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Jack in Retrospect: March 27th – April 2nd

March 27, 2013

The following is part of a weekly series reflecting on the life of C.S. Lewis. This is done by summarizing various events or happenings during his lifetime for the noted week and may include significant events related to him after his death.

Retro Weekly 3-27The Four Loves tops the list this week in the life of Lewis. It came out on the 28th in 1960. However, two years earlier a version of the work was heard on the radio. In fact, if you come across what is present as an audio version of the book that is read by Lewis himself, it is actually those original broadcasts! The book is much expanded and has more than twice the amount of material including an interesting introduction and chapter on “Likings and Loves for the Sub-Human.” He also chooses to focus on using the English words for the four different Greek words for love that were emphasize on the air.

On the same day (the 28th), but years earlier (in 1944) listeners in England had the chance to hear Lewis address the question “Is Christianity Hard or Easy?” Interestingly it was one of few times the talk was not given live. It had been recorded the week before, along with the final broadcast that I’ll explore next week. This recording did not survive. In the talk (that was published in The Listener two days later) Lewis stated that the Christian faith was both “hard” and “easy.” It is “easier” for those who give themselves completely to God and let him work through you; but doing this is “harder” in some respects. This content is now a part of Mere Christianity.

Another series continued this week; the first part of what is best known as material from The Great Divorce was published in The Guardian on the 29th in 1945. The interaction between a lady and a Tragedian continue in this segment. We find that he had misused pity which “was meant to be a spur that drives joy to help misery.” Another work of Lewis was published on the 29th. In 1941, in Time and Tide (under the title of “Notes on the Way”) “Bulverism” was published, which was later expanded and published in The Socratic Digest (June 1944). Also on the 29th, but after Lewis’s death in 1990, Poetry and Prose in the Sixteenth Century came out. It was a reprint of English Literature in the Sixteenth Century: Excluding Drama from September 1954.

“Miserable Offenders: An Interpretation of Prayer Book Language” was a sermon Lewis preached twice in 1946, on March 31st at his parish church, Evensong and on April 7th at St. Matthew’s Church in Northampton. It was also published that same year in a booklet called Five Sermons by Laymen. Lewis’s message was focused on three phrases from the Anglican Prayer Book, but even those who are not from this tradition will find what he said interesting. It was reprinted in God in the Dock.

During Easter in 1945 (although an exact date is not known, Easter was on the 1st that year), Lewis spoke at the Carmarthen Conference for Anglican Youth Leaders and Junior Clergy in Carmarthen, Wales. His address was first published after his death in God in the Dock as “Christian Apologetics.” Even though his talk was given to a similar audience to the just mentioned sermon, the points he makes applies to all who want a better understanding of how to defend Christianity. Like the classic Mere Christianity material, he advocates focusing on the core truths of the faith and not one’s individual opinions.

A final event for this week is the death of Lewis’s grandfather, Richard Lewis. He died on the 2nd in 1908 during a time when he a young Lewis was dealing with the failing health of his mother, Flora (who would also die four and a half months later).

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