WE DID IT!
WITH THIS LAST WEEK OF SUMMER,
WE WILL HAVE COMPLETED MERE CHRISTIANITY. IT MAKES ME WANT TO SING THIS, FROM MY FAIR LADY:
You did it! You did it! You said that you would do it,
And indeed you did. I thought that you would rue it;
I doubted you’d do it. But now I must admit it
That succeed you did. You should get a medal
Or be even made a knight.
WE SHOULD HAVE A FEELING OF ACCOMPLISHMENT!
I want to celebrate this group, who has persevered through what I realize is a very challenging book.
I was stirred by your opening testimonies of why you wanted to join in.
Chris told of how Mere Christianity impacted her husband, and how he listened to it again through audio as he and his unbelieving sons worked on cars.
I sympathized at just how hard Lewis is, but then I rejoiced to see you getting it.
Bing said “Oh Mr. Lewis, you certainly have taken me in a round-about way!”
Wendy told of pulling out her hair, then finally seeing the light, then going back to hair-pulling!
But those who persevered, learned, loved, and grew.
I love it that this group is not afraid to disagree! I remember when we brought up the issue that some Christians won’t use pictures of Jesus and Laura said: “Wow! I’ve never heard anything about this kind of thing and never even thought about it. I will read the article but my gut instinct says, Hogwash!
(She felt a bit more sympathetic after reading the article.)
I absolutely love the iron-sharpening-iron of this group.
Last week when pondering if Lewis’s statement means he believed in purgatory, Susan said,
“I don’t think this statement about suffering after death means Lewis believed in purgatory,” and gave an excellent alternative explanation. (You’ll have to see last week if you want to see what she said.) That was wonderful for me to read, for I really don’t want to think that this beloved author embraced purgatory.
Yet this is the first time we’d done a book rather than Scripture, so we shouldn’t assume Lewis is infallible, for no man is. You take his thoughts through the filter of Scripture and ponder!
I remember Mary saying, “I was stunned to read Lewis say it is better to live together than to make promises you don’t intend to keep. I have to mull that over more.” We had some great discussions on his views of marriage, and I remember how beautifully Sharon articulated the sacredness of marriage, but also the mercy of God in allowing divorce in some situations. She wrote:
I remember a preacher stating that if a married women is being abused she must stay in that marriage even unto death! After making sure I understood what he was saying, I walked out of that church and never went back.
Nanci, after reading that Lewis said there was a kernel of truth in all religions, thought, Wait, that can’t be so, but then, she found one — they all believe in a god or gods.
You loved the humor of Lewis. As when Bev laughed at this from Lewis: “People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, that we should lay eggs!”
You liked the way Lewis teaches us how to think and how to have fruitful two-way discussions.
After Rebecca had a frustrating theological discussion with her son, she said, “I should have answered with questions asking him where he got this idea of unjust.” Likewise, Dawn said, “When dealing with my sons and their wives I have gotten much better at asking questions so I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes.”
You mined the gold, as when Jenny wrote: “If Christianity means only one bit more of good advice, then Christianity is of no importance.”
And, oh, I could go on, and I know I’ve missed many of you. I have appreciated those who have jumped in to encourage us, even if they couldn’t do the whole book: Diane, Lizzy, and so many more.
So we’ve just two short chapters to finish this week,
and I’m looking forward to more of the same from this group, this gift of fellowship over the internet!
1.What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. What do you think you will remember about this summer’s journey:
A. From this group
B. From Mere Christianity (Choose two things)
Monday: Nice People or New Men
It amazes me that though I originally read Mere Christianity fifty years ago, that many of his word pictures stayed in my mind. So many people think Christianity is becoming nicer people, and I did too, but no. It is the difference, for example, between a horse becoming better and stronger and able to jump higher, and a horse becoming a flying horse.
Tuesday: Reflecting on Nice People or New Men
How often I have pondered why some unbelievers are so much nicer than some believers. Some of the worst sports at pickleball claim to be Christians, and some of the best sports claim to be atheists. Lewis sheds light.
4. How does Lewis say we should and should not judge the ability of toothpaste to whiten teeth? What point was he making?
5. Why is it that you may have a lovely atheist neighbor and a grumpy Christian neighbor?
6. When you look at your before and after Christ, name two ways you have changed.
7. Why might “not-respectable” people be more drawn to Christ than “respectable” people?
8. How might understanding the above truths give you more grace for brothers and sisters in Christ?
Wednesday: The New Men
9. Read or listen to the last chapter and share your thoughts.
Thursday: Reflecting on The New Men
It appears Lewis believes in evolution, though he does say many intelligent people do not. From this he says, that Christians do not become nicer by the natural process at all, but by staying close to Christ and experiencing a “good infection.”
It is something that happens to us from the outside in.
14. Neither is it something that is reproduced sexually. How does John 1:13 put it?
“Some new men are hardly recognizable,” Lewis says, for reasons explained in the last chapter, but others “can be recognized. Every once in a while one meets them. …Their voices and faces are different from ours: stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant…They do not draw attention to themselves. you tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do, but they need you less…They will usually seem to have a lot of time: you will wonder where it comes from.”
I still remember reading that 50 years ago. What comes to mind is some dear saints, some of you, I’ve been privileged to know throughout my long life — who were or are indeed, the fragrance of Christ. I think of my husband Steve who was all of the above. And it also brought to mind this scene between Fred Rogers and the senator in a hearing in congress! As you may know, Fred Rogers was a believer — and he certainly fits the description Lewis has given. I don’t know that I’ve seen a you-tube video that has had as many hits as this one — and I think it is because the fragrance of Christ so permeated Fred Rogers. If you like, listen and comment.
15. Comments? Who have you known who has the fragrance of Christ?
Friday: We remember best what we articulate ourselves.
16. Please dig out two quotes you really want to remember from Mere Christianity.
17. What do you think you’ll remember from this week’s discussion?