C.S. Lewis, panhandlers, and laziness: these are all themes from this week's lineup of Ask Pastor John podcast episodes. Three episodes focus on C. S. Lewis and the fall DG national conference: "The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis" (September 27–29 in Minneapolis). Details for the conference are forthcoming.
Excerpts follow from each episode (click on the hyperlinked titles to listen).
November 22nd, 2013 marks 50 years since C. S. Lewis died in 1963, the same day John Kennedy died, the same day Aldous Huxley died. But behind the occasion is the man and his extraordinary influence in so many different ways. This fall, on November 22, he will be honored by having a memorial put in the poet’s corner of Westminster Abbey along with the likes of Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Robert Browning, William Shakespeare, Herbert Spencer — an extraordinary thing for a 20th century Christian apologist, writer of fiction, scholar of medieval literature, to receive. …
I would put Lewis in the top five people on the planet who have influenced me. And of the folks coming to the conference, Doug Wilson talks even more lavishly. I heard him say that C. S. Lewis has had a greater impact on him than the sum of all the other writers he has ever read. That is stunning when you think what Wilson has read. And I know the fiction of Randy Alcorn is profoundly influenced. And Kevin Vanhoozer, we are going to hear some surprising things from him with regard to the theological way the imagination works. And Phil Ryken, the president of Wheaton, loves C. S. Lewis. So we are doing this conference, because we have a love affair with this man and we have a debt to pay.
I fell in love with reasoning in the 10th grade in a geometry class and the next year in the 11th grade I fell in love with literature, reading, poetry. Two years later I met C. S. Lewis and he put those two together as I never thought they could be put together: somebody who was as razor sharp in his thinking and reasoning as anybody I ever heard, and somebody who was as explosively, vividly, powerfully imaginative as anybody I have ever heard. And those two things have marked my ministry probably as much as much as anything — the juxtaposition of logic and imagination or romance or feeling or poetry. And Lewis is the one who wakened that connection.
Lewis finds reality in all of its blazing, glorious dazzling there-ness, and he wants to make it plain. He really believes there is a God, really believes there is a world, really believes there is logic. He is not dabbling in sophomoric fascination with thoughts. He was serious about finding what is really there. He loved answers more than he loved questions. He loved helping people know God, not just provoking them with uncertainties. Intellectual people tend to play a lot of games, and think they are being profound when they create questions in your head they cannot answer. Lewis wasn’t like that. He loved the Church. He loved people. He wanted to help people with his mind, and he used his amazing logic for it.
Selfishness is so dominant in my heart, I am reflexively hard toward this person. He makes me mad. I want to say, “Get a job.” I have not even entered into his story. I am not interested in his condition. My reflex is anger. My reflex is, “Get a life.” And that’s a sinful reflex. I do not think that is godly for me to respond that way. I think this is the old nature creeping up in me.
Work is not a curse. Frustrating work is a curse. The Lord God put the man in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep and that is before the fall. So get a robust, good, positive theology of work. Realize that God put us on the planet to be co-makers, co-creators, co-workers with him. We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand (Ephesians 2:10). Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Do it as to the Lord and not to man (Ephesians 6:7). So all those verses are meant to just feed into a robust theology of looking upon doing during the day, getting up, being productive, making something happen: creating something, cleaning a room, washing the car, fixing the brakes, writing a computer program, tending a sick person, making a good meal. All of these things are blessed by God as something he wants his co-makers and co-workers to do.
The Ask Pastor John daily podcast is a series of 3–8 minute conversations released on weekdays at 10:30am (EST) via the DG Facebook and Twitter feeds. You can tune in to the new episodes through the new Ask Pastor John iPhone app, which can be downloaded for free here. We’re currently hosting all the recordings on SoundCloud, a website that makes it easy to listen to several of the podcasts in one sitting. They’re also archived on the DG website and syndicated in iTunes.
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