In my latest post titled “Favorite Lewis Quote #4 – God’s Megaphone”, I used a fictional dialogue between a Dad and his son, along with the metaphor of “tickling“, as a way of understanding or categorizing suffering in the life of a believer. I would like to use this post to provide a few “keys” to understanding that dialogue.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – The Problem of Pain
“Papa does God hear me when I pray?” The little boy jumped into his bed, dirty socks drooping off of each foot. His Dad, a construction worker, tired from a hard day’s work, went into the bathroom and poured the boy a glass of water.
“Yeah, he hears you.”
“But how do you know he hears me?”
“Cause I just know.”
“Yeah, but can he see me too?”
“Yeah, he can see you.”
“But how do you know? Can you see God?”
“No, I can’t see him? Don’t be silly.”
“Then, how do you know he can see us?”
“Well,” said the Dad, just cause we can’t see him, that don’t mean he can’t see us.”
“But how do you know?”
“Cause I just know that’s all”. The boy’s big Dad grabbed hold of his droopy socks and playfully pulled them off his feet.
I now come to that part of Christian morals where they differ most sharply from all other morals. There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. I have heard people admit that they are bad-tempered, or that they cannot keep their heads about girls or drink, or even that they are cowards. I do not think I have ever heard anyone who was not a Christian accuse himself of this vice. And at the same time I have very seldom met anyone, who was not a Christian, who showed the slightest mercy to it in others. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others. Continue reading
Once upon a time…far, far away, there existed a kingdom without a King, where everyone was safe. In this Land of Safe, no one ever grew sick or ill. And no one ever died. The people were never hungry, never desperate, never thirsty, never sad. In this Land of Safe, always beautiful, never ugly; always full, never empty, the lonely people lived – Safe from the pain of war; Safe from the pain of anger; Safe from the pain of loss…Safe from the pain of love.
For in its essence, the idolatry of safety is nothing more than the desire to be free from the suffering of love. And so this land – safe, secure, happy, and comfortable – was a land without the dangers of compassion. The people all understood that hiding was the only way to be truly safe and so safety stayed in fashion. They were kind but never close. They were nice but never near. During the day they encased themselves in cubicles. At night they locked their doors and hid inside their fear. When they traveled, they sealed themselves inside moving metal boxes. They talked to one another, but only through machines. They worked safe jobs. Washed in safe bathrooms. Kept their money in safe banks. They Hid inside safe houses, that were built inside safe walls, surrounded by safe fences, and locked inside safe gates. Marriage? Far too dangerous; Babies? Much too perilous; Families? Way too hazardous…inside the Land of Safe.
“How difficult it is to avoid having a special standard for oneself.” – C.S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady, p. 58
I tend to view myself as a ‘specialme’. When I’m standing in line at the grocery store, with 20 people in front of me, somehow I feel like I am the one person who is so special, that I should be allowed to go to the front of the line. When I do something wrong – like losing my temper or gossiping or building myself up while tearing someone else down, or when I kill someone and bury them in my backyard – I feel like I’m justified because I am a ‘specialme’. Now, if someone else kills a person and buries them in their back yard…well, that’s just wrong. No question about it. But me? Hey, I have my reasons, doggone it. If I want to kill people – if I want to be a cannibal – then it is my right. Me and Hannibal Lecter are in a different category. Don’t hate us just because we like to eat people.
In keeping with my series on my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes, I would like to share with you the “C.S. Lewis Song”, in which Brook Fraser sings a beautiful strain that is based upon some of Lewis’ words and thoughts.
If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy,
I can only conclude that I, I was not made for here
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary,
then of course I’ll feel nude when to where I’m destined I’m compared
To read the rest of the Lyrics click the link…
“Really great moral teachers never do introduce new moralities: it is quacks and cranks who do that… The real job of every moral teacher is to keep on bringing us back, time after time, to the old simple principles which we are all so anxious not to see.”
When you think about it, teaching truth really is a thankless job. The picture is much like the mother who stands over her child with a spoonful of cough syrup, urging her to open her mouth. This is because truth usually goes down hard. Yet, if the mother is good and true and loving, she will not back down from her call to care for her little one.
Truth is not sexy or fun or new or original. Truth is old. And even when we have not heard it before, when truth first comes to us as a new thought, or when it seems novel because it is novel to us, even then, we often find that truth has the ring of something old, something that has been taught a thousand times before, something that has risen from antiquity and dusted itself off before us. When we hear truth, we get the sense that we should know this already, or that we have known it and simply allowed ourselves to forget.