Just Thinking: A Note from the Editor | 25.2
Posted by Danielle DuRant on February 23, 2017
Whether filing our taxes or following up with a doctor, we are prone to avoid as long as possible what we don’t want to do or to think about. We could chalk this up to mere procrastination, the putting off of a difficult or unpleasant task. But if we probe further, we may confess that we fear the outcome or wish to shield ourselves from news we’d rather not know.
C. S. Lewis confesses that he made “a treaty with reality” to navigate around the trauma he witnessed in World War 1. He writes in his memoir Surprised By Joy, “I put the war on one side to a degree which some people will think shameful and some incredible. Others will call it a flight from reality. I maintain that it was rather a treaty with reality, the fixing of a frontier.” Although Lewis authored over three dozen books, only briefly in Surprised By Joy does he recall “the horribly smashed men still moving like half-crushed beetles, the sitting or standing corpses, the landscape of sheer earth without a blade of grass.” Instead, “[A]ll this shows rarely and faintly in memory. It is too cut off from the rest of my experience and often seems to have happened to someone else.”
Given his wartime experience as well as the early death of his mother, it is understandable that Lewis (and others who have known similar loss or trauma) would want to cut off such life-altering memories. He acknowledges that sadly much of his life was characterized by avoidance, disclosing, “I had always wanted, above all things, not to be ‘interfered with.’”
And yet, as Jesus tells us in John 8:32, “The truth will set you free.” Jesus is speaking to those who “believed in him,” who call God their Father, yet he exhorts them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you” (verses 34-37).
Jesus’s hearers believe they see reality clearly and understand who God is, but seemingly unaware, they resist him. As the following essays suggest, we may do the same because, like C. S. Lewis, we don’t want to be “interfered with.” We want freedom and truth on our own terms. Ravi Zacharias challenges us, “Are we going to believe the truth, or are we comfortable with the lie because of the power it promises to give us?” His words offer us fresh hope, for “the answers of Jesus have stood the test of time, truth, and coherence … reaching to the deepest hungers and questions of the heart and mind.” Other articles explore the idea of “post-truth,” the Word of the Year (2016) according to Oxford Dictionaries, and Jesus’s countercultural self-sacrifice and love.
Toward the end of Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis tells us that one night, “The reality with which no treaty can be made was upon me.” He comes to discover that the joy he had so longed for, the fleeting shadow he has traced since childhood, is actually a person: God. As we continue to celebrate the 25th anniversary year of Just Thinking, we hope you also may encounter this great God, who is love and truth, and know his amazing love for you.
Danielle DuRant, Editor