Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy birthday, Jack!

I mean that title in the freakiest most convoluted dorky Christian  the day you day is your heavenly birthday sense...

And yes, I meant to write this yesterday.  Yesterday, however, turned out to be far too full of fun stuff to make that happen.  I have a quarter sized funky lump under the skin above my left breast that yesterday looked like a spider bite.  Today it's just a sore lump that's kind of pink.  A fact I attribute to the doctor giving me prednisone at the Urgent Care last night.  I've never been smart and gone to the doctor the DAY I noticed a critter bite before, so maybe this will be my new pattern of behavior.  (I find softball sized sores full of icky stuff interesting in a scientific sense of "what the hell's going to come out of it next?" but they are painful and they scar...)

Anyway, back to the topic:

When I was a teenager, reading Mere Christianity changed my life.  I have friends who dislike it as a theological tome.  Find problems with the arguments etc.  What it did for me was show me a new way to talk to people about religion.  Logical conversation wasn't out.  Looking at them like they're insane when they say something like "You're a Christian, so you believe in dinosaurs, sky elevators and crazy shit like goblins under the earth poking people with sticks, right?" was suddenly not the best option.   I still look at them like they're crazy, but I can go on to have a somewhat civil conversation with them and maybe have them not think we've all drank the proverbial Kool Aid.  Unfortunately, thanks to my peers in other churches they usually walk away thinking they've just met a unicorn . But it got me thinking.

I honestly believe that was the point of the whole thing for the author.   Considering I read everything he wrote I could get my hands on before the age of twenty five, I should know.   Narnia.  Didn't read it until I was in my twenties.  Makes me sad that I waited that long.  It was like walking into another universe.   A different universe.  A beautiful one.  Encounters with God everywhere.  Brave people doing the right thing in the face of evil.  It was really nice. I could totally live there.   I've since read articles that point out the subtle (sort of) racism in it since then and wondered why I didn't catch it.  Unlike Peter Pan, where the native peoples on the island are members of the pickaninny tribe, most of it can be forgiven.  (I am not making that shit up, read the original book and be horrified. Heck, watch the Disney flick as an adult.  The good news is that if your kids are Okies and have contact with actual native americans, they will see the "injuns" on the island as caricatures and not relate them to any actual humans until they are old enough to have their mouths gape in horror as they realize that one of their favorite childhood flicks is a wee bit totally full of racist moments. Tis hilarious anyway, but only because we know better.)  The thing about Lewis that I like the most is that he was aware of his racism and tried like hell to keep it in check.  I like self aware people.  This is a good thing.

Out of the Silent Planet was the first book I read where the descriptions of the beings we call angels had any bearing on my experience of them.   It's an awesome little sci-fi book with some heavy theological stuff thrown in.  Read it.   Read the whole trilogy.   Till We Have Faces changed my life too.  It showed a life from the point of view of the one living it and then turned a mirror on it so it could be truly seen.  It made me see my own life in a different way.   Read it.

To wrap this up, I really like this guy.  Not just as an author but as a person.  A man I've never met.  Who would undoubtedly find my political and social views baffling.  I hope we'd get along.  Happy birthday, Jack.

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