YIMC Book Club, “Mere Christianity,” Week 7

This week we read Book 4, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

If you’re looking for the Cliff Notes version of Mere Christianity this week, you’re out of luck. I’m basically turning it all over to you guys. A chapter-by-chapter breakdown? Not in the cards. Besides, I don’t think it’s necessary.

The five chapters we read this week really could have been one chapter, don’t you think? Jack could have called it “Theology,” just not “Theology for Dummies.” Not that everything there was way over our heads; it’s just written for an adult audience. Jack points out things that we read before in Chesterton’s Orthodoxy—and also there in GKC’s essay “Why I Am A Catholic”—albeit a little differently.

Jack’s descriptions and explanations of the differences between making and begetting, his geometric explanation of the Trinity are very well done, in my opinion. What do you think? His explanation of God being outside time, although He came into time as a man—starting as it were a good infection that has stood the test of earth time like no other religion—set my mind’s eye spinning in a good way. And since He became truly human and an example for us, He provides us the way to become children of God, rather than stay obstinate toy soldiers. Or mere sterotypical statues, as all created things really are. Keeping in mind (it’s Lent, after all) that we are dust, we very well may stay dust, or be damned if we don’t decide otherwise and get with the program. Our Lord gives us a picture in today’s Gospel reading.

A great set of chapters, uplifting even. Jack scuttles back quickly to Scriptures and counsels us to do likewise throughout. For to stray too far is to fall off a cliff. I like his disclaimer on God being out of our time stream, and I’ll paraphrase, it’s not Biblical, but it’s Christian. Let’s hear it for the Zoe’s! Thank God for the work of the Apostolic Fathers!

My favorite passage from this week’s reading? Right here—

because the whole difficulty for us is that the natural life has to be, in a sense, “killed,” He (Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ) chose an earthly career which involved the killing of His human desires at every turn-poverty, misunderstanding from His own family, betrayal by one of His intimate friends, being jeered at and manhandled by the Police, and execution by torture. And then, after being thus killed-killed every day in a sense-the human creature in Him, because it was united to the divine Son, came to life again. The Man in Christ rose again: not only the God. That is the whole point. For the first time we saw a real man. One tin soldier-real tin, just like the rest-had come fully and splendidly alive.

Thanks be to God! Now I’m gonna hog the cheese dip and listen to you all get the comment ball rolling. Ferris Bueller was out sick last week, not this week!

Next week we read Book 4: Chapters, 6, 7, and 8.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08801584133028591211 Laura R.

    Frank and others, I've tried twice to post a long comment tonight and not been able to get it through. Am too tired to try again tonight – will maybe try later. Sorry!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Laura: If you would like, you can send your comment vis e-mail and I can post it for you. My e-mail address is at my profile. Sorry for the glitches!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    As an FYI, I had to try twice to post this as well, just keep clicking LOL.

  • Warren Jewell

    My comments are subject to being one-handed at the moment due to two falls I have taken this past week ([KLUTZ!]) My left side feels abused and unwilling to help much.Forgive me – maybe Monday or Tuesday, 3rd week of Lent.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08801584133028591211 Laura R.

    Frank, thanks for the encouragement — I'm here to try again this morning! And Warren Jewell, I very much hope that you'll recover soon from your falls.I've been very glad to get into Mere Christianity after many years of reading and re-reading other works by CSL. I agree with you about his explanation of the difference between making and begetting and the geometric analogy for the Trinity; some of the ways he comes up with to explain otherwise daunting theological ideas are truly amazing: "The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a foetus inside a woman's body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab." The blurb on the back of my copy describes CSL as "the most original Christian writer of our century." That made me smile in one sense because, if I remember aright, Lewis said that he wasn't original at all, since all his material came out of Scripture and the early fathers. But his way of putting it all into terms understandable by twentieth (and twenty-first)century people really are original, not to mention entertaining.I had already come across his ideas of time and eternity in The Great Divorce (a wonderful little book that I *highly* recommend — it's not about divorce between spouses but rather the divide between Heaven and Hell, contra William Blake). This whole idea of time has, I confess, made me wonder about the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory, where sinners who will eventually get to Heaven must spend a certain amount of *time* in the purifying flames; wouldn't they be outside of time as we know it? Maybe it means a different sort of duration. Whatever, it is certainly beyond my understanding.One other thing: At the beginning of Chapter 5, Lewis says, "We do not know — anyway, *I* do not know — how things would have worked if the human race had never rebelled against God and joined the enemy." Perhaps in compensation(?) he wrote a short novel about just that scenario, set on the planet Mars. It's called "Out of the Silent Planet" and is the first volume of his space trilogy.

  • Allison Salerno

    @Warren: So…we are going to hear from the the right "wing" side of you?!Blessings and I am so sorry about you fall. Prayers.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    @ Laura: Very good points and a great comment. I'm not sure where the heck everyone else is but I appreciate you posting your take on this past weeks readings.