The Inspirational Writings of C.S. Lewis

ISBN: 0884861082
ISBN 13: 9780884861089
By: C.S. Lewis

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About this book

Lewis' autobiographical conversion story, "Surprised by Joy," tells a true tale of a modern man who loses his faith and eventually reasons his way back to an acceptance of Christianity. Not choosing God as a last alternative or as a way out of an emotional crisis, his thoughtful path to the ultimate answer serves as an honest and inspiring story for his reader's.In "Reflections on the Psalms, " C.S. Lewis brings wisdom, sophistication and reference to his discussion of this popular book of the Bible, exploring the relevance of the Psalms to contemporary life. He next turns to a description of the many faces of Love in "The Four Loves." There are four basic kinds of human love: affection; friendship; erotic love; and the love of God, and each has certain possibilities and problems. Yet, Lewis recommends the risks that accompany the rewards, since "hell is the only place outside of heaven where we can be safe from the dangers of love."Finally meditations appropriate for everyday of the Christian year are from a wide range of Lewis' writings, they are designed to make the cycle of the Church year a timeless and refreshingly new spiritual experience. As Lewis once wrote, "Joy is the serious business of heaven, " and that spiritual joy, faith and love are celebrated in the writings contained in this special collection.

Reader's Thoughts


** spoiler alert ** This book has four sections, so I will write about each as I finish it. -Surprised by Joy (finished March 5, 2010): C.S. Lewis' life story is a compelling testimony of what it is to move from unbelief to belief. It's pretty fascinating to compare C.S. Lewis' childhood in the early 20th century to the world in which children and early adolescents grow up today. Much has changed, to say the least. And yet, as others have mentioned here, Lewis' longing for Joy (and the One who supplies it to us) still resonates with those undertaking the same pursuit today.-Reflections on the Psalms (finished May 1, 2010): This is Lewis' meditation on various aspects of the Psalms. Lewis emphasizes that he is writing from the perspective of a layman rather than a theologian, and therefore not exclusively focusing on the religious implications of this poetry. This is the primary focus, of course, but Lewis also writes about the literary and emotional aspects of the Psalms. This is a bit drier than much of Lewis' other work; however, it gives an interesting look at his basic theological views as well as an interesting perspective on what we can gather from the Psalms.-The Four Loves (finished July 17, 2010): Lewis' essay on love dissects the topic many ways. In addition to the four loves of the title (Affection, Friendship, Eros, and Charity), he also discusses the Gift-love and Need-love which show themselves in our relationships, both with each other and with God. While it is a bit surreal to read Lewis discussing sex, it is worth reading to see how our earthly loves reflect the most perfect Love that is shown to us.-The Business of Heaven (finished December 31, 2010): A series of daily readings featuring excerpts of Lewis's various writings makes for a nice supplement to daily devotions. It can become a bit redundant with the rest of the book since it contains excerpts of the other three works, but it provides a great sampling of what Lewis wrote throughout his career.

Eileen Pease

I did not finish the book. The beginning was really interesting but the end did not hold my attention. Maybe I'll pick it up again sometime.

Samantha Lisk

So far, the only one in this collection that I've read is Surprised by Joy. I wasn't a huge fan of this one; although Lewis has generally had the reputation of making the doctrines of Christianity understandable to even the "common" man, he did not seem quite able to do so with his concept of Joy here. The idea seemed very vague and ill-defined throughout the book, which is a problem because it was what Lewis intended the subject of the book to be. He also seemed somewhat hurried in his writing; although he clearly stated that he did not intend the work to be a full autobiography, the gaps he left seem like they could have had more of an impact on his life than he may have thought (such as his father's death, even though they did not have a close or even a very good relationship). All in all, three stars for Surprised by Joy on a first reading.

Elizabeth Pinborough

So far I have read Surprised by Joy in this collection, and I loved it! Lewis's life is completely engrossing and he manages to write about himself without seeming pretentious or overly literary (although he is sometimes difficult to understand). I guess I just love admiring the workings of a great mind as he tried to feel his way from unbelief to joy. A wonderful bildungsroman.


Surprised by Joy: It was very drawn out with far more details about his childhood, college days, and the time in the war than I really wanted to know. I was expecting "Surprised by Joy" to be about how he went from an atheist to a Christian, but the little details--that I'm sure were important milestones for him--were dull to me. Somehow he went astray, drifting away like most of us do: without being cultivated and nourished. It wasn't until chapter 8 (2 chapters from the end) that it got really interesting. It was here that he wrote more like the C.S. Lewis we know as a philosopher and explained how things changed. It took all that time to get to what I really wanted to know. A bit disappointing, to say the least.

Daniel Patz


David Kotynski

Good stuff

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