Friday, 22 November 2013

A Tale of 2 Jacks (and one Aldous): A round-up of C.S. Lewis remembrances 50 years later

Fifty years ago today, C.S. (Jack) Lewis died.  That same day President John F. (Jack) Kennedy was assassinated.  Aldous Huxley died on that day as well.  All three men left a legacy and have had an enduring influence but it is open for debate as to which one has had more impact since their deaths or who will have more impact on succeeding generations.  I'd argue that thus far it is Lewis who has had the biggest influence and that this will increasingly be the case.  Of course I think the history books will continue to give most attention to JFK - he was a very popular president and the leader of the free world during a goodish chunk of the Cold War, and he did preside over a period of particular cultural and societal upheaval and unparalleled technological innovation.  But when I talk about who will have the most enduring legacy, I am not referring to how much ink each man will get in history text books.  Huxley too was a very influential person whose thought extended very far beyond the book for which he is most well known today (A Brave New World).  His skill as a writer and critical thinker ensure he will not soon be forgotten.  If reckoning only by total word count in history texts, I am quite certain Lewis will continue to come in a distant third.  But I am not primarily defining ongoing influence and impact by the total tonnage of material written by professional historians and biographers or doctoral students.

If examined in terms of present-day and future impact, I believe that Kennedy and Huxley will decrease whereas Lewis's influence will continue to grow.  I believe this to be the case for many reasons, chief among which is the fact that Lewis wrote on Jesus Christ and the Christian faith, subjects of eternal relevance.  But another main reason I believe in Jack Lewis's ongoing influence in the world is because he wrote some of the best, most endearing and most enduring children's books ever written:  The Chronicles of Narnia.  Kennedy shaped much of the political world which followed his time at the helm.  Huxley of course continues to be an important voice in societal and political philosophy and cultural criticism.  But Lewis wrote stories which have repeatedly helped shape the souls of the children who read them, most of whom grow up to read these same stories to their children.  As children read these stories, they are brought into a greater understanding of the nature of God, themselves, creation, sin, the cross and resurrection, courage, justice, grace and mercy.  Kennedy and Huxley may continue to influence the thoughts people think in their heads, but Lewis will go on nurturing fat souls, joyful hearts and budding imaginations.  And these are the things which shape people, and the their futures, most.

Check out Lewis being remembered in a fitting way:
Lewis joins Dickens, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Kipling, Tennyson, Austen, and many more by being honoured in Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey.

For some further thoughts on Lewis, as well as Kennedy and Huxley, check these out (in no particular order of importance):
Al Mohler's "the briefing"
Lecture on Lewis by Alan Jacobs
C.S. Lewis at Desiring God
Trevin Wax on Peter Kreeft's book about Lewis, Kennedy & Huxley talking in purgatory
The Wardrobe Door  on why Lewis is still popular
Kevin DeYong on Aldous Huxley
One list of George Grant's favourite Lewis quotes
...and another George Grant list of favourite Lewis quotes
Justin Taylor on the two Jacks
2 lectures by John Piper on C.S. Lewis
A comparison of the two Jacks over at The Federalist
Sinclair Ferguson on asks 'who was C.S. Lewis?'
Mere Orthodoxy on what Lewis can teach us
and last but truly one of the best...
Kevin Vanhoozer looks at C.S. Lewis and the Imagination in Theology and Discipleship

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

What kind of father are you?

Jonathan Parnell over at Desiring God has some great thoughts on being the kind of father to our children that God the Father is to us, especially when they are the kind of children that we often are to our heavenly Father.  You can read those thoughts here.

All of the toes some of the time

Someone once said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."  Sage advice.

Regarding faithful biblical preaching, a good rule of thumb might be, "You should step on all of the toes some of the time, and some of the toes all of the time, but you should never step on none of the toes all of the time."

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Stony hearts will bleed


Throw away Thy rod,
Throw away Thy wrath;
          O my God,
Take the gentle path!

For my heart's desire
Unto Thine is bent:
          I aspire
To a full consent.

Not a word or look
I affect to own,
          But by book,
And Thy Book alone.

Though I fail, I weep;
Though I halt in pace,
          Yet I creep
To the Throne of Grace.

Then let wrath remove;
Love will do the deed:
          For with Love
Stony hearts will bleed.

Love is swift of foot;
Love's a man of war,
          And can shoot,
And can hit from far.

Who can 'scape his bow?
That which wrought on Thee,
          Brought Thee low,
Needs must work on me.

Throw away Thy rod;
Though man frailties hath,
          Thou art God:
Throw away Thy wrath!

   -  George Herbert, 1593-1632

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Belgium contemplates extending legal euthanasia to children

I came across this disturbing article the other day.  It seems Belgian lawmakers are contemplating extending the "right" to euthanasia to children.  After all, one wouldn't want to discriminate based on age.  A Catholic Archbishop makes and interesting observation to the Belgian senate:
“It is strange that minors are considered legally incompetent in key areas, such as getting married, but might (be able) to decide to die,” Catholic Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard testified.
I agree with him that this distribution of "rights" to children is highly schizophrenic.  However, I am afraid that, in the far-gone West, and especially in nations as far gone as Belgium in embracing a fully secular humanist society, his comments are less likely to halt euthanasia for children and far more likely to extend decision-making rights to them in the other areas (such as age of sexual consent, marriage, etc.).  The article mentions that parents could help children make such a crucial decision.  I'm sure many adults would be willing to help minors make key decisions on sexuality as well, and I'm sure many of them would not be encouraging those children to wait until adulthood.

Francis Schaeffer warned that this is where relativistic secular humanism would lead.  Oh that we would read him and his present-day mantle-bearers more (Nancy Pearcey, Os Guinness, Douglas Wilson, D.A. Carson, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, Herbert Schlossberg, etc.).  Oh, that we would see the heights from which we have fallen in the post-Christian West.  The title of one of Schaeffer's books says it well:  "What ever happened to the human race?"