Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Neighborhood of Make Believe

I read Mere Christianity a week or so ago. Great book. It got me thinking (as any great book should do). C.S. Lewis uses a lot of highly imaginative examples and analogies, things involving the relativity of time, theories of evolution unlike any I have heard before, and so on. This is not surprising. Lewis had an incredible imagination; add to that his ability to communicate his imaginings, and you've got a remarkably gifted man. Anyway, I had a hard time with some of his suggestions. Not the literal meanings, but the imaginings. I'm so darned practical and realistic that I sometimes struggle with things that aren't obviously practical and realistic. And this, I have found, is a great handicap. It really inhibits my understanding of God. I could discuss this at length, but I won't put you through that. The real point, or at least the most clear resolution in my own mind, is that I don't want my children to have this handicap. Yes, of course I want my kids to have a good handle on reality, I don't want them to live in La-La Land. But I want them to know that the world is a really big place, and the universe is even bigger, and God is even bigger, and that we may not have the best vantage point from which to view our own lives or the lives of those around us, and we most certainly don't know all there is to know about God. I want them to have minds that are sharp and discerning, and hearts that are full of wonder and awe. I want them to have good imaginations. I will do everything I can to encourage and strengthen their imaginations. This is one of my primary goals as a parent.

Harry E. Fosdick said, "I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it." If I had to judge Harry's life by this one statement, I would say he was a very wise man.


Hansonius said...

Greetings from Sunnyslope!

I stumbled upon your blog and saw that you had recently read (and had been impressed by) C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. From what you say you'd like for your child, you have to read some G.K. Chesterton. He was an admitted influence on Lewis and was a great defender of mystery and imagination. Read Orthodoxy if you get a chance. If you really like Lewis then you won't regret reading Chesterton!

Holly said...

Thanks for the tip! I'm always looking for good book recommendations. Orthodoxy is now waiting for me on the hold shelf at the public library, along with the book that your wife recommended. I'm looking forward to reading them both.

Your daughter is absolutely darling.

iessica said...

Hi! I admit, I have no idea who you are and I doubt you know any more about me. Let's just say I saw the word "Orthodoxy" on the blog of "Hansonius" and knew I had to rant about it to somebody. Anyhow, READ ORTHODOXY. It's a great book. Chesterton has such a refreshing view of the world and of God--no less true than Mere Christianity, but very differently stated.