Monday, July 25, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : The Weight of Glory

The second book I read during my Far East travels was The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis, and didn't I have just the sweetest little reading buddy you ever did see? I know: how did I even get any reading done with that precious sleepy bundle in my lap?! Your guess is as good as mine, but it probably has something to do with combining two of my best loves: that little girl and quality literature.

The Weight of Glory is actually a compilation of several of Lewis' public addresses, "The Weight of Glory" being the first of nine. Two slightly different versions of this book were originally published in 1949: one in London and one in New York. My version is one that was revised, updated, and published in 1980 and includes certain addresses that were left out of the original.

C.S. Lewis is quite probably one of the most profound writers of all time, in my opinion, and I can never read something by him without being completely blown away by the beauty and depth of what he wrote. Suffice it to say, I highly recommend reading absolutely anything by him, and instead of fumbling through this recap trying to put into words how I feel about this book, I'm going to leave you with a quote from each of the nine addresses in it--except for the address entitled "The Inner Ring". Not because it wasn't phenomenal but because I couldn't pick out a single quote without wanting to copy the entire essay. So without further ado, please take some time to ponder what I've copied below.

"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendours."
~from "The Weight of Glory"~

"There are always plenty of rivals to our work. We are always falling in love or quarrelling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable. Favourable conditions never come."
~from "Learning in War-Time"~

"Any theory which bases itself on a supposed 'historical Jesus' to be dug out of the Gospels and then set up in opposition to Christian teaching is suspect. There have been too many historical Jesuses--a liberal Jesus, a pneumatic Jesus, a Barthian Jesus, a Marxist Jesus. They are the cheap crop of each publisher's list, like the new Napoleons and new Queen Victorias. It is not to such phantoms that I look for my faith and my salvation."
~from "Why I Am Not A Pacifist"~

"How far the life of the risen man will be sensory, we do not know. But I surmise that it will differ from the sensory life we know here, not as emptiness differs from water or water from wine but as a flower differs from a bulb or a cathedral from an architect's drawing."
~from "Transposition"~

"Man is a poetical animal and touches nothing which he does not adorn."
~from "Is Theology Poetry?"~

"Obedience is the road to freedom, humility the road to pleasure, unity the road to personality."
~from "Membership"~

"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."
~from "On Forgiveness"~

"This is my endlessly recurring temptation: to go down to the Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal...Swimming lessons are better than a lifeline to the shore."
~from "A Slip of the Tongue"~

I mean, if those quotes don't convince you to read this book, I'm not sure what will. When I had turned the last page, the foremost thought in my mind was that I should probably take the time to read this book every year. Excellent, excellent writing from C.S. Lewis as per usual. 

Have you ever read anything by C.S. Lewis? What is your favorite of his works? Confession time: this is actually the first of his non-fiction work I've ever read in its entirety. I've read The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters (both several times), but I've never actually read any of his other books. Quotes: yes. Excerpts: yes. Letters: yes. I've even started reading Mere Christianity several times, but never finished. Anyway, what C.S. Lewis do you recommend for next year's book list? I'm leaning towards Mere Christianity, The Four Loves, or Surprised by Joy, but I'm open to suggestions. Feel free to chime in in the comments!


  1. Well, you know I'm a quote kinda girl, so obviously I LOVE THESE QUOTES!!!! AHHHH!
    Let's go in order, shall we?

    1. 1) I've always struggled with viewing and loving people like Christ does. Seeing them as immortal souls really helps that. Love it :)

    2. 2) I was actually just thinking today about how much of my life and living it I've let get in the way of Kingdom work. I don't want it to be that way. Such a challenge.

    3. 3) - 7) Great quotes. No reaction at this point other than: SO MUCH YES!

    4. 8) I love this metaphor. The sea/ocean is so vast, just like the God of the universe. But instead of letting go of things temporal and experiencing Him more fully, I'm content to dog paddle around in the shallows. :/

    5. Yeah, another quote from that last essay was:

      "Have we never risen from our knees in haste for fear God's will should become too unmistakable if we prayed longer?"


    6. Glad the quotes encouraged you! You should really read the book. So, so good.

  2. My favorite of these quotes: "Obedience is the road to freedom, humility the road to pleasure, unity the road to personality."
    This is Mom - don't know what happened to my google identity...