Category Archives: Clive Staples Lewis

Heavenly or Hellish Creatures

The small choices matter.  One will reflect, plan, worry and generally count the cost when big decisions must be made, but it is the daily, moment by moment decisions that build the landscape of one’s life.

“[E]very time you make a choice you are turning into the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.”
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)

The choice to take a break and spend time with my kids these past few weeks, walking away from the blogosphere and reconnecting  with my children in the sphere in which they live, may appear to be a small choice but it has been one of significance.   My youngest son just had a birthday and though we spent the day together, it didn’t feel like we truly spent time with each other.  It wasn’t until two hours before worship practice that same day, that he came to me, with tears in his pre-teen eyes and said, “Mom, could you re-schedule band practice and spend time with me?  Aren’t I more important than practice.”

Ouch.  I swore I would never let ministry and “my stuff” come before my kids and I had.  So, I made the right choice in that moment and quickly called everyone, pushing practice back a few nights and demonstrating to my boy how much he truly means to me.

Daily choices make lifelong impressions on those in one’s life.  To choose poorly may have ramifications years down the road.  I may, through the choices I make not only be slowly turning into a hellish creature, but by my very decisions, I may be helping lead my own children in the same hellish direction.  Conversely, when I am making decisions that are in harmony with God’s plan, I am showing those I love the most, my kids, how to love God through my choices and in turn I am becoming a heavenly creature, demonstrating to them how also to live like Christ, the only example of a truly heavenly being.

Today may not present a life altering decision, but one’s daily choices when weighed en masse, may in fact bring one closer or farther from the image of God’s Son.


Love = Vulnerability

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” — C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

Tears have fallen today, though we knew this day would come. Our “Arnold Bean”, the once chubby beagle had to be put to sleep at the ripe old age of thirteen. The pain that loving brings is climaxed upon the death bed and perhaps purest in the tears of a child. Yet would we choose to not love, even an animal, in order to avoid such pending hurt, as death comes with life? Would we avoid affectionate attachment, so as to not feel inevitable anguish?

My daughter’s good bye offering to her beloved pet was a video montage which she made from the last pictures of today. Heart felt and tear invoking, her thirteen year old heart morned in an innocent and truthful way. My son, who chose to go with us to put the “old man” to sleep, made some deeply profound statements, as he rubbed his “best friend’s” head. Even in his eleven year old mind, he understood that both Lucifer’s fall and man’s fall were affecting his lovable beagle Arnold, and that because of sin, even the animals must pay the price and die. The sweet little boy that he is, said, “I am going to weep and weep for my best friend.”

Life means death and there is no escaping the pain that it brings.  As C. S. Lewis stated, “Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.” In order to live the highest joys, one must experience the lowest lows. Loving an animal, especially for a child, is the first steps of experiencing life and death, joy and pain.  These may be the baby steps that help prepare for the loss of a grandparent or friend and should not be discounted and avoided, but embraced as part of growing pains that go along with life in a fallen world.


If Men Were Angels…..

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” James Madison-Federalist Papers Number 51.

Cockroaches

A light is lit in a dark room to scatter the blackness, to uncover potential hazards and many times to send the cockroaches running.  This past week, light has been directly aimed into various dark corners and the cockroaches have indeed scattered.  Acorns are falling from trees,  a peanut farmer spreads hate and a spoiled nut steps into the spotlight, opens his mouth and spews insults.  Where is the morality?  Where are the ethics?  What happened to polite society?

While driving home after teaching a Government class for an engaging group of seniors high students, another vehicle passed by mine, slowed down and the young man in the back seat proceeded to drop his window,  drop his drawers and share his hind end with me and my car full of kids.  So much for keeping things in the dark!  Apparently this cockroach liked the sunshine, but it made me think deeply about the moral direction or  lack of it  in our country.  The contrast of the “mooning teen” to the teens who were passionately discussing the loss of individual rights when the “bad apples” in society break the law and law makers make blanket legislation that hurt those who uphold the law, was poignant.

Noah Webster stated, “The moral principles and precepts contained in Scripture ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws.  All the miseries and evils which men suffer from, vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”  If  this is true and I believe it is, then it explains the “why” to the condition of our morally decaying society.  When there is no bedrock of absolute truth, when society lives by it’s own wavering definition of “rightness”, then we end up with a society of citizens, run by a government of officials who don’t pay their taxes, who lie, cheat and steal, who support an ideology of “just don’t get caught” and who act like Eve in the Garden of Eden passing the buck when they are caught with their pants down.  If the “grown ups” who run the government, work in the schools,  for the unions, the hospitals and the car dealerships (a very short list) live by their wishy-washy whims, then how can we expect the youth of the nation to live any differently?

noah webster

We act shocked by the Acorn scandals this past week, but why are we, when right is might and morality is fleeting?  Webster may seem prophetic in his statement: “All the miseries and evils which men suffer from, vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible”, yet this isn’t prophetic, but merely learning the lessons from history and hind sight.  Immorality is as old as the foundation of the earth and nothing in human nature alone can over come its grip.  Yet we choose to not learn from the mistakes of those before us and pridefully believe we have evolved into a better creature.   I have yet to see an evolved ethically moral human being without the foundation of Biblical Truth permeating his life.

Clive Staples Lewis penned this poem that speaks clearly about the nature of man: 

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love –a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek–
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

Humanity, brought into the glaring light of morality, will scatter like a cockroach unless it has learned to live, believe and be changed by the Scripture.  We who desire to see our country restored must be willing to live by the standards that we require others to live by.  Our morality must be whiter and truer than the next man’s morality because only then do we have a relevant leg to stand on.  Our morality must be based on non-shifting truth and we must raise the bar for the youth of the nation to live by the higher standard and not tolerate unethical and immoral behavior.  We must demand our public officials to sign a new Magna Carta stating that they will abide by an high ethical standard and hold them to it.  We must not only hold our politicians to the strict construction of the Constitution, but we also must be willing  ourselves not only live it, but die for it.

Men are not angels and can easily devolve into cockroaches when the lights of morality are dim.  Let us not dumb down our moral curriculum just because it is difficult to live by, but rather raise the bar and raise a nation of youth who rise up to the occasion of doing what is right.  And when government or any other public or private office in America ducks under this bar, we need to turn the lights on, expose them and reach for the bug repellent.