It’s nice to be back at the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College for a C. S. Lewis conference this week. Because of that, I didn’t intend to write any blogs for the week, but the instruction has been so invigorating that I would like to share a little bit of what we’re receiving here.
It’s been four years since I came here to investigate Lewis’s connection to Americans, an investigation that led to my book, America Discovers C. S. Lewis: His Profound Impact. Since then, the Center has added an auditorium where it can more easily make presentations. Those presentations thus far this week have been both thoughtful and moving.
Dr. Jerry Root, a superb Lewis scholar and engaging teacher, has been the primary speaker. I heard him at a C. S. Lewis Foundation conference a few years ago and was duly impressed then. I’m doubly impressed now.
The focus has been on being an authentic Christian who can speak to the world about Truth. All too often, we come across as inauthentic; that type of person pushes people away from the very truths we are trying to communicate.
The challenge is to continue to examine ourselves before God. Dr. Root commented, “If you don’t examine your life, others will do it for you.”
How very accurate.
We need to cultivate virtue in our lives, a virtue that consists of four characteristics:
- Courage: endurance; fortitude; staying power
- Temperance: the ability to resist immediate pleasure for long-term gain
- Justice: fairness; law-abiding; having a bedrock of honesty in one’s life
- Wisdom: being careful about the decisions we make
Interestingly, Dr. Root said he disagrees with Lewis’s position in Mere Christianity where he calls pride the worst of all sins. Instead, he offers the following thought: pride emanates from fear (of not being accepted, etc.); fear comes from not loving God perfectly. Therefore, not loving God is the primary sin. As I John 4:18 tells us,
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
I grasp what he’s saying about that. I’ll have to consider it more fully.
How do we discover God’s love? By obeying Him. As we do so, His love is revealed. So one doesn’t wait to “feel” God’s love; rather, one does what He says and insight into His love will follow.
Another concept he presented that should help us understand just how much God loves is this: if God made it, He sustains it, so that means He loves it. God made us, He sustains us, therefore we can be assured He loves us.
Coming back to that first point about authenticity, here is the challenge: If we don’t come to the place where God is enough for us (we don’t want or need anything else but Him), we will never communicate with authenticity because we won’t be truly authentic.
I want authenticity to permeate my life. I deeply appreciate what I’m receiving here this week.
While I’m here, I’m doing more research into the connection between Lewis and Dorothy Sayers. It’s nice to be back at my “old station” in the Wade Reading Room.
I just keep thinking, “Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity.”