Monday, July 04, 2005

CS Lewis and the benefit of writing

Recently a contest was held here. The general premise was to find 6 women who were of an intellectual bent, preferably a CS Lewis like bent, who wanted to collaborate on a team blog. Thirty one women entered and then a panel of 10 judges chose the winners. I considered entering, but in the end decided that I didn't want to commit to a group blog. And although I still almost entered just for the fun of it, I decided against that as well. It did however get me thinking about the nature of using our God given intellects to pursue the things of God. And more specifically the practice of putting these pursuits down in writing. The question becomes, why is it worth the effort to put those things we are taught by God down where others can read it?
Reading an author like Lewis it seems pretty obvious. After all, he is an amazing writer with the ability to convey truth simply and beautifully. He can compose an entire character in one sentence and change your world in one little book. The answer to the question seems to be then, you write what you learn for the benefit of others. It is for the encouragement of those around you and the lifting up of the saints. However I don't think that is all of it. Now, I obviously didn't know Lewis personally. My mother wasn't even alive when he was. But I have read his writing and others who have written about him, and what stands out to me is that he lived what he wrote. He wasn't simply writing out principles that he wanted his neighbor to live by. Or even writing things out to point people to when they were getting it wrong. He was writing what he was living. Now, I could make some safe assumptions based on history and human nature and say there were probably days that were more filled with joy than the others. There were probably times that he echoed St. Paul's cry of "what I want to do I don't do, and what I do do I don't want to do." But I don't think that changes that overall he talked the talk and walked the walk.
And that I think is the chief benefit to writing down what we have learned. When we take the effort to write out the truth that has been conveyed to us first it sinks deeper into us. It requires a greater understanding of a subject in order to explain the subject. (For example, I understand a fair bit of what my scientist husband talks about concerning work. When he says it, it makes sense. But I couldn't teach it to you to save my life) So when Lewis writes about the nature of love and how that is reflected in the Christians life to those around them it requires a true understand and relationship with the nature of love in his own life. And this greater understanding I believe leads to a greater living out of the principle in your own life. The second part of having this greater understanding and putting it in writing in some public forum is that others then know you have that knowledge. They know that you know what it is you are suppose to be doing. When you don't do it, they can call you on it with confidence because you have already professed publicly "yes this is what I am to do".
Now, honestly that is a bit uncomfortable to write. Because I can go back through my old entries here and read the titles and get this sinking feeling in my stomach because I know that I haven't been doing well in that area lately. And further more, there is sometimes a hesitation to put something down because I know if I attempt to live like I don't know that truth I will get called on it. But this is all the more reason to write. If I speak disrespectfully to my husband I don't want it to simply slide by. If my priorities around the home get mixed up I want it brought to my attention. And I desire the sort of sorrow that comes from re-reading old posts and being convicted that I am not living like I should for Godly sorrow leads to repentance and repentance to salvation which brings no regret.
So, read my posts. See how it says I know I'm suppose to be living. If I'm not, say something. And go, write posts of your own and live that way. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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