Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can

"‘One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things–trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s the funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for the Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.’" (C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair)

I was thinking about Puddleglum’s renouncement of the Lady of the Green Kirtle several days ago. That has always been one of my favorite scenes in Narnia...when the good side wakes up and stands against the evil. But recently, I realized that we are in the same place as Puddleglum, Jill, Eustace, and Rilian–we’re living in a culture that says that the "trees and grass and sun and moon and stars" are just a product of evolution and not God’s creative handiwork. Then, culture follows up the rest of the Lady’s denial of "the bigger and better cat." The world says that Christians aren’t strong enough to take care of themselves, so we created a bigger and better man–the God-Man, Jesus Christ. We’re just babies playing at a game...the "fools to the world" (1 Corinthians 1). Doesn’t Puddleglum have the most amazing answer to all that?! I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.

Here, Lewis uses Blaise Pascal’s famous apologetic argument in a child’s story. Pascal’s Wager goes something like this:

1) There is no God
  • I will gain nothing by believing Him.
  • I will lose nothing by not believing in Him.
2) There is a God
  • I will believe Him and gain everything.
  • I will disbelieve Him and lose everything.
Assuming there was a 50-50 chance that there is a God, you lose nothing either way by believing Him. By not believing Him, you risk losing everything. That’s what Puddleglum is saying when he says that. Puddleglum is willing to be the world’s fool and take the wager on Aslan’s side.

Puddleglum, Jill, Eustace, and Rilian all began their conversation with the Lady knowing exactly what they believed. However, she sweetly convinced them that they were wrong (brings back memories of Genesis 3). There came a point when all their minds became so muddled that they could not remember the truth, and they began to believe her lies. Puddleglum in particular struggled with this. Inside, he knew that Narnia was real, but her words all but convinced him that Narnia was just an imagination. "Suppose we have only dreamed..." What do they risk by believing in Narnia? "That’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say." They face her wrath and have to slay the serpent, but then they gain everything! Why are Christians so ready to believe that the trees and grass and sun aren’t God’s special creation? Why do they want to take away Jesus’ deity and turn Him into a great human teacher? They’re listening to the wrong arguments. We’re afraid to stand for the truth. But are we so afraid of good news that we let even wet-blanket Puddleglum believe while we sit in the Underland listening to the Lady? That’s when you must make the wager–do you believe the dream or not? I, for one, am on Jesus’ side even if the world doesn’t believe there’s a Jesus. I’m going to live like I am a citizen of Heaven even if everyone else says there is no Heaven.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

God's Perfect Plan

"For I know the thoughts that I have towards you," says the Lord, "thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." ~Jeremiah 29:11

This verse has been of great encouragement to me lately.  I've been thinking and making some decisions about what I will be doing this summer and next fall concerning school and other opportunities.   I sometimes get overwhelmed with all the ideas and possibilities before me.  I'm a visionary.  I love to dream big.  And usually my dreams are kinda far-fetched :).   I have so many things I want to do, so many plans.  Sometimes, I come become discontent with where I'm at because I want to move on to bigger and better things (according to my plans).  But I'm learning that no matter what my plans may be, God's plans are always better.  They may not be what I want, but they are always just what I need.  God knows what I can handle when I can handle it.  His plans for my life are far greater than anything of which I could ever ask or think.  I can trust Him with His plans and simply be content and live fully where He has me now.  I have no need to worry about  different decisions - I have the Coordinator of the whole universe working in all the events in my life to perform His perfect purpose.  Praise the Lord for His sovereign plan for us!

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ." ~Philippians 4:6

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." ~Isaiah 55:8-9

Monday, April 2, 2012

Are you present?

A few weeks ago, I read 2 Corinthians. I love reading the Epistles; the men who wrote them knew exactly what Christians from every time need to hear (I guess that is one of the advantages of having the Holy Spirit tell you what to write!). Those men were the pillars of the Church. Christ is the foundation, and they were the pillars built upon Him that provide structure for the rest of the building. Paul, Peter, John, James–their sermons must have been amazing!

Yet, in 2 Corinthians 10:10, we read that Paul was mocked because his sermons weren’t as strong as his letters! "‘For his letters,’ they say, ‘are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.’" In a world where much of our communication with other Christians is via the internet, we can easily "know" someone through their writing rather than their speech. We have a great opportunity to communicate with people without having to worry about our "bodily presence being weak" or our "speech contemptible." Those of you who don’t know me very well might be surprised if you saw me try to speak in front of people. While I can normally give a Bible study lesson speaking clearly and not too terribly fast, there have been times when little girls will come up to me afterwards and say, "It’s okay, Abbie. You don’t need to shake and look so scared. We’re not going to hurt you." (Talk about getting embarrassed...!) Even though I study the Bible and pray before starting a lesson, I still struggle sometimes with a weak presence teaching! But with blogs, email, and other modes of communication, I can "talk" to people about what I’m learning without having to actually talk. We can encourage and learn from other Christians through technology without having to worry about shyness or speech impediments getting in the way.


We have a problem. It’s easy to separate our "cyber life" from our "real life." On this blog, I can talk about all the great things I’m learning in my Bible reading, how God’s working in my life, and all sorts of Christian things. But what you can’t see is my bad attitude when my mom asks me to set the table. I doubt any of you would intentionally live separate lives online and in the real world, but it’s very easy to let your personality, interests, character–to let you–slide around when people can’t see you or know "the real you." Online, we only know what the other person wants to tell us. Do you see how that can be a problem even with well-intentioned Christians? That’s why, after confessing that his speech is contemptible, Paul follows up with this in verse 11: "Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present." As Christians, all of us are living our lives as a reflection of the one Life. Whether we’re communicating in person, via snail mail, email, blogs, or Skype, we need to speak the same message...we can’t let our character be dependent on the media we’re using. We need to learn how to use the same boldness in a face-to-face conversation that we use on a blog. I am much more comfortable writing a long blog post about the Gospel than going out and telling it to a friend, but I need to learn how to say the same words absent and present. That’s why Paul’s sermons were powerful even if the presentation wasn’t–he wrote, spoke, and lived one message no matter where he was.