(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!)
You know when you read a book and once you finish you think “huh, not at all what I was expecting.” That’s how I felt after finishing The Weight of Glory. By no means is this a bad thing, not one bit, but there was such a variety of topics, it made for some interesting reading. I also think the fact that I have been reading Mere Christianity (for my bible study) at the same time, played a role in those expectations.
But of course I’m glad I read it! One of the takeaways for me was the vast amount of topics Lewis not only preached on, but his knowledge on so many of them. I’m pretty sure I was looking up names, pieces of literature and philosophies every other page. Like talking about the philosophy Pelagian? Oh yes, my friends and I were chatting about that just the other night….oh wait…. (It’s the belief that sin didn’t taint humanity, so there’s no need for Divine aid, in case you’re in my boat).
I love that in each of his books, Lewis is honest about his struggles. His humility is evident through his passion and writings. It always makes for intense, yet awesome reading experiences.
One of my favorite chapters was the book’s namesake “The Weight of Glory.” He wasted no time at all.
“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.“
“For they are not the thing itself [speaking of the beauty we find in books and music]; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not yet heard, news from a country we have never yet visited…And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years. Almost our whole education has been directed to silencing this shy, persistent, inner voice; almost all our modern philosophies have been devised to convince us that the good of man is to be found on this earth.”
One more from this chapter:
“A scientist may reply that since most of the things we call beautiful are inanimate, it is not very surprising that they take no notice of us. That, of course, is true. It is not the physical objects that I am speaking of, but that indescribable something of which they become for a moment the messengers.“
This was not as easy of a read for me as say, Mere Christianity. Was that the case for any of y’all? Some chapters (like Transposition) were very philosophical. I felt like a freshman all over again in my philosophy 101 class. Say what did I just read?? Let’s go ahead and read that again…
I also really appreciated the introductions that described where all the chapters came from and who Lewis shared them with. Some chapters were also much more impactful for me than others, say The Weight of Glory vs. Pacifism. Although I would like to know how the Pacifist Society responded to his talk.
“Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself. I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
“To excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
Then his last chapter has this. He knows how to make you think –
“If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God, it will make in the end of difference what you have chosen instead.” Those are hard words to take. Will it really make no difference whether it was women or patriotism, cocaine or art, whisky or a seat in the Cabinet, money or science? Well, surely no difference matters. We shall have missed the end for which we are formed and rejected the other thing that satisfies. Does it matter to a man dying in a desert by which choice of route he missed the only well?
Discussion time! Here’s a few questions I thought to get the party started :).
1. Which were your favorite chapters?
Mine were: Forgiveness, The Weight of Glory, A Slip of the Tongue and I also really enjoyed Is Theology Poetry. It’s like the ultimate literary academic argument for Christianity..comparing it to so many other works.
2. What were some of your key takeaways (whether from the book as a whole or an individual essay)?
3. Any favorite quotes?
It’s a miracle I only picked a handful of quotes for this post – ha! But the ones above were the ones that really stuck out.
4. How does this rank from the Lewis books you’ve read?
I feel I have so many more of Lewis’ books to read. This was different than the others I’ve read and I enjoyed it, but Mere Christianity still ranks number one in his theology/faith books.
5. What are thoughts would you like to add about the book?
Looking forward to reading your thoughts!