Patricia Hofer

C.S. Lewis

Excerpt from Driving Into The Dawn, page 56

What I’ve now come to appreciate is that the varied doctrines and practices of Christian churches usually spring from their attempt to give form to wonderful, but very abstract, kernels of Christianity. Because of that, the particular denomination we choose to attend isn’t as important as the fact that we do attend. For me today, being in a Christian house of worship helps to keep my beliefs “alive in [my] mind” in ways that wouldn’t occur in some other place.

C. S. Lewis—a 20th century intellectual giant and influential Christian writer of fiction and nonfiction.

My worship experience in two distinctly different church practices and decades of Christian reading have freed me in a really remarkable way. They have brought me to a purpose in my writing that is, hopefully, not unlike what C. S. Lewis was describing in the preface of Mere Christianity. He explained that he was not offering “an alternative to the creeds of existing communions” but rather “a hall out of which doors open into several rooms.” He then concluded the preface with this image of Christian believing and worship:

When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house. (Mere Christianity xii)

C.S. Lewis
Excerpt from Yielding To Wonder, page 67-68

And that, as I see it, is the difficulty that faces Christians. We open ourselves to the conversion and the baptism. We accept the commitment for church attendance—most of the time. We agree to some committee work. We may even take on the financial and custodial responsibilities for church operation. Eventually we might get involved in Bible study, in Christian adult education. We could also volunteer for service work. And then at some point we stop. That has to be enough, right? How much does the Lord want of us?

And that question gets us to the analogy that Lewis offers in his chapter “Is Christianity Hard or Easy?” He writes:

In a battle, or in mountain climbing, there is often one thing which it takes a lot of pluck to do; but it is also, in the long run, the safest thing to do. If you funk it, you will find yourself, hours later, in far worse danger. (Mere Christianity 154)

For Christians, this “one thing” that requires “a lot of pluck to do” is self-abandonment. We must let go of “the old self” so we can be transformed into “the new self” (NRSV Eph. 4:22-23). As Lewis continues:

The terrible thing, the most impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. (154)