The books you come back to

The books you come back to

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about books you come back to, books you re-read, books that become as familiar as old jeans. For him it was Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. You could hear the joy in his voice as he talked. He said I should read it and offered to buy the copy from me if I didn't like it -- sort of a money-back guarantee. … [Read more...]

The discarded difference

The Discarded Image

In his book The Discarded Image, C.S. Lewis explains how the medieval worldview came to be, what shaped its vices, virtues, and values. Two tributaries fed the medieval mind, Greco-Roman Paganism and Christianity, and the two streams, brackish and sweet, often mingled.Here’s Lewis: “In a prolonged war the troops on both sides may imitate one another’s methods and catch one another’s epidemics; they may even occasionally fraternise. So in this period. The conflict between the old and the new r … [Read more...]

Dying to live

Dying to Live

God throws curveballs. As he plays the game, fools become wise, a virgin bears a son, and death precedes life. The order is basic for the Christian. We die in Christ to live in Christ.Sometimes people are struck by this aspect of the faith. The image or concept of death can take on an uncomfortable prominence. Baptism is, after all, a picture of dying. We follow Paul’s advice and “Put to death . . . what is earthly” in us. We sometimes even call our daily sanctification mortification. This is n … [Read more...]

Making the sign of the cross

Mosaic of many crosses

There is a passage in C. S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters, that helps explain the physical side of being spiritual.In his fourth letter, senior demon Screwtape holds forth on the subject of befuddling a new Christian in his prayers. He starts by mentioning a line from the romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge about how he prayed without “moving lips and bended knees.” Coleridge thought he nailed it well enough by merely feeling prayerful, a view that Screwtape endorses in the lines that fo … [Read more...]

No ideas in a vacuum

George Orwell

Ideas don’t exist in a vacuum. I was reminded of this while flipping through George Orwell’s collected essays and saw a jab he took at C.S. Lewis in a 1944 issue of the leftist Tribune. His beef was with Lewis’ collected radio talks, Beyond Personality, what eventually became the final portion of Mere Christianity.Orwell characterized Lewis as enjoying some “vogue at this moment,” which permitted him to offer “chummy little wireless talks.” But Orwell saw these chummy talks and books as subv … [Read more...]

What goes into a man

What Goes Into a Man

It’s no small mercy that one of the most elevated human undertakings can occur during one of the most humbling. Yes, I’m talking about reading on the john.Stop blushing. You know you do it. Everyone does. I only wonder if we’re maximizing the experience. … [Read more...]

Sex and food

Food Network

Read this quote from C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity:"You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act—that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you come to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the … [Read more...]


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