Before I continue with any more blogging, I feel as though I owe C.S. Lewis an apology. Several blogs ago (on gender reconciliation) I referenced something I’d heard C.S. Lewis had said, and I did so with, be it ever so slight, disdain in my voice.
I’ve never been a C.S. Lewis fan. He already has plenty of fans, why should I become yet just another one of them? In the past, I’ve attempted books like Mere Christianity and The Abolition of Man and struggled to stay with them. I just don’t think that much about those things. I have read The Four Loves and LOVED it. I have never (yet) read the full Chronicles of Narnia. I have read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, parts of The Magician’s nephew, and parts of The Last Battle and did appreciate his way of making “deep” and “deeper” magic out of deep theological truths. I’ve reached for The Screwtape Letters and some of his poetry, but never really made a lasting connection. What I’m saying is that I’m not one of these people who can say they’ve read, studied, and immersed themselves in the majority of his fiction and non-fiction work. However, I am now unashamedly a fan, not in a madly in love fan-girl sense, but in a “Well, duh. How could I have been so stupid?” sense.
C. S. Lewis is a phenomenal writer. His ideas are clear, and he writes of human thought and experience in a kind and disarming yet “nailed it” sort of way. I recently read Surprised by Joy, and it was one of the most delightful reading experiences I’ve ever had. I don’t recall ever smiling so much while reading a book. Such was the oddity, I even began marking the pages with smiley faces 🙂 every time he made me smile. I now have an answer to the question, “What is your favorite book of all time?” Prior to Surprised by Joy, I have never been able to easily answer that question. The Bible, yes–but no one, including me, ever really likes that answer.
Here is what C.S. Lewis actually says:
“The last stage in my story, the transition from mere Theism to Christianity, is the one on which I am now least informed. Since it is also the most recent, this ignorance may seem strange. I think there are two reasons. One is that as we grow older we remember the more distant past better than what is nearer. But the other is, I believe, that one of the first results of my Theistic conversion was a marked decrease (and high time, as all readers of this book will agree) 🙂 in the fussy attentiveness which I had so long paid to the progress of my own opinions and states of my own mind. For many healthy extroverts self-examination first begins with conversion. For me it was almost the other way around. Self-examination did of course continue. But it was (I suppose, for I cannot quite remember) at stated intervals, and for a practical purpose; a duty, a discipline, an uncomfortable thing, no longer a hobby or habit. To believe and to pray were the beginning of extroversion. I had been, as they say, ‘taken out of myself’. If Theism had done nothing else for me, I should still be thankful that it cured me of the time-wasting and foolish practice of keeping a diary. (Even for autobiographical purposes a diary is nothing like so useful as I had hoped. You put down each day what you think important; but of course you cannot each day see what will prove to have been important in the long run.)”
~Surprised by Joy, p. 284-285