Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Great Divorce

In the spirit of, "The more things change the more they stay the same," consider the following quote from C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce (1946). I particularly thought of the postmodern focus on the Kingdom of God being about what we do and their preference of questions to answers.

“Will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?”

“Well, that is a plan. I am perfectly ready to consider it. Of course I should require some assurances … I should want a guarantee that you are taking me to a place where I shall find a wider sphere of usefulness – and scope for the talent that God has given me – and an atmosphere of free inquiry – in short, all that one means by civilisation and – er – the spiritual life.”

“No,” said the other. “I can promise you none of these things. No sphere of usefulness: you are not needed there at all. No scope for your talents: only forgiveness for having perverted them. No atmosphere of inquiry, for I will bring you to the land not of questions but of answers, and you shall see the face of God.”

“Ah, but we must all interpret those beautiful words in our own way! For me there is no such thing as a final answer. The free wind of inquiry must always continue to blow through the mind, must it not? ‘Prove all things’ … to travel hopefully is better than to arrive.”

- C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, p. 40


Ken Davis said...


The quote certainly has application to some post modern proclivities but the thing that strikes me about it, and I speak as one who has not read this C.S. Lewis offering, is the invitation to the place of "no sphere of usefulness". How many of us, post modern or not, need to be reminded that it is not about us serving Him, but rather of Him inviting us in. He does not need us. He grants us audience. How well would we serve if our mind set was wonder at unimaginable grace and not our giftedness to serve! Why - we might even stop believing that the future of church is up to us!

mike rucker said...

what an excellent book - helped me move away from a caricature of hell and on to a more God-worthy view.

i found a comment of yours at the challies.com website.

david and tim repeatedly delete my comments there, in my opinion quite unfairly. while i may come across a little rough-edged at times, i truly believe it's an unwillingness on their part to enter into legitimate, serious discussion that prompts their actions. i have been called a "troll" several times, but anyone reading the entire range of comments i've written can easily see that's not who i am.

i'm posting this to ask you to look at a recent interchange i had at a post there. i've captured the interchange on my blog; click on the link "challies angels" under the heading And Now The News on the right sidebar. i would appreciate any reaction you have after reading it - even of a critical nature.

and, if you're interested, i also have a lengthy (and still-in-progess) review of Tim Keller's recent book, The Reason for God. you can access it, too, in the And Now The News section. and, for what it's worth, i even got two emails from Tim that said some people had directed him to the review, and that he appreciated my interaction with his book. needless to say, that put some welcome wind in my sails after all the head-butting i've been doing around the web...

thanks for reading.

mike rucker
fairburn, georgia, usa