74 Readers
106 Writers
headspinningfromvagueness

Ironic Contradictions

I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.

So,

I posted an update on Goodreads asking the same question but I got no answer so I turn to you instead. What is something about my personality, appearance, lifestyle etc. that has surprised you as you've come to understand me/read into my life. I'm looking for outsider info on this topic for a list I'm making about 10-15 things people are surprised to find out about me!

On Life and Judgement

I listen to all sorts of different bands. My music taste is as eclectic as my taste in books and films. That is: I have one genre or two I love but will listen to everything and anything! But I listen to a lot of bands in the alternative genre, and a couple of the bands I love are in or have worked in the Christian music section of the industry. So it interested me to read this particular post: http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/userprofile_blogsinglepost.php?blog_id=12536&user_id=8571

The point in the article seemed to me to be this: we can't really know someone so don't judge them. As pointed out in the comments, when the Bible says 'don't judge' it's talking about the judge that we understand today. When it says to judge fellow Christians it's a different word meaning - more like a lovingly counsel them and basically say 'hey I don't think your behaviour is fitting of your beliefs.' But at the end of the day the point stands that I don't know what's going on in someone's head or mind or so on. 

 

I can generally look at people and know if they're going through a tough time. I generally work out secrets and emotions linked to people by careful observation (and on the flip-side I consider myself decent at hiding my own if I wish to). However, that all said I can never fully understand someone. I can empathise, but I am not in their shoes to be able to say 'they are this or this'. We too easily like to categorise people, rather than saying 'they're my friend, or they are a fellow person and that's the only categorisation I need.'

 

Aside from those thoughts, I really have a video to edit for a friend, an essay to start for tomorrow (procrastination - don't do it kids!)  and a father's day to continue to celebrate for my Dad. Today I was reminded about how much my father has positively defined who I am as a man and hopefully he continues to do so! Anyway I also got instagram so if any of you use that and like following more people: http://instagram.com/jonathanterrington22
Yes there may be several selfies popping up in the future alongside anything I'm visiting around the city but hey, it's all good fun right?

Catch you next time or in the comments section :)

The Glamour of Celebrity

It's been ages since I posted one of my thoughtful posts - those little reflections that I have about life, the universe and everything. Well not quite everything but you get my pop culture reference (am I still hip with the zeitgeist of the times?). Jokes aside I wanted to discuss an interesting phenomenon that more recently has captivated the world. The rise of the celebrity.

Earlier today I discovered (like many other people) that shockingly 100s of celebrities had found their privacy abused and nude images of them posted onto the Internet for everyone to see. I myself applaud everyone who has actively spoken out about how wrong it is to look at these images. Yet there are some people who seem to go 'it's on the Internet' or 'they have nothing to be ashamed about' or 'why did they have nudes anyway?' Well frankly none of us are those people and no matter how much of a celebrity they are it's none of our business. We might enjoy their songs, their movies, how beautiful they appear but guess what? We don't have a right to their privacy.

Sure, so many of these celebrities touch our lives personally. I was among the millions shocked and saddened by the death of Robin Williams. But I never owned access to his life, I don't own any access to his family - none of these celebrities owe me anything no matter what money I throw at them.

To me celebrities reveal one thing: the bigger issue. And this bigger issue is the concept of ownership. We have created a culture where we believe we're entitled to own things. Or own people. Slavery might not exist for the majority of the world but we seem to believe in a corporate slavery whereby our money gives us the right to do things.

Unfortunately Australia is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to online piracy and our telcos and the government are moving to shut this down by banning access to the internet to anyone who illegally downloads. Some of my friends argue that the government is ignoring the real issue - that we need better frameworks, faster internet, better access to products and so forth. Well guess what? Sure that might be true but it doesn't in my mind excuse you from piracy still. Something that's wrong is still wrong even if you might be able to legitimise it to yourself.

So here's my conclusion. Living in the blessed country that I do, I'm actually not owed anything by the world. I don't own the right to any movies, books, music or celebrities out there. Sure I can pay to buy or own access to such things and that's cool but that's where it all ends. So I say: stop making excuses for doing things that aren't right morally. And it's an argument to myself as much as to anyone, because I grow tired of those people, and myself, who just live in the Age of Entitlement when there are so many other people worse off. When not sure about whether to do something and you argue 'oh it's just me checking out that nude picture' think again about the celebrity, or rather the person, who is really being harmed. Then tell me: would you like to be in the same position? Reduced to an object for sale? I don't think so. 

Decisions, Decisions

I'm really tossing up whether I read Leviathan Wakes, A Dance with Dragons or the Shakespeare books that I need to work on... I've read some rather average material the past three days so I want something epic and grand to make up for that so Leviathan Wakes might do the trick. But I need to write an essay for next week so Macbeth needs to be read. And I want to finish A Dance with Dragons but I'm not a huge fan of G.R.R Martin's work... (I can explain why in great detail)

Choices, choices, so many choices.

Oh well, at least there's money in the bank and it's a 20 degree Celcius kind of day (at the end winter). Which is pretty warm coming off anywhere between 0-10 degree days. 

A Reflection

One thing I was thinking about earlier today is how I have changed in the past couple of years. It is part of the course of growing up naturally, yet many of the changes are more mental or emotional/spiritual than purely physical. Oh yes I shot up in height, have bulked up muscularly, developed a deeper voice and all that - but what interests me most is how I have grown more into my natural personality.

 

Let me explain. I'm an extrovert and my natural personality is to be a bubbly, happy, laughing type of person. However, for many years I was a lot shier than I am today. I became highly nervous whenever I was giving public speeches or doing anything that involved standing up in front of a crowd. More interestingly, I now am far more relaxed about that as I've come to have plenty of practice in my teaching (and also I care a lot less about how people view me). 

Another thing that I've come to become is more open minded. I used to think that being open minded was a problem - I worried that being 'open minded' meant accepting every point of view or that there 'are no wrong answers'. However, what I have come to see instead is that I believe 'open minded' means that you can't dismiss any idea without at first considering it. If that makes any sense.

Does anyone else ever think back on how they've changed across their lives?

22 Facts About Myself (and a couple extra)

I was prompted to do this by a friend who did so on Facebook, so this is what I posted there about myself:

1. I'm currently studying to become a teacher, which was not necessarily what I've always wanted to do with my life - but still sort of feels like it is

2. My favourite colour is blue (not just because I have blue eyes, but because it's the colour of oceans and skies, so there's a sense of freedom to that colour)

3. I talk...a lot...it's something my friends and family have learnt to put up with :P

4. I also read a lot. I must average at least 100 - 120 books per year, I do know I read over 200 in 2012.

5. My taste in music varies - I love anything from soundtracks of favourite films, to classic rock/Christian rock and more lyrical pop songs (some favourites include Switchfoot, Skillet, Red, Imagine Dragons, The Fray and The Script)

6. Speaking of which: my favourite film also happens to be my favourite book (Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) 

7. I love a good quote and/or pop culture reference, I may just throw them into things I say every so often

8. Another thing that I love is my sport - whether it's playing cricket, basketball or following the Hawks

9. I didn't always enjoy speaking in public, but I've come to enjoy it far more as a young adult!

10. I'm an ideas person - which helps in coming up with creative concepts for writing - unfortunately so many of those concepts never make it out of my mind 

11. I have the habit of saying rumours or things I only half-know as if they are statements of fact

12. If you can get me on board for a project or plan (and if I see it through) then I will enthusiastically join in!

13. I'm an eternal optimist - I generally see the best in most situations 

14. In connection to that, I'm also rarely very, very serious (except for serious things) 

15. I'm not a fan of criticism, so as a result constructive criticism is something I do need in life

16. My personality type 'is ENFP': make of that, what you will

17. I work overnight shifts at the moment, it's done very crazy things to my sleep patterns

18. I think of myself as a 'big picture' person. I'm not super-analytical but I do analyse the 'whys' and 'why-nots' of situations and try to figure them all out (which is why I'm not too bad at working out connections between people or events)

19. Many of my ideas are often 'out-of-the-box'. I still think the perfect strategy for winning the World War is inviting all the world leaders to my city and then blowing up my city...

20. As a fun-loving person (over the detriment of work) I enjoy any kind of game (board game, video game, card game etc.)

21. If you make something a competition, I will want to compete as hard as I can - I'm not a quitter

22. I don't know what I'd do without my friends or my faith, they each inspire me to be the best I can!

And here are 8 more facts because I want to add something to this Booklikes Post
23. This year I've been to more movies at the cinemas than any other year in my life - including watching 4 movies twice

24. I'll try almost anything once - but then if I fail I'll remove the evidence that I ever even tried ;p

25. I lost a backpack that contained a shirt and a book - I was most cut up about losing the book than anything else (even though the shirt and backpack had sentimental value)

26. The best gift I have ever been given was a complete 1892 Works of William Shakespeare for my 18th 

27. People are constantly telling me that I look or seem older than I am (I'm 20 for the record - but plenty of people I know seem to think I must be 4-8 years older)

28. I am quite guilty of being a procrastinator - I keep telling myself I'll get better at doing things earlier though

29. I do get distracted easily and in conversations I might bring up something that seems completely unconnected to the conversation, when in my own mind I found the loose threads and joined the ideas together...

30. I'm also a spendthrift - i.e., if I have money I tell myself I'll save it but then spend it on something I want just because I can. Not to say that I don't save, but my spending is far greater than my saving... 

A Fanzine

Just thought I'd draw your attention to a work of love by someone who contacted me. Peter Young put together issues 3 and 4 of this fanzine (they are about 190 pages each I believe) which can be downloaded here: http://efanzines.com/bigsky/index.htm. I promised I'd provide a link in my latest blog and was only too happy to do so, given that the fanzine features several of my reviews: 
PHILIP K. DICK, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE (in #3)
H.G. WELLS, THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (in #3)
DOUGLAS ADAMS, LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING (in #4)
CHRISTOPHER PRIEST, THE PRESTIGE (in #4)
If you want to read something easily downloadable (for free) that can be browsed on a e-reader or device, then I recommend checking this out. Plus it has some of me in it - which is always a good thing right??? RIGHT??? Ah...forget it...

The Dangers of Following the Crowd

I rarely like to talk politics, because it ends up messy. I do however like to discuss the ways in which the media discuss and analyse various issues going on. For instance the situation regarding the Gaza strip. I have plenty of friends and people I know who like to criticise Israel for their actions and yes I have to admit the way they go about doing things are quite tough. But in my eyes it seems to be a situation in which you also have to see things from their perspective: they live in a zone of the world racked by conflict and it often seems that everyone around them (particularly historically) has wanted their extermination at some point or other. Can you therefore blame them for acting in the ways they have? Well you could, but I at least understand it. Not to mention that I would love to ask some of my friends (if they could discuss it with me) what they believe Israel is meant to do when 100s of rockets are being fired at them by a group which is essentially a terrorist organisation. A lowlife one hiding behind their own people...but that's beside the point. 

Don't get me wrong: I'm  not taking one side or another in terms of attacking the ways this situation has unfolded. I for one have plenty of empathy and never want to see people die needlessly. However what I wanted to comment more about, is the danger of holding a high moral ground approach to any situation. Ironically something I'm trying to skirt around while writing this post. All I see in the media is criticism of Israel and vague suggestions that they should allow Hamas to be friends. But in my eyes that's a rather naive idea from a normally cynical news source.

I am never endorsing a militaristic mentality where we endorse and send people willingly to war. However I must question those who believe it is possible to stand neutral while under the constant bombardment of rocket fire. It is the same reason why I would find it hard to ever be agnostic in my beliefs - because I can't stand under spiritual rocket fire without taking a side. We should be humanistic in our approaches to anything, but I believe practicality must come first - then humanistic morals and ethics. 

So the overall point I guess I'm making? Don't make broad arguments for an issue without first considering both sides of the issue. I always try and do this - at times I fail - because it is part of who I am in terms of how I optimistically and cynically look at the big picture and because I never want to blindly follow the crowd. It's never worked out in history. So if there is one thing I can say without trying to tell you to believe one thing or the other on this issue it's this: trust your own instincts and what you believe is right, from various sources. Don't just believe an issue because everyone else says it is right. And personally I try to never take the moral highground just because I can (again something I fail at) - after all, how would you react in such a situation?

Oh and for the record, the weekend was amazing with a trip to the snow with close and beautiful friends there ;) and with seeing Guardians of the Galaxy (my favourite Marvel film to date) and the Church move!

So How Was Your Week?


I am under no illusion that I do not have a very privileged life, and I'm thankful for that. Of course if living a blessed life meant an eternal life which sucked I'd throw it away in a heartbeat. All things considered I've had a great and busy week, and it's that which I want to talk about :)

Earlier in the week I went to the Melbourne performance of the famed musical Les Miserables. It was an amazing performance (I've seen tapes/dvds/youtube clips of the English performances and films) by any standard and well worth the admission. I just love the mixture of grandeur and epic story with the music Then on Thursday I ended up heading across to my best mate's place (he lives with several other young adults) for some video gaming (Dota 2) and a late night Maccas' run. Friday it was a trip to the footy, which is where the first downside of the week struck in that my team played worse than I have ever seen them play before and we lost - but flipside is it wasn't an important game yet and there is still room to bounce back. And today I went to the Melbourne Oz comic con - which is a new event since 2011 and one I have never been to. Seeing the cool geeky and nerdy cosplaying and the various actors (X-men's Shawn Ashmore, and SG1's Richard Dean Anderson) was pretty awesome and I walked away with some cool posters and comics. That said I lost/may have had my backpack taken at the very end. Fortunately I had my keys, phone and wallet - but I did lose one book I was busy reading and a t-shirt that I liked...

But still two negatives in a week full of amazing fun makes for one amazing week! I hope everyone else had great weeks too, and that my American friends enjoyed their 4th July holiday celebrations :)

Not Everyone Is Beautiful

Quite an interesting read, once you get into it. This is the kind of deep and critical thinking that I love!

It's A No-Win World Out There


As you no doubt, may have seen by now, I like to read news articles I stumble across. One I read today, involves a famous young Australian by the name of Bindi Irwin who turns sixteen soon. In an interview, Bindi, commented on fashion and stated that she is a 'big advocate for young girls dressing their age.' Which in the article I read was enough to get her labelled a 'nana'. Further, when I looked up other articles related to this topic I stumbled across this: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity-life/former-neighbours-star-caitlin-stasey-launches-twitter-tirade-against-bindi-irwin/story-fn907478-1226964012003

I find it interesting, after Bindi, in this case, appears to honestly state her opinion, that she gets so attacked over it. Her innocence and thoughtfulness is refreshing in a world that is so twisted and while some say her comment that 'she feels bad' is patronising, I disagree. I think that it shows an intelligence and maturity beyond her years. She appears to understand the difference between agency and allowing yourself to become a product - something that the particular Neighbours 'star' lacks (as if Neighbours was anything particularly decent as a television show anyway...).

Being sucked into a culture where you try so desperately to appear older and more mature (wearing dresses designed to highlight hips and breasts for instance) is not agency. Wearing something that bares plenty of skin, is not agency to me (though it could be in some cases). Most of the time, when younger girls wear such clothes, it is because they have bought into a lie of objectification. It's not prudish or being a nanny to state that you find this a sad case. I myself find it sad. It's one thing for 20-something women to actively choose what they wear. It's another for a young girl to wear something because the media and culture have told her she should - that's pure and blatant objectification (something we need much less of and it honestly disgusts me how the media targets the pre-teen girl). 

I titled my thoughts here 'It's a no-win world out there' for a reason. Because reading these articles made me think about one other child star who after/around the age of sixteen, started to go off the rails. I'm talking about Miley Cyrus who is well known now for her ridiculous antics, but if I recall correctly, around the age of sixteen or so, she had already started on the path to self-destruction by taking photographs which were more or less inappropriate. Correct me if I'm wrong. Of course the media attacks this side of the story too. Hence why it's a no-win world. If you show a bit of missing decency and respect for the fact that sexuality is something to grow into, not something to try and jump into because the media says to, then you're a prude. If you go down the circus carnival path of flaunting yourself, then the media subtly suggests that you are also in the wrong.

But personally myself, there is one of these two child stars who I come away from looking at their cases with more respect. And she isn't a self-flaunting, media-loving, singer...

There is a catch to reading this...

Catch-22 - Joseph Heller


Catch 22 has been so adopted by popular culture that it has become its own phrase in common literature. A phrase meaning a no-win scenario, either because of contradictions or difficulties within a situation. Before I read Catch 22 it had been explained to me that the catch 22 within the novel was that the main character Yossarian, could avoid doing the deadly bomb-runs as a pilot if he was crazy. Only, to be proven crazy he had to fly the missions and if he didn't want to fly the missions then he was completely sane. Of course, within the novel itself, catch 22 is much, much more.

 

Catch 22 is the call phrase for anyone within the novel to basically trap and enforce a soldier into doing what they want. In other words if they want someone to fly in dangerous missions they have to fly 'because of Catch 22'. And as our protagonist, Yossarian, reflects, no one really seems to know what Catch 22 is, or means, they just use it because it holds an assumed value - that can be used to force people to submit.

 

So let me quickly address what I really liked about this novel and disliked. Firstly, I liked the fact that out of all the war novels I have ever read, this best provides the idea of how abstract and chaotic war appears to be. Other novels highlight the ordered barracks and the clean shoes and dress uniforms. This novel highlights the dirt and the battle for rank and promotion in a humorous way that is amusing and captivating. Of course, this is also what I did not like about this novel. The chaotic manner of writing and portraying everything that was happening...

It is for this reason - the chaotic, frenetic manner of writing - that I can state I only enjoyed this novel to a lesser degree than others. There were moments that struck me as brilliantly witty, and others that just struck me as purely raunchy and raucous. Still for anyone into war novels I do recommend reading this - just be advised it is a novel that grapples more with the dirty, all-too-human side of war.

Shadow and Claw - Gene Wolfe


I've been reading bits and pieces of this book for month and it was only in the last couple of days that I gathered the energy to finish it all. Let me state the positives of this book succinctly: it starts off excellently, the language is just hard enough but not too hard and the worldbuilding is fascinating. However, considering this is rated just below The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as one of the greatest fantasy-sci/fi works of all, I cannot quite see why. I believe that, perhaps, the language is more deceptive than it may appear - because precious little actually takes place within the work in terms of plot narrative.

 

When the narrative can be summed down to: assassin is kicked out of guild and sets off to explore the earth, then you have a narrative which isn't overly complex. Sure, things happen to our torturer, Severian, but at the same time very little also happens to him. Everything becomes a cycle of: kill new people, find new wonders of the world, sleep with a new girlfriend, rinse, lather, repeat. It's inane in its repetition and the repetition almost made me give this three stars.

 

But that said, the language is beautifully deceptive, and it was for this reason that I kept that extra star. The language is beautiful enough to distract from the fact that very little actually happens within the novel - very little of any kind of moral or significant depth, that is. Also, the worldbuilding was magnificently set in an Earth that was now Urth - a million odd years into the future, where technology and magic have become almost one and the same. I appreciated that aspect of creating another world setting for the book.

 

Yet, my overall summary is: only read this if you have a desire to complete a list of must-read fantasy books. The language can prove to be a stumbling block to some and aside from the language I could not find any real thematic or moral lessons within the book, which make it a shallow read and not so much of a deep philosophical read for once. But then again, as I said recently, not being able to find such things could also mean that I am not reading the book deeply. Or else, that I felt it was a novel in which I did not need to look overly deeply - being distracted by the language and world as I was.

Mere Christianity: Commonality Across Time and Division

Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

I am somewhat confused about some of the reasoning behind those giving this work one or two stars. From what I have seen it appears to be that C.S. Lewis does not justify his explanations well enough - that there is not enough of a burden of proof that he has fulfilled. Or that his writing, his work, is far too offensive.

 

For the first, I believe that those who read this work expecting to see some kind of justification for belief will be disappointed. Lewis himself explains that what Mere Christianity is about is more of an explanation of what all Christian denominations hold to be truth - it is not so much an argument for why these are held to be true. As for Lewis being offensive - yes, yes he is. For that matter, so is Christianity. Christianity should be so offensive to modern thinking so as to be near inconceivable - but that does not make it any less truthful. Nor does it mean that Christians need to be offensive.

 

Lewis is of course far more readable (and likeable) than Friedrich Nietzsche, yet I feel they are two sides of the one coin. Both view the issues in their modern societies and reflect critically upon them. However, where Nietzsche always asserts his views in first person as if they are fact (where they are opinion), Lewis works his way through his reasoning in the third person - questioning rather than asserting. They are both equally aggressive (and depending on your values as I said, offensive) but one sees Christianity as all that is wrong in this world and the other sees the world as all that is wrong in this world.

 

I was talking to my father the other day when I said that "I think the funny thing to me about most academics at University, is that they so completely misunderstand Christianity. They think it's about becoming 'good enough' to get into Heaven." To which my Dad turned around and agreed saying, "That is because most churches don't understand Christianity well enough and keep preaching works-based repentance."

 

For anyone not understanding what I mean by 'works-based repentance', it should be the assertion of every believe that is is by faith that you are saved. However, far too often Churches end up preaching a confused gospel that states something like 'it's a little bit of faith and the rest is you doing stuff to make you good enough'. No. It's all meant to be faith - with anything else stemming from faith.

 

As Lewis says here in Mere Christianity: "For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine. God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man."

 

Lewis is full of these kinds of quotable statements throughout the book as he explains not why he believes, but what he believes. G.K. Chesterton is a much better source (in Heretics and Orthodoxy for looking into 'why' someone believes - but at the core of it all is of course pure faith - based upon the rational but appearing irrational).

"The Christian way is different: harder and easier. Christ says 'Give me all. I don't want so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it...'"

It is statements like these that show the confronting nature of Christianity. As Lewis says elsewhere in the book, Christianity is a fighting religion. And in a world that tries to destroy its held truths, it needs to be. As Lewis explains, merely because something is offensive does not make it any less true - and relegating it down to the 'nice moral principles' is no way to go either.

 

Lewis begins his book by first addressing the concept of 'fairness' and 'foul-play'. He explains that we all have within us, a notion of good and evil, a notion that he calls the Law of Human Nature. He combines this with other ideas to explain the concept that humanity is essentially flawed - that something is not right. By stating this he therefore continues to explain that there is a need within all of humanity for spiritual help. A need that he continues to expand upon throughout the rest of the work, explaining that Christianity serves to address and answer that need.

 

There is even an address about morality and Christianity, whereby Lewis explains that Christianity is not merely a moral religion, but that there are morals that are connected to being a Christian. He discusses things like: prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude - the 'Cardinal Virtues' and the great sin of pride (establishing yourself above others). He explains that prudence means common sense - the idea that Christians should not be unintelligent by any means (though so many appear to be - judging by all the 'you will burn in hell for this' comments you can find on Facebook or instagram) and that temperance is not about complete abstinence. After all, alcohol and sex were created by God. The issues come when, as Lewis so clearly explains, you depend upon such things as a crutch to get you through life, where you have an unhealthy interest in them - that is temperance. Justice and fortitude mean respectively fairness and courage.

 

Essentially this is a book of complexity and simplicity - much like Christianity itself. Anyone looking for a resource to affirm faith and to help you consider the questions which Christianity attempts to address should think about reading this work. It's one of the better works I have read by any Christian author and definitely a classic of faith. Lewis makes Christianity open and easier to understand - he truly shows mere Christianity as it should be, most denominational and individual beliefs aside.

 

A Heavyweight of Christian Thought

The Weight of Glory - C.S. Lewis


"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you."

 

C.S. Lewis' popularity has died in more recent history. Academics accuse him of being too simplistic in his expression (a few that I have read even go so far as to say that he adds nothing to Christian theology), other readers find his style too wordy, preachy or patronising to fully enjoy. I myself, however, love C.S. Lewis' work much like I love G.K. Chesterton and J.R.R Tolkien. He is enthusiastic, flawed and all so human - bridging a divide between the more intellectual academics and the everyman. Or so I believe anyway.

 

The one great thing about Lewis' work, is that like Chesterton, he is so quotable. But where Chesterton is a far better wit and academic, Lewis is more laid back and grounded - like a humorous and approachable, if sometimes gruff, Grandad. The reason, therefore, that I believe many intellectuals (particularly atheistic individuals) dismiss Lewis' contribution to Christian apologetics is because he speaks with honesty and straightforwardly. This may sound contradictory, considering the way Lewis conducts his phrases - however it seems clear to me that the way he states his intentions is direct. He's not tactless, yet he does not hide his sentences in tact (if that makes any particular sense). To the intellectual who prefers greater nuance and ideas that they can make their own, there is little for them in Lewis' work.

 

"Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairytales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years."

 

I would define Lewis as a Christian philosopher. After all, philosophy is all about critical thought, and Lewis is nothing if not critical - again perhaps a reason for his loss of popularity is that he attacks established intellectual institutions within his thoughts. Yet he is more a philosopher of apologetics - if such a role ever has existed.

 

"...it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are too easily pleased."

 

Yet, for most of this review I have merely been defending C.S. Lewis, not addressing this actual work of his. I will say that if you like Lewis, this is one of the better works of his that I have read. His address on The Weight of Glory is one of the finer pieces that he ever composed, I would argue, and many of the other pieces address similarly interesting and complex issues from the idea of unity, peace and scientific logic v. God. I will have to see how Mere Christianity stands up next to this.

 

For now I will state this in closing. I believe that C.S. Lewis is someone who should be read by anyone who reads philosophy or books of faith - works that address the idea of Human Nature and the mind or soul. Lewis is by far one of the most down-to-earth and confrontingly direct of all the writers I have tried (in many ways he is the direct opposite of Nietzsche) but he is still one of the more appealing to me. I will never cease to find it of more interest that he came from critical and intellectual atheism to critical and intellectual faith - proving that Christianity need not be faith without thought.

"Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself. I believe in Christianity as I believe the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

Booklikes Tags - Borrowed from Bookworm Blurbs

So it's a basic, fill out the questions thing, related to Booklikes that I've borrowed from Bookworm Blurbs for a touch of fun!

1. What was the last book you marked as 'Read'?
 
On here it was some kind of classic...hmmm, I can't actually remember. I think it was the second Sherlock Holmes novel At the Sign of Four. 

 

2. What are you 'Currently Reading'?

Gormenghast and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Book of the New Sun. Those are the books I plan to review here anyway....

 

3. What was the last book you marked as 'To-Read'?

 

Again, I forget about this...I mark so many books as 'to-read' and there are so many I never get around to actually reading. It was clearly something that piqued my interest. So it could have been Cinder or Hunger. Based on reviews I saw on here.

4. What book do you plan to read next?


Well, I'm currently reading The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis also. I may review it here, I may not, it depends on how good I think my review is. But I plan to read Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters sometime after that, along with book three and four in the Gormenghast trilogy. But, like my thoughts, my reading patterns are spontaneous and fragmented...
 

5. Do you use the star rating system?


For every review I write on here I do. 


6. Are you doing a 2014 reading challenge?

Not set one on here, because I review things so rarely, but I am doing one on Goodreads where I aim to read 170 books for this year. Already up to the 70+ mark and with free time at the moment I should be able to get my target on track.

 

7. Do you have a wishlist?

Sort of. I mean, I have a list of books I basically want to buy when they come out...

 

8. What book do you want to buy next?

It'll probably be some fantasy book by Brandon Sanderson. Or some other author who has grabbed my love and attention. 


9. Do you have any favorite quotes? Would you like to share a few?


Yeah I do, but they change all the time. Here's one I really liked yesterday:

"...it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink, sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are too easily pleased."
- C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory


10. Who are your favorite authors?


J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, G.K. Chesterton, E.A. Poe, the Bronte Sisters...basically mainly classic authors.

 

11. Have you joined any groups?


Yes I have, but I'm not super active on any of the groups here. I tend to sort of forget about groups until someone or something reminds me...

 

12. Are there any questions you'd like to add to this tag?


Not really, no.

 

I tag: 
 

Anyone else who loves doing these kinds of things. 

Reblogged from Bookworm Blurbs