Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Iron Love and Velvet Hate: Juxtapositions II

August 21st, 2014 by G.

The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

Proverbs 12:10

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most obvious and shining thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape? The words compelle intrare, compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.

-thus C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy

Coming unto the Lord is not a negotiation, but a surrender.

-thus Elder Maxwell

Comments (8)
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August 21st, 2014 12:45:00

Charles Huntziger
August 21, 2014

We are judged by what we surrender to.

Bruce Charlton
August 21, 2014

My impression is that the reluctant convert like Lewis, the Christian conversion experienced as God hunting-down the individual who tries fails to flee (The ‘Hound of Heaven’ idea of Francis Thompson) is very rare and unusual nowadays – in mainstream secular society, where so many children are second or third generation atheists.

Lewis was brought up a Christian, in a highly religious country – this is not the typical modern experience – indeed nobody in the West has this experience.

In the West, at best; a minority of people are brought up in a increasingly beleaguered minority Christian sub-culture within an increasingly anti-Christian nation…

But most modern people are a mixture or ignorant and misinformed about Christianity – indeed, they are pre-equipped with a spectrum of (fake) evidence and arguments and prejudices against Christianity; and an ingrained hostility – so that spiritual aspirations are channeled into anything-but Christianity.

Add to this that the mainstream Christian denominations are led by (mostly) extremely corrupt anti-Christians -Leftists-in-Christian-clothing… and we see why the Lewis type experience has become so rare.

August 22, 2014

Fear or God. Matthew 6:24

Bruce C.,
Nowadays, the C.S. Lewis experience happens to people who are already Christians, in sanctification. Our model is Christ, but the gospels candidly admit that as the garden and the cross grew near, at a couple of points he was a reluctant savior.

John Mansfield
August 22, 2014

One of the nice things about being a Latter-day Saint is knowing a lot of converts, including some who were atheists or children of atheists.

Bruce Charlton
August 22, 2014

@JM – Just to clarify – were any of these converted in the manner described by CSL in the excerpt above? I mean, ‘reluctant converts’ who felt a sense of being hunted-down by God – resisting but being overwhelmed?

John Mansfield
August 22, 2014

None that I’m thinking of are eloquent novelists. The hunted-down theme is common enough, though almost always portrayed in a humorous light: circumstances keep conspiring against the person, forcing them to pay attention and make changes despite their wish not to. One convert I taught as a missionary told me later with much seriousness that he had been a hardcore atheist and only accepted my first invitation to meet in order to argue with us, but when we began teaching he was unable to argue. I remember the change that came over him about five minutes into our first formal discussion. That was almost thirty years ago and perhaps the most remarkable working of the holy spirit on someone that I’ve witnessed, so I shouldn’t leave an exaggerated sense that I see that kind of thing all the time.

August 22, 2014

I believe I have felt a divine footprint on my backside a few times.

August 22, 2014

I’ve felt a divine two-by-four over the head once or twice.

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