Tuesday, April 29, 2008

That's Better

I remember finishing my reading of the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of John before it and starting the Epistles of Paul. Man, what a breath of fresh air! After the unflinching repetitiveness of the former two, the later retained a real, human voice. There was Paul of Tarsus speaking across the intervening millennia. This was a flesh and blood man with all his glories and faults (more than many are wiling to acknowledge.)

That is exactly how I felt while reading A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis. After hacking my way through seven Narnia books and with indigestible bits of Mere Christianity still clogging my brain, I felt I had finally met the man whom J. R. R. Tolkien had befriended all those years ago. Lewis produces pleasant turns of phrase. He wrestles with alternating bouts of despair, guilt and hope. Gone is the didactic and turgid prose of those other works. Present are a humility and openness. Even when Lewis comes full circle and re-engages a God who in some ways is just as catachismic as the one who seemed to abandon him in his greatest need, he does so without bombast and expecting to find that he has been mistaken in every one of his conclusions when he finally meets his Savior face to face.

Perhaps a re-read of Mere Christianity or one of Lewis' other apologist works would leave a kinder having seen the all-too-human man behind them. I think, however, that I am going to leave Dr Lewis for now as I encountered him in his last work - with a higher regard.

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