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October 3, 2010

There was a time when Time magazine offered content above a fourth grade reading level. Here's an example from 1947


"People have discovered by bitter experience that when man starts out on his own to build a society by his own power and knowledge, he succeeds in building something uncommonly like Hell; and they have seriously begun to ask why." Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."
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"The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice . . . and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. . . . Only today I have found a passage in a Christian writer where he recommends his own version of Christianity on the ground that 'only such a faith can outlast the death of old cultures and the birth of new civilizations.' You see the little rift? 'Believe this, not because it is true, but for some other reason.' That's the game."
The lecturer, a short, thickset man with a ruddy face and a big voice, was coming to the end of his talk. Gathering up his notes and books, he tucked his hornrimmed spectacles into the pocket of his tweed jacket and picked up his mortarboard. Still talking—to the accompaniment of occasional appreciative laughs and squeals from his audience—he leaned over to return the watch he had borrowed from a student in the front row. As he ended his final sentence, he stepped off the platform.

The maneuver gained him a head start on the rush of students down the center aisle. Once in the street, he strode rapidly —his black gown billowing behind his grey flannel trousers—to the nearest pub for a pint of ale.

Clive Staples Lewis was engaged in his full-time and favorite job—the job of being an Oxford don in the Honour School of English Language & Literature, a Fellow and tutor of Magdalen College and the most popular lecturer in the University. To watch him downing his pint at the Eastgate (his favorite pub), or striding, pipe in mouth, across the deer park, a stranger would not be likely to guess that C. S. Lewis is also a best-selling author and one of the most influential spokesmen for Christianity in the English-speaking world.

5 comments:

Quite Rightly said...

Ahhh. That was a good read. It's time to dust off those old Lewis volumes and crack them open again.

Many of the more "open-minded" among us pride themselves on forgiving Christians for existing precisely because--as they constantly exhort Christians to believe--"Christianity produces social justice."

It occurs to me that Wormwood has gained considerable practice since Screwtape first took him under his leathery wing. Look at the number of good-hearted Christian socialists and communists who showed up at the "One World" rally under banners promoting social changes proven by history to produce widespread hunger, homelessness, death, and despair.

Rhod said...

I pick up Lewis pretty often and just open and read, mid paragraph sometimes because it doesn't matter where he is on any subject. I know his cases well enough to fill in the rest.

Years ago I put up a Yale Div student for a while. He held the trendy view that Lewis wasn't a "serious" thinker or theologian.
I couldn't understand that position any more than I could understand "serious" theologians.

That's the miracle of C.S. Lewis.

Zio Rico said...

I'm not the saltiest pretzel in the bag but even I enjoy reading him. It stretches my mind and there is no highr compliment than that.

Nickie Goomba said...

Hah!! Rhod, I just knew that a subtle whiff of academia and oolong would tempt you from your garret.

Rhod said...

Oolong, yes. I came out because of the subtle whiff of Glade that Sig left IN my garret.