Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Stepson of C. S. Lewis Speaks Out

Tonight I've been working on a future blog post about C. S. Lewis's book A Grief Observed, which I believe was, in part at least, a pastiche of two of his earlier books, The Problem of Pain and The Four Loves, except that this time around the problems Lewis was tackling weren't merely intellectual problems but extremely practical ones after his wife of 4 years had perished from cancer. As a side note, I found this interview with Lewis's stepson Douglas Gresham to be both enjoyable and highly informative. 

Toward the end Gresham says this in answer to a question: 

He [Lewis] found most churches to be insubstantial and probably not very accurate. Our own priest in the church that we used to attend was what we called a high church Anglican, that is, he teetered on the edge of Roman Catholicism. And Jack, of course, was born and bred in Ireland, in Northern Ireland, and was a Church of Ireland man. And although he loved the priest -- he was a very good man and we all loved him enormously; he was a terrific guy -- but his interests was (a) in lots of robes and waving of incense and stuff, and also of course he was a man who was fascinated by church history. And he would give a sermon going for about a half an hour about church history. Quite frankly, who needs it? We don't need to know what churches used to do; we need to know what churches are doing now and whether we should get the heck out of them. In some cases we should. I no longer attend a church at the moment because I can't find one that teaches Christianity. Many churches today are filled with Christianists who make a big deal of trying to pretend to be Christians, Churchians who worship the church instead of Christ, and people of that nature. And for me that doesn't work. 

I agree with much of what he is saying. Our "churchianity" and "religiosity" have turned people away from the Lord. The fact is, if our Christianity isn't relevant, contagious even, it probably is contaminated, perhaps beyond recovery. This is a disgrace. Earnestness is not unction. Just because a pastor enjoys delivering his message is not a sign that God is in it. Unless the wind is the Spirit, our oratory blows in vain. 

More later. But for now, please do watch the entire interview to get the context of Mr. Gresham's final remarks.