Recently, the pastor of my church spoke from the pulpit of tackling, and finally finishing, the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. This centuries old classic of apologetics is one of the most popular resources of the Christian faith ever written. But I am embarrassed to say that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from the Chronicles of Narnia series is the extent of my knowledge of the famed Mr. Lewis.
And you’ll notice that I didn’t even say I read the Narnia series. Just the one book.
I asked my LifeGroup (the small group of church members I meet with for study and fellowship every week) how many of them had read Mere Christianity. Only 1 out of 13. We decided to remedy that and book -club it together. Because I am an aerobics instructor and not a scholar, I am taking it in small chunks. I have completed the Preface so far – feel free to be impressed – and already can’t believe how content written between 1942 and 1944 speaks so exactly to what is going on in the world today!
One of my biggest struggles as a believer right now is watching how differences of opinion are being played out in a variety of mediums. If we simply abide by what we read on our computer screen or smart phone, two people cannot believe differently regarding anything and still remain civil, much less friends.
“Offended” is the feeling du jour, and I believe Facebook, and Twitter, and even the blogosphere have contributed to this increase in negative emotions. I’m not suggesting that this technology is all negative. I love keeping up with far-away friends on Facebook and sharing about my life with Christ in blog form, but healthy debate cannot happen in typeface.
We lose much of our ability to sympathize and approach another with compassion and understanding when we are looking at a screen and not into human eyes.
As Christians, with a call to spread the love of Christ, I think we have to be careful about what we post for all to read – or misconstrue.
In the Preface of Mere Christianity (Did I mention I finished the preface? Not bragging. Just saying.), Lewis said, “I think we must admit that the discussion of these disputed points [things not essential to the Christian faith] has no tendency at all to bring an outsider into the Christian fold. So long as we write and talk about them we are much more likely to deter him from entering any Christian communion than to draw him into our own.”
Arguing our point about politics, or homosexuality or how we should respond to the Syrian refugees is unlikely to usher another into the loving arms of our Savior. Paulo Coelho said, “The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” I am by no means suggesting any kind of censorship. I am thankful for the freedoms we have here in the US. I just think we have a duty to prayerfully consider the time, place and audience to discuss sensitive topics. And I think a reminder is in order that the Bible is the only 100% trustworthy resource.
Unless a topic is specifically spelled out in scripture, we cannot espouse to own the whole truth and nothing but the truth on said topic. Lewis believed, “There are questions at issue between Christians to which I do not think we have been told the answers.” If we can’t state it as fact, it is merely opinion. And we should never forget that everyone is entitled to one.
Instead of worrying about whether or not I am right, I am choosing to focus on approaching each person and each situation with love. It is the greatest endeavor and the purest motivation. You will catch more bees with honey. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true.
“Be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall.” – C.S. Lewis