The Art and Challenge of Reading
Rev. Joy Mounts, Associate Minister
Recently on a FCC theater trip we saw The Most Reluctant Convert, a one act/one man show examining the conversion of author C.S. Lewis from atheism to Christianity. For Lewis, it was a journey marked by many discussions with his friends, J.R.R. Tolkien among them. It was also a journey marked by lots and lots of books. Many authors influenced him, opened his mind, and challenged his thoughts. Lewis was not afraid to read something that challenged what he thought he knew. He loved learning, and not just because he was a professor at both Oxford and Cambridge. He loved to read. One of his quotes that is a favorite of mine is, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” After his conversion to Christianity he wrote the powerful and poignant, Surprised by Joy.
I first came to know C.S. Lewis through his children’s Narnia book series, starting with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I devoured the nine books in the series, liking some better than others. My aunt had recommended them and, at first, I balked at reading them. They looked like kids’ books and I was already in junior high. But I came to find out they were far from simply stories for children. They are on one level, but on others a thought-provoking allegory. I then reached for his adult books - The Screwtape Letters, The Problem of Pain, Mere Christianity and others. This opened other worlds to me., and caused me throughout my life to seek other authors, fiction and non-fiction, to help me more deeply understand my faith.
What are the books that have challenged you? That you use to examine your thoughts about faith or even open the door for a deeper relationship with God? I would love to hear about them. Maybe we could even print your suggestions in an upcoming Congregationalist, like a church-wide book club. Who knows what authors will help us to gain insights into the Author of all, who not only opens our minds but widens our hearts.
Email or tell me your book suggestions. I can’t wait to hear from you. Until then, happy reading!