Big thanks to Bo for tackling this book, cause the stuff on marriage is tough to read. Interested to hear what you guys think!
BOOK THREE: Sections 6-12
This first section on Christian Marriage is bound to ruffle some feathers. I think his idea on comparing “being in love” (what a lot of us what call “the honeymoon phase”) to “love” (what we would call “being in love,” probably) is an interesting one. I think we should understand that the honeymoon phase will end at some point in relationships at some point and be prepared for it, so that we can settle into the next stage that is typically much harder and takes more work. (If I’m not mistaken, I think the honeymoon phase typically lasts 2-6 months in relationships and then most couples hit a rough spot around 2 years that often takes a good bit of evaluation and work to get through it.)
He then talks about the issue of wives submitting to their husbands. I’ll be honest; I don’t feel able to speak on this with authority because I have a hard time with this verse and understanding it completely. I will say, that his second point where he seems to suggest that women are naturally people who submit doesn’t really hold up for me. I see this as a very 1940’s-1950’s way of seeing marriage and I don’t honestly see it as an adequate way of understanding Christian marriage.
In this section on Forgiveness, Lewis says that loving your neighbor as yourself is the most unpopular virtue to follow for Christians. Do you think forgiveness is the main or one of the main aspects of loving your neighbors? What do you think about his thoughts on how it relates to loving yourself?
Lewis then presents Pride as the worst of all shortcomings and its counterpart—humility—as the center of the Christian morality. Do you agree with Lewis on this? I think that he makes a good point in saying that the man who actually is humble “will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.” I agree with Lewis that it is important to recognize whether we are seeing ourselves as humble or if we actually are acting it out.
Lewis talks about Charity as not just simply giving to the poor, but as “Love, in the Christian sense.” He talks about this charity not as an emotion that lasts for a moment but rather is attempting/willing to love a neighbor. He says, “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as you did.” Lewis seems to believe in a “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality to achieve the virtue of Charity. Do you think this is a good way of doing it?
The section on Hope is another brief one but he makes a good point that has its foundation in Scripture. Lewis talks about how we, as Christians, should set our eyes on Heaven rather than the earth. He further makes the claim that we cannot hope to improve the earth without first having our hope in Heaven. I think this is important to hear, because I think the whole point in trying to improve the world (at least a very important aspect of it) is trying to bring a bit of Heaven down to earth. He closes by speaking on the idea of Living Water (though he doesn’t mention it by name) by saying that Christ is the only thing that can satisfy our thirst—Heaven is the only thing that can fill that whole in our hearts.
Lewis closes Book Four with two sections on Faith. The first covers faith when it is used to mean “Belief.” With this, we come to the problem of whether or not you can control your belief. If faith is the way to salvation, then what do we do if we don’t believe enough. Lewis seems to suggest that God can play a role in this, and I agree with that. There is a point in the Gospels when a man brings his demon-possessed son to Jesus and asks him to heal the boy. Jesus tells him “Everything is possible through belief.” And the father says, “I do believe; [and I think here, he shows that he has doubts in his saying that, so he continues,] help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9). I think that this passage shows that there is some action on the part of God our attaining faith. Lewis continues that once we have accepted Christ, we need to understand that our emotions won’t always be high, so we need to continue to read Scripture and doctrine and be in prayer each day to constantly remind ourselves of what we believe in and why. I think that this can be hard for people who have been in the Church a long time: why do we believe what we believe? Has anyone had moments where they found themselves asking this and did or did not have an answer? Lewis continues on talking about faith in a new way, by arguing that it is something that has to be practiced. He says that you have to “Leave it to God” by which he means putting all your trust in God.
There was a lot going on in this Book, so if you have any thoughts, leave a comment!