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This room in this house (thoughts from "Mere Christianity")

Did you choose your denomination?
Or did it choose you?

C. S. Lewis equates our first steps into Christianity as being in a hallway. We don’t want to live there, but we wait there until we know which room (or “existing communion”) to enter.

Many come to Christ through the gateway of a denomination, perhaps that of their family or friend or co-worker. So they “feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at.” They are welcomed into the room and sit at the fire with others in genuine fellowship and discipleship.

But others, as Lewis puts it, “may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time...I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping.”

What I’ve learned about the house: some of the walls are thin and allow communication between rooms; some doors stay wide open while others are tightly shut; some rooms are noisy whereas others are dark and quiet; some are sparsely decorated but others are ornate.

My room has the reputation as the workshop of the house. “Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun...We’ll work (we’ll work) till Jesus comes... I will labor every day in the vineyard of the Lord...” But sometimes a party breaks out even there, and we remember to enjoy the rest the Master has already provided us.

And sometimes I hear laughter and wander over into the playroom, or dress up to enter the formal living room, or crawl up in the attic and enjoy fellowship there. I discover family in every nook and cranny, and the Father knows us all.

My denomination?
I think it chose me first. And then I chose to stay. Sometimes gratefully ; sometimes reluctantly. I admit I’d like to move the furniture around, bring in some new pieces, and throw out some old, but I know the room is in the right house, so I stay. Most of the people I love the most, and who love me, are already gathered in this room. Other lovely brothers and sisters live in nearby rooms, so we meet in the hallway and visit each other’s rooms when we can.

It’s home. And there’s no place like it.

[Others' thoughts from the Preface of “Mere Christianity”]


Kay said...

I like your thoughts on 'our house.' ;-) Very appropriate... and Mere Christianity looks really interesting. I could have sworn I had a copy of that book somewhere, but I can't find it. So I think I'll try to get a copy of it and read along with you. Just one more book to add to my stack I'm trying to get through. ;-)

Lisa notes... said...

It's a good read--I think you'll enjoy it (from what I remember of it--it's been awhile).

If you're an on-line reader, click on the book picture at the post, and all the text is at that site. Then you don't have to buy the book. :-)

Kay said...

Now that I’ve had a chance to read the preface, there were a couple of things that I liked. One was thought that, while we might find that he is somewhat silent on certain moral issues, it’s not because of a wish to ‘dodge’ the issues in any way, but more a realization on his part that if he has not struggled personally with a certain sin or challenge in life, then it is difficult for him to feel ‘qualified’ to speak on it. I think I’ve spent a lot of years speaking on a lot of things ‘as if’ I were qualified to speak, without really knowing what it was to be in someone’s shoes… I’m learning some new lessons about that and realizing that there is much wisdom in silence. ;-)

The other thought I liked was his discussion on the use of the term “Christian.” I’ve never thought about how we’ve, in a sense, abused that term to the point that it no longer really means what it originally meant. I think I actually understand, maybe for the first time now, how someone can be a ‘good’ Christian or a ‘bad’ Christian. Interesting.

I’m looking forward to more reading… :-)

Lisa notes... said...

Good thoughts, Kay.

And I wonder what Lewis would say now, 60 years later, about how we use the term "Christian" today...

Joybird said...

I love this analogy. It's beautiful and rings true to my own experience.

Holly said...

I love that comparison!

Paula said...

My sister, Kay, told me about your blog and I'm enjoying reading through many of the posts. Love this post. Like you, my denomination chose me and I have not always been happy about it. But it seems to be where God is using me for now. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Lisa notes... said...

Glad to meet you here. I think the world of your sister (and b-i-l) and always feel blessed when I get to be around them.

I know what you mean about not always being happy where you are. I had that conversation just tonight with some other brothers, but I was reminded of exactly what you’re saying: this seems to be where God has me for now, and I need to accept it and continue moving forward here. God knows what he’s doing and I need to trust him with it. I tend to get impatient and want what I deem “progress” more quickly…



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