The Casting Dock

Clive, bringing the heat, per usual.

I love reading other people’s books…particularly when they are owned by people like my husband who mark their books up like crazy.  Reading someone’s notes scribbled down the margins, highlighting poignantly meaningful passages or asking genuine questions of the text is like a little glimpse into someone’s private journal.  They are thoughts and questions never intended for another’s eyes, and are therefore so refreshingly pure, honest, and transparent. I just love seeing what was moving or thought-provoking for another person. Call it being nosey, but it adds another layer of meaning to the reading experience for me.

That being said, I am LOVING reading Jerry’s copy of The Problem of Pain, in part for that very reason.  As I’ve said a million times, Clive Staples is the man. I have to pay FULL attention the entire time that I am reading his non-fiction; if I allow my mind to wander for even just a minute, I will lose part of his argument. And then after each chapter, I just have to sit for a few minutes and really reflect on the entirety of his thought/argument in the chapter; you know, really let it marinate and congeal in that head of mine so that it will really stick. I know that makes me sound, well…pretty slow if we’re being honest, but his intelligence is just far above mine. I have no problem openly admitting that. But hey, I was the valedictorian of my high school class, so don’t judge me (and you other 16 classmates from my graduating class don’t give away the fact that that achievement is considerably less impressive than I just made it sound…).

Anyhow, this little margin note made me chuckle. It was on a chapter about God’s goodness. Yes, Jerry wrote it and yes, he has impeccably neat (almost creepy-neat) guy handwriting. Within the chapter, C.S. uses various analogies of how man experiences and perceives love to portray “an inadequate, but useful, conception of God’s love for man.” Within that section is this segment that garnered the “Oh my goodness, bring the heat, Clive” comment from that adorable husband of mine.  It doesn’t pack nearly the same punch without the surrounding context and climactic structure of the chapter, but it’s CS, so it’s awesome anyway.

When Christianity says that God loves man, it means that God loves man: not that He has some ‘disinterested’, because really indifferent, concern for our welfare, but that, in awful and surprising truth, we are the objects of His love. You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the ‘lord of terrible aspect’, is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes. How should this be, I do not know: it passes reason to explain why any creatures, not to say creatures such as we, should have a value so prodigious in their Creator’s eyes. It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring; we are inclined, like the maidens in the old play, to deprecate the love of Zeus.

I know not why and oftentimes I see not how, but I do believe that inherent in the charater of God is a deep and pure love for the work of His hands, the sheep of His pasture, the children of a mighty King, His beautiful bride: we, the people. Even in times of doubt and amidst questions that I fail to satisfyingly answer, that terrifying, liberating, and incredible notion speaks to something deep within me. I can’t escape it.

2 comments

1 Jer { 12.21.10 at 9:28 am }

I can’t accept the fact that a post about Lewis received no comments. So I am changing that. I have nothing of substance to say, but at least now something has been said.

2 John { 12.29.10 at 10:51 am }

Fine…I will speak for this family! This post made me really want to read “The Problem of Pain,” which is a book I have not yet read.

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