C.S. Lewis: Reflections on the Psalms

Ciate how the poets wrote these to give special mphasis and definition to what they were saying More importantly possibly I found myself thinking of them not as The Psalms but as songs written by individual people People like me who probably found words inadeuate as one does when trying to Water Music express the ineffable or when trying to put one s ownffable feelings into speech And that made them so much approachable than when I ve been told as I have so often that these are a good way to pray They probably are a good way to pray but one couldn t have found a off putting way to make me think of them as it was often very difficult to Revived enter into the psalmists particular feelings of the moment30% Done UPDATEListening to Lewis s thoughts onxpressing the sheer joy of the Lord were directly responsible for one of the most joyful Student Research Projects in Calculus early morning walks I ve had in some time Phrases from the joyful psalms hills clapping their hands brooks jumping for joy I ve probably gotten it wrong but that s what I recall rang through my head as I walked watched flocks flying heard mockingbird mating songs and saw the radiance of the dawn The joy of the Lord in His creation sings aloud 75% Done UPDATEI am not sure why Mere Christianity is so often mentioned and Reflections on the Psalms is a book I had to discover on my own Discussing his own problems about the Psalms Lewis clears up a lot of unarticulated problems I myself have often had with relating to God and the faithful Chapter 8 about praising God shot a bolt of lightning into what the psalmists actually meant Brilliant Lewis the higher critic Dare I say the heretic I kept hoping I would find one chapter in this book tombrace but the ntire volume turned out to be reflections of a C S Lewis I had not anticipated To his credit Lewis introduces the book by stating that he is no scholar no Hebraist he also says no higher critic but that I take as a technicality since he certainly mploys higher critical reasoning throughout but rather one unlearned writing for the unlearned Of course the fact is that C S Lewis is about the most NOT unlearned author of the 20th century so I Love for Imperfect Things expected this to be a humble overstatement considering Hebrew poetry is not his primary area of study I suppose I should have taken the statement literally The main flaw in Lewis s approach is that he views Old Testament Judaism and New Testament Christianity as two completely separate radically different religions At times he almost speaks as though they have different deities From a Jewish scholar I wouldxpect as much but not from a Christian one I would A Heart of Stone evenxpect this from a higher critic but I didn t xpect Lewis to BE a higher critic you see How can he accept New Testament miracles including the resurrection but deny that the Psalms were written with any kind of real prophetic purpose It irks me how he assumes the ancient Jews were several rungs lower on the intellectual ladder and he does assume this for he writes as though they were shortsighted in their writing seeing only an immediate purpose and cruelly brutal and selfish in their ideas Divine inspiration for the Psalms is reduced to the notion that maybe we as Christians see things in them that were never really intended but still have value for us personally If you want a Christological view of the Psalms try Luther Lewis gets so ntangled in trying to solve difficulties that he mostly misses a genuine Christian reading of the Psalms Here is proof positive that no beloved Christian author s ntire canon should be accepted without study of its individual part. Cteristic grace he guides readers through both the form and the meaning of these beloved passages in the Bible.

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Some of my favorite things about this wonderful little book by my favorite author1 Right away he takes on the difficult hard to stomach psalms the ones about such things as dashing the Babylonian babies against the stones Hard stuff I m sure I would have avoided it 2 This uoteBut of course these conjectures as to why God does what He does are probably of no value than my dog s ideas of what I am up to when I sit and read3 And this uoteWhat we see when we think we are looking into the depths of Scripture may sometimes be only the reflection of our own silly faces4 Lewis discussion of Melchizedek who I think is the most mysterious figure in the Bible If you re not familiar with Melchizedek I urge you to read verything about him in the Bible It won t take long He s only mentioned in three places Genesis 14 Psalm 110 and Hebrews 7 If your curiosity is piued find a copy of Reflections on the Psalms and read Chapter 12 Second Meanings in the Psalms I think it will be time well spent Not my favorite Lewis book I am on a uest to read Divertimento everything he wrote and this has been on my shelf for many years My son read it years ago as a young teen and did not like it at all Now I understand why It still has all the lovely Lewis conversations but some of his reasoning on the Psalms seem to take away the mystery if that were possible The Psalms are my favorite book of the Bible and though Lewis is my favorite author his thoughts here did not make me love the Psalms or less I love being in the mind of the great CS Lewis Lewis is often unfairly placed at the helm of Christian apologetics In fact if you hear two intelligent people debating the merits of Christianity it will probably be only a matter of seconds before one of them is refrencing Lewis Lewis apologetic works Mere Christianity Miracles are attempts to rationalize his beliefs to himself and to any who will listen they are not the authority on Christian theology and scholarship that they are made out to be Lewis usually outlines his shortcomings in the introductions to his booksSo those who think of Lewis as just anvangelist or a propagandist avoid his best and lesser known work Reflections on the Psalms finds Lewis in the role he is best suited for as a critic of great literatureI kind of dreaded the Psalms until I read this book The Psalms are revered and read often in Protestant churches but I didn t connect with them as a child so much context was absent from my understanding and they always seemed like the Love Is a Fairy Tale esoteric ranting of an ancient madman they certainly did not seem like beautiful lyrics of songsThis book helped me appreciate the Psalms as great poetry A great critic can sweep you up in the love of his material and influence you to reread the works in discussion and this is what Lewis did He addresses the angry portions of Psalms and the violent portions and the longing portions and the sorrowful portions and thecstatic portions at times he is baffled by a verse and delighted by another He writes like a fan who wants you to Promise at Dawn enjoy the Psalms as much as he does and he does not write like a Biblical scholar since he is not oneI think this is one of Lewis greatest achievments An English Professor s Thoughts on the Psalms20 February 2014 I would have to say that the thing that I appreciated the most about this book was that Lewis opened it by saying that he was not writing this book as a theologian since by his own admission he is not a theologian but rather that he is writing this book as a normal person andven in saying that he is suggesting that he is not the colo. Lewis writes here about the difficulties he has met or the joys he has gained in reading the Psalms He points.

Ssus of English literature that he actually is The second point is that in writing he actually writes in a very simple and asy to understand way indicating that he is in fact a master of the English language but then those of us who are familiar with his children s books already understand that This book is basically a collection of notes xploring a number of themes relating to I think we delight to praise what we Bangkok Wakes to Rain enjoy because the praise not merelyxpresses but completes the The Right Sort of Man (Sparks Bainbridge Mystery enjoyment it is its appointed consummation The Scotch catechism says that man s chiefnd is to glorify God and Darkmere enjoy Him forever But we shall then know that these are the same thing Fully tonjoy is to glorify In commanding us to glorify Him God is inviting us to Et si la maladie n'tait pas un hasard ? enjoy Him Reflections on the Psalms was unlike any other CS Lewis book I ve read mostly because he rarely writes directly about Scripture But he brilliantly illuminated my own ualms and uneasiness about the raw ualities in the Psalms the desire for revenge the claims of innocence before God our cries of despair in suffering Because of Lewis background as a medievalist and professor of literature he approaches the Psalms ancient literature itself with a completely fresh perspective He stimulated my thoughts in new ways with deeper appreciation both for the authors of the Psalms and the God they praise Reading Reflections was a fulfillment of June s pick for thecslewisproject my own personal challenge to read 12 books from my Lewis collection I m so glad it s helping me tackle Lewis lesser known butually rich books Glorious but awful in parts Finished it again in 2016 and it is still the same Lewis has an uncanny ability to Den of Shadows (Gamblers Den edify me and appall me simultaneously CS Lewis begins this work by comparing it to two school boys studying together because they understand the same sort of uestions that have long since ceased to puzzle and in fact become incomprehensible to their schoolmaster The analogy works beautifully for this book I particularlynjoyed his analysis of how the Christian should approach portions of the Psalms where the psalmist proclaims his innocence and demands retribution It seems to counter the very tenants of Christianity in some ways And yet it is a part of the Bible and the very words Scraps Of The Untainted Sky echo something recognizable inside us I think some Christians understandably tend to look askance on this volume because Lewis does approach uestions of the purpose of Scripture and the beginning of the world with language we often attribute to looser liberal theologians I do not intend to offer any deeper apologetic to his analysis But whether I agree with his solutions or not I appreciate that Lewis a school boy like myself is asking the same uestions and in answering them as he understands he forces me to confront my own presuppositions and understanding 5% Done UPDATEI m 5% done with Reflections on the Psalms I neverver stopped to think before about the difference between judges in Old Testament times versus judges in our very modern times We The Eric Carle Gift Set expect impartiality no graft and so forth Our system is so different from the OT Jewish system that it is no wonder we need mental adjustment before comprehending why their view of God s judgment is so much joyous than our own Completely different POV Fascinating25% Done UPDATEI found myself looking at various psalms this morning with a completely new appreciation For one thing I was reallynjoying seeing the two line mphasis on most points I have known about this special sort of poetry but considering psalms with Lewis made me just appre. Out that the Psalms are poems intended to be sung not doctrinal treatises or sermons Proceeding with his chara.

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Joy Davidman