17 December 2009

On Resemblances - And the Fun of It

"Somehow or other, and with the best of intentions, we have shown the world the typical Christian in the likeness of a crashing and rather ill-natured bore—and this in the name of one who assuredly never bored a soul in those thirty-three years during which he passed through the world like a flame."
  • Dorothy Sayers
Then, I imagine CS Lewis' response to be something like this:
"...now we begin to see what it is that the New Testament is always talking about It talks about Christians being 'born again;' it talks about them 'putting on Christ;' about Christ 'being formed in us;' about our coming to 'have the mind of Christ.'
Put right out of your head the idea that these are only fancy ways of saying that Christians are to read what Christ said and try to carry it out -- as a man may read what Plato or Marx said and try to carry it out.
They [these references] mean something more than that. They mean that a real  Person, Christ, here and now, in that very room where you are...pray[ing], is doing things to you .
It is not a question of a good man who died two thousand years ago. It is a living Man, still as much a man as you and still as much God as He was when He created the world, really coming and interfering with your very self; killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self He has. At first, only for moments. Then for longer periods.
Finally, if all goes well, turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own small way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.
[He continues later:]
The thing has happened: the new step has been taken and is being taken. Already the new men are dotted here and there all over the earth. Some...are still hardly recognizable: but others can be recognized. Every now and then one meets them....
They are, I say, recognizable; but you must know what to look for. They will not be very like the idea of 'religious people' which you have formed from your general reading. They do not draw attention to themselves.
You tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do, but they need you less. (We must get over wanting to be needed: in some goodish people...that is the hardest of all temptations to resist.)
They will usually seemd to have a lot of time: you will wonder where it comes from. When you have recognized one of them, you will recognize the next one much more easily.
And I strongly suspect...that they recognize on another immediately and infallibly, across every barrier of colour, sex, class, age and ... creeds. In that way, to become holy is rather like joing a secret society.
To put it at the very lowest, it must be great fun."
  • C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity