Sunday, January 19, 2014

Reading G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis



I've been reading a pile of books on and off.  Mostly off sadly.  I just need time to zone out of reality and not think about anything while on break.  School starts Monday, you know I didn't even think of that until just now.  I should probably look at my schedule or something and see which classes start first. I read A Grief Observed by CS Lewis.  Such a thoroughly enjoyable read, so very raw.  I'm just finishing up The Great Divorce by CS Lewis.  I've read some of a John Piper book on the purposes of the Cross of Jesus Christ.  I listened to audiobook (gasp) of a book by Susan Cain called Quiet: The power of Introverts in a World that can't Stop Talking.  Which has lead me to order Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh.  I've got to understand my place in this mess.  It's very messy.  Like a jigsaw puzzle in five dimensions and I can only perceive three of them, the fourth with extreme limitations. 

How does a book like the Bible tell us about a God of infinite dimensions when I can only perceive some of these dimensions, dimly and poorly?  The Bible doesn't really tell me much about an infinite God, it's more of a manual for getting through the first 70-90 years of my existence in one piece.  More so what's central is God's purpose in the current reality.  Obviously God's work is central, and his person and character come out precisely in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  But still.. what can it really tell me about the infinity of God?

It's a dim translation for a man who exists in a linear fashion when God exists at all places in all manners and at all times, at the same moment.  Truth comes in a dusty Bible when I am limited in my ability to perceive the truth of reality.  The Bible is not an exhaustive picture of God or truth, it's a manual diverse and complexly true enough to get me through the initial phase of my existence. That initial phase is until I die.

I've been paging through Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton, which is quite interesting.  I often catch myself bursting out laughing when I read Chesterton.  I thought this was strange, but not anymore.  It's obvious he's trying to be funny.  Or just wickedly clever.  I found Heretics by Chesterton to be quite annoying, and I don't know why, but I find myself loving Orthodoxy. In chapter two he pulls apart the dual apposing extremes of materialism in man and on the other end the all spiritual all is one, one is all mystic type.  He manages to explain the insanity of both views in ways my heart had ached to hear for 5+ years.  Things I could see day by day were wrong, yet the materialists could explain it all so well.  From taxes to job interviews to buying a new car, my hatred for such tasks and how the all encompassing worldview lead me around by a chain around the neck, enslaved not so much by the tasks themselves, but by the inescapable and all permeating worldview of materialism, work, go to college, get married, get a credit card, retire, 401 k, a truly suffocating worldview that was the truest form of enslavement: slavery of the mind.  And at the other end, the all spiritual all inclusive view, of "Do I even really exist?" Yeah, that sums it up quite well.  And that was a fun philosophy during college at the UW.  We fancied the suspension of disbelief and the professors might even have us believing it was real for a time.  I could never quite explain it away either, because it just reset the parameters for intellectual discussion all together.  Chesterton decimates both with keen and direct arguments, with a fine use of sarcasm and wit.

Chesterton, Lewis, Piper, all great authors to read if you've got a passion for Christianity and more specifically apologetic defenses of the faith.  If the church, the body of Christ is a diverse collection of believers, the apologists are it's knights, it's warriors.  They charge into rooms full of atheists, agnostics, mystics, and intellectuals of all kinds boldly defending the gospel of truth from every manner of attack.  They are the jedi knights, one could say, of the modern Christian church. 

I just mentioned the question posed by post-modernists "Do I even really exist?"  It's interesting to say that I have moments now, in the wake of my post-modern college days when I do in fact realize that I exist.  I do all the time.  Suddenly I realize that my old worldview was a lie, and the truth is as I walk around, do everything, I'm in a world that was created.  I'm in a universe where there is a sovereign God.  It's not a fanciful dream, it's not an old myth, it's real, actual, and in my face.  Those moments are foundation, they split my head in two and get a bit dizzy.  But that's just who I am.  After being indoctrinated into evolution and the religion of science, and then transitioning into this vacant post-modern view, yeah, it's hard at times to truly see that I am created by a loving God, and not the random product of times, matter, chance. 

And if you're just coming to this side, or just realizing what it means to be a Christian.. well it's quite a journey.  At least from what I've seen it is. 

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