King Pen has been reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis for the last couple of weeks. I’d never read it before, but couldn’t resist picking it up myself after King Pen’s glowing recommendation. It’s one of those books that just makes you go… “wow!”
Lewis is a meticulous, fantastic writer. He goes about setting up a point with a few preparatory sentences, then with an efficient, mind blowing conclusion, drives his point home. It’s so logical and obvious, and yet, it’s an utter revelation at the same time. Loving it. I mean, I knew I would. His fiction is one thing– it’s great, we know it. But his nonfiction- I’ve read excerpts and quotes of his over the years and have always thought he was profound and talented, but getting in there for myself has been a pleasure. Like this passage, just a few chapters in:
“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case then man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. We have all seen this when doing arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start again, the faster I shall get on. There is nothing progressive about being pig headed and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.”
(emphasis is mine)
So simple, so true.
I can’t wait to see what other gems are to be found in this book. It is a compilation of radio talks Lewis did in 1943 after the War, when people were disillusioned and confused and torn. War had blurred the lines of morality and truth, and they were looking for answers. This book is a straightforward, foundational answer to that need. Seems to me, the world still needs it, which is why Lewis still resonates so strongly today.
Anyway, just thought I’d share that quote. I’m sure I’ll be unable to resist putting more up as I go along, it’s just too good not to share!