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C.S. Lewis, one of the most influential Christians of the 20th century, died 50 years ago today.

During his life, Lewis wrote more than 50 books, the most famous of which are probably The Chronicles of Narnia. Earlier this year, I read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to my four year old and was struck by  how effectively Lewis communicates complex theological and philosophical ideas through children’s fantasy. It’s because of this that these books are so well loved.

Lewis isn’t without his critics, though, and there are several passages in The Chronicles of Narnia that have raised some eyebrows. Martyn Lloyd-Jones even questioned Lewis’ Christianity based on an expression of the atonement found in The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe.

But its hard to dismiss an intellect like Lewis’ without further investigation. So in honor of his life and work, let’s defend some of the things you might not want your kids to read in The Chronicles of Narnia.


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Our culture is obsessed with busyness. I can’t count the number of e-mails I get that basically say, “Sorry I didn’t respond to your message, I’ve just been so busy.” (Or how many I’ve written) Everyone used to answer “How are you?” by saying “good,” now everyone answers it by saying, “tired” or “busy.”

I’ve fought this tendency for most of my adult life, but over the last few months I gave in.

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I think the most common question Christians ask is “What is God’s will for my life?” But as common as this question is, most Christians don’t know how to answer it or how to help others to answer it.

Right now my wife and I are trying to ask an even more complex question: “What is God’s will for OUR life?” Adding in the desires and doubts of another person makes it even more difficult to discern.

So I’ve been thinking about what makes discernment possible and how that works in a group and  have created this guide as a result.

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If you read my blog regularly, you know I’ve been on a bit of a prayer kick lately.

It started with The Way of a Pilgrim and the notion of unceasing prayer. I was fascinated with the idea of “interior prayer” and wanted to find out more about that. So I turned to the book on interior prayer: The Cloud of Unknowing.

While the author of The Cloud of Unknowing is anonymous, most people assume he was a Carthusian Monk. This is, as well as the larger  Christian culture of the 14th century, are key to understanding the thinking of The Cloud of Unknowing.

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Do you know how many English translations of the Bible there are?

It’s hard to say, exactly. Estimates range from 100-900.

When I worked with students I often had the joy of watching them get their first Bible. Kids (and parents) would say to me, “There are so many different kinds, which one should I get?”

Maybe you have the same question.

Ultimately, only you can know which Bible translation is best for you, but to help you out, here are 4 questions you should ask when picking a Bible translation.
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These days the term “Spiritual Formation” is thrown around a lot. It is used just enough that we all feel like we should already know what it means and so nobody asks. But most of us really only have a small understanding of what is meant when people say Spiritual Formation.

So what is Spiritual Formation?

For Christians, it is the process of being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

But what does that mean?

In Matthew 22, a man asks Jesus what is the most important law.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

According to Jesus, directing all of your heart, soul, and mind towards the divine is the most important thing for you to do.

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There are two sermons Pastors can give each year that pretty much write themselves. They come on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

The first of these sermons go like this.

Not every Mom is Mrs. Brady

Mom’s are kind and generous and self sacrificing. They are the first person to teach you what love is. Let’s take a look at Hannah . . .

I refuse to give that sermon. Because, while not always a lie, it isn’t true.

I’ve sat up all night with kids whose mother beat them with a broom stick after the umbrella she had been using broke.

Now apply that easy Mother’s Day sermons to these kids lives. Is that what love is?

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One day, almost five years ago, my wife and I were hanging out in a used book store. We went there because she was looking for spanish art books for her classroom. Not interested in this at all, I checked out the vinyl records (where I discovered an extensive collection of Neil Diamond and only Neil Diamond) and then went over to the Religion/Philosophy section.

Usually at these stores all you could find was stuff like 90 Minutes in Heaven or Your Best Life Now. If you were lucky there might be a copy of Desiring God, probably abandoned by a young Calvinist as he grew out of that.

Dallas Willard The Divine ConspiracyThis day I noticed a pretty thick book called The Divine Conspiracy. I had never heard of it. At the time I was interested in reading the new atheists for the sake of the raging they made me do, and assumed this was the same. But when I picked it up I saw it was by Dallas Willard, a name I was only vaguely familiar with. The inside cover had a stamp from the previous owner; I actually knew them, so I bought it just because I thought that would be interesting.

I didn’t know that the book would be so paradigm shifting for me.

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As part of my ongoing attempt to expand my understanding of Christianity I have been reading old books. To find out why I would do such a thing check out my previous post about that very thing.

The Way of a Pilgrim bookWhile not nearly as old as our previous books, The Way of a Pilgrim, is considered a spiritual classic in the Eastern Orthodox Church which makes it different from the works we are used to reading and therefore able to widen our understanding just as well as an old book from within our tradition.

Nobody knows who wrote The Way of a Pilgrim (or even when it was written), but its mention of the Crimean War and some indicators that it was written before the Liberation of the Serfs makes it pretty clear it was written sometime between 1853 and 1861.

The book is different from previous Old Books because it is a narrative rather than a treatise. Broken into four sections called “narratives” it tells the story of a pilgrim as he attempts to understand what the apostle meant by “pray without ceasing.” He discovers a form of prayer called the Jesus Prayer which transforms him. Without knowing the author it is hard to know if it is a real account. Some scholars believe it was written as an allegory of the Christian life by a monk in a monastery on Mount Athos (where it was discovered). Nevertheless, the book has been popular outside of the Eastern Orthodox and is credited with bringing the Jesus Prayer to the west (in part from its importance in J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey).

The pilgrim carries with him a collection of the church fathers writings on prayer called the Philokalia. These texts are mentioned often and quoed extensively, so this an old book in side an old book, or as I’ve been calling it O L D C E P T I O N (please click that link).

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