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Good or Bad News First? (thoughts from "Mere Christianity")

Good news first? Or bad news?

Which do you usually choose? I grew up “bad news first”. Work first, then play; eat your vegetables, then you get dessert. It's worked well for me.

In Mere Christianity, Lewis points out that we can’t even understand the good news unless we first grasp the bad. He says three things to his readers/listeners in chapter 5, “We Have Cause to Be Uneasy.”

1. Progress may mean first going backwards to get off the wrong road so you can find the right.
2. There is “Somebody” else out there. We know that because: (1) we see the universe He has made. And (2) we each have a Moral Law that He put inside us.
3. Christianity doesn’t even make sense until you come face to face with the facts of your life.

Expounding on this last point, he writes:
Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness. ...When you know you are sick, you will listen to the doctor. When you have realized that our position is nearly desperate you will begin to understand what the Christians are talking about.
Do we get the bad news? Do we see our “desperate position”? Do we even know that we need bailing out?

Until we do, can we appreciate, or even accept, the Good News?

[Others' thoughts from Book I of “Mere Christianity”]


Kay said...

I really liked Lewis' thoughts that you brought out in your 'point #1' about how at times progress may look like you're going backwards.

"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 the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man."

Sometimes that 'journey back to the right road' can seem like a pretty long walk. Or should I say, a long hike, uphill, in the rain, carrying 50 pounds of rocks in your backpack...!! Guess that might be why it's better to stay on the right road in the first place and as Lewis said, "the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man." (not as far to hike back - ha)

And I guess that point #3 is needed in order to make you realize that you need to do point #1. :-)

Lisa notes... said...

I liked that progress quote, too. Had to practice it today when I wasted about 30 minutes looking for my misplaced Christmas list; finally gave up searching and started a new one instead. That was progress. And it only took about 5 minutes to redo. Oh, if only all of life's lessons worked out so easily. ;-)


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