Not just survival

Joy9B

It is worth mentioning . . .
that this God . . .
is the one who created kites,
and sex, and good wine,
and spring flowers,
and children’s eyes.
Coming home to him
will not just be survival—
it could turn out to be
an awful lot of fun.

–Adrian Plass
When You Walk

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The serious business of play

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We are not meant
to be perpetually
solemn:
We must play.

–C. S. Lewis

The serious business of joy

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Dance and game are frivolous, unimportant down here; for ‘down here’ is not their natural place. Here, they are a moment’s rest from the life we are placed here to live. But in this world everything is upside down. That which, if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest (most like) that which in a better country is the End of ends. Joy is the serious business of heaven.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 10/30/2014 at 4:21  Leave a Comment  
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Fun and God’s will

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Whence comes this idea that if what we are doing is fun, it can’t be God’s will? The God who made giraffes, a baby’s fingernails, a puppy’s tail, a crooknecked squash, the bobwhite’s call, and a young girl’s giggle, has a sense of humor. Make no mistake about that.

  –Catherine Marshall
(1914 – 1983)

Published in: on 05/17/2014 at 9:33  Leave a Comment  
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Sillier and better fun

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“Talking of beasts and birds…when you read a scientific account of any animal’s life, you get an impression of laborious, incessant almost rational economic activity, as if all animals were Germans. But when you study any animal you know, what strikes you is their cheerful fatuity, the pointlessness of nearly all they do. Say what you like, Barfield. The world is sillier and better fun than they make out.”

–C. S. Lewis
A letter to Owen Barfield

Published in: on 03/10/2014 at 11:40  Leave a Comment  
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The quest for happiness

Amanecer màs alla de las colinas

The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in.

The settled happiness and security
which we all desire, God withholds from us
by the very nature of the world:
but joy, pleasure, and merriment,
He has scattered broadcast.

We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose . . . our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency.

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Our Father refreshes us on the journey
with some pleasant inns, but will not
encourage us to mistake them for home.

―C. S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain

Published in: on 04/21/2013 at 5:48  Leave a Comment  
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The problem of pleasure

Why is sex fun? Reproduction surely does not require pleasure: some animals simply split in half to reproduce, and even humans use methods of artificial insemination that involve no pleasure. Why is eating enjoyable? Plants and lower animals manage to obtain their quota of nutrients without the luxury of taste buds. Why are there colors? Some people get along fine without the ability to detect color. Why complicate vision for the rest of us?

It struck me, after reading my umpteenth book on the problem of pain, that I have never even seen a book on “the problem of pleasure.” Nor have I met a philosopher who goes around shaking his or her head in perplexity over the question of why we experience pleasure. Yet it looms as a huge question: the philosophical equivalent, for atheists, to the problem of pain for Christians. On the issue of pleasure, Christians can breathe easier.

A good and loving God would naturally want
his creatures to experience delight, joy,
and personal fulfillment.

Christians start from that assumption and then look for ways to explain the origin of suffering. But should not atheists have an equal obligation to explain the origin of pleasure in a world of randomness and meaninglessness?

. . . Where does pleasure come from? After searching alternatives, (Gilbert) Chesterton settled on Christianity as the only reasonable explanation for its existence in the world.

Moments of pleasure are the remnants washed ashore from a shipwreck, bits of Paradise extended through time.

We must hold these relics lightly, and use them with gratitude and restraint, never seizing them as entitlements.

–Philip Yancey

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