It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone. ‘Look out!’ we cry, ‘it’s alive’. And therefore this is the very point at which so many draw back—I would have done so myself if I could—and proceed no further with Christianity. An ‘impersonal God’—well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads—better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap—best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband—that is quite another matter. There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (‘Man’s search for God!’) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us?
C.S. Lewis, from from Miracles
Many people select books containing daily readings or devotionals. If that’s you and you are still searching for a 2017 companion, I suggest A Year with C. S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works, edited by Patricia S. Klein and published by HarperOne. The daily meditations have been culled from Lewis’ celebrated signature classics: Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, and A Grief Observed, as well as from the distinguished works The Weight of Glory and The Abolition of Man.
It was on this day, January 11th in 1942 that Lewis began his second series of BBC talks entitled “What Christians Believe.” These talks were later published in Broadcast Talks (or, in the U.S., The Case for Christianity) and comprise Book 2 in Mere Christianity.
Lewis was an intellectual but he pressed beyond intellect. He began life as an atheist, but honest seekers always lean hard on truth, ever pressing for deeper waters. In 1929 these roads met, and C.S. Lewis surrendered, admitting “God was God, and knelt and prayed.”
2 Timothy 2:15
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Literature: Lewis, Clive Staples (1893–1963), scholar and Christian apologist.
Born in Belfast, he was educated mainly privately until he entered University College, Oxford, in 1917. He was Tutor and Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, from 1925 to 1954, when he was appointed Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature in the University of Cambridge. His critical works include The Allegory of Love (1936), A Preface to Paradise Lost (1942), and English Literature in the Sixteenth Century (vol. 3 of the Oxford History of English Literature, 1954). At Magdalen Lewis underwent a gradual conversion experience described in his spiritual autobiography, Surprised by Joy (pub. 1955). He became widely known as a Christian apologist through a series of broadcast talks given between 1941 and 1944 and later published in book form, and through a number of other popular religious works which had a very wide circulation; these included The Problem of Pain (1940), The Screwtape Letters (1942; ostensibly from a senior devil to his nephew, a junior devil), and Miracles (1947). His clarity, wit, and skill as a communicator meant that he, like D. L. *Sayers and Charles *Williams, carried considerable weight; many Christians had their faith confirmed and a number of agnostics were brought closer to the Christian faith through reading his works. Lewis also published three science fiction novels with a strong Christian flavour: Out of the Silent Planet (1938), Perelandra (1943), and That Hideous Strength (1945). A series of seven ‘Narnia’ stories for children began in 1950 with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In 1956 he married Joy Gresham (née Davidman); A Grief Observed (originally pub. under a pseudonym in 1961) is a profound treatment of bereavement written after her death. A group of his friends, including Charles Williams, was known as ‘The Inklings’; they met regularly for many years in his rooms to talk and read aloud their works.
F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 981.