Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Books in my Life II

C.S.Lewis has always been big in our life together. I quote Screwtape (5) more than anything else, but the one that shaped me was The Great Divorce (6). Very short-- it shaped my vision and feelings about life - now and hereafter.

Lewis' mentor George MacDonald was mine, too.
Many of his novels have recently been published. They are simplistic, but Lilith (7) we read over and over--a sort of adult Narnia.

(Most of these books are short. My experience has usually been that short books have more to say to me than long ones.)

The atheistic psychiatrist, Eric Fromm's The Art of Loving (8) crystallized in my mind the fundamental truth of Christianity: Loving God, self, and neighbor (everybody) all happen to the same degree. In other words you can't do any one of them without doing the others in equal measure.

I could name many others but I'll pass to one I've celebrated in at least one of my posts:
"Can the pope speak infallibly?", William Stringfellow was asked at an ecumenical gathering. Reply: "Any Christian who speaks in conformity to the gospel speaks infallibly." An Ethic for Christians and other Aliens in a Strange Land (9) was something I didn't want to hear at the moment, but I never got away from it. (Barth said Stringfellow was the one we should be listening to: I'm beginning to understand why David liked Barth, maybe.)

I like Stringfellow; I've lived his life, although in a very partial way. I met him at about 50 and got from him something that had been growing stronger within me for many years: permission to challenge the Establishment.

We all have the gospel within us, and if we conform to it no fear, nor pride, nor ego can hurt us--we're safe!!!


donalgrant said...

Hi Larry -- just want to say that I completely agree with your selection of Lewis and George MacDonald. The Great Divorce was my favorite book for a long, long time -- until I discovered George MacDonald. It's still #2. I love the quote: "This moment contains all moments." But Lewis introduced me to George MacDonald -- I'm re-reading Lilith at the moment, having just finished re-reading the Curdie books. I re-read my favorite book, "At the Back of the North Wind" (for which I named my blog devoted to GMD topics) at least once / year.

Anyway, it warms my heart to run across another Lewis / George MacDonald fan.

Larry said...

Welcome, Donalgrant.
I feel like I hit the jackpot with this post.
We have much more in common than MacDonald and Lewis. One blogger said books are of the mind or of the heart. MacDonald is definitely of the heart. He is certainly one of my mentors, and I'm grateful to Lewis for mentioning him.

Re a recovering fundamentalist: all right! I never was a fundamentalist, although I attended the New Orleans Baptist Theo. Seminary. I was always a Methodist and had a liberal minister father.

You might say I am a recovering orthodox Christian, as my History of the Church, in process on my website amply illustrates. I'd love to have you help me with that file as a co-author; it's too much for me.

As I've been writing it and reading all the books I can find on the N.T. and Jesus, over the past couple of years, I've found myself moving more and more in a liberal-- or modernist direction.

Bit by bit the old orthodox truths have fallen away until I'm left only with God's love, as given to us by Lord Jesus (low Christology!).

As my Christology became lower, I found Jesus become more real--Friend and Brother, the person I have always had to get along without. Praise God.

Someone asked William Blake if he thought Jesus was the son of God. "Yes he was" he said, "and so am I and so are you." That aptly represents my Christology.

I have looked (just a little) at your blog, and it is very impressive. I look forward to much creative dialogue with you, and perhaps with others following your glob. I certainly will be one of them.

God bless you and yours.

Ellie15 said...

Larry is out of town and unable to post to anybody until he comes. back.

pureplum said...

Hmmmm... thanks for the comments I've gotten from you and thanks for the authors names. I'm appreciating your sharings very much!