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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Our meet for Thursday August 9th 7:20 P.M. Barnes & Noble. 

This time each of us are reading one or two letters by C. S. Lewis of our own choice. 
Come ready to read and discuss and with any questions. No formal written out questions are necessary.  No problem if some of us chose the same letter. See you there! 


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Discussion Questions for The Pilgrim's Regress            Thursday July 12th 7:20 p.m. B&N

1. What do you think is the significance of the fact that John must regress rather than progress like Bunyan’s Christian? 

2. Lewis says that this book is an “allegorical apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism”. How is this book a defense of each of these three entities?

3. What is the significance of the fact that John is born in the land of Puritania? How might this relate to Lewis’ own life? How do Puritanism in Bunyan’s allegory and Puritanism in Lewis’ allegory compare and contrast?

4. How does John’s experience of the primroses compare to Lewis’ first experience of “joy”? 

5. What is the meaning of the masks in Book I, chapter 3? Has your experience of religion ever been similar to John’s? How?

6. What is the meaning of the Island? Is John’s vision of the Island merely an aesthetic experience? Does reading John’s story fill you with any desire to see the Island? 

7. What is meant by the chapters entitled “Leah for Rachel”? Have you ever sought joy in a certain place only to find it wasn’t there? 

8. How does John’s desire for the Island ultimately lead him to Mother Kirk? How did Lewis’ experience of joy lead him to Christ? How about you– has desire played any role in leading you to God? 

9. What role does Reason play in leading John to Mother Kirk? What role did Reason play in leading Lewis to Christianity? What role has Reason played in leading you closer to Christ? 

10. What did you think of Mother Kirk’s Story in Book V, Chapter 2? Do you find it more or less compelling than the corresponding biblical account of the fall? Why?

11. What is the significance of the Man’s comment to John that he and Vertue will both recover only if they keep together? 

12. There is an element of fear in John that runs throughout the story, fear of the Landlord, fear of the black hole, fear of death, fear of Mother Kirk, fear of prayer. Why is John afraid and how is this fear ultimately transformed? 

13. In the chapter entitled “Caught” John expresses one of his deepest wishes. What is that wish? How does this correspond to Lewis’ own wishes before his conversion? Have you ever had this wish? 

14. The essence of The Pilgrim’s Regress is perhaps best summed up in John’s words to the hermit that he set out to find an Island and he found a Landlord instead. How are the Island and the Landlord related? How did you feel when John finally crossed the Canyon and saw the Island and realized it was the other side of the Eastern Mountains? 

15. The hermit tells John that there are two ways to the Landlord that were united in the Landlord’s Son. What are these two ways? Who travels these two different routes? What do you think of Lewis’ theology on this point? 

16. In the second chapter entitled “Archtype and Ectype” John says he is afraid the things the Landlord wants for him may be completely unlike his own desires. Have you ever had this fear? How does the hermit answer John’s fear?

17. What is the significance of the fact that John must dive into the pool to get across the Canyon? What does the dive into the pool symbolize?

18. Why does the world look different to John as he regresses? What is Lewis’ meaning here? 

19. John’s angelic guide during his regress makes the statement that if anyone really wants to damage the Landlord’s character, rather than say the Landlord is cruel he should say that the Landlord is an inveterate gambler. What do you think the angel means by this statement? How does this fit in to Lewis’ theology? What do you think?
(From "Speaking of Jack" by-Will Vaus)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Just a note! The meet for Surprised By Joy has been changed to Thursday June 14th 7:20 p.m.

Book list for the rest of the year-

Surprised By Joy -  C. S. Lewis (autobiography), June 14th
The Pilgrims Regress - C. S. Lewis, July 12th
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis- C.S. Lewis, August 9th (chose a favorite  letter and come to discuss)
Pride And Prejudiced - Jane Austin, September 14th
Sir Gibbie - George MacDonald, October 11th
Reflections On The Psalms- C.S. Lewis, November 8th

Sunday, April 29, 2018

  Our Read for Thursday June 14th is Surprised By Joy Lewis' autobiography of his early life from earliest memories until around 1922. Written in 1955, C.S. Lewis starts his book with quite a bit of autobiography but becomes beautifully focused on his spiritual and intellectual process. It is more a revelation of the effects of his conversion on his inner life than a outward detail of events. This book has a vividness of his thought and sehnsuct, that joy described as longing. In some ways a heartrending read of circumstances and tragedy that causes his story to be both helpful and relatable to the reader. In my mind I was struck by the thought while rereading his book that joy is the manifestation of hope in a fallen world. Come join us at Barnes & Noble at 7:20 P.M. :)
Discussion Questions for Surprised By Joy by C. S. Lewis  
1. In the first chapter Jack tells us of his first experiences of “joy”: seeing the toy garden, standing beside a flowering currant bush, reading Squirrel Nutkin and being entranced with the idea of autumn, reading The Saga of King Olaf and being uplifted by “Northernness”. Have you ever had experiences like this? How might such experiences lead one to belief in God?

2. Jack describes the “loss of security” which he experienced following the death of his mother. How might one describe Jack’s early life as a “search for security”? Do you think he found it?

3. Lewis says that it was during his “concentration camp” experience that he first became an effective believer. Fear played a dominant role in his early faith. How was this fear assuaged later on in Jack’s life? Have you had a similar experience? Are you more fearful of God or drawn to him in love? Why do you think so?

4. It was at Cherbourg House (Chartres) in Malvern (Wyvern), England that Jack “ceased to be a Christian.” What influenced him to become an atheist? Why was he “desperately anxious to get rid of his religion”? Have you ever had a similar experience? 

5. What do you think of the fact that Jack describes, in some detail, the homosexual practices of Malvern College without condemning them? Does this make it easier or harder for you to listen to and appreciate Jack’s journey to God? Why? 

6. Jack notes that “spiritually speaking, the deadly thing was that school life was almost wholly dominated by the social struggle.” What effect did this have on Jack’s life? Did you ever experience this “social struggle” in your school days? What effect did it have on your life?

7. Lewis states that during his time at Malvern College he was angry with God for not existing and equally angry with him for creating a world. Do you think other atheists experience this? Have you ever felt this way? Why? 

8. One of the features of Jack’s early life was a strained relationship with his father. How do you think this relationship influenced Jack’s turn to atheism and later, back to Christianity?
 9. In the middle portion of the book Jack describes two people who had a great influence upon him: his life-long friend, Arthur Greeves, and his tutor, William Kirkpatrick. How did these two people influence Jack? What role have other people played in your own spiritual journey? 

10. One of the sub-themes of Jack’s early life was his great desire to be “left alone.” His great problem with Christianity was that there was a “transcendental Interferer” at the center of it. Do you think Jack’s feelings on this subject are characteristic of many people? Why or why not?

11. Toward the end of Jack’s time at Great Bookham he faced a great conflict between “joy” and his materialistic “faith.” What was the conflict? How was this conflict eventually overcome? 

12. Do you think the “dialectic of desire” is a powerful argument for theism? Why or why not?

13. In chapter 12 Jack writes that a person who wants to maintain his atheism needs to be careful of his reading. Two of the writers who had a dramatic impact on Jack’s return to Christianity were George MacDonald and G. K. Chesterton. How did these writers affect him? What writers have been influential in your own spiritual pilgrimage?

14. How did Jack’s Oxford friends (Jenkin, Barfield, Harwood, Coghill, Dyson and Tolkien) influence him toward embracing Christianity? 

15. One of the most fascinating aspects of Jack’s conversion to theism is the fact that he did not want to become a believer in God. Why was this true? Does this make Jack’s story more or less credible to you?

16. What do you think of the fact that Jack immediately started attending his parish church once he became a theist even though churchmanship was “wholly unattractive” to him? Do you think there is anything we can learn from Jack in this regard?

17. The question which led Jack finally to accept Christianity was this: “Where has religion reached its true maturity?” Do you find Jack’s answer to this question credible? Why or why not?

Questions from Speaking of Jack by Will Vaus

    Our Read for Thursday June 14th is Surprised By Joy Lewis' autobiography of his early life from earliest memories until around 1922. Written in 1955, C.S. Lewis starts his book with quite a bit of autobiography but becomes beautifully focused on his spiritual and intellectual process. It is more a revelation of the effects of his conversion on his inner life than a outward detail of events. This book has a vividness of his thought and sehnsuct, that joy described as longing. In some ways a heartrending read of circumstances and tragedy that causes his story to be both helpful and relatable to the reader. In my mind I was struck by the thought while rereading his book that joy is the manifestation of hope in a fallen world. Come join us at Barnes & Noble at 7:20 P.M. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Discussion Questions for The Magician's nephew   Questions from Speaking Of Jack by Will Vaus

 1. Do you notice anything significant about the time period in which this story is set? 


2. How does Lewis teach morality through this book? 


3. Does Jack make the supernatural realm believable in this story? If so how?


 4. How is Digory like Jack? 


5. Digory says of the wood between the worlds, “Nothing ever happens here. Like at home. It’s in the houses that people talk, and do things, and have meals. Nothing goes on in the in-between places ...” Does this statement remind you of anything in any of Lewis’ other books?



 6. How would you describe Digory and Polly, using one adjective for each? 


7. After reading this book, what would you guess was Jack’s view of magic? 


8. What view of kingship does this book present? 


9. What do Jadis and Uncle Andrew have in common?


 10. What does the situation with Digory’s mother remind you of from Jack’s life? 


11. What do you think of Jack’s account of the creation of Narnia? How does it compare to the biblical account of creation?


 12. How might we judge each character in this story by their various reactions to Aslan? 


13. What do you think Aslan means by the statement: “Evil will come of that evil, but it is still a long way off, and I will see to it that the worst falls upon myself.”? 


14. What do you think of Aslan’s choice for the first King and Queen of Narnia? 


15. What do you think of Aslan’s response to Digory’s request in chapter XII? 


16. How do you respond to Jack’s descriptions of scenery throughout this story?


17. How does Digory’s temptation in the garden compare to the temptation in the Garden of Eden? 


18. Do you think there is any connection between Jadis and the witches in the other Narnia stories?


 19. How did you feel about the end of this story? 


20. How would you summarize what this story is about?
The beginning of Narnia! Come join Polly, Digory and Fledge on the grandest of adventures. We have all had an "Uncle Andrew" to deal with. We've all wondered if Aslan had forgotten us or not sorrowed as we sorrow. Brilliant read as only Lewis can deliver. See you there. Barnes & Noble Thursday April 12th 7:20 P.M.  :)