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Posts Tagged ‘cs lewis’


There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it.

– C.S. Lewis

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My dear Wormwood … I have always found that the trough (boring) periods of the human undulation provide excellent opportunity for all sensual temptations.


—The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war […] David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing.

– 2 Samuel 11:1-4

In the world, boredom is called tolerance, but in hell it is called despair…it is the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, lies for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.

+ Dorothy Sayers

Richard Winter in his book, Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment, writes that up until the modern era, boredom was seen as a character flaw linked to one of the seven deadly sins known as sloth. “Sloth is the lack of spiritual resources that enable one to appreciate and engage with the common wonders of creation, culture, and people.”

Repent Thou Sluggard

Repentance is demonstrated by moving in a new direction. Wage war against sloth. When there is a choice between isolation and community, pursue community. When the reason you are not doing something is laziness, force yourself to do it. When you’ve spent copious amounts of time on leisure, confess it. Awareness of sin should not be confined to where we committed evil with our time, but where we’ve wasted it.

Summary

Remember the old saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”? It came from a period of time when people recognized the sin of sloth and the spiritual liability of boredom. If we seek to stop the passive late night web surfing, we must cultivate new, creative, active habits to replace the old. Christianity is never simply the negation of a bad habit, but the concurrent cultivation of Spirit and virtue—nature abhors a vacuum.

Here’s the takeaway from all this: See sloth and passivity as a moral weakness. Begin to confess it, and make choices to break its hold on you. Cultivate creative alternatives. Choose action over inactivity and people over isolation. You are a new creature in Christ, so pursue and cooperate with God’s transformation of your character in the realm of boredom, laziness, and passivity.

+ Taken from the Breaking Free Blog: When Boredom Leads to Porn by Rick James

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And today, another question:

What Are You Thirsty For?

C.S. Lewis offers the following observation about our deepest desire:

“I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished from both Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. … I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. BUT THEN JOY IS NEVER IN OUR POWER AND PLEASURE OFTEN IS.”

–C.S. Lewis, “Surprised by Joy,” p.18.

Here, then, is the addict’s dilemma: Do I seek that which brings me Joy/Healing, but which I cannot possess or control, or do I seek the continual short-term solution of my addiction which, seemingly, I can possess or control?

This dilemma is also illustrated in the Gospel of John:

In the fourth chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus is traveling through Samaria (a region reviled by Jews) and stops to rest at a well. It is the middle of the day, the sun is hot, and no respectable person would come to the well at this time of day. So it is that a woman who has had five husbands and who is living with a man to whom she is not married comes to the well. She comes in the heat of the day so that she will not be seen.

Jesus, upon seeing her, asks for a drink. She responds that she is a Samaritan and that a Jew would not ask a Samaritan for a drink.

Jesus then states: If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Jesus offers the Samaritan an alternative to her sinful and addictive ways: drink the living water.

What does this mean?

Addicts return to their addiction time and time again because of a thirst, a yearning for healing. Addicts continue to go to the same well, the well of addiction, for short-term relief that will not, ultimately, bring them healing. Jesus (or the addict’s “Higher Power”) offers living water–a source of healing that will last.

But will the addict accept living water (which he cannot control or possess) and stop going back to the well of addiction.

Well, addict, what are you thirsty for?

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There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it.

– C.S. Lewis

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DIARY OF AN ADDICT – THE PROBLEM OF PLEASURE


As I’ve been trying to overcome my “need” for the pleasure of addiction, I found the following description of pleasure from C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters on point:

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[This is a fictional elder demon writing to a younger, less experienced demon]

“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s [God’s] ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is [God’s] invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever-increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula…. To get the man’s soul and give NOTHING in return–that is what really gladdens [Satan’s] heart.”

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That definitely sounds like addiction to me: “an ever-increasing craving for an ever-diminishing pleasure.” Selling my soul and getting nothing in return.

So remember:

Pleasure is not the problem!

God created pleasure for our enjoyment. It is seeking pleasure in the wrong ways–from drugs, acts, and things as opposed to affection, love, and people–that is the problem.

We were made for pleasure. Addiction robs us of this gift.

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[Christianity] creates, rather than solves, the problem of pain, for pain would be no problem unless, side by side with our daily experience of this painful world, we had received what we think a good assurance that ultimate reality is righteous and loving.

+ C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

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“Are you not thirsty?” said the Lion.

“I am dying of thirst,” said Jill.

“Then drink,” said the Lion.

“May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill. The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And just as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience. The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her near frantic.

“Will you promise not to — to do anything to me, if I come?”

“I make no promise,” said the Lion.

Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer. “Do you eat girls?” she said.

“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.

“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.

“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.

“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”

“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.

+ C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

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