Book Notes: Final Thoughts on Mere Christianity

In this weeks reading we finished Mere Christianity.  I think the book met my expectations for a great introduction to Christianity.  I think Lewis makes some very compelling arguments for a belief in both a god, and the Christian God.

In this final reading, I found a section in Chapter 9 very interesting.  Lewis discusses the “cost” of following Christianity.  In this case, Lewis argues that the cost of following Christianity is that the Lord will not just help us with those parts of our lives we don’t like, he will help us with all of it.  We can’t ask the Lord to help us with something like alcoholism, and not expect the Lord to affect our everyday lives.  Lewis uses this explanation:

When I was a child I often had toothache, and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something which would deaden the pain for the night and let me get to sleep.  But I did not go to my mother — at least, not till the pain became very bad.  And the reason I did not go was this.  I did not doubt she would give me the aspirin, but I knew she would also do something else.  I knew she would take me to the dentist next morning.  I could not get what I wanted out of her without getting something more, which I did not want.

I think there are times when we all face this.  We all would like help with the big things.  We would all like to be good Christians.  However, embracing Christianity means that we let God fix ALL of the problems with us.  The problems we want help with (like gluttony at Thanksgiving) as well as the problems we may not want help with (such as loving our neighbors as ourselves).  However, Christianity isn’t a cafeteria menu.   God loves us and wants to make sure our tooth doesn’t hurt anymore.  He will take away the pain we have tonight, but he will also work within us to fix that tooth for years to come.

There is a temptation to let God help us with the immediate problem, but not our entire life.  We would like to be a little bit better person, but not necessarily the person God wants us to be.  Lewis has a response for this as well:

We may be content to remain what we call “ordinary people”:but He is determined to carry out a quite different plan.  To shrink back from that plan is not humility: it is laziness and cowardice.  To submit to it is not conceit or megalomania; it is obedience.

I pray that I have the strength, the courage, and the obedience to follow God where he will take me.

For Next Week: I had planned to cover “Free To Choose” by Milton Friedman next week.  However, with the events in Egypt, and the involvement of Muslim Brotherhood in the protests demonstrations, I am considering shifting books.  “The Grand Jihad”, by Andrew McCarthy covers a number of things.  However, it also talks about the Muslim Brotherhood’s relationship to Hamas.  Which one would you prefer to read?  I will post a comment here around Wednesday with the final selection and what pages I will cover for Sunday.