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Posts Tagged ‘C.S.Lewis’

67 years ago today the largest fleet ever assembled in world history landed on Normandy Beach, France to invade Hitler’s “Fortress Europe”.  Many brave and frightened men died this day for our freedoms, especially freedom from political tyranny.  Fly your flag today. The results were not a foregone conclusion.

C.S. Lewis, writing at the time, gave us a poignant lesson from D-Day for the Church.  Before the quote below, Lewis is discussing the fact that Faith is not about God having one part of us but He claims the whole and then makes the comparison with D-Day:

 

In all of us God “still” holds only a part. D-Day is only a week ago. The bite so far taken out of Normandy shows small on the map of Europe. The resistance is strong, the casualties heavy, and the event uncertain. There is, we have to admit, a line of demarcation between God’s part in us and the enemy’s region. But it is, we hope, a fighting line; not a frontier fixed by agreement.

On Pentecost, 50 days after Easter, the  Lord, Holy Spirit began assembling the invasion force, the militia Christi, the army of Christ  to preach and teach His Word.  The resistance, the flesh, the world and the devil is strong, the martyrs many, and the event uncertain.   Yet, our hope we pray is fulfilled in the kingdom come. In The Large Catechism Luther taught that in this life we are only half-way pure (fwiw:  I think he was being optimistic!). I think both Luther and Lewis are teaching that this is, “…a fighting line;  not a frontier fixed by agreement.”   C.S. Lewis uses this comparison as a man who fought in the front lines during the first World War.  This is the strife of the Spirit in our lives, for us and for our salvation and the salvation of many in Christ Jesus. It is bloody, as in the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us all.  It is bloody, as in the blood of the martyrs who witnessed to Jesus Christ.  Luther sang, “…he fights by our side with the weapons of the Spirit”. (See Ephesians 6)  The devil does not take his enemies alive.  The Lord does take His enemies alive and frees them (see Romans 5:9-11!)   From the Epistle reading for the 7th Sunday of Easter, 1 Peter:

 “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

Let us pray…

 Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word;
Curb those who fain by craft and sword
Would wrest the Kingdom from Thy Son
And set at naught all He hath done.

Lord Jesus Christ, Thy power make known,
For Thou art Lord of lords alone;
Defend Thy Christendom that we
May evermore sing praise to Thee.

O Comforter of priceless worth.
Send peace and unity on earth.
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death to life.

(Martin Luther)

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Tonight is “Oscar Night”.  I read recently that several years back the Academy Awards changed the usual statement as the sealed envelope was opening, “And the winner is…” to “The Oscar goes to…”  Why?  Because there really are no losers and they did not want to make those who did not receive the Oscar feel bad.  This can all be put into the  category of political correctness.  Last year they went back to “And the winner is…”  What will it be tonight?  If your answer is “who cares”,  I agree.  But even to have this discussion and posting shows who is winning: those who by changing words think they can change reality.  Now it seems that  those wanting do deny winning/losing are those who want to change the reality for radical egalitarianism can not pull it out off:  even PC Hollywood still has winners/losers and they went back to the usual saying.  After all, when you receive the Oscar for Best Fill-in-the-Blank, you are still going to feel like a winner  (all cameras/eyes on you, smiles, congrats), be a winner (choice of movie parts) and parties.  If I lost, I would still feel like a loser.

C.S. Lewis made popular a word, verbicide, the killing of a word:

“Verbicide, the murder of a word, happens in many ways.  Inflation is one of the commonest; those who taught us to say awfully for ‘very’ tremendous for ‘great’ sadism for ‘cruelty’ and unthinkable for ‘undesirable’ were verbicides.  Another way is verbiage, by which I mean here the use of a word as a promise to pay which is never going to be kept.  The use of significant as if it were an absolute, and with no intention of ever telling us what the thing is significant of, is an example.  So is diametrically when it is used merely to put opposite into the superlative.  Men often commit verbicide because they want to snatch a word as a party banner, to appropriate its ‘selling quality’.  Verbicide was committed when we exchanged Whig and Tory for Liberal and Conservative.  But the greatest cause of verbicide is the fact that most people are obviously far more anxious to express their approval and disapproval of things than to describe them.  Hence the tendency of word to become less descriptive and more evaluative then to become evaluative, while still retaining some hint of the sort of goodness or badness implied; and to end up by being purely evaluative—useless synonyms for good or for bad.  We shall see this happening to the word villain in a later chapter.  Rotten, paradoxically has become so completely a synonym for ‘bad’ that we now have to say bad when we mean ‘rotten’.”C.S. Lewis, in Studies in Words, p. 7-8

Now we also simply and destructively do not use certain words, or use them in utterly different ways,  in order to change the reality and thus try to shun what is real.  So at one time, one could happily answer the question, How are you today?  “I feel gay.”  Nope.  Gay is utterly changed.  Just look at the lack of the use of “husband” and “wife” in the various media  for the generic “spouse” so that same-sex arrangements are on par with actual marriage.  But why?  Lewis knew:  “But the greatest cause of verbicide is the fact that most people are obviously far more anxious to express their approval and disapproval of things than to describe them.”  In other words, we are in charge, not trying to describe things as they are.  This is the dictum of the pagan post-enlightenment time we are in: “Man is the measure of all things.”  This is devastating to Biblical theology which is the study of words as they convey the very Word of God.  Even here “approval and disapproval of things” is even more important to our new theologians than describing exactly what the Lord has told us.  Why?  We do not like what the Lord has said and inspired to be written for our learning and rebuking. (see 2 Timothy 3:15-17) Here Jesus’ concluding statement regarding oaths is pertinent:  “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (St. Matthew  5: 37)  After all, even as I write this on the verbiage choked internet, we used to be told to “carefully weigh your words”.  We are weightless in our words which means thoughtless. The silence can be good.  As C.S.Lewis penned on this topic of verbicide:

Let no one say, and say it to your shame,
That there was meaning here before you came.

As someone else sang, “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word.”

 

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