Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Whose the Fount of Your Religion?

“Nothing could be more foreign to the tone of scripture than the language of those who describe a saint as a ‘moral genius’ or a ‘spiritual genius.’ Thus insinuating that this virtue or spirituality is ‘creative’ or ‘original.’ If I have read the New Testament aright, it leaves no room for ‘creativeness’ even in a modified or metaphorical sense. Our whole destiny seems to lie in the opposite direction,… in acquiring a fragrance that is not our own but borrowed, in becoming clean mirrors filled with the image of a face that is not ours.” –C.S. Lewis, “Christianity and Literature”, in Christian Reflections (ed. Walter Hooper) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967), pg. 6.

[This point attacks a modern concept I want in my tiredness to faintly articulate. One reaction may be, how backward. “Everything must change”. (Man I am belligerent. I keep having to erase what I write.) But I think Lewis hits in the final sentence on why it is not, on the essential point, the difference between humility and will to power, the difference between “you have said you were gods” and real worship of a real God. From one angle, which seems essentially the fleshly angle, the idea of orthodoxy as the bane of creative genius is deadening, deathlike, of graves. But that is an angle from the self as sovereign, not from the self as crucified with Christ. What is remote and lost on the lost is a reality that Dostoevsky referred to when he wrote in his journals for the composition of his great novel Crime and Punishment, “In Christ Jesus, there are infinite resources for life.” I recall an eccentric woman recounting to me in my college days a dream she had had in which she saw cherubim flying around the throne of God with wings over their eyes, as depicted in Revelation. She asked one of them why they covered their eyes and they said, “Because every time we look at the Lord we see a new facet of His greatness that is wonderful beyond description” (paraphrasing). Whatever the nature of her dream, the content struck me then and still does as true of God. God is indeed great beyond all describing and the fount of life and blessing. We were dead in our sins; now we are alive in Christ. The source of our life is to be rooted in Him. ]

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