are intended to bring us closer to God. How would we grow closer to God if everything was always alright. These pains and suffering are supposed to get us to rely on him and put our faith and trust in Him.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Engaging God's World: Ch. 4

This chapter is the cornerstone to our faith, Redemption. It amazes me every time when I think that Christ, the universes' creator came down to this small little planet to give his life for us. The most undeserving of his creations. I dont think you will find redemption in any other religion, but Christianity. This is the part of Chrisitianity that I love. Not for the obvious reason that now I am not completely doomed to hell, but that it makes me feel God in a more personal way. It still blows my mind thinking about how can God love us that much, when compared to him we are nothing more then a piece of dust floating in the wind.
I had a really hard time really expanding on this chapter then what was written above. Thats all redemption means to me. It was intersting though to see different, but basic beliefs of redemption. I really liked how we talked about it in class that when we here this story or talk about God's redemption we tend to think of it as something old and boring. That we have heard before. Which is wierd, because its something we should really get excited about everytime we hear it. It is for God's redemption that we are still hear and living. No matter how many times we hear about it we should never grow bored with it.

Man or Rabbit

"Man or Rabbit" ask the question can one live a good life without believing in Christianity? According to Lewis there is not really any debate about whether your can or can not. If you are a Christian you live a life for God. If you are a materialist then you live life for earthly happiness. Both can't be right. If one is right then the other is absolutely wrong. Lewis says that "If Christianity should happen to be true, then it is quite impossible that those who know this truth and those who don't to be well equipped for leading a good life. Knowledge of the facts must make a difference to ones actions. Suppose you found a man on the point of starvation and wanted to do the right thing. If you had no knowledge of medical science, you would probably give him a large solid meal; and as a result your man would die."
I think this really sums up what Lewis is trying to get across through out the whole essay. If you believe in Christianity then it is impossible for a non-christian to lead a good life even if they want to. You can have all heart and good intentions to do so, but if you are not properly equipped you will end up doing more damage then good in the long run. I don't think what Lewis is trying to say is that there is no good non-christians out there. There are plenty of people who don't believe in Christianity, but are very good people. What Lewis is trying to say that no matter how good there lives may seem in the long run it leads Hell. It does not mean they can't do good.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Abolition Of Man

"Abolition Of Man" is probably one of the hardest reads I have ever had. I read through it and could only understand parts of what Lewis was trying to say, because of some of his previous essays I have read ("Our English Syllabus").
The first chapter talks about the education system and how it focuses only of the intellectual side side of learning rather then the emotional side. What lewis is trying to say is that we need the emotional side to be able to discern from whats right and whats wrong. The name of the chapter was "Men Without Chest". Sense education only focuses on the intellectual side we don't have the emotions necessary to make the right decisions between right and wrong, but they demand it of us. Hence the title "Men Without Chest, It like asking the body to function without of a heart.
The whole book really deals with Natural Law. Natural Law is something that was given to us when we were created. It is the ability to know the if something is morally wrong or right. I know that the idea lewis is trying to get through is that when we cover up our Natural law and struggle to tell the difference between right and wrong. This is what causes the abolition of man.

The Love Eros

Eros is one of four kinds of Loves that Lewis describes in the reading "The Four Loves". Eros is what you would call being deeply in love with someone. How he describes "Eros" is when you can only think about that person and nothing else. Lewis makes sure to point out that "Eros" is not the craving to have sex with that person, but more. It is what he calls " a pre-occupation with that person" without really thinking about sex. you are facinated with who she is. Sex is just a desire and for that persons body. Just sexual desire itself is not true love, its just lust. You will grow bored with it after awhile. Eros is a desire to be with that person for the rest of your life. Its a desire for that person to feel the same thing your are feeling towards them, "You Desire them to desire you". Sex is something that comes after you have found that person that completes you. Its something that happens within the boundaries of marriage. Its when two people become one according to the bible. Its not something that should be taking lightly. It should be something special every time.
Another thing that I noticed is that this love "Eros" goes along with Lewis essay of "Subjectivism". In a way we show "Subjectivism" when we are experiencing the love "Eros". Regardless what people think we will view the person we are falling in love with as the most gorgeous person in the world, whether she is or not. Either way we will all experience "Eros" at one point in our lives. I just want to remember how sacred and special it is when I do.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Engaging God's World: Ch. 3

This chapter really focuses on the fall of man. For some reason it just seems that everything we talk about has to do with "The Fall". I am starting to find it kind of gloomy. One thing that I did like about these chapters and that we sometimes forget is that before the fall God created us in his Image and we showed his glory. After the fall though even though this world is tainted and not what God intended it to be, you can find his Glory in every part of the planet.
There was one thing in this chapter that really confused me though and that was the idea of common grace. I do not understand how it works. Is this grace just directed towards Christians or is it grace for the whole human race? The only common grace that I can think of is God sending his son, Jesus Christ to die for us. This was intended for everyone regardless if they were believers or not, but I don't think this is what they are referring to in this chapter. I do not see God giving any more grace then Jesus to people who chose to continue living with out him. Why would he give grace to someone who has no good in them, because of the fall. ever sense the fall everyman unless saved through Jesus Christ has no good and is condemned to hell. This is the only thing in this chapter that I found a little fuzzy and if anyone has any idea what it means please tell me!

Poison of Subjectivism

I had a really hard time reading this essay. It seemed there was so much more going on and I could only grasp just a little about it. What I did get from it though I think is the probably the main point Lewis is trying to get across in the essay. Which is "Subjectivism".
What I understand Subjectivism to be is when your emotions or feelings towards something make you justify it as right. Even if they have no proof what so ever. They will continue to believe what they believe to be true even if there is a logical point that proves it wrong. This essay really goes well with Chapter 3 of "Engaging God's World". Subjectivism is really just an outcome of pride. the person is to proud to admit that they are wrong, or obsessed with having to be right. The reason I think this goes well with Chapter 3 is because Chapter 3 deals with the fall of man. What caused man to fall was pride.
This essay also goes along with some of Lewis's previous ones like "Meditation In A Toolshed". Subjectivism can be dangerous, because it will cause you think that anyone with a different opinion or belief then you is wrong. Which Lewis showed in our first essay is that we need to learn to see things from a different perspective. I love how all of Lewis's reading compliment each other. He never faults away from what he really believes of contradict what he has written in previous essays

Engaging God's World: Ch. 1

Engaging God's World: Ch. 5

This chapter was about God's kingdom and how we are embassadors to the world from His kingdom. I think that in a way Learning in War Time and this really correlate. We are here to represent the Lord and bring people to His kingdom. Sense we are doing this and our Christians ourselves we are part of great spiritual war. So sense we are trying to win people we need to be educated and have the ability to learn in bad times so that we may be fully equipped to stand up to anything that comes against us.
We also have to remember that no matter how bad things get we are here to serve God. There is always people out there they need to be saved, we can't go soft every time something goes wrong. I think this is really the main idea of the chapter and how I understood it was we are already apart of of a kingdom. Often times when we are in pain or suffering we pray and always ask God "for his kingdom to come" so that we will be saved from whatever it is that is hurting us. We sometimes forget that we are already in his kingdom. I personally think it is funny how when things earth are going so good we never ask God "for his kingdom to come". It is only when things are going bad. Once again I see a common truth in all of Lewis writings and that there is always a message of not growing content with where you are in this life. We have to continue striving to be better servants of the Lord.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Learning In War-Time

Learning In War-Time really centers around the theme of doing everything with all of you might and will as if you were doing it for the Lord.As an example he uses Learning and peoples attitudes of learning during World War II. During this time he said that sense people were giving there all during the war. That if they were giving it there all so that someone could have to the chance to continue there education in the states. In return that person should give there all in pursuing there education.
Something that I have noticed through out all of Lewis's essays, from the Screwtape Letter, Weight of Glory, and Learning is War-Time is not growing content. I feel that he is really trying to stress to always push yourself to be a better Christian. You can't grow content with were you are at in your faith. I think that what you can learn from this essay is that by doing everything with all of your might and doing it for the Lord you will find yourself always moving forward in your faith.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mere Christianity

I really liked this reading because it tries to define Christianity with out putting it into any denominations. the church today sometime seems to be so set on this denomination and that denomination that they forget what is at the heart of Christianity. Which is that Jesus gave his life for us, when we were the least deserving creatures on this planet. I was glad to see that Lewis was only giving people that, he wasn't trying to push them to one way of the church or the other.
"Mere Christianity" also talks about moral law. That everyone has a sense of right and wrong. In every culture there is moral law. Ever culture's moral law is pretty much the same with some little differences. It's just that most of the time people look at the differences and not how there practically the same. With everyone having moral law and it being the same it shows there is a higher moral law in which we all strive for. In a way it shows that there is a God.

Screwtape Letter

I really like how Lewis put us in the devil's perspective. Lewis tries to show us how the devil attempts to slowly wedge us away from God. "Murder is no better then cards, if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest way to hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turning, without milestones, and without signpost."
What Lewis is really trying to show us is how Satan works. The bible says that there is no sin greater then another. in God's eyes there is no difference between the sin of murder or disobeying your parents. We tend to think that as long as we are not committing huge sins, and just going about our lives committing smalls ones that we will be alright.
In the Screwtape Letters its about a two demons who are trying to drive a new Christian away from God. They doin this by trying to get him to be comfortable with where he is in his life and his faith. They don't try completely and suddenly turn him to wickedness right away. they try to get him learn small bad habits and slowly build from there without noticing.
What i took from this is that we cant grow content in our faith. we constantly have to grow in our faith. By constantly striving to be better it will keep us from growing content and and falling away from God.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Weight of Glory

"The Weight Of Glory" has been one of my favorite reads so far. It is a lot like some of his other writings in that it brings up a lot of questions with no answers. It leaves the reader to think for themselves and find and answer, because the answer will probably be different for every person. "The Weight Of Glory" is a lot more straight forward then usual, which I liked.
This really talks about how God made us for heaven and to live our lives to bring glory to him. By bringing God glory we bring ourselves glory. A lot of people believe that glory is something they achieve by being good Christians and making it into heaven. I think that in a way they are somewhat right and wrong. Glory in a way is an achieved by making it into heaven, but the glory it self comes from the acknowledgment of God himself. It's through God's grace that glory comes. So is it all right for you motivation to do good and live by God's word to gain glory? I think so, why else would the bible tell us the outcome and reward of living for God?
I think that it is so amazing the God would even consider glorifying us. Out of all of his creations we are the least deserving, but yet he cares about us more then any other creature on this planet.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Engaging God's World: Ch. 2

In this chapter there is a lot about creation. It talks about how we are God's children and were created in his image. There are several questions asked about us as God's creations. Out of those questions the one that really stuck in my head and I found my self really thinking about was When it refers to our rights as God's creations. I was having trouble trying to think about what that meant. what rights would the creator owe us, God doesn't owe us anything. Its by his grace that we are even here.
I kept trying to think deeper about it and was just wondering if this person meant that we had these rights when we were created or did we get them after "The Fall"? I couldn't find an answer in the book. I decided that it would have to be before "The Fall".
After talking it over with some friends I came to a personal conclusion. That the rights the book is talking about is "The Fall" itself. I know it sounds crazy, but to me it makes sense. God is Omni-present and all knowing. he knows what we will do before we do. He knew that if he gave us a rule that could be broke we would break it. So why give us free will? Free will gives us the right to choose and God's wants us to choose to love and obey him. So he gives us the choice of right and wrong.

Our English Syllabus

I had never thought that education and learning could be two completely different things. Lewis clearly shows us in "Our English Syllabus" that there is a difference. After reading it I have changed my perspective. According Lewis education is when you go to school or college and our spoon fed information that your teacher already knows. you go to school particpate in groups and classrooms. It is a system in which someone had decided for you what you need to know and how you will learn it.
Learning on the other hand is when you throughly and passionately seek knowledge that you don't know. Learning is something that you will use for the rest of your life. It takes place out side of the classroom and is used as a tool to educate in one. Learning usually is learned by trial and error or through experience not memorization.
So the question comes up that in todays classrooms and colleges are students really learning. most educational systems believe that students need to learn a little bit about everything. they come up with a bunch of core requirements needed for students to move on and graduate. I dont know if this is really necessary, maybe in high school but definitely not college. Most people are at college to gain the knowledge needed for the careers that they want to have. According to lewis students will not really learn unless they are very interested in the subject. so why make them take classes that they are not interested in, will they really learn in those classes?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

No Right To Happiness

"No Right To Happiness" is a another small essay obviously by C.S. Lewis. In this essay Lewis brings up issues in our beliefs that we have a right to happiness or to pursue happiness. he begins the essay with a story about two couples. In the story a man divorces his wife to be with another who in return divorced her husband to be with him. The first man's ex-wife is in such grief from the divorce she ends up committing suicide. the new couple is convinced that there decision was fair and just, because they were no longer happy in the other marriages. Even though there happiness was payed with by the happiness of there previous spouses.
People often use the term "right to happiness" to justify any action. In the story there was nothing done illegal, but was it morally right? Even if we pursue happiness in a lawful way it could still be morally wrong. In marriage you take an oath to be with that person until death, not until your bored. according to the law there is nothing wrong with getting divorced, but under the couples circumstances in the story was the decision a moral one?
I think that Lewis is trying to show us that we have to learn to pursue our happiness in a more moral way. we have to have concern for others while we are doing, not to "push someone under the bus" in order to gain our own happiness. In a way this essay applies to some of the previous essays that we have read. In the essay "Bulverism" Lewis talks about seeing things from your neighbors point of view. To have concern for them when you are making decisions.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


This read was really hard for me. I kind of understood what Lewis was trying to say, but at the same time really did not have a clue. I am sure that what i have to say will be completely different then everyone else, but its what I took from it.
Lewis ask the question "are all thoughts tainted or just some?" I didn't really understand what Lewis was saying by "thoughts being tainted" at first. After reading on though it made some sense to me. this idea of "Bulverism" corresponds with the first reading "Meditation In A Toolshed". The first essay Lewis talks about only seeing things in our perspective. In this essay he talks about how people assume that their opponents are wrong before they even know what there thinking. Most of the time they not see the reasoning or cause that may make someone think the way they do. People always think "I am right and you are wrong". What Lewis is trying to show is that we need to learn to fight for truth rather then victory. Just because someone believes something different than you does not mean they are wrong.

Meditation In A Toolshed

Meditation In A Toolshed is a short essay written by C.S. Lewis. he begins the essay by putting us in the toolshed with him. he says "I was standing today in the dark toolshed. The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door came a sunbeam. From where I stood that beam of light, with specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place. Everything else was almost pitch-black. I was seeing the beam, not seeing things by it."
I know i am not the strongest writer or reader. Unlike my peers I will probably not see things as deep as they do. I tend to look at things very plain and practical. Lewis talks about the difference between looking along things and looking at things. What i took from this is that what we see is not what other people see. Lewis talks about and compares different people in different careers and positions in life. its really helped me see that there is always a different point of view or experience that will effect the way someone perceives something. As an obvious result what your seeing will be different from someone else. Thats why Lewis says you most learn to look along something and see it from different "angles" rather looking at it.