Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Inner Ring

In C.S. Lewis' "The Inner Ring", he discusses humans as insiders and outsiders of groups. He discusses the amusement that people have in knowing that they are part of a select group who have authority to admit some into the "ring" or dismiss others from it. Lewis states that these "rings" are all around and those who are on the outside must be careful as to why they want in.

A serious question is raised, must we be apart of a select group to really feel as if we belong in society? Lewis points out that being a member of the "inner ring" is not an evil in itself, for some things must be kept from others, but he warns those who use the "ring" for gossip and deceit.

Another important topic that must be looked at is the importance of the individual. Society cannot consist of people who simply are all the same, all the time, about everything; we must have individuals who are unique and make choices for themselves.

In conclusion, Lewis points out that we must not be in search of these inner rings, but simply maintain fellowship with friends and that in doing so, secrecy and a sense of separation from others will naturally occur, as a sort of by-product. However, the importance is placed upon making true, friendships that strengthen our walks with Christ.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Problem of Pain

C.S. Lewis' book, The Problem of Pain, he deals with the issue, how can there be pain in the world with a good and merciful God? Despite all the evil in the world, we must never forget that God is in control and that He does not nor has He ever created evil, but allows it to happen due to the fall. When those around us blame God for troubles and hardships, we must encourage them to realize that it is not God who tempts, but it is Satan. However, even when the devil tempts us, God gives him permission to do so and only allows as much as we can handle.

This reading stirs up many questions, such as, "Does God suffer?" What I have come to believe is that God has only endured suffering through the person of God the Son by His death on the cross. I also believe that God could not suffer the way we think of suffering because He would take off some of His focus on loving us. In addition to taking His attention off of loving us, this idea that God can suffer, implies that God is temporal and not eternal. For if something could have power to make God suffer, this would question God's own power. Evil cannot blackmail good, for it has no authority nor power to do so. God therefore cannot be subject to suffering.

Man or Rabbit?

In C.S. Lewis' essay "Man or Rabbit", he raises the question, "Can't you lead a good life without believing in Christianity?" He begins the essay by stating the fact that someone who asks this question, often does not care about Christianity at all but wants to live a "good life", according to society. If a man wishes to live a "good life" without Christ, he is a foolish man. "He is deliberately trying not to know whether Christianity is true or false, because he forsees endless trouble if it should turn out to be true." That man is lazy and does not want to have to glorify God, but only please himself.

Lewis' position on this question is that humans cannot achieve a "good life" without the help of Jesus in our lives. He states, "A decent life is mere machinery compared with the thing we men are really made for." This statement encourages us to think how we often set the bar so low, when we should be raising the bar and trying to fully glorify God with our gifts and talents. Thus in setting up a goal to strive for simply a "good life", we completely miss our point of existence. We were created for eternal happiness and life with our Creator in heaven.

Friday, January 23, 2009


The fourth chapter of Plantinga's Engaging God's World is titled, "Redemption" and discusses the importance of God's grace and mercy for His creation. Despite our desires to be close to God, sin creates a barrier between the Creator and creation. Humans sin constantly and we rely on the grace of God to forgive us of that sin, which Jesus paid for with His blood on the cross. Christians, for the most part, understand what is right and what is wrong, and how to control their actions. However, action is not always the sin, failing to act when injustice occurs in the world, and turning our face away from evils we know to be sinful. Christians, today, must not conform to society’s standards of what is right, but conform to scripture and what God says is right. Only then, will non believers see what the grace of God is like, through our actions.

God forgives all those who sin, if we only ask for it and believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Therefore, we should be willing to forgive those who do wrong to us because God forgives all sins. Lewis explains this concept in his essay, "On Forgiveness", by asking, how we can expect God to forgive, if we fail to forgive those who sin against us.

The Abolition of Man

In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis discusses the philosophy of education. He starts by talking about the miseducation of our youth from the "uncultivated souls", who lack the capacity to perceive all of God's splendor and His wondrous grace. In addition to realizing that God's grace and splendor is the greatest of all gifts, we must understand that intellect and reasoning cannot take the place of emotions.

Lewis continues to discuss that education is creating "men without chests." These "men without chests" lack virtue and the set of values necessary for all men. We must understand that in our education, we must never cease to teach principles such as integrity, honesty, and diligence. For if we continue to strip away virtuous education, our society will fail and an undesirable future will come upon us.

We must recognize God's grace and live according to how Jesus commanded. Our vocation, and calling to be fishers of men is the task that our Savior appointed to us. In doing so, we glorify and give honor to Him.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Four Loves

In The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis distinguishes between the four different types of love. They are Storge, Philia, Eros, and Agape.

Storge is the humblest of all loves, and is the least discriminating. It focuses on affection and is often related to the love between a mother and her child.

Philia is the least jealous of all loves, and possesses a certain "unnatural" quality. It is often related to the intense bond between friends who wish to seek a common truth together.

Eros is more commonly known as the love shared between two lovers. However, Eros has two parts-Eros and Venus. Venus is the carnal aspect of Eros, where a man desires a woman and seeks her for pleasure. Eros is the romantic and emotional side, where a man desires the woman and seeks her for who she truly is. Eros is the most appreciative of all pleasures, yet happiness is not its aim. The balance of giving and receiving is delicate and is only found by those who feel Eros, not just Venus.

Agape is love shown by God for His creation and love for God by creation. Our love for our Creator should be the focal point in all our relationships. No matter what we do, we should do it to honor and glorify God.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Vocation in the Kingdom of God

Chapter five of Plantinga's Engaging God's World is titled, "Vocation in the Kingdom of God" and discusses the Christian role in society. Vocation is a person’s calling in life. A Christian calling, according to Glenn Triezenberg, is “to continue Christ’s work until he returns, and in so doing to become a prime citizen of God’s kingdom.”

The vocation of a community should be to enhance the life, both physically and spiritually, of its people. If a community can succeed in ensuring that the physical needs are met for people to be comfortable and feel at peace, then it will also succeed in pointing people to Christ through action. Communities should help in the motivation of its members to discover their talent that God has blessed them with, and help to open the doors, so that their opportunities become vocation. Members of a community must communicate with each other to build one another up and help each other understand what your purpose and goals are in life. Vocation is lastly a product of service, and if a community takes the task of guiding its members toward their vocation, its service glorifies God and is made an example for other communities to follow.