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Friday, December 8, 2017

"There is no other word but magnificent for this play drawn from the Gospels. Sayers' interpretation of the characters is simply brilliant. Her Jesus can bring tears to your eyes. You will be deeply moved-a powerful experience"~Sheldon Vanauken
Certainly on of the best works I have ever read. Come on Thursday December 14th 7:20 pm Barnes & Noble. 
Be blessed by this writer who inspired C.S. Lewis.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Man Born to be King                                      * not certain of the writer 
Dorothy Sayers

The Man Born to be King is a radio drama based on the life of Jesus, produced and broadcast by the BCC during the second world war. It is a play cycle consisting of twelve plays depicting specific periods of Jesus' life, from the events surrounding his birth to his death and resurrection. It was first broadcast by the BCC Home Service on Sunday evenings, beginning on December 21, 1941, with new episode broadcasts at four-week intervals, ending on October 18, 1942.

The Project aroused a storm of controversy, even before it was broadcast.
Objections arouse to the very idea- atheists complained of Christian propaganda, while devout Christians declared that the BBC would be committing blasphemy by allowing the Christ to be impersonated by a human actor- and also to Sayers' approach to the material. Sayers, who felt that the inherent drama of the Gospel story had become muffled by familiarity and a general failure to think of it's characters as real people, was determined to give the plays dramatic immediacy, featuring realistic, identifiable characters with human emotions and motivations. (And speech-patterns. The decision to have the characters speak in contemporary colloquial English was, by itself, the cause of much disquiet among those more used to hearing Jesus and his followers speaking in the polished and formal words of the King James Bible.) In the event, although it continued to be criticised by conservative Christians- one group going so far as to proclaim the fall of Singapore in February 1942 to be a sign of God's displeasure with the series- The Man Born to be King was generally considered a great success, both as a drama and as biblical representation.

     1.  In another work, Dorothy Sayers says of the practice of Christianity that "the dogma is the drama," meaning that those hidebound words all children must memorize are among the most mindbending concepts around- the virgin birth, the incarnation of God, the resurrection of Jesus, etc. In The Man Born to be King, Sayers presents a very  undogmatic dramatization of the life of Jesus Christ, with Jesus as a very casually-spoken young man with a distinct sense of humor. Are these antithetical pronouncements?  Where is the dogma in The Man Born to be King?

2. Faith in Jesus and what he preaches are, in this work, very much bound to actual perception of  Jesus in action- witness Benjamin in "A Certain Nobleman" and Proclus in "The Heirs of the Kingdom." Does this portrayal of the life of Jesus weaken the ability to have faith when Jesus is not around? Why would the other characters in this work continue to have faith after Jesus is dead, and why would those who never met him and were born after his death have faith in this Jesus?

3. The portrayal of Judas in this work is somewhat more sympathetic than the widely-held perception of Judas.  Should Judas as portrayed in this work be condemned?  Is he to some degree admirable or sympathetic?  How does that change the dogma that is the drama?

4. What do you think of Jesus' take on the Old Testament, as set forth in "The Heirs to the Kingdom"?  Is it a logical extension, e.g. from "thou shall do no murder" to "never hate anybody-for hatred is what leads to murder"?  Is it repudiation, e.g. "an eye for an eye" rejected for "take no revenge at all"?  Is Dorothy Sayers rejecting the Old Testament with this speech?  Is she commenting upon and perhaps seeking the root of the old laws?

5.  The attitude displayed by contemporaries in this work toward Jesus' miracles is one of gossip and mundane interests, e.g. with the commentary on Lazarus' rising from the dead in "Royal Progress" taking the form of dinner table gossip and the comment that "if only this miracle was properly advertised..." Is this attitude present today? Is it contemptible?  A way to deal with the incomprehensible?   Does it lessen the drama or make it more accessible to have the dogma discussed in such common terms? 

6. What do you think of the character notes set forth in each play?  Does it help your understanding of the characters or interfere with it?  How does it play into the actual biblical portrayal of these events- does it change your thinking of Peter's denial of Jesus to read his character notes in "The King's Supper?"

7. Why does Jesus make an effort to save Judas from himself if in fact he knows that Judas will betray him?

8. These plays were broadcast in the middle of World War II, after the demise of appeasement as a strategy and the beginning of Churchill's regime of blood, sweat, toil and tears.  How do you think that affected the people hearing the play, hearing about Jesus for really the first time speaking in the vernacular?  How do you think the war and the tensions leading up to the war affected Dorothy Sayers' writing?

9. Why do you think C.S. Lewis encouraged Dorothy Sayers to write this work, and why did he read it every year on Easter? 

                                                      Our read for Thursday December 14th. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

                             Our discussion for Thursday November 9th, 7:20 p.m. Barnes and Noble.

Discussion Questions 
1. If the theme of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is redemption accomplished, and the theme of Prince Caspian is faith in an age of doubt, what do you think is the theme of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader? Why do you think so?

2. Why do you suppose Lewis has the action in this story take place largely on a small sailing vessel? What is the significance of the name of the ship?

3. Who do you think is the main character in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader? Why? What does this character teach us? 

4. What do you think the children’s enslavement on The Lone Islands is an image of? Why? 

5. What do you think Eustace turning into a dragon is symbolic of? What about Eustace’s attempts to remove his dragon flesh? And Aslan turning Eustace into a boy again? What message do you think Lewis is trying to convey through this part of the story? 

6. What does the incident at Deathwater give us a picture of? What does the great and ancient book which Lucy found in the house of the old magician remind you of? Why? 

7. In the chapter on “The Three Sleepers” what do you think the banquet table is symbolic of? Do the crimson cloth and the stone knife give you any clues? What is the significance of the fact that some people have fallen asleep at this table? Whose attitude toward the table do you think Lewis would want us to emulate? Why?

8. What is the biblical parallel to the Lamb’s fish breakfast at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader? Why do you suppose Lewis has the children meet a lamb who, a few moments later, turns into Aslan? What do you think the Lamb means when he says that there is a way into Aslan’s country from all the worlds? 

9. At the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Aslan tells the children that in their world he has another name. “You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” What do you think Aslan’s other name is in our world? What does this statement from the lips of Aslan tell us about Lewis’ pufrpose in writing The Chronicles of Narnia?

Will Vaus Speaking-Jack-Lewis-Discussion-Guide

Friday, September 22, 2017

Our read for Thursday October 12th 2017 is The Screwtape Letters 
Happy Reading! 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Discussion Questions for Thursday September 14th  The Great Divorce   

1. In his preface to The Great Divorce Jack says that we are not living in a world like a circle where all roads lead to a common center but in a world much more like a tree, where every so often every road forks and one must make a decision about which way to go. What do you think of Jack’s statement as it applies to religion? Do you think it true or false? Why?

 2. How do you react to Jack’s concept of hell as a place where each of the inhabitants is gradually moving further away from each other? Does this depiction of hell make it more real to you? Why or why not? 

3. Upon his arrival on the outskirts of heaven Jack’s character in the story says he felt like he had gotten “out” in a way that made our solar system feel like an indoor affair. Is Jack’s description of heaven one to which the 21st century mind is receptive? Is his depiction of heaven attractive to you? Does it make you want to go there? Why or why not?

 4. In one of the first vignettes on the outskirts of heaven one of the ghosts from the grey city says that he is not asking for anyone’s “bleeding charity”. The response of one of the solid persons is to encourage him to ask for the “Bleeding Charity” at once. What do you think Jack intends to convey by the solid person’s response? Why is it “Bleeding Charity”? 

5. What do you make of the clerical ghost who doesn’t believe in a literal heaven and hell? Does The Great Divorce make it easier for you to believe in heaven and hell?

 6. What is your favorite line from this book? How about your favorite vignette? Do you see yourself in any of the characters? In which ones–if you dare to say?

 7. Jack says that the book is intended to teach a moral. What moral do you think it teaches?

8. Why do you think Jack includes George MacDonald as a character in this dream? What do we learn about MacDonald’s theology and Jack’s theology from this book?

 9. What do you think of MacDonald’s statement about heaven and hell working retroactively?

 10. Perhaps the major theme of The Great Divorce is that of choice with regard to salvation. Based on this book, what would you say is Jack’s view of free will and predestination?

 11. One of the Spirits says that every artist, apart from the working of grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he or she writes or paints or makes music about to love of the art in and of itself, until in hell we find people who are no longer interested in God at all but only in what they can say about God. Can you identify with this at all or have you ever known anyone like this? 

12. What do you think of MacDonald’s statement: that there is only one good and that is God? He says that everything is good when it looks to God for life and evil when it turns away from God. According to MacDonald, the higher a creature is in the natural order of things, the more demonic it will be when it falls. Demons are made out of bad angels, not bad mice or bad men. Lust is lower than the false religion of mother-love or patriotism or art, but then lust is less likely to be made into a religion. What do you make of this?

 13. One of the sub-themes of The Great Divorce is the concept of Time. In several places throughout the book we are reminded that “this moment contains all moments.” What do you think Jack is saying about time as it relates to human free choice and predestination?

 14. What do you think of Jack’s point that hell will not be allowed to veto heaven? Does this make the reality of hell more acceptable to you?

From Will Vaus' Speaking Of Jack
Great questions and Introductions. It is a treasure trove. Available here...…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

The Great Divorce is our read for Thursday September 14th, 7:20 Barnes and Noble.
Happy Reading!