Wednesday, December 30, 2015

#716


As 2016 approaches it is time to make our resolutions.  I find the words above to be of great encouragement as the New Year begins.  I only wish C.S Lewis actually wrote such a line.  Then again, maybe I am glad he did not, sounds like a motivational speech and not a classic Lewis quote.  The dream part sounds like Lewis, the goal part does not.  I have posted a few times on the internet phenomenon on misquoting Lewis - #694 and #521.

There are actual sites that one might believe research has been done to verify the author and source, not so much:

Brainyquote.com

Goodreads.com

Thinkexist.com

Investors.com - an article with the quote found in a sidebar on the right side.

William O'Flaherty from Essential C.S. Lewis covers this topic very well:

What Lewis Never Wrote - a paper William O'Flaherty read at a conference.

The conference mentioned above was the Frances Ewbank Colloquium at Taylor University in 2014.  I attended the 2008 colloquium and I bought some bookmarks at the conference bookstore.  One had a picture of Lewis with the above inspirational quote.  A few years ago, at one of our monthly meetings, Paul arrived and quizzed me with the "Dream Quote" asking if Lewis said it.  Something sounded familiar, but I could not be sure.  After some investigating I discovered the "Misquoting Lewis Controversy" on the internet.  I also sent an email to The Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis and Friends at Taylor University to share with them their bookmark with a mis-attributed quote.  I never heard back, hopefully they stopped selling the bookmark.

The quote can be found on Les Brown's (a motivational speaker) Blog, the 6th quote.

Either way, it is true that it is never too late, as the quote states!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

#715

Statue outside St Francis NYC - 31st St

I do most thoroughly agree with your father's principles about alms.  It will not bother me in the hour of death to reflect that I have been 'had for a sucker' by any number of impostors:  but it would be a torment to know that one had refused even one person in need. After all, the parable of the sheep & goats makes our duty perfectly plain, doesn't it.  Another thing that annoys me is when people say 'Why did you give that man money?  He'll probably go and drink it.'  My reply is 'But if I'd kept [it] I should probably have drunk it.'

From a letter to Mary Willis Shelburne, October 26, 1962


More Lewis on giving:

"I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give.  I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.  In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little.  If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small.  There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure excludes them."

Mere Christianity, Book 3, Chapter 3


Today is Boxing Day, and while I could not find an explicit Boxing Day reference in Lewis' writings, I think the two above will suffice.

According to Britannica:

"Boxing Day, in Great Britain and some Commonwealth countries, particularly Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, holiday (December 26) on which servants, tradespeople, and the poor traditionally were presented with gifts. Explanations for the origin of the name have varied, with some believing that it derived from the opening of alms boxes that had been placed in churches for the collection of donations to aid the poor. Others, however, have held that it came from the boxes of gifts given to employees on the day after Christmas. According to this theory, because the work of servants was required for the Christmas Day celebrations of their employers, they were allowed the following day for their own observance of the holiday..."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

#714


C.S. Lewis is currently alive and well in New York City!
In addition to the Fellowship for Performing Arts having an extended run off-Broadway with four productions, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is also playing.  Below is a picture I took in front of St Luke's Theatre on 46th St.  It would seem the play is every Saturday at 11am - and that is it.  One showing a week.  It also seems they have shows planned through March of 2016.  Unfortunately I discovered this too late to alter my travel plans and my train arrived after 11am on Saturday, so I was unable to see this play.  Maybe next time!




Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#713



Last weekend I went to New York to see Max McLean portraying C.S. Lewis on stage in a "Lab Production" titled C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert.

From Max McLean's website:
For the first time, Max McLean takes audiences on a fascinating theatrical adventure as C.S. Lewis, tracing his journey from atheism to belief in C.S. Lewis: The Most Reluctant Convert. Adapted from Lewis’ writings, Max McLean inhabits Lewis from the death of his mother, his estranged relationship with his father and the experiences that led him from vigorous debunker to the most accessible and eloquent Christian intellectual of the 20th Century. The Most Reluctant Convert is 80 fast-paced minutes brimming with Lewis’ entertaining wit and thought-provoking insight. One of the most engaging personalities of our age comes to life on stage in C.S. Lewis: The Most Reluctant Convert.

Your next opportunity to see this work will be February 18 - 21.

I have been in the audience for Max McLean as Screwtape three times and I saw his theater company's (Fellowship for Performing Arts) production of The Great Divorce a year ago in DC, so count me as a fan and one willing to travel to see his plays.  This production lasted about 80 minutes, as advertised, no intermission, and fast-paced.  We were kind of shocked to realize the play was actually over.  This and many other points about the play were discussed afterwards with Max McLean.  Since this is currently a lab production they really did want to hear from us, the audience.  We were given a two sided form to fill out asking what we thought and Max McLean sat on the stage and listened to our praise, but also talked about why they decided to go this way or that in a particular scene, and he listened to our constructive criticism as well.  It seems we all agreed the play could be longer.  Max asked if we wanted our money back due to this factor.  The script relied heavily upon Surprised by Joy, The Problem of Pain, and Mere Christianity, along with Lewis' letters.  If you decide to attend a February show Max seemed to indicate the show will have evolved some by then.  If you continue to wait a finished product will hopefully tour the country and make a stop in DC one day.

The play is being performed at The Pearl Theatre on 42nd St, between 10th and 11th Sts. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

#711




One more post before I sign off for the week.  Mentioning The Screwtape Letters in the last two posts and it being the Christmas season I ran across this blog post on the Official C.S. Lewis Blog at HarperCollins which combines them both:

My Dear Snubnose,
I note with great displeasure that the human females are planning to start up their little group again. What can you have been doing during their “holidays”? For many long decades our Department for the Promotion of Frenetic Materialism has slaved away to ensure that the season is more frantic, more anxious, more absurd and depressing than any other time of the human year—anything to distract them from that horrendous mistake called the Incarnation.

(The fact that the Enemy chose to become a poor human vermin, much less a human at all, is one of the reasons why Our Father Below withdrew his support. Such an opportunity lost! So much that could have been exploited! But we have done our best, for the better part of two millennia, to ensure that the Enemy’s birth has become more and more associated with wealth and power, with senseless spending—indeed, with enslaving debt—that we have not only succeeded in creating more impoverished humans than ever, but we have successfully alienated those very people from believing the Enemy takes their side.)

But back to my concern. Have you exhausted these women during the trials of Christmas to the extent that they feel entitled to relax, to rest up, to have a holiday from the holidays? This is a well-tested strategy to ensure that they will avoid commitments for awhile. And if that doesn’t work, have you reminded them of their annual inability to live up to their “new year’s resolutions” (an ingenious invention promoted years ago by my colleague Claptrap)? The guilt and shame accompanying such failure is enough to keep any self-respecting woman from seeking the company and accountability of other so-called believers. But of course many of these women are rather far gone in the Enemy’s service, long familiar with their own weaknesses, and disgustingly persevering.

So if that strategy does not avail, may I suggest the Heroine Syndrome? It is an ancient method aimed at women who are generally capable and who have an earnest desire to be useful in the Enemy’s service. Indeed, it is most effective on those who have been in the Enemy’s service for so long that they have forgotten it is not their work which keeps them close to Him. Remember Martha in the Gospels? That is the goal. In her earnest desire to serve the Enemy, she begins to believe that her work is indispensable to the Enemy’s mission—that, in fact, she herself is the reason anyone else can function at all. She is the glue that keeps her family together; she is the one that provides the practical foundation for their day-to-day survival; without her they would not eat, they would not live, they would not change the world.

See how subtly a woman’s desire to serve the Enemy can be twisted to our advantage? She will take on more and more obligations at work, at home, for the Church, until the very act of prayer will feel like a waste of precious time (and, quite frankly, we agree). She cannot enjoy communal worship or accountability because it requires attentiveness to things that cannot demonstratively be proven to help anyone. Before long she will be so well in hand that she cannot sleep, for fear that the world will grind to a halt without her. At this point your only task is to keep from her mind the simple, obvious fact that the job of Savior has already been taken.

Not only will the world continue quite well without her, but she is not, in fact, needed.

Once she realizes that, you have lost your prey. She will find it no huge trial to read the books her small group is discussing; she will find herself heading out the door to meet with the others without making a mental list of all the other, more important things, she should be doing. Indeed, she may even feel that there is nothing more important than “unproductive” fellowship with other servants of the Enemy. The moment she gets in her car, you’re done for. You might as well brace yourself for an Inquisition with the Lower Council; and you know quite well what that means.

But in the meantime, the group has not yet met in the New Year. Now is the perfect time to make your move—while you still can.

Your affectionate colleague,
Nitpick

PS—Make sure their hostess (that smug little scribbler) spends more time cleaning house in preparation for their arrival than she spends in prayer for their souls.

—————————————

Sarah Arthur has no intention of explaining how this correspondence fell into her hands, but merely that it materialized at around the time when her small group began reading The Screwtape Letters. She is the author of numerous resources and books, including Walking through the Wardrobe: A Devotional Quest into The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Tyndale, 2005),  The God-Hungry Imagination: The Art of Storytelling for Postmodern Youth Ministry (Upper Room Books, 2007) and others. Visit her at www.saraharthur.com.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

#710


In Letter 22 from The Screwtape Letters Lewis quotes George MacDonald regarding a description of heaven as "the regions where there is only life and therefore all that is not music is silence."  Lewis finds this in MacDonald's Unspoken Sermons from "The Hands of the Father" and Lewis also includes the sentence in George MacDonald: An Anthology, which he edited.

Here is the ending of the sermon:

"And there will be moments when, filled with that spirit which is the Lord, nothing will ease our hearts of their love but the commending of all men, all our brothers, all our sisters, to the one Father. Nor shall we ever know that repose in the Father's hands, that rest of the Holy Sepulchre, which the Lord knew when the agony of death was over, when the storm of the world died away behind his retiring spirit, and he entered the regions where there is only life, and therefore all that is not music is silence, (for all noise comes of the conflict of Life and Death) - we shall never be able, I say, to rest in the bosom of the Father, till the fatherhood is fully revealed to us in the love of the brothers. For he cannot be our father save as he is their father; and if we do not see him and feel him as their father, we cannot know him as ours. Never shall we know him aright until we rejoice and exult for our race that he is the Father. He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? To rest, I say, at last, even in those hands into which the Lord commended his spirit, we must have learned already to love our neighbour as ourselves."

I was able to quickly find this information thanks to my copy of The Screwtape Letters: The Annotated Edition.  Another great Christmas idea for the Lewis Lover in your life.  Go to HarperCollins official C.S. Lewis Website for a Christmas deal of 50% and free shipping for this book and others.  

I like the MacDonald picture as well, put a red hat on him and we might just have Santa!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

#709















In case you check in here with any regularity I will be signing off until after Christmas.  I am heading to Holy Cross Abbey for a week long silent retreat.  After a week of silence I am heading to New York City (great place to break a silent retreat!) for a few days to see Max McLean in his new production C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert.  There are tickets still available for the December dates and for the February dates as well.  If you miss it you should have a chance in the future as this is a "Lab Production" so I am supposing it will be back in a theater in the future.  In addition to the one man Lewis show, The Great Divorce is playing through December and The Screwtape Letters will be on stage in January.  Get your tickets HERE!  

Speaking of C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, and a silent retreat:  Letter 22 of The Screwtape Letters one will find Screwtape upset at Wormwood for allowing the patient to fall in love with a Christian.  Here is how he describes her house: "The whole house and garden is one vast obscenity.  It bears a sickening resemblance to the description one human writer made of Heaven; 'the regions where there is only life and therefore all that is not music is silence.'  Music and silence - how I detest them both!"  If I remember correctly, Max McLean, playing Screwtape on stage, has a pretty dramatic moment with that line, lights flash and a cacophony of noises fill the theater.  Go to NYC in January and see for yourself!  However, you can experience silence in the monastery retreat house anytime, you do not have to be Catholic, you do not have to be a Christian, check out Holy Cross' website for more information.

In addition to a silent retreat the monks do offer Fruitcakes!  I do not like fruitcakes one can buy in the grocery store during this time of year, but I will eat a slice (or more) of fruitcake each day on my retreat.  Holy Cross fruitcake is just different.  Pictured below is a fruitcake in the retreat house during my last retreat.




I am not sure when the video was taken.  It states they sell fruitcakes online and there are 18 monks. They no longer sell and ship fruitcakes online and there are no longer 18 monks.  But they do still bake and sell fruitcakes, you must buy them at the Abbey Gift Shop.  And this is where I come in.  I will be there and I can pick your Christmas fruitcake up if you'd like - I'm serious!  Send me an email. They have the larger fruitcake (2.5 lbs). pictured above, for about $30 and they have a small loaf sized (1.5 lbs) fruitcake for a little less, maybe $20.  Email me at FrederickLewisSociety@yahoo.com before Monday, December 14 - 9am.

Friday, December 11, 2015

#708


This is Year One of "Life without a Middle-earth Movie" to look forward to.  It also seems there is no real movement on The Silver Chair movie either.   I am looking forward (aren't you?) to the next episode of Star Wars - December 18th!   Yet there is consolation - Christmas deals.  Above is a paper weight, it is a movie prop from The Hobbit, the key to Erebor.  I found it at the Green Valley Book Fair and they were practically giving them away - less than $5!  They had some other Hobbit movie bric-a-brac to fill your loved one's Christmas stocking with, again, at give-away prices.  Then again, maybe it is time to make that big purchase - a Folio Society or Easton Press edition of your favorite Middle-earth story.  My Folio Society Hobbit is pictured below.  Both publishers used to have Lewis books as well, now they seem to be only available on the secondary market.  I have now done my part to keep the Christmas economy going.  Merry Christmas!




Wednesday, December 9, 2015

#707

Copyright - St Mary's Press

A thought on Lewis and Thomas à Kempis, the author of The Imitation of Christ.  I went through every mention of the Imitation in the three volumes of Lewis letters and found the following:

The first mentioning is in a letter to Arthur Greeves, dated December 6, 1931.  Lewis says, "Like you I can get very little out of the Imitation."

In a letter to Mary Neylan, dated January 4, 1941, Lewis says, "For daily reading I suggest (in small doses) Thomas à Kempis' 'Imitation of Christ'."

On May 25, 1941, Lewis writes to Arthur Greeves, "I read the Imitation pretty nearly every day, but it's rather like creatures without wings reading about the stratosphere."

Over the ensuing years Lewis mentions the Imitation a few times.  Then in a letter to Edward Dell, dated May 26, 1949, Lewis says, "I take it that what St Paul means by Sanctification is the process of 'Christ being formed in us', the process of becoming like Christ - so that the title of the medieval book (wh. I hope you read) The Imitation of Christ is a formula for the Christian life."

As the 1950's progressed, so did the number of letters Lewis wrote and the Imitation is mentioned a number of times.  He mentions it often in letters to Don Giovanni Calabria, the Italian priest of The Latin Letters, and of course their letters were in Latin and they both read the Imitation in Latin (or at least Lewis did according to Walter Hooper's footnotes in The Collected Letters.)

Lewis' letters to Mary Willis Shelburne (Letters to an American Lady) also have many references to the Imitation.  As Lewis is providing spiritual guidance for her many issues he often asks her to remember what the Imitation says, using it as a touchstone between them.

Again, to Arthur Greeves, dated November 12, 1961, "Yes, The Imitation is very severe; useful at times when one is tempted to be too easily satisfied with one's progress, but certainly not at times of discouragement.  And of course it is written for monks, not for people living in the world like us."

I find this quick overview interesting in seeing Lewis progress with his reading and understanding of a certain book over a period of thirty or more years.  This tells me to hold on to those old books, especially devotional books, that I have tried and failed to grasp.  There may yet be great benefit in reading them.


Monday, December 7, 2015

#706

The Kilns


Still have one more Christmas present to buy for the C.S. Lewis admirer in your life?  How about a trip to England and Ireland?  Below you will find information for a C.S. Lewis Tour Will Vaus is leading in 2016 with Russ Head.  All pictures found in this post were taken during my C.S. Lewis Tour in 2008.  I did not get to see the Ireland of Lewis in 2008, so if you are looking to get me a Christmas gift see the information below.


August 14 – 26, 2016
 
We still have spaces available for the C.S. Lewis trip in August.  I will team up with C.S. Lewis scholar and author, Will Vaus, to lead an exciting and very special C.S. Lewis tour to Northern Ireland and England. Will and I scouted this trip this past April, and it is sure to be a fascinating look into the places and the life experiences that led Lewis on a remarkable journey from atheist to agnostic to Christian believer.
We will begin our tour in Belfast, Northern Ireland and trace Lewis’s life journey from his youth in Northern Ireland and Malvern in England to his mature years in the great and gorgeous University cities of Oxford and Cambridge. We will end our journey in London where we will have an overview of the city, see the changing of the guard, and tour fabulous Buckingham Palace.
While this trip is definitely meant to help challenge and define your own faith, whether Christian or not, it can also be a great trip for those who may have no interest in Lewis. We stay in the heart of all the cities we visit, and there is ample opportunity to opt out of what is scheduled and do your own thing in many places along the way.

Please refer to the tentative itinerary for further details and feel free to call me on my cell at 706/656/8808 with any questions you may have about this trip. 
Cost: $4875.00 per person based on two in a room (single supplement $850.00) includes round-trip air, hotel accommodations including taxes and breakfast daily, Transportation during the trip, touring and site entrances, and the services of guest author Will Vaus and full-time tour manager Russ Head.

                                         Amount                Due Date
Deposit                           $475.00                Immediately
Balance                          $4400.00              May 1, 2016
 
Questions / Payments:

Attn: Russ Head

The Travel Connection
P.O. Box  1126

Thomaston, Ga. 30286
PH # 706/647/8747
E-mail: russhead@windstream.net – Russ Head 
Website: www.russhead.com  

Magdalen College, Oxford

Magdalene College, Cambridge
Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry


The Bird and Baby


The Kilns

Friday, December 4, 2015

#704



"I quite agree with what you say about buying books, and love all the planning and scheming beforehand, and if they come by post, finding the neat little parcel waiting for you on the hall table and rushing upstairs to open it in the privacy of your own room.  Some people - my father for instance - laugh at us for being so serious over our pleasures, but I think a thing can't be properly enjoyed unless you take it in earnest, don't you?  What I can't understand about you though is how you can get a nice new book and still go on stolidly with the one you are at:  I always like to be able to start the new one on the day I get it, and for that reason wait to buy it until the old one is done.  But then of course you have so much more money to throw about than I."

From a letter from Lewis to Arthur Greeves on March 7, 1916


Thursday, December 3, 2015

#703

One side of Lewis' library at The Kilns, as found in 2008 when I visited.  The books are not Lewis originals.

"To enjoy a book like that thoroughly I find I have to treat it as a sort of hobby and set about it seriously.  I begin by making a map on one of the end leafs:  then I put in a genealogical tree or two.  Then I put a running headline at the top of each page:  finally I index at the end all the passages I have for any reason underlined.  I often wonder - considering how people enjoy themselves developing photos or making scrap-books - why so few people make a hobby of their reading in this way.  Many an otherwise dull book which I had to read have I enjoyed in this way, with a fine-nibbed pen in my hand:  one is making something all the time and a book so read acquires the charm of a toy without losing that of a book."

From a letter dates February 1932, from Lewis to Arthur Greeves

Monday, November 30, 2015

#702


Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
   "One other thing that Arthur taught me was to love the bodies of books.  I had always respected them.  My brother and I might cut up stepladders without scruple; to have thumb-marked or dog's-eared a book would have filled us with shame.  But Arthur did not merely respect, he was enamored: and soon, I too.  The set up of the page, the feel and smell of the paper, the differing sounds that different papers make as you turn the leaves, became sensuous delights.  This revealed to me a flaw in Kirk.  How often have I shuddered when he took a new classical text of mine in his gardener's hands, bent back the boards till they creaked, and left his sign on every page.
   'Yes, I remember,' said my father.  'That was old Knock's one fault.'
   'A bad one,' said I.
   'An all but unforgivable one,' said my father."

From the last page of chapter 10, Surprised by Joy

A funny paragraph by Lewis, but I agree as well that the mishandling of a book is a serious thing.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

#701


As we have started a new C. S. Lewis Society year, as we reckon our years, Kathy gave me a "New Year" gift.  A book by H. Dennis Fisher, As the Sun Has Risen: Scriptural Reflections on C.S. Lewis' Life and Literature. This book was published in 2015 and the publisher is Discovery House.  

My book review:

The edition I have is a cloth covered hardcover, with nice paper (feel and weight) - if you are into those particulars.  The title is taken from the famous ending to Lewis' "Is Theology Poetry?" a paper Lewis read to the Oxford University Socratic Club in 1944.  You can find this address in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, the book we just finished discussing.  Mr. Fisher has waded into crowded territory.  I believe I own five such books and I am pretty sure I have owned others over the years.  There are also a few volumes I know about that I paged through at the bookstore and passed on.  The crowded territory is the Daily Lewis Devotion/Thought genre.  One of my favorites is The Business of Heaven: Daily Readings from C.S. Lewis, edited by Walter Hooper.  What makes Fisher's volume stand out is that he uses all of Lewis for his daily readings.  Lewis the author of Narnia and the Space Trilogy, Mere Christianity and Miracles, personal letters and essays, and the often neglected (especially by me) academic works.  In addition to the full Lewis being used, each reading includes a scripture and guidance for further information, usually with the book and chapter listed, a very nice and helpful addition.  If you did not buy everything you needed on Black Friday, consider this book.

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but by it I see everything else."  

Friday, November 27, 2015

#700





Today is Black Friday and below are some C.S. Lewis related items to add to your shopping cart:


C. S. Lewis' Top Ten, Volume 2 by Will Vaus - Just released, this volume covers George Herbert, William Wordsworth, and Rudolph Otto.  I am glad Will did the work for me.  When I read Otto I fall sleep, quickly.

C. S. Lewis 's "Mere Christianity": A Biography - that's right, a biography about a book.  This book is by noted historian George Marsden and will be released in March of 2016, by Princeton University Press.  HERE is a link to You Tube and a lecture about Mere Christianity Marsden recently gave.

The Tongue is Also a Fire: Essays on Conversation, Rhetoric and the Transmission of Culture . . . and on C. S. Lewis by James Como.  A new book by Lewis scholar James Como.  I love to read Como on Lewis and any topic: however, like reading Thomas Howard, my dictionary always needs to be close by.

Maybe a book is not what you want, but an experience.  Well, Max McLean and the Fellowship for Performing Arts have just the thing you are looking for in New York City.  A C.S. Lewis inspired play is going on now until February - be it The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, or the new C.S. Lewis on Stage: The Most Reluctant Convert.

If you are out shopping, stay safe.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

#699



"We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is 'good', because it is good, if 'bad' because it works in us patience, humility and contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country."

From a letter to Don Giovanni Calabria from Lewis dated August 10, 1948

Monday, November 23, 2015

#698


We will be taking our Christmas Break and not meeting again until Monday, January 25, 2016.  We will be discussing Peter Schakel's book Is Your Lord Large Enough?: How C. S. Lewis Expands Our View of God.  If you need a copy of this book send me an email: FrederickLewisSociety@yahoo.com.
I am charging $3 for a brand new copy!

Have a wonderful Advent and Christmas Season!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

#697



A last minute reminder:

We will be meeting Monday, November 23rd at 6:15pm in the Community Room at the Library.  We will be discussing the last five pieces from The Weight of Glory.  

These five works are:

Is Theology Poetry?
The Inner Ring
Membership
On Forgiveness
A Slip of the Tongue

Saturday, November 21, 2015

#696

Image courtesy of "neneo" at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

"This is my endlessly recurrent temptation:  to go down to that Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal."

From "A Slip of the Tongue"

Friday, November 20, 2015

#695



"A Slip of the Tongue" will be the concluding work from The Weight of Glory to discuss at our November meeting.  This was the last sermon Lewis preached.  Preached at the college chapel of Magdalene College, Cambridge at Evensong on January 29, 1956.

Below is a picture of a plaque at/near the chapel entrance.  I took this picture on a visit in 2008, thus the unprofessional nature of the picture.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#694



A quote from "On Forgiveness"

The piece is very short and I picked this short line because I wanted to get on my soapbox with regards to Lewis Quotes and the internet.  A few days ago a member of our group sent me a line their pastor quoted from Lewis on a Sunday.  I had to inform this individual that Lewis did not write that.  I am not Social Media savvy - no Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc, though I do try to keep this blog active.  The picture/quote above is from a simple internet search using the sentence from Lewis.  I suppose one can easily create a graphic with available software on the market.  I have found some visually striking graphics with Lewis quotes on the internet.  Yet I also have been collecting these graphics and way too many are not actual Lewis quotes.  The fact that Lewis' name is out and about is a good thing.  The quotes are usually close to the original.  The quotes will hopefully encourage one to look for the quote in a Lewis work, this is good.  But to me it is just laziness and (old man in me talking) a sign of our times - instant everything and no desire to really trace something back to the root (which requires work).  The quote on forgiveness is accurate, except a comma is missing.  Since the quote is on forgiveness one must acknowledge that mistakes happen.  Earlier in this same paragraph there is a misprint in my copy.  I looked to a newer copy (not the latest) and the misprint is still there.  I have another collection with the piece in it and the misprint has been corrected (that particular collection was printed in England, so that explains it).  The misprint is also on my Kindle edition.

Anyway, off the soapbox, below are two places addressing this topic:

What Lewis Never Wrote - William O'Flaherty

A Modest Proposal for Folks Inclined to Forward (Likely) Inaccurate Quotations Attributed to C.S. Lewis by Bruce Edwards


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

#693


"On Forgiveness" will be the next piece we discuss in November.  

I will quote Walter Hooper:

"On Forgiveness" was written at the request of Father Patrick Kevin Irwin (1907 - 1965) and sent to him on 28 August 1947 for inclusion in Father Irwin's parish magazine of the Church of St. Mary, Sawston, Cambridgeshire.  However, Father Irwin was transferred to the Church of St. Augustine, Wisbech, before it could be published, and I first heard of the essay in 1975 when members of the priest's family deposited the manuscript in the Bodleian Library.  It was first published in Lewis's Fern-seed and Elephants and Other Essays on Christianity

From the Introduction to The Weight of Glory

Such a story boggles my mind, a well known author writes an essay for a parish magazine and the priest is moved to another parish, and with him the essay, most likely never to see the light of day for another 25 years.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

#692


"A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion; to ignore the subject may be fatal cowardice for the one as for the other.  But if either comes to regard it as the natural food of the mind - if either forgets that we think of such things only in order to be able to think of something else - then what was undertaken for the sake of health has become itself a new and deadly disease."

From "Membership"

Friday, November 13, 2015

#691




"Membership" was read to the Society of St. Alban and St. Sergius, Oxford, on February 10, 1945.  The Society of St. Alban and St. Sergius is still in existence today. The address was later published in Sobornost, no. 31 (June 1945).  Sobornost is still in publication and on their website you can order or download a copy, no. 31, with Lewis' essay included.  This will be the third piece we read in November.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

#690



"When you invite a middle-aged moralist to address you, I suppose I must conclude, however unlikely the conclusion seems, that you have a taste for middle-aged moralising.  I shall do my best to gratify it.  I shall in fact give you advice about the world in which you are going to live . . . And of course everyone knows what a middle-aged moralist of my type warns his juniors against.  He warns them against the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.  But one of this trio will be enough to deal with today.  The Devil I shall leave strictly alone.  The association between him and me in the public mind has already gone quite as deep as I wish; in some quarters it has already reached the level of confusion, if not identification.  I begin to realise the truth of the old proverb that he who sups with that formidable host needs a long spoon.  As for the Flesh, you must be very abnormal young people if you do not know quite as much about it as I do.  But on the World I think I have something to say."

The opening of this address is pretty humorous and placing myself in the crowd, any misgivings about this "middle-aged moralist" would have been eased and I might have been open to what he had to say.  Above is the cover of Time magazine, September 8, 1947, with a very Screwtape-like figure on his shoulder.  Lewis found himself on the cover almost three years after he delivered this address, but he is able to assume his audience's familiarity with himself and Screwtape, published two years earlier.

An Amendment:  I put together a few posts in a row and had them pre-set for publication, so to me it was one continuous thought on one particular subject.  Therefore I neglected to include the fact that the above quote is from "The Inner Ring", one of the pieces we will discuss at our next meeting - Monday, November 23rd at 6:15pm in the Community Room at the library.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

#689


"The Inner Ring" was the Commemoration Oration given at Kings College, University of London, on December 14, 1944.  This will be the second piece we discuss on Monday, November 23rd, our next meeting.  This is the second piece not specifically Christian in its content, the other "Why I am Not a Pacifist."  Though the address was given at a college with a religious heritage.  According to Kings College website the college "was founded in 1828-9 by a group of eminent politicians, churchmen and others. They wanted a Church of England alternative to what later became University College London (UCL, founded in 1826), known as 'the godless college in Gower Street'. King's was granted a royal charter by King George IV on 14 August 1829."  University College London was founded as a secular school.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#688


"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

The last sentence from "Is Theology Poetry?"

I could not find a better line to post from this essay.  It is often quoted, but I have no qualms about adding it to the internet again.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

#687



   In January of 1942 the Oxford Socratic Club had its first meeting.  The president of this club was C.S. Lewis.  About the Socratic Club, Lewis wrote:  "Socrates had exhorted men to 'follow the argument wherever it led them':  the club came into existence to apply his principle to one particular subject matter - the pros and cons of the Christian religion."  Lewis served as the president from its founding until 1954, when he began teaching at Cambridge.  
   Lewis delivered a handful of lectures at the Socratic Club that later ended up in collections of his writings.  A great resource for anyone interested in a history of the club is Walter Hooper's essay "Oxford's Bonny Fighter", over sixty pages documenting the club and Lewis' involvement. The piece ends with a few pages outlining every meeting between 1942 - 1954, with the date, topic, and speaker(s) listed.  This essay can be found in Remembering C.S. Lewis: Recollections of Those Who Knew Him, edited James Como.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

#686




The first address from The Weight of Glory we will be discussing at our November meeting will be "Is Theology Poetry?"  Lewis gave this address at Oxford University Socratic Club, Michaelmas Term, 1944, November 6th.

The last two posts were about Lewis and Cambridge.  Above is a picture of Oxford.  Lewis lived outside of Oxford his entire adult life and was a tutor at Oxford for the majority of his career.

Reading Lewis one will come across terms we Americans are not as familiar with.  The school terms in England are unique and I find interesting compared to our prosaic names in the American school system.  The first address we will discuss in November was delivered during Michaelmas Term in 1944.  In Surprised by Joy Lewis writes, "In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England."  In reading Lewis it is good to be familiar with the terms.


Current academic year dates:
Michaelmas 2015  Sunday, 11 October Saturday, 5 December
Hilary 2016          Sunday, 17 January Saturday, 12 March
Trinity 2016          Sunday, 24 April         Saturday, 18 June
From Oxford's Website

Michaelmas refers to the festival of St Michael - 29 of September.
Hilary refers to the fest day of St Hilary of Poitiers - 13 of January
Trinity refers to Trinity Sunday, which is the Sunday after Pentecost.

Things you too may find interesting!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

#685

Photo Credit

Magdalen
Nov 1st 54

Dear Mary Willis -

. . . Did I tell you I've been made a professor at Cambridge?  I take up my duties on Jan. 1st at Magdalene College, Cambridge (Eng.).  Note the difference in spelling.  It means rather less work for rather more pay.  And I think I shall like Magdalene better than Magdalen.  It's a tiny college (a perfect cameo architecturally) and they're so old fashioned, & pious, & gentle and conservative - unlike this leftist, atheist, cynical, hard-boiled, huge Magdalen.  Perhaps from being the fogey and 'old woman' here I shall become the enfant terrible there.
   It is nice to be still under the care of St. Mary Magdalene:  she must by now understand my constitution better than a stranger wd., don't you think.  The allegorical sense of her great action dawned on me the other day.  The precious alabaster box wh. one must break over the Holy Feet is one's heart.  Easier said than done.  And the contents become perfume only when it is broken.  While they are safe inside they are more like sewage.  All v. alarming.

     Yours
     Jack


Friday, October 30, 2015

#684


A farewell letter (and a Halloween Letter) from Lewis to Magdalene College, Cambridge, October 25, 1963:

Dear Master and Colleagues,

The ghosts of the wicked old women in Pope ‘haunt the places where their honour died’.  I am more fortunate, for I shall haunt the place whence the most valued of my honours came.
   I am constantly with you in imagination.  If in some twilit hour anyone sees a bald and bulky spectre in the Combination Room or the garden, don’t get Simon to exorcise it, for it is a harmless wraith and means nothing but good.
   If I loved you all less I shd. think much of being thus placed (‘so were I equall’d with them in renown’) besides Kipling and Eliot.  But the closer and more domestic bond with Magdalene makes that side of it seem unimportant.
   Thank everyone.

Yours always,
Jack

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

#683


Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 23rd - 6:15pm in the Community Room at the Library.  We will be discussing the rest of The Weight of Glory.  The rest includes:

Is Theology Poetry?

The Inner Ring

Membership

On Forgiveness

A Slip of the Tongue

Send me a message if you would like the discussion questions.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

#682


Meeting Reminder:

Monday, October 26th - 6:15pm - Meeting in the Trust Conference Room at the Library.

We will be discussing the first four sermons/addresses from The Weight of Glory:

The Weight of Glory

Learning in War-Time

Why I Am Not a Pacifist

Transposition

#1045

The Christmas season, for me, usually means my annual trip to the movie theater.  I average about one trip a year and as far as I can r...