I was twenty-one, a wife, and a new mother.
My newly converted sister came to Indianapolis,
followed me around with a Bible,
and asked me question after question about Jesus:
Who do you think He is?
Why do you think He came?
Did you know He wants your whole life?
It was the longest weekend of my life.
I was so eager for her to leave and go back to Iowa.
But when I awoke on Sunday, and drew back the curtain,
I saw that we’d been hit with a freak October blizzard.
I couldn’t even see her car under the snow.
my trouble as deep as the drifts outside our window.
But Sally saw it as God’s opportunity and continued on for three more days.
It was God’s timing.
And when Sally finally left, she also left behind Mere Christianity,
which I devoured.
Before Sally and Lewis, I would have considered myself a Christian,
for I respected the teachings of Jesus
and thought I sort of followed them.
First, I didn’t really know much of what He said.
Second, I certainly wasn’t following Him.
Third, I had put him into the “safe” category of “teacher”
where I could ignore Him.
Lewis blew me out of the water
with what is perhaps his most famous quote,
a quote that has jolted countless hearts
from apathy to contemplation to surrender.
that I’d like you to listen to this short (less than 4 minutes) video with the
heart of Lewis’s argument.
Because this clip shows images from The Passion,
I know I am introducing a tangental controversy,
but I also know that this is a great place to have
sharpening discussions about controversial subjects, and we will.
Please watch this clip:
Sunday: Getting Started
1. What stood out to you from the above, including the clip, and why?
A Sunday Tangental Discussion: Should Christians use images of Jesus?
Some of my Reformed brothers and sisters are against any representation of Jesus. The late J. I. Packer, whom I so respect, gave some good reasons for not using images — and if you are interested, here is a one page article on that: http://ebcelkhorn.com/no-images-for-
I agree with Packer that we definitely shouldn’t use images for the purpose of worship. I also agree many, if not most, of the images make serious errors, such as making Jesus a blue-eyed Anglo-saxon, or insipid, or effeminate — and no one can truly represent Him. But I do think there is a place for pictures — so helpful with children, and even at times with adults. I feel many have gone too far in not allowing any images ever — reminding me a bit of the time during the Reformation when they took Luther’s teachings to an extreme and destroyed so many of the beautiful churches with stained glassed windows, cathedral ceilings, paintings of anything biblical, and crosses in Europe.
I think there is a place for images of Jesus in art and in movies. There is no doubt, for example, that the movie The Passion brought many to Christ, even though there were things that were off, and even though Mel Gibson struggles so with living the Christian life. (He produced the movie.)
2. How do you feel about using images of Christ and why?
Monday: The Shocking Alternative
3. Read Chapter 3 of Book II. and share what stands out to you and why. Or comment on the below doodle version.
Tuesday: Reflecting on Chapter 3.
4. How does Lewis explain the problem of evil?
(One way that Lewis is different from most who embrace Reformed Theology is his heavy emphasis on free will. Both free will and election are in the Scripture, and it is one of those “apparent controversies” which we will understand one day.)
5. Why were people shocked when Jesus said He forgave sins — including sins that had been against someone else?
6. Have you heard the argument of liar, lunatic, or Lord before? If so, how did it impact you?
In Lewis’s “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” both Lucy and Edmond have seen the magic world of Narnia — but Edmond denies it and says Lucy is lying. So the children run to the professor to arbitrate the quarrel. He asks them if Lucy is a liar — and they know she is a truthful girl. So then he asks them if she is crazy — and they laugh — no, she’s not crazy. The professor says: “Don’t they teach these children logic?” He tells them the only other alternative besides liar or lunatic is that she is telling the truth.
Action Assignment: Ask God to give you an opportunity in the next three days to ask a question of a friend that might lead to helpful dialogue about who Jesus is, or ask Him to give you a chance to share something you are learning in hopes of leading to dialogue. Be alert and seize the moment! I’ll ask you to share on Friday if anything happened.
Wednesday: Reading and Reflecting on Chapter 4.
7. Read The Perfect Penitent and share what stood out to you and why.
Here is the audio version from the C. S. Lewis institute for this week for those who like to listen — because these were originally radio broadcasts, audio is quite effective. Please feel free to share any new insights as a result of listening.
8. Lewis says we are living in “enemy-occupied” territory. How aware are you of this and how does it impact you?
9. Lewis addresses the reason Christ died — how does he explain it?
10. Some say it was easy for Christ to go through the crucifixion, for He was God. What does Lewis say?
Thursday: Read Chapter 5: The Practical Conclusion
This chapter is interesting to me in that it helps me see why Lewis was influential with Catholics, and why he calls this “Mere” Christianity — he is trying to see what all true believers have in common.
11. Read The Practical Conclusion and share what stood out to you and why.
12. What three ways does Lewis say Christ’s life spreads to us? What thoughts do you have on this?
13. Why is the Christian in a different position than others who are trying to be good?
14. Why is Jesus slow in returning?
Friday: Action Assignment
15. Were you able to have a dialogue with anyone as a result of your prayer?
Optional: Read this one page article on the reception to Mere Christianity — I found it fascinating. If you read it, share one thing that stood out to you. http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/A_Biography_of_Mere_Christianity_page2
16. What is your take-a-way and why?