Happy Monday everyone! I wanted to let y’all know, I’m sharing over at Shame On Shanty today. Feel free to check out the post here (or by clicking on the image below!)
Whenever reading Lewis’ nonfiction, I can’t help but think of his life experiences up until that point. This book, written a few years before he passed away, had plenty of experience to base his study on. It never fails to captivate me. I admit, I felt like I was googling some reference Lewis made every other page. There were also a few “I’m going to have to re-read that page because I’m not quite sure what I just read” moments.
This is one of those books though, you could read 100 times and still discover something new with each read. Can we are take a moment to appreciate that Lewis referred to himself as an “oldster” and used Jane Austen as examples? Alright, now onto a discussion which I hope won’t just turn into 97,000 quotes…. : )
I thought the “Likings and Loves for the sub-human” was an interesting section on the other things we humans can “love.” From his discussion of the dangers of patriotism (no doubt from his experience and living through two World Wars) to his thoughts of nature, especially this one:
“Nature never taught me that there exists a God of Glory and of infinite majesty. I had to learn that in other ways. But nature gave the word glory a meaning for me. I still do not know where else I could have found one. I do not see how the “fear” of God could have ever meant to me anything but the lowest prudential efforts to be safe, if I had never seen certain ominous ravines and unapproachable crags. And if nature had never awakened certain longings in me, huge areas of what I can now mean by the “love” of God would never, so far as I can see, existed.”
How easy it is for humans to turn something good into an idol? “We may give our human loves the unconditional allegiance which we owe only to God. Then they become gods: then they become demons….Love becomes a demon when it becomes a god.”
He’s been bringing it since 1898.
So this doesn’t once again turn into dissertation status, here’s a couple thoughts and quotes from each of the Four Loves:
I took this one to be the easiest to come by and basic, but not in a “not as important as the others” way either. Each of the other loves has Affection as a part of them as well.
“Affection is the humblest love.”
“Affection opens our eyes to goodness we could not have seen, or should not have appreciated without it.”
This will be hard to keep short. I don’t think it was by mistake the section on Friendship is the longest. This too can also be a part of the other loves and is so vital for life. (Sidenote: Did anyone else need to look up his examples of friendship? Folks like Pylades & Orestes, Roland and Oliver, Amis and Amile? Wiki and I hung out a lot reading this book).
Some of my favorite Lewis quotes come from this section as well:
“Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”
“I have no duty to be anyone’s Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like are, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
His description and discussion of friendship was insightful (i.e. how friendship can be used for evil when it involves folks who are criminals) and so thought-provoking.
Then this. Way to make me get teary-eyed Jack. “But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work…The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others….they are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by His through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as revealing. At this feast it is He who has spread the board and it is He who has chosen the guests. It is He, we may dare to hope, who sometimes does, and always should, preside. Let us now reckon without our Host.”
This section didn’t hit me as much as Friendship, but I think Lewis was spot on, on so many levels. It’s about the other person. That’s what makes Eros so beautiful and vulnerable.
“Eros wants the Beloved.”
“Now Eros makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman. In some mysterious but quite indisputable fashion the lover desires the Beloved herself, not the pleasure she can give.”
Lewis doesn’t hold back on the dangers of idolising Eros either, while also recognizing its “grandeur and terror.”
“We must not give unconditional obedience to the voice of Eros when he speaks most like a god. Neither must we ignore or attempt to deny the god-like quality. This love is really and truly like Love Himself.”
Well. This section has one of my all-time favorite quotes…EVER:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
THIS. “Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our own happiness. If a man is not uncalculating towards the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not. We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as He way in which they should break, so be it.”
He was also a fan of keeping the truth simple:
“God is love.” Amen Jack. Amen!
Discussion time! Keeping it pretty simple, so please feel free to answer any or all.
1. Was there one discussion that stuck out to you more (of the Four Loves)?
As I mentioned, for me it was definitely the section of Friendship, but there were also several tidbits that packed a punch in the Charity chapter.
2. I always love reading the quotes that spoke to people, so please feel free to share any that hit home for you. I admit, I have at least another page of quotes, but I’ll save them for another day : ).
3. Please include any other thoughts or insight!
I don’t know if this was his intent, but Lewis had me chuckling quite a bit. Especially with some of his descriptions of people, like referring to one of his students as a “not so nice Rodent.” Or the time he compared humans to donkeys? “Ass is exquisitely right because no one in his senses can either revere or hate a donkey.” Then there was also his warning about his closing thoughts on Charity: “Take it as one man’s reverie, almost one man’s myth: If anything in it is useful to you, use it; if anything is not, never give it a second thought.”
Looking forward to hearing from y’all!
Tomorrow night I get to see my favorite band of ALL TIME in concert. Seriously, NEEDTOBREATHE is an incredible band and if you haven’t listened to their music, dear friends, stop reading and LISTEN!
Anyway, one of my favorite songs from their latest album is “Brother.” Two of the band members are brothers, and I love the lyrics and I think they are relevant just as much to family as they are to friendship. Here’s a snippet:
Brother let me be your shelter
I’ll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home
I’ve been thinking about friendship often this year and I’ve been reminded quite often it’s value (not that I ever doubted!). From this song, to sermons, to reading books about friendships, I wanted to take a moment on this blog to simply remind myself (and maybe even you dear reader) how much we, as breathing and living humans, need friendship in our lives.
When I think of my girlfriends, first, I laugh, thinking of all the hilarity throughout the years and then I get really cheesy and maybe even tear up thinking about what they’ve meant and continue to mean in my life.
They’re the Hobbits you’d want with you to destroy the ring, the ones who will meet up for Happy Hour because you need to hash out the latest boy drama, or it was a long work week or you just want to enjoy Happy Hour and laugh. They’re the women who will go grab significant amounts of chocolate without being asked, the women who will change their plans to meet you at Chick-fil-A, the women who will get excited for the new adventures in your life and cry with you when your heart is broken (the stuff beyond boys).
They’re the women who I know I can send something funny no matter how inappropriate and I know they’ll laugh and still be my friend. They’re the women who will encourage me in my faith, who will pray for me and will always be there.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14 NIV)
As C.S. Lewis said in The Four Loves, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)
You never know where you’ll meet them, whether playing dodge ball during 5th grade P.E. or in a new state. They may be at different life stages when you meet, they’ll do things differently and probably even view things a bit differently than you do, they may live thousands of miles away or twenty minutes away, but the thing I’ve learned is that God is faithful in bringing friends into your life that you need.
I could post a collage of pictures, but that might overwhelm y’all ;), so I’ll go with one picture of my best friend and I (since the previously mentioned dodge ball match in 5th grade :). I am so thankful for her in my life and proof that living states apart doesn’t have to change a friendship!
Don’t be a Lone Ranger friends. There is too much beauty in friendship to go at life alone. 🙂
What about you? How have friendships shaped your life?
P.S. Five internet high fives if you know the title reference 🙂
A couple of months ago (as you can see, I’m right on top of blogging about it) I got to hop on a plane to hang out with some amazing women I have the joy of calling friends. Seriously, I don’t know where I would be without these ladies. My friend Sheena blogged about the trip and I absolutely loved what she wrote – it’s beautiful and exactly how I feel (Plus she takes some pretty amazing/beautiful photos, so go check them out!)
But really, I love these women and even though we’re all over the world (we rep two countries and 5 states!), we make it a point to get together once a year. Sometimes it’s for babies, sometimes it’s for weddings (my friends know how to celebrate love!) and sometimes it’s for random adventures. We’ve been to New York, Austin (woot!), San Francisco, Wisconsin, Portland, Hawaii, and Seattle. If there was a stronger word for blessed, I’d use it. I’ve known most of them since college (I love how God brought us all together – I’ll have to tell y’all one of these days) and these annual adventures have become a breath of fresh air, where I know we’ll laugh till we can’t breathe, see all kinds of fun things, eat fabulous amounts of food and chat late into the night. Although I admit, I’m usually the first to doze off :).
Seattle is a beautiful city and we had a ton of fun. I definitely plan on going back one of these days and I’m already counting down until Chicago 2015 :).
What adventures have you been on this year? Or if you haven’t, where would like to go next if you could?
He’s a fellow Austinite, so that little piece of information should solidify that he’s a legit author. He also is author to a witty and hilarious tale of friendship that all kids need to read. As I mentioned in my review, How to Make Friends and Monsters, Bates uses “witty writing, humorous monologue, mischief and mayhem, that will leave you laughing and understanding the true meaning of friendship!”
So of course I wanted to host him here! Not only do we get the regular 4 Questions, but a few bonus questions about Howard Boward, inspiration of characters and a love of monsters!
Ron Bates is a writer, journalist and humor columnist who has produced creative work for a variety of mediums. He began his career as a newspaper reporter, and his frequently funny takes on life caught the attention of Legacy Publishing, which hired him as a resident humor-columnist for their three regional magazines. As a freelance writer, Ron’s work include the children’s story Arnold Bought a Bug, and St. Mary’s and the Art of War, the true story of how Italian POW’s transformed in a tiny Texas church. Rob is the author of the Cranium Comics series Brawn, the inspirational play Flight 1615, and Underground Ink, a collection of humorous poems. As an award-winning copy-writer, Ron lives and works in Texas.
1. What is something about your life right now that you would have never imagined 5 years ago?
That anyone would want my autograph. I still feel like I should apologize whenever I sign a book, it’s this sense that I’ve somehow left a permanent blotch on an otherwise perfect page. Getting to do something like that is an honor and one of the most gratifying parts of the book-writing experience but it’s surreal. I guess it’s because authors aren’t accustomed to being onstage — the book is the star, we’re somewhere back behind the curtain. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful but I always half-expect people to say they’re joking and then pull the book away.
2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
The hard part is limiting it to just one thing. But, looking back, my biggest regret is the time I wasted. It’s not a matter of wishing I’d worked harder or longer, it’s more about wishing I’d seen the path earlier. Writing a book was always something I was going to do “someday.” What I didn’t realize at the time was that any day can be someday–it’s not some magical point in the future. In hindsight, there were an awful lot of some days I let slip away while I was waiting for some huge, life-changing moment.
3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
In college, I joined the speech team mainly because it was a good way to meet people and you got to travel to events around the country. We were at nationals one year in Kansas City and a group of us came up with a game we called “elevator Frisbee.” The name pretty much says it all — we divided and got into elevators facing each other and, when the doors opened on the next floor, we’d throw the Frisbee to someone waiting in the elevator on the other side. This continued all the way to the top floor. The object of the game was to time your throw perfectly so that, the second the elevator doors opened, a Frisbee would come whirling through them. It was stupid. But I remember laughing as hard as I have ever laughed at anything, and the looks on the faces of the hotel guests watching a Frisbee fly out of one elevator and into another was priceless. I don’t really think it was this ridiculous game that made me happy, it was that I’d found a group of really creative people who were just as warped and immature as I was and together we were “greater” than the sum of our parts. It was a special time.
4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
The world neither starts nor ends with you. That sounds so obvious but every generation seems to struggle with the concept. For some reason, there’s this point in our development where we believe we have to change things, and only we can do it because we have all the answers. That’s not the next generation, that’s every generation. The trouble is, we forget that others felt this way long before our arrival. There’s a reason things are as they are, a reason our predecessors set us on this course. That doesn’t mean it’s the right course but it does mean you don’t change everything just for the sake of change. You owe something to the next generation, just as the previous one owed something to you, so don’t throw away the past carelessly. You might be robbing those to come of something precious.
And now a few about How to Make Friends and Monsters!
5. Where did the idea develop? Are you a big Frankenstein fan?
I grew up a big fan of old monster movies. I’m not just talking about the “classic” monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman, I liked them all–Mothra, Gamera, the blob, the giant ants from “Them.” One of my favorite memories is staying up late on Friday nights and watching the cheesy midnight movies that always involved some nuclear mutation bent on destroying the planet. But just when you thought you knew everything about monster history, it changed. Sesame Street gave us Cookie Monster and Grover, Harry and the Hendersons gave us a lovable Bigfoot, and we met Sulley and Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. Suddenly, monsters, which had always been the scourge of mankind, could be friends.
In a lot of ways, the book is an examination of one question — what is a monster? Is it a monster because of the way it looks, because of where it came from, or because of its actions? At its heart, this is a story about a friendship between two kids, one of whom just happens to be a “monster.”
6. Were any of the characters inspired by real people?
Definitely. There are elements of people I know in all of them but they’re not exact copies. My brothers and my sister, for example, have all found instances in the book that happened to them while we were growing up. Those parts were when the story felt most “real” to me because they were real experiences. When I picture Winnie McKinney in my head, I know the face I’m thinking of and it belongs to a real-life person. Is Winnie her? The best answer I can give is “kind of.”
As for Howard, he looks at the world a lot like I do. I think he worries about the same things I worried about at his age, so I know I’m in there, part of the mix. Hopefully no one I grew up with will see themselves in the bullies in the story — but if they’d been on the other end of the wedgie back then, there’s a good chance they might.
7. What’s one of the main things you hope your young readers come away with after reading this?
Fitting in isn’t about becoming who you think the crowd wants you to be. It’s about being who you are and finding your place among people who wouldn’t have you any other way. You might make friends by pretending to be someone you’re not, but you’ll never really be one.
8. So is there anything on the horizon for Howard?
Indeed there is. I’m finishing the second book in the series right now and it takes place a little later in the year, during the winter months when the first snow has just fallen. We tend to think of snow as this pillowy layer of fluff that floats down from the sky but Howard sees it as something else entirely. Rolled into a ball, it becomes a cold, hard weapon and he is its unfortunate target. Naturally, with his passion for inventing things, you can count on him coming up with a very unusual snowman. It’s not that Howard means for it to be unusual, it’s just that his inventions never quite turn out as planned. But most of the main characters from the first book are back and Howard is still trying to survive the perilous halls of Dolley Madison Middle School, so hopefully it’ll be a fun read.
Thank you so much Ron! Looking forward to following Howard’s mishaps and adventures!