C.S. Lewis

reading is FUNdamental


the other day i wrote about my top 5 worship songs. i like top 5 lists. top 10’s are very David Letterman, and top 20’s can be exhausting, besides a top 5 makes you really examine your favorites to get them down to the best.

so with or without fanfare, i present my top 5 books.

5. Fargo Rock City-Chuck Klosterman

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i actually checked this book out of the library and it was my first exposure to the genius that is Chuck Klosterman. his sharp witted essays about his love of Motley Crüe and the bleakness of North Dakota are brilliantly written and connect with the teenagers of the 80’s. he loves this genre of music and you can feel that passion come out in the book.

4. High Fidelity-Nick Hornby

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what? books about music that are my favorites? i wonder why? if you know me, then you know that i love all things English and this extends to my literature. Nick Hornby is as inventive a writer as i’ve read. his characters are so very flawed and very British that you can’t help but hurt with and pull for them. actually the idea for “top lists” comes from this book as it is a theme that weaves throughout. the main character, Rob, is an audiophile and has an extensive collection of vinyl and that makes me smile. he continually ascribes songs to feelings and ideas. music is rich throughout this book and Hornby writes from a level of expertise in a wonderfully relational style. side note, i like John Cusack in the movie version, but i hate it when Hollywood takes English novels and “Americanize” them.

3. No Country For Old Men-Cormac McCarthy

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oh, how i love Cormac McCarthy. i actually read a few of his books from the library. i started with All The Pretty Horses.  i picked this one up on a return trip and was mesmerized from the title page. Anton Chigur is the embodiment of evil. the character was so scary in the book that i had to remember that i was reading a work of fiction and not a real crime novel. the inner dialogue that Sherriff Ed Tom Bell provides in the interludes of action are beautifully rough and simple. i grew up in the region that the book is set in which makes it all the more real to me. when he describes the sheriff’s office in Sonora, or the open range where the drug deal gone wrong takes place, i can truly see it. masterful prose from a reclusive genius.

2. Chasing Francis-Ian Morgan Cron

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this book was recommended by Randy Elrod and i actually got to sit with the author at a SuperBowl party in Nashville in 2010 and talk about how awesome Led Zeppelin is. this book details the journey of a pastor named Chase who becomes disillusioned with his church and accepts an invite to visit his uncle in Italy where he has some supernatural experiences in the areas where St. Francis of Assisi lived and worked. it is a rich novel and Cron weaves beautiful ideas about life and God into the fictional story of this man who is struggling with who he thinks God is. you might also want to check out Cron’s book Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me (a memoir of sorts)

1. The Chronicles of Narnia-The Last Battle-C.S. Lewis

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i fell in love with this series at a young age. there was an old linen bound collection at the Dublin Public Library, and i spent the summer between fourth and fifth grade becoming well accustomed to the wilds of Narnia. actually the whole series is precious to me, but this book especially has my heart. because in this book, Aslan, my favorite literary character of all time, reaches the culmination of who he really is throughout the series. don’t laugh, but i seriously cry when Aslan appears in the books. some of my favorite prose that Lewis wrote is in this book.

“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

so tell me your top 5. what do you like to read? and give me ideas for future top 5’s.

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Beauty….


what do you think of when you think of beauty?

art?

architecture?

music?

nature?

literature?

film?

something clicks within us when we behold beauty.  the things that capture our eye and heart transcend to our souls.

C.S. Lewis says it like this:

“The book or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing…..They are not the thing itself; they are only a scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.”

what is pointing you towards true beauty today?

a few thoughts…


consume2

Consume-

–verb (used with object)

1. to destroy or expend by use; use up.

 

2. to eat or drink up; devour.

 

3. to destroy, as by decomposition or burning: Fire consumed the forest.

 

4. to spend (money, time, etc.) wastefully.

 

5. to absorb; engross: consumed with curiosity.

 

I’ve been pondering that word lately.  I guess that for me, definitions 3 and 4 would describe my life pretty accurately.  I’m caught up in things that really don’t make a difference or aren’t building kingdom.  I’m distracted and “engrossed” in things other than pursuing the Glory of God. 

The things that consume me aren’t destructive in themselves (I’m a huge college football fan), but when they begin to take large chunks of my time and effort, then they can become just that.  When the things that consume me dictate my attitude or my day, then I am choosing a path that I really don’t want to walk.

The bible is very clear in Exodus 20:3-6

3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

 4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

When I let things consume my time and energy in God’s place or above Him, then I have made for myself an Idol.  It may not be a “graven image” but I can certainly worship there.

We live in a consumer driven society.  We consume more than any other nation in the world, and we have let that creep into our lives ever so quietly.  We worship so many other things, we are consumed by our jobs, school, our calendars.  We worship at the stadium and the mall.  We are consumed by things that are fleeting pleasures and don’t realize how much time and energy is wasted.  Of course when I say “we” I mean I.  I do those things.  I’m the one who is being consumed.

Let’s take some time this week to focus on the amazing greatness of our loving God.  Let’s take the time to be consumed for His kingdom.  Is there something that we could do without this week to help our brothers and sisters in Christ?

I’ll close with a quote by C.S. Lewis that sums this up for me.

“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, 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 far too easily pleased.”  from The Weight of Glory