From June 2010 until a few weeks ago it was my weekly habit to write a blog post from an excerpt from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I would read a chapter and collect anywhere from three to eight quotes that captured my imagination. Then I would write 500-750 words (about one page on a Word document) of reflection on a particular point or illustration – usually 30-45 minutes of writing time.
Periodically, during this exercise I would listen to Mere Christianity on CD. This helped keep the context of each passage fresh and gave me a greater appreciation for its original presentation – a series of radio lectures which were later compiled into a book.
When I started I had no idea how long the project would last or if it would keep my attention. But now, 3 years and 138 posts later, I am taking this opportunity to ponder what I gained from this exercise.
- A great deal of accessible teaching points – Over the last few years many of the reflections in this series became points in sermons and seminars. Lewis’ gift for making profound truths accessible is a treasure chest for any teacher.
- Sharper skills of illustration and analogy – In might be an overstatement to say it feels like I’ve had a weekly appointment with C.S. Lewis for the last three years, but in many ways it has felt that way. Reading, listening, and reflecting on this book (while regularly listening to Narnia… for my kids… of course) has affected how I think. My ability to create effective analogies in teaching and counseling has grown significantly over this time.
- An appreciation for the seeds of Narnia – This may be one of my favorite parts. Many places I would find Lewis illustrating a point in a way that he would later bring to life in the magical world of Narnia. Reading non-fiction that would become “more real” by being transformed into children’s fiction was fascinating.
- Better skills of conversational writing – Learning that Mere Christianity was originally a series of radio shows gave me an appreciation for its conversational style. I was challenged to think through the overlap and unique possibilities that exist between writing and speaking. While I think my writing still needs to grow in its conversational quality, these three years have given me a greater desire to see that growth occur.
- A greater appreciation for the Christian faith – If it was Lewis’ desire to show people the plausibility and beauty of the core of Christianity, then I can say he succeeded with me. Some books on apologetics might make Christianity “make sense,” but over these three years I gained more than “teaching points.” I gained something more akin to an appetite or an ear for music. There was enthusiasm and anticipation that came with knowledge.
Next week I’ll post a directory to all 138 blogs in this series. If you would like to read through Mere Christianity with a counselor, I would invite you to get your own copy of Mere Christianity, bookmark that post, and read my reflections as you journal your own.
If you have partaken in parts of this journey through Mere Christianity with me I would enjoy hearing how these posts may have enriched your own walk with Christ. Please leave your thoughts as comments on this post.