Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sender of the letters

Canada-Post-letter-carrier Suppose someone asked me, when I see a man in blue uniform going down the street leaving little paper packets at each house, why I suppose that they contain letters? I should reply, ‘Because when ever he leaves a similar little packet for me I find it does contain a letter.’ And if he then objected—’But you’ve never seen all these letters which you think the other people are getting,’ I should say, ‘Of course not, and I shouldn’t expect to, because they’re not addressed to me. I’m explaining the packets I’m not allowed to open by the ones I am allowed to open.’ It is the same about this question. The only packet I am allowed to open is Man. When I do, especially when I open that particular man called Myself, I find that I do not exist on my own, that I am under a law; that somebody or something wants me to behave in a certain way. I do not, of course, think that if I could get inside a stone or a tree I should find exactly the same thing, just as I do not think all the other people in the street get the same letters as I do. I should expect, for instance, to find that the stone had to obey the law of gravity—that whereas the sender of the letters merely tells me to obey the law of my human nature, he compels the stone to obey the laws of its stony nature. But I should expect to find that there was, so to speak, a sender of letters in both cases, a Power behind the facts, a Director, a Guide.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952, this edition: 2001) 24-25.


  1. Canada Post letter carrier -- nice touch!

    I'm not sure if I'm entirely convinced by Lewis' argument, but perhaps I should read the book and not just these excerpts ;)

  2. Scott, I highly encourage you to read the book! But only if you're prepared to re-think everything you THINK you know. And keep Lewis' warning in mind: "A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading."

    Meanwhile, I am loving this step by step journey through the book that changed MY mind... and my life. Thanks, Ken.

  3. Hi Scott. It's a great book although I had to read it twice before it sank in. I don't know if this a good argument but former Watergate felon Chuck Coulson was lead to Christ after reading Mere Christianity and went on to form Prison Fellowship which helps convicts return to a normal life.

  4. Hi Ken, Hi Margaret. Ken it has been 10 or 12 years since I read the whole book so I do enjoy this refresher course although I don't comment very often. Forgive me for using your blog but I was wondering if Margaret do you also have a blog of your own?

  5. Gary, I don't really have a blog. I do write a bi-weekly column for a paper called Lowcountry Weekly, and I believe you left a comment there a week or so ago, right before our website crashed and was down for about a week! When we finally got it back up again, all the most recent comments had disappeared. Really sorry about that! (We still haven't figured out what happened, exactly.) Here's a link to my latest: http://www.lcweekly.com/rants-a-raves/1745-learn-grow-change.html

    I used to blog on the same website, but I got a little burned out. It was very time consuming, and along with serving as editor of Lowcountry Weekly, I have a young daughter at home. Plus, the topics I'm really interested in blogging about (mostly faith-related) just aren't compatible with an otherwise secular newsweekly... I've been toying with the idea of starting something new, but haven't mustered the energy. I tend to treat my Facebook page like a blog, anyway!

  6. Thanks I enjoy reading yours and Ken's comments. I did leave a message at your weekly and then had trouble getting back on, now I now why. Ken I am heading to Boston Tuesday, keep up the good work will check out the blog when I get back.
    Whenever I travel like this, 10 hour of driving I wonder if I will make it back in one piece that's when I think about God and am I really ready to meet my maker if something were to happen? Am I good enough?

  7. Gary, I think Lewis' answer to that question would be: No, you're NOT good enough. But Jesus is.

    Safe and happy travels!