“(…)Theology is practical: especially now. In the old days, when there was less education and discussion, perhaps it was possible to get on with a very few simple ideas about God. But it is not so now. Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed. Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones — bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novelties today are simply the ones which real Theologians tried centuries ago and rejected. To believe in the popular religion of modern England is retrogression — like believing the earth is flat.”
Yesterday, I picked up a copy of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I had read it before, but I wanted to revisit parts of it- meet up as if we were old friends. Even though I don’t read as much as I used to (I gravitate towards writing instead,) it seems that some books nowadays are losing their luster. We read a few filler paragraphs and get to that one jewel of a sentence. We mark it carefully with a highlighter or dog-ear the page.
Until opening dialogue again with the remarkable C.S. Lewis, I had forgotten what it was like to read something with such concentrated wisdom, something so heavy I have to stop and process each sentence. I was rusty regarding such heavy concepts, so blowing the dust off the ol’ theological reasoning gears in my mind was a challenge. I soon hit a stride, and instead of demanding, the writing felt welcoming.
The final part of Mere Christianity dives into theological concepts, something I bet Lewis knew would shut off the mind of some readers- yet he followed through unapologetically. He compared our emotional experiences and relationships with God to being on a beach. We can feel the water, the texture of the sand against our feet, hear foamy waves reach for the shore. Yet, we know nothing beyond that experience. Not to take away from our experiences of feeling a Holy presence, but merely standing on the beach doesn’t take our faith anywhere. We need a map to fathom it all, to travel it all. The map of our faith is Theology.
Theology, the science, nature and history of God, was compose by hundreds of individuals who experienced God, thus collaborating and composing a beautiful map of Christianity. It is not to be dismissed, nor our ears plugged to deflect it. The map is the only way we can navigate, comprehend, or progress.
Thanks for this, C.S.