The Silver Chair

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SONY DSC

So now I’m reading The Silver Chair. That means I only have one more Narnia book after this. Also, I believe there will be a movie hitting theaters in the next year or two based on this book (although I’m a bit skeptical as to how faithful the filmmakers will be to the original source material).

I do love this book.

I love how Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole escape from their dreary clouded school day into bright and sunny Narnia. Well, technically they start out in Aslan’s country, but it’s in the same world.

I also love that ol’ Puddleglum, the Marsh-wiggle. He’s the pessimist of all pessimists, but he’s the one who keeps the other two grounded and who comes through grandly in the climactic scene (which I won’t divulge for those who haven’t read these books yet).

I especially love how the book’s theme is that you can make a royal mess at the start– to the point that it seems like you’ll never get back on track– and still at the end find a way to succeed. After all, it’s not how you start that matters, but how you finish.

More accurately in my experience, it’s not how many times you’ve screwed up or how big a fiasco you’ve made of your life up to this point, but how God can transform even that into good. Or better yet into something marvelous.

It’s funny how the evil scheme was to get one of the main characters, who had been bewitched, to steal what was already rightfully his. It’s funnier still how Satan did the same to Jesus, offering Him the world if He would only worship the prince of lies. Jesus knew that the world and everything in it was already His. Furthermore, He knew that all this world was not Satan’s to give in the first place.

Temptation is often the devil trying to get us to go after something good, but in the wrong way at the wrong time, like having premarital sex or having an affair instead of enjoying intimacy with the one God made especially for you. He offers what is not really his to give and what God alone can truly give, but often in a way that is different and much better than we would have chosen.

So I give the book 5 stars. Out of 5.

PS There is a BBC film version that is quite faithful to the book but looks as though it had a special effects budget of about $8. It’s good in a campy sort of way.

Why I Call Myself Blessed

“One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say” (C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair).

Good ol’ Puddleglum. For those not familiar with Narnia, that’s the character speaking these words. And I like them.

I am currently jobless. Again. But I still consider myself blessed.

I’d rather be where I am right now with God than in my dream job, making ridiculous amounts of money, without Him.

I’ve found out this simple equation:

Me + God > Me + Everything Else – God

I don’t know if that’s grammatically or mathematically correct, but it’s right as far as I’m concerned.

I’m blessed because I have God. I’m blessed because this God promises not to give me what I need or lead me to it, but because He’s promised that HE HIMSELF will be my provision.

Even if God never did another blessed thing for me, if God never gave me another sign or another visible reminder of His prescence, He would still have been better to me that I deserve for saving my soul.

So if I wake up tomorrow and draw breath, if I get out of bed and live through the next 24 hours, I’m blessed because God is with me. If I don’t wake up tomorrow, I’m still blessed because then I’ll be with God.

I call that a win-win.

Going Back to Narnia

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Once again, I’m heading back to the wonderful land of Narnia.

For those who either a) live under a rock and haven’t heard of Narnia or b) aren’t as into books and reading as me, here’s what I mean. I’m rereading The Chronicles of Narnia, making it the 15th year running that I have read through these books. Maybe more than that. I haven’t exactly kept a precise count.

For me, it’s like going back to a familiar vacation spot or visiting old friends you haven’t seen in a while. It’s very much like going to a favorite restaurant or shop or location that you haven’t been to in a while.

I’ll get to meet up with Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy (the inspiration for my cat’s name, in case you were wondering) as well as all the Narnian characters such as Mr. Tumnus, Puddleglum, Glimfeather, Prince Rilian and others. Especially Aslan. And if you don’t know who these people are, I highly recommend finding out by picking up these books. You won’t regret it.

I have the full-color collector’s editions with illustrations by Pauline Baynes. Those are the best, in my opinion, but any way you read them– in dusty old books or on a Kindle or some other electronic reading device– the stories are always captivating and charming and exciting and endearing. Even if you’ve read them as many times as I have.

Old books are the best, I think. Particularly the ones that have a bit of a musty, used smell and a worn, loved feel about the cover and pages. I’m all for Kindles and iPads, but the reading experience just isn’t the same. Call me old-fashioned.

Well, I suppose that if I want to get to Narnia, I should probably wrap this little blog up. Maybe I’ll see you there.