Sunday, September 30, 2012

C.S. Lewis and mysticism

Reading a book about C.S. Lewis, _Into the Region of Awe_. I tend to skip around in non-fiction, and this time, went to the last two chapters and learned: "Eventually, he would dismiss  his adolescent passion for the paranormal as a kind of 'spiritual lust' and dismiss the occult as a painted imposter of the true joy."

Interesting. I told a young woman near (related) and dear to me that a movie she wanted to show me was "spiritual porn," a desire for excitement in the wrong place. It was horrible, had to do with soul-stealing. {{{shudder}}} She thought my term disgusting. I told her she should think so.

OTOH, the book says Lewis "allowed for certain kinds of 'good magic'. He considered the kind of 'fairy' magic we find in Arthurian romances as basically innocent in contrast to the insidious Renaissance sorcery of spells, charms, and secret symbols. Fairy magic is merely a storytelling device [I wonder.] while Faustian magic is an actual attempt to wield occult powers in the real world." We know from Galatians 5 and Deuteronomy 18 or 28 that God hates sorcery and practitioners do not get into the Kingdom, so I'm just not sure how far God's definition of sorcery goes. Everyone must decide that for themselves--with God.

Then the first chapter says one of Lewis's favorite authors describes *mysticism* as "the direct intuition or experience of God" and "the difference between mystics and ordinary believers was their intensity of commitment: 'This happened to them, not because God loved and attended to them more than He does to us, but b/c they loved and attended to Him more than we do.'"

Another author "was sometimes asked how a person could tell the difference between a genuine mystical experience and a mere flight of imagination or an upsurge in religious feelings. His answer was, in part, that if you ever had one,you would know the difference." And another said, "every believer becomes a mystic in the act of prayer."

Into the Region of Awe: Mysticism in C.S. Lewis by David C. Downing

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