For those of you who didn't go to lunch today, we discussed the first chapter of Lewis's "Pilgrim's Regress." What I like most about C.S Lewis is that he writes about theological concepts but in a way that is entertaining and easily understood. This piece of writing is like many of his others, written in a fictional story format.
It is a story about a young boy who represents Lewis and his preconceptions about Christianity. He is told that if he breaks any rules he will be sent to a place that is essentially hell. This is what a lot of children perceive religion: if you sin even the smallest sin, you will not go to Heaven. I don't think that just kids have this point of view. Personally, I did not grow up in a Christian home like most Calvin College students did. I did not attend private schooling until now, and my journey to Christianity was made without the company of my family. Thus, when I was learning about following God I thought all that mattered was keeping the ten commandments and making sure I did everything the Bible told me to. The thought of sinning was terrifying, because I couldn't grasp the concept of grace. Further in the book, grace is introduced to the story, and I also have developed a different view of Christianity.
Another part of the story was a character (I can't remember what one!) who puts on and takes off a mask. He does this when he changes topics in conversation, serious and relaxed ones. This is also something many people in the Church end up doing. We put on this mask to look very grim when we talk about God because it is such a grave topic, then take it off to discuss what we did over the weekend. I think we have this change in personality because we often don't see God as a part of our everyday life. He is a topic to discuss on Sundays but not a Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who is with us at all times.
I think we also put on masks because we don't have many churches that are vulnerable and open to complete honesty. We talked about a story where a couple was getting married because the woman was pregnant. They had to confess their sin to the church before they could be married, and the congregation was floored. It was a shock because there were many others who had done the same sin and even more who had sins that needed to be confessed. I went to a new church tonight that had about 20 people. A man got in front and told us a brutally honest confession about his faith journey, and no one was shocked. It was such a comforting, safe, honest place to be. We don't have to be in the basement of a small, simple church to be at ease. All of us are sinners, but Jesus died for our sins. It should be a comforting and humbling practice to confess our sins to one another; we can then rejoice in the grace we are given.
I look forward to reading this entire book. It seems to be like the Narnia series, but for adults, and it's not a series...but today sparked my interest in it!
(Also, for those of you going to dinner next weekend, be ready for some very great food! Adrianna is a wonderful cook. It was wonderful seeing Paulo and her outside of the classroom.)