Inklings

A Toast to the Professor | Celebrating with Favorite LOTR Moments

Today is Tolkien’s 126th Birthday! Every year on January 3rd, we fans raise a toast! (According to The Tolkien Society, it’s at 9:00 p.m. your local time.) Here’s the official way from their website :):

All you need to do is stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink (not necessarily alcoholic), and say the words “The Professor” before taking a sip (or swig, if that’s more appropriate for your drink). Sit and enjoy the rest of your drink.

Current office decor

So tonight I’ll raise a glass, but thought it would be fun to share a few favorite quotes from the book and scenes from the LOTR movies!

1. “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” The Fellowship of the Ring

2. “Courage is found in unlikely places…be of good hope!” (Gildor to Frodo in The Fellowship of The Ring)

3. “All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.”

4. Samwise being Samwise

5. “Where there’s life there’s hope.” Sam’s Gaffer (The Two Towers)

6. “But that’s not the way of it with tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in mind. Folks seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t.” Samwise Gamgee

7. Éowyn being awesome:

8. “He (Faramir) looked at her, and being a man whom pity deeply stirred, it seemed to him that her (Éowyn) loveliness amid her grief would pierce his heart. And she looked at him and saw the grave tenderness in his eyes, and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle.” I love this because it shows the romantic Tolkien was (Return of the King)

9. “For Frodo.” Gets me every time.

I couldn’t resist, I had to sneak one in from The Hobbit:
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” (Thorin to Bilbo as he was dying)

What are some of your favorite scenes?

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Inklings

In Celebration of His Birthday: 11 Favorite Quotes of C.S. Lewis

In celebration of Jack’s (aka C.S. Lewis) birthday, I thought I’d share 11 of my favorite quotes of Lewis.

1. “He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.” The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

2. “It was from the Lion that the light came. No one ever saw anything more terrible or beautiful.” The Horse and His Boy

3. “If the universe is so bad, or even half so bad, how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator? Men are fools, perhaps; but hardly so foolish as that. The direct inference from black to white, from evil flower to virtuous root, from senseless work to a workman infinitely wise, staggers belief. The spectacle of the universe as revealed by experience can never have been the ground for religion: it must have been something in spite of which religion, acquired from a different source, was held.” The Problem of Pain

4. “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” The Problem of Pain

5. “When I began teaching for the English Faculty, I made two other friends, both Christians (these queer people seemed now to pop up on every side) who were later to give me much help in getting over the last stile. They were H. V. V. Dyson (then of Reading) and J. R. R. Tolkien. Friendship with the latter marked the breakdown of two old prejudices. At my first coming into the world I had been (implicitly) warned never to trust a Papist, and at my first coming into the English Faculty (explicitly) never to trust a philologist. Tolkien was both.” Surprised By Joy

6. “Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.” Mere Christianity

7. “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” Mere Christianity

8. “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.” The Weight of Glory

9. “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.” The Four Loves

10. “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.” The Great Divorce

11. “Dear Wormwood,
Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or the Pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage which the religion becomes merely a part of the “cause”…Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won you man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours – and more “religious” (on those terms) the more securely ours. I could show you a pretty cageful down here,
Your Affectionate Uncle,
Screwtape”
The Screwtape Letters

There are so many others (I made myself stop adding quotes from Narnia), you really can’t go wrong with words from Jack. What are some of your favorite books and/or quotes of Lewis?

Women of the Bible

Anna of the New Testament | Women of the Bible

A few months ago, I read an article that featured some women of the Bible, lesser known women and what their stories mean for us today. I loved it. Not only because there were quite a few I didn’t remember (or know #honesty), but I was encouraged by the fact that God doesn’t waste space in the Bible. They were very short features, but none the less, it got me on this kick to study lesser known women in Scripture.

Enter in a new “series.” Y’all know me and my “series.” Sometimes they are on point and consistent, sometimes I forget I started them and sometimes I have nothing more to say on the topic – ha! But anyway, I think this will be good for me….the whole studying scripture thing is always good for my soul. 🙂 (If interested in more Women of the Bible posts, check them out here!)

I have never understood how people who have read the New Testament miss the way Jesus interacted with women. Even stories of women from the Old Testament are inspiring. What I see is women leading, serving, being loved deeply by Jesus.

Some the biggest inspirations over my life and faith come from the bible. Of course there are the big names, like Esther, Ruth and Mary, but I love how God also weaved in so many other stories of women. Lesser known women who may have one or two sentences in scripture, but still have an incredible story to tell.

One such woman? Anna of the New Testament. This was what we know of Anna from scripture from Luke 2:36-38:

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

She gets two verses in the entire Bible. Just two. At first glance that may not seem like much and that there might not be much to learn from Anna. Yet.

Isn’t that just like Jesus? What we might see as insignificant is far more than we can imagine. Plus, if you’re mentioned in the Bible that’s legit. Unless, it’s for shady reasons (where to even start with this list?), then totally not legit.

So Anna. She got married as many young women back then did. Only seven years later, her husband died. That in itself is terrible, but in a culture where women depended on men in many ways, I can only imagine the extra grief that was set before Anna.

Yet.

She chose joy and serving the Lord. For 84 years! Fasting, worshipping, praying. Just think about that. I mean, real talk for a quick minute, I sometimes fall asleep after 3 minutes of prayer. But Anna was committed and because of this, Anna is the New Testament’s only named female prophetess. #Status

I would say Anna was content with her life. She had dedicated her life in service to the Lord and never gave up on that mission. I really believe she could have gone on to glory and that would have been more than enough for Anna. But the Lord wasn’t finished with her. Because then, Baby Jesus was born (Can I get a Hallelujah and Amen?).

What she thought was another day of praying, fasting and worshipping at the Temple, was much more. Instead, Anna was gifted with perfect timing of seeing Jesus and witnessing Simeon bless baby Jesus.

What an incredible gift! What was Anna’s response? Telling any and all about Jesus and the redemption of Jerusalem.

So yeah, I would say there’s a few things to learn from Anna and her two verses.

Life doesn’t always turn out how we expect
But we can cling to the hope that God still reigns, He has a plan and His timing is perfect.

When we trust Him, He blesses us more than we can imagine
And in ways we couldn’t dare to imagine. But do not dare not to dare friends.

When we draw close to the Lord, He draws near to us
Lord, may I never lose sight of this!

I hope you were encouraged by Anna’s story as I was! Have you read much about Anna before? In what ways has life turned out a bit different than expected?

Love and Faith

This Easter We Can Still Sing Hallelujah

Do y’all feel the darkness that seems to be growing in our world? From all that is happening on our own soil (Y’all, Donald Trump is the frontrunner for the GOP and if I start with all he “inspires” to fellow Americans, I won’t stop, so I’ll just say Lord Jesus HELP US) to persecution, slavery, trafficking and terrorism around the world. The news of Brussels this week broke my heart all over again. So much darkness.

There’s times when I can feel the heaviness and burden in my soul. Pain, hurt, loss. But recently, God has reminded me of His goodness and His hope.

And hallelujah there is a hope that will never be loss!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
Psalm 28:7

We sang “Forever” by Kari Jobe recently at church and y’all it hit my heart at a time I desperately needed it.

The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Saviour of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon him

One final breath he gave
As heaven looked away
The son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken

The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting?
Our resurrected King
Has rendered you defeated

Forever He is glorified
Forever He is lifted high
Forever He is risen
He is alive, He is alive!

My heart is reminded on this beautiful story we are all a part of.

Psalm 39:7 shares this blessed truth:

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in You.”

I know Who goes before me and Who stands behind, so come what may, I’ll never lose my hope.

No matter what happens, I can fully trust and believe that the Lord is fully and wholly in control. Even when He hands this nation what they want (even when it’s so far from what these people need). Even when I’m living in a culture turning further and further away from God, I still have hope (and I can still fight for goodness).

No matter how great or how dark the circumstances are around me, the truth of what we celebrate this Sunday never wavers and never will. We can still loudly sing Hallelujah.

What hope and what joy!

So Happy Easter friends and may you be blessed by the truth of the beautiful Gospel. That Jesus came, died and rose because of a love so deep, so amazing and so divine!

Inklings

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis | Inklings Series Discussion

“Do not dare not to dare.” Aslan to Bree

Isn’t Narnia the best? I fall more and more in love with this world every time I re-read any book in the series. For Narnia and the North!

I especially love this story because its about a journey. Not only for Shasta, but Aravis, Hwin and Bree. A journey of discovering who they are meant to be and realizing that not everything is exactly as it seems. Plus, this book also has one of my favorite quotes from Narnia as well.

Alright, let’s talk about the bad guys for a moment.
Oh Rabadash…I almost felt sorry for the guy. So blinded and calling what is good a demon. I also thought the way Lewis’ described their thoughts on the “sorcery” of Narnia was rather telling.

“And this change, O most learned Prince, has doubtless been brought to pass by the powerful incantations of those wicked persons who now call themselves kings and queens of Narnia.”

“I am rather of the opinion,” said Rabadash, “that it has come about by the alteration of the stars and the operation of natural causes.”

“All this,” said the Tisroc, “is a question for the disputations of learned men. I will never believe that so great an alteration, and the killing of the old enchantress, were effected without the aid of strong magic. And such things are to be expected in that land, which is chiefly inhabited by demons in the shape of beasts that talk like men, and monsters that are half man and half beast. It is commonly reported that the High King of Narnia (whom may the gods utterly reject) is supported by a demon of hideous aspect and irresistible maleficence who appears in the shape of a Lion.”

Mmhmmm….

Another reason this one is one of my favorite of the Chronicles is because of how much it shows the character of Aslan. I mean…CAN I LOVE A CAT ANYMORE? Here’s just a few of my favorites about Aslan:

“Who are you?” asked Shasta.

“Myself,” said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again “Myself,” loud and clear and gay: and then the third time “Myself,” whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it.

Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too.

“It was from the Lion that the light came. No one ever saw anything more terrible or beautiful.”

“But after one glance at the Lion’s face he (Shasta) slipped out of the saddle and fell at its feet. He couldn’t say anything but then he didn’t want to say anything, and he knew he needn’t say anything.”

And probably one of my favorites is when the narrator (toward the end) causally says:

“[Aslan] seems to be at the back of all the stories.”

Ain’t that the truth?

Alright! If you want to join in the discussion, here’s a few prompts! Of course feel free to answer any, all or include other thoughts.
1. Which character do you think went through the most change?
I want to say all of them, but I’ll go with Aravis and Bree. I think it’s because the stuff that they needed to change was a bit harder and different from the changes Shasta experienced.

2. Did you have a favorite action of Aslan in this one?
I love Aslan, especially in the tombs. From the comforting cat to his roar scaring away creatures. He’s always exactly who we need.

3. If you have any quotes you especially loved, please share!

4. Any other thoughts?
I was reading up on reviews and came across many reviews who claimed C.S. Lewis was racist because of this book. Say wha? I don’t think you can truly know Lewis’ works and life and say something like that. I’ll just leave it at that. Have you heard this claims?

It was also fun to see the first relationship and marriage in the series (Cor and Aravis). Yay for love!

Thanks for reading and joining in! Until next month when we head over to Middle Earth.

Inklings

If I Had Lunch With C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath | Inklings Series Discussion

If you are looking for an introduction to C.S. Lewis, this book is a great place to start. Not only because you get some facts about Lewis’ life, but also an overview of his thoughts on faith, life and why he wrote many of the books he did. There’s also discussion on what Lewis’ writings mean for us today. I really enjoyed it and now I really can’t wait to get more of his books!

“Lewis does not try to prove the existence of God on purely rational grounds. His approach is much more interesting. Instead of launching an argument for the existence of God, Lewis invites us to see how what we observe in the world around us and experience within us fits into the Christian way of seeing things. Lewis’s genius as an apologist…lay in his ability to show how a Christian viewpoint was able to offer a more satisfactory explanation of common human experience than its rivals, especially the atheism he had once himself so enthusiastically advocated.”

I really enjoyed reading how all of Lewis’ experiences shaped the stories he wrote, his faith and how he shared his faith with the world. Have I mentioned he was a genius?

Lewis’ writings have shaped me in so many ways, so it was nice to read from someone who could articulate why Lewis and his writings are so amazing.

“One of the reasons Lewis embraced Christianity is that it helped him to discern meaning in life. Life is about more than just understanding things: it is about being able to cope with ambiguity and bewilderment, and about finding something worthwhile to give us direction and meaning.”

Okay, one more quote about his writing: “His approach could be described as enabling the believer to hear the harmonics of the cosmos, and to realise that it fits together aesthetically.”

The two chapters on Narnia were some of my favorite, because, as McGrath points out, through the stories of Narnia, Lewis shows truths instead of just telling us. I knew my love for Narnia was legit! ; ).

“These evocative stories affirm that it is possible for the weak and foolish to have a noble calling in a dark world…that there is indeed something beautiful and wonderful at the heart of the universe; and that this may be found, embraced, and adored.”

Can Narnia be real? PLEASE INTERNET!

Alright! Here’s a few discussion questions. Feel free to answer any or all, and of course include your own thoughts!

1. After reading this, is there a book of Lewis you really want to read?
For sure I am excited to read The Weight of Glory. I’m also interested in The Abolition of Man, since he was so fired up about the topic.

2. Did you have a favorite “lunch” (chapter)?
I enjoyed the first chapter about Narnia – I thought it profound that Narnia was written when Lewis’ life was at an all-time low. Plus I loved hearing Lewis’ response about Narnia: “Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia, and that the Son of God, as he became a Man in our world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would happen.”

“One of Lewis’s great achievements in Narnia is to help us understand that we live in a world of competing narratives. In the end, we have to decide for ourselves which is right. And having made that decision, we then need to inhabit the story we trust. Lewis help us deal with both questions.”

3. Any other thoughts?
I will forever be sad about the direction of Tolkien and Lewis’ friendship. Sigh….

I’ll end with this beauty of a quote:
“Perhaps one of the lessons that we can learn from Lewis is that apologetics is at its best when it makes people wish that Christianity is true – by showing them its power to excited the imagination, to make sense of things, and to bring stability, security, and meaning to life.”

Inklings

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien | Inklings Series Discussion

This is my 1965 edition of The Two Towers. Sadly, I don’t remember who gave it to me or where I got it, but I love having an older edition!

Tolkien never fails to entertain. I love his writing, I love his creativity and this book was yet another reminder of his brilliance. Did anyone else keep noticing the differences in the books from the movies? Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the movies and watch them all the time, but I have questions Peter Jackson! I’d forgotten so much from the books and some of the changes I don’t get the reasoning. Like the fact the sword was remade long before in the book. I love that it was too. Just read this quote when Aragorn and crew first encounter the Rohirrim:

“Aragorn threw back his cloak. The elven-sheath glittered as he grasped it, and the bright blade of Andúril shone like a sudden flame as he swept it out. ‘Elendil!’ he cried. ‘I am Aragorn son of Arathorn, and am called Elessar, the Elfstone, Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil’s son of Gondor. Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again! Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly!’

Gimli and Legolas looked at their companion in amazement, for they had not seen him in this mood before. He seemed to have grown in stature while Èomer had shrunk; and in his living face they caught a brief vision of the power and majesty of the kings of stone. For a moment it seemed in the eyes of Legolas that a white flame flickered on the brows of Aragorn like a shining crown.”

Y’all – dang.

Or even how much it meant for Èomer to let the three travel freely in Rohan. Or that scouts never threw Aragorn over the cliff on the way to Helm’s Deep. Or the key character-revealing fact that Faramir never forced Frodo and crew to go to Minas Tirith. How about Pippin “tricking” Treebeard and the Ents to see Isengard since they had decided not to join the fight in the movie? Oh and Frodo snapping at Sam on Stairs of Cirith Ungol? Didn’t happen. Plus them going through Shelob’s Lair together further showed their bond of friendship. I promise I still like the movies, but since it’s been over 10 years since I’ve read the books, I found the changes rather surprising (and often unnecessary). Maybe that’s just me though!

I need to take a few moments to talk about the Ents. I liked Treebeard so much more in the book (not that I disliked the movie version), but there were just some things that couldn’t be portrayed in the movie. Like this description by Pippin of Treebeard’s eyes:

“One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present; like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree, or on the ripples of a very deep lake. I don’t know, but it felt as if something that grew in the ground – asleep, you might say, or just feeling itself as something between root-tip and leaf-tip, between deep earth and sky suddenly waked up, and was considering you with the same slow care that it had given to its own inside affairs for endless years.”

I feel like the movies made them Tree Eeyores… But they much deeper and awesome. The fact that Trolls were made in mockery of Ents (and Orcs of Elves) by the Enemy in the Great Darkness, proves they are legit. I’m also going to try to bring this into everyday vernacular: “By root and twig, but it is strange business.”

“There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men bad enough for such treachery. Down with Saruman!”

I really love the friendship between Gimli and Legolas as well – watching it play out in the book made me laugh and appreciate friendship, much like the movie. Okay. So….Helm’s Deep. Can I also share a few words about this as well? Èomer and Aragorn fighting together = awesome. Again, Aragorn having Andúril was way better. He’s the king I tell you! Then there was the wild men who fought, the conversations Aragorn had with them right before dawn and the fact that oh, you know, Legolas was the only elf there. Why must you change the Tolkien awesomeness?! Kay, I’m done with Helm’s Deep.

Then there’s good ol Saruman. I think my favorite reaction to Saruman’s final persuasive attempts was Gandalf:

“Then Gandalf laughed. The fantasy vanished like a puff of smoke.
‘Saruman, Saruman!’ Said Gandalf still laughing. ‘Saruman, you missed your path in life. You should have been the king’s jester and earned your bread, and stripes too, by mimicking his counsellors…I fear I am beyond your comprehension.”

That’s called Gandalf dropping the mic.

I still think one of the best characters created in literature is Gollum. (He’s portrayed so well in the movies too!) His split personality, wanting to refer to himself as “Lord Sméagol” or “Gollum the Great,” to how readers really do pity the creature, to his sly remarks…I love it.

Have I mentioned how much I love Sam?

“Where there’s life there’s hope.” Sam’s Gaffer

As always here’s some questions, feel free to answer any or all!

1. Did you notice the differences as much as I did? Is there something you would have liked to stay the same as the books?

2. Favorite character(s) or ones you wish were in the movie?
Sam. He’ll be one of my favorites in Return of the King too. He’s the perfect character. Like when he was ready to take on Faramir?? Love him.

Faramir. Such injustice done in the movies! He may not be the eldest, but he’s commanding in his own right.

I wish Quickbeam the Ent has a more prominent role in the movie. He’s funny and passionate! Such a missed opportunity.

3. Any favorite quotes?
“But that’s not the way of it with tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in mind. Folks seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t.” Samwise Gamgee

4. What do you think happened with Shelob?
First off, I’m pretty sure Tolkien’s description of Shelob shall haunt my dreams until forever and then some. Personally I think she crawled back in her hole and died a miserable and slow death. No less than she deserved, as Bilbo would say.

5. As always, any other random thoughts are appreciated and welcomed!

Inklings

The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis | Inklings Series Discussion

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:

Affection

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.”

Friendship

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.”

Eros

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.”

Charity

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.”

Then….

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!

Inklings

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis | Inklings Series Discussion

“He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”

How and where do I start with this brilliant piece of work? Whether Lewis had me laughing or yearning for things beyond this world, I love this book and I just need to let the world wide web know that the world of Narnia is pure genius.

I laughed a bunch in this book. Lucy and Mr. Tumnus’ early interaction was a favorite. His take on where she came from? Genius.

“Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?”

I want to have tea with you Mr. Tumnus!!

Reading The Chronicles of Narnia is numinous. That might be a strange way to describe it, but I see God’s story in every page and some of the ways Lewis discussed and described Aslan gave me the chills (in a good way!). Throughout the pages, we see humanity gone wrong, yet humanity restored. I saw bravery and love in the most beautiful sense.

Like the way we learn about Aslan’s character through people’s reactions. Check this passage:

“They say Aslan is on the move – perhaps has already landed.

And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different.”

It’s that joy (even if you don’t see it at first) of knowing you will be restored & redeemed.

Now how do I not just unleash of all things Aslan right now?

First there’s this song:
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”

Then there’s this:
“People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. If the children had ever thought so, they were cured of it now. For when they tried to look at Aslan’s face they just caught a glimpse of the golden mane and the great, royal, solemn, overwhelming eyes; and then they found they couldn’t look at him and went all trembly.”

Aslan is simply awesome. I know, a terribly inadequate description, but he is!

“Safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Alright – discussion time! Here’s some questions for discussion. As always, please feel free to answer any or all and include any additional thoughts!

1. Which of the siblings (or parts of their personality) do you connect with?
Before I answer, I want to add how I thought Lewis’ description of how each sibling felt when they first heard the name of Aslan very telling (and how that carries over into real life reactions)
Edmund: “A sensation of mysterious horror.”
Peter: “Brave and adventurous.”
Susan: “As if some delicious smell of some delightful strain of music had just floated by her.”
Lucy: “The feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.”

I think I would have Lucy’s reaction to Narnia, pretty much running around saying “this is the greatest thing ever!!” And maybe a touch of Peter.

2. Do you have a favorite character?
Aslan! Since he’s probably a favorite for many readers, I’ll also add Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. I love that they didn’t doubt when they knew (without seeing) and felt that Aslan was on the move. Then they were all in, not matter the dangers that surely awaited them. I really like Edmund’s change too.

3. What were some of your favorite lines or quotes?
When the girls were watching Aslan as he sacrificed himself, well the whole scene was beautiful, but especially this line during his moment of “weakness”, when the White Witch thought she had won and disgraced Aslan by shaving him: “…for now that the first shock was over the shorn face of Aslan looked to her braver, and more beautiful, and more patient than ever.” Sigh. Have I mentioned I love C.S. Lewis?

4. What’s one part of the story you connected with?
Another theme I really loved seeing played out was the one of bravery. For example, when Maugrim (captain of the Witch’s guard) is trying to get Susan and Peter is her only hope: “Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do.” That seems to be a recent theme in my life. Sometimes you don’t feel all that brave until a situation that requires bravery, is thrust upon you.

“…though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know…that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”

Excited to discuss with y’all!!

Inklings

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis | Inklings Series Discussion

Hello everyone! As always, I love these discussions and getting to chat all things Narnia with y’all and am looking forward to your thoughts! So let’s dive in shall we?

Everytime I read C.S. Lewis’ humor in his books, it gives me hope that if we lived at the same time we would have been great friends. This book starts off with this hilarious line:

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

It sets up Eustace’s character so perfectly.

I figured I’d start with some overall thoughts of the book. I love the adventures in this one. From finding out what happened to each of the Lords, to encountering Stars to sea serpents and other such mischief, I found this one most full of adventure. I also love how Lewis reminds us of the past stories (he’s done this before, not just in this one). It’s like the cool kids know what he’s talking about. I will admit to this geekery, I feel special knowing all the details.

“Most of us, I suppose, have a secret country but for most of us it is only an imaginary country. Edmund and Lucy were luckier than other people in that respect. Their secret country was real.”

Sigh…I’ll never stop wishing this place was real.

Can we also all agree that Eustace is a bit of a hot mess early on? 🙂 His journal entries cracked me up, along with his thoughts on Reep. Like this one:

“Nearly forgot to say that there is also a kind of Mouse thing that gives everyone the most frightful cheek. The others can put up with it if they like but I shall twist his tail pretty soon if he tries it on me. The food is frightful too.”

I’ll get to more of this soon, but I absolutely loved what Lewis did with his character and what it took for Eustace to change.

This story is full of so much adventure, yet Aslan is still always there. When they least expect it, when their hearts are being tempted to go astray, Aslan loves them enough to remind them of who they really are. The process isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it.

Take the scene where Dragon Eustace became boy Eustace again:

“Well, anyway, I looked up and saw the very last thing I expected: a huge lion coming slowly toward me. And one queer thing was that there was no moon last night, but there was moonlight where the lion was. So it came nearer and nearer. I was terribly afraid of it. You may think that, being a dragon, I could have knocked any lion out easily enough. But it wasn’t that kind of fear. I wasn’t afraid of it eating me, I was just afraid of it—if you can understand. Well, it came close up to me and looked straight into my eyes. And I shut my eyes tight. But that wasn’t any good because it told me to follow it.”

“You mean it spoke?”

“Then the lion said—but I don’t know if it spoke—‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know—if you’ve ever picked the scab off a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is fun to see it coming away.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund

(Eustace describes the process a bit more…)

“What do you think it was, then?” asked Eustace.

“I think you’ve seen Aslan,” said Edmund.

“Aslan!” said Eustace. “I’ve heard that name mentioned several times since we joined the Dawn Treader. And I felt—I don’t know what—I hated it. But I was hating everything then. And by the way, I’d like to apologize. I’m afraid I’ve been pretty beastly.”

“That’s all right,” said Edmund. “Between ourselves, you haven’t been as bad as I was on my first trip to Narnia. You were only an ass, but I was a traitor.”

I really love Edmund’s character. In all ways he isn’t afraid to mention his mistake and what he learned from it. Our stories have the chance to encourage and impact others.

In another Aslan scene, when all he does is stand on a hillside when Caspian and Edmund start fighting over a lake of turning things into gold? He doesn’t even have to say anything:

“Across the gray hillside above them—gray, for the heather was not yet in bloom—without noise, and without looking at them, and shining as if he were in bright sunlight though the sun had in fact gone in, passed with slow pace the hugest lion that human eyes have ever seen.”

I loved the same impact when Lucy encountered the beauty spell while in the Magician’s house:

“But when she looked back at the opening words of the spell, there in the middle of the writing, where she felt quite sure there had been no picture before, she found the great face of a lion, of The Lion, Aslan himself, staring into hers. It was painted such a bright gold that it seemed to be coming toward her out of the page; and indeed she never was quite sure afterward that it hadn’t really moved a little. At any rate she knew the expression on his face quite well. He was growling and you could see most of his teeth. She became horribly afraid and turned over the page at once.”

One more thought on Aslan (I know, I’m obsessed), but I love that He brings comfort in their darkest of time. This part was after they were in the dark cloud creepy-as-shanaynays island where dreams (not happy ones) come to life. They had already picked up crazy guy who survived so far and were seemingly lost on the way out:

“Lucy leant her head on the edge of the fighting-top and whispered, “Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now.” The darkness did not grow any less, but she began to feel a little—a very, very little—better. “After all, nothing has really happened to us yet,” she thought.”

Then this (which y’all might recognize a favorite quote of mine):

“Lucy looked along the beam and presently saw something in it. At first it looked like a cross, then it looked like an aeroplane, then it looked like a kite, and at last with a whirring of wings it was right overhead and was an albatross. It circled three times round the mast and then perched for an instant on the crest of the gilded dragon at the prow. It called out in a strong sweet voice what seemed to be words though no one understood them. After that it spread its wings, rose, and began to fly slowly ahead, bearing a little to starboard. Drinian steered after it not doubting that it offered good guidance. But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, “Courage, dear heart,” and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.”

I’d also like to take a moment to also say how much I love Reepicheep. Bound by honor and one of the bravest character you’ll meet in literature, he’s one of my favorites. Plus he cracks me up in this book. From picking a fight with Eustace early on to making it to Aslan’s country. I heart him. This scene:

“And why not?” he said. “Will someone explain to me why not?”

No one was anxious to explain, so Reepicheep continued:

“If I were addressing peasants or slaves,” he said, “I might suppose that this suggestion proceeded from cowardice. But I hope it will never be told in Narnia that a company of noble and royal persons in the flower of their age turned tail because they were afraid of the dark.”

“But what manner of use would it be plowing through that blackness?” asked Drinian.

“Use?” replied Reepicheep. “Use, Captain? If by use you mean filling our bellies or our purses, I confess it will be no use at all. So far as I know we did not set sail to look for things useful but to seek honor and adventure. And here is as great an adventure as ever I heard of, and here, if we turn back, no little impeachment of all our honors.”

Several of the sailors said things under their breath that sounded like, “Honor be blowed,” but Caspian said: “Oh, bother you, Reepicheep. I almost wish we’d left you at home. All right! If you put it that way, I suppose we shall have to go on.”

You gotta love little Reep!

“Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
There is the utter East.”

This final quote I want to share is also one of my favorites of the series. It says so much about Aslan and who Lewis made him to be. It’s after Edmund and Lucy find out their adventures in Narnia have come to an end and Lucy cries out because she fears she will never see Aslan again. His response is as such:

“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

As always, feel free to answer any or all the questions. I’d love to hear from you!

1. How does this rank in the Narnia series for you?
I really enjoyed this, as I do with all of Narnia tales, but it doesn’t rank in my top of top lists. It’s hard to beat my favorites. Still loved this one though.

2. Do you have a favorite scene or part?
Outside of scenes I’ve already mentioned, I found the idea of the creepy/dark cloud island scene fascinating. That would have to be one of the most scary possibilities in existence.

3. What about favorite characters?
I really liked seeing how Eustace changed and of course little Reep!

4. Finally, what were some of your favorite quotes?