MacDonald (as selected by Lewis)

I only read the preface to TM&HE. In it, though, I found the section on attention particularly valuable for the very reason you mentioned here, specifically his point about attention being a moral act. That we change things by the way we attend to them is a powerful idea that conveys a great deal of responsibility.

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William James, poor soul, was the first to say something similar, to my knowledge. It’s been noted here several times before.

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Naturally in the book he cites the sources for most of what he writes. When I quote him I don’t necessarily cite his sources.

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Amen to this! - a really important thought. I see echoes of the sheep and goats parable in it.

(126) The New Creation

When the sons of God show as they are, taking, with the character, the appearance and the place that belong to their sonship; when the sons of God sit with the Son of God on the throne of their Father; then shall they be in potency of fact the lords of the lower creation, the bestowers of liberty and peace upon it; then shall the creation, subjected to vanity for their sakes, find its freedom in their freedom, its gladness in their sonship. The animals will glory to serve them, will joy to come to them for help. Let the heartless scoff, the unjust despise! the heart that cries Abba, Father , cries to the God of the sparrow and the oxen; nor can hope go too far in hoping what that God will do for the creation that now groaneth and travaileth in pain because our higher birth is delayed. Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? Shall my heart be more compassionate than his?

As found from MacDonald’s unspoken sermon “Abba, Father

I read this as saying:

The God of the sparrow and of the oxen is that which has fostered both the wild animals that delight God by delighting themselves and the domesticated ones that serve man. The creation includes both as well as ourselves. That all groaneth and travaileth now in pain now is because we delay our higher birth, meaning we put off our own redemption. Because we have been given such powerful gifts, we do much harm not only to each other but to all that God had brought forth. Creation itself hangs in the balance and must suffer at our hand until we restore ourselves and rise to the challenge of acting justly and wisely.

That caught my eye too. Maybe more to say on that later. Christians also ponder (when we’re in any kind of thinking mood) the balance between how much responsibity do I/we bear in the redemption process, vs. how helplessly dependent am I/are we on rescue from outside ourselves. And as is so often the case, I suspect that the 0% / 100% people are probably missing out on a wide world of reality (including scriptural reality) that lives in all those many numbers in between.

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Interesting juxtaposition of thinking and scriptural here in light of my reading in TMWT last night which took off and delayed my sleep in the subsection with the heading Logos and Mythos in the chapter on reason’s progeny. I don’t want to weigh this thread down with McGilchrist quotes especially when I still need to digest them much more myself, but it is an important distinction.

Lately, the issue of complete sanctification has been on my mind. Which is of little surprise as I am learning about the Azusa Street Mission. While I agree with the reformed view that we are never perfect in this life, I disagree with the reformed neglect of particular seasons of increased sanctification and where there is a special attunement or relationship with the the Spirit of God.

I don’t really see the connection. I’ve heard you speak of sheep and goats to refer to those who are in God’s pen and those who are not. Something like that. What is the connection to attention, I wonder. Can you say more?

Attention speaks to what we desire. What we desire we pay attention to. It’s a moral choice. If it’s an illicit object of desire, it is immoral, a sinful choice.

It can also be desiring the lesser, snubbing the greater, the most valuable.

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

– C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

As a new 1 yo believer, one of these occurred for me on a road trip by myself to try out some mountain bike trails to the north of where I lived. I spent most of the time singing about God on the way there, in the hotel room by myself that evening I could see the souls of the attractive women on TV and resisted temptation. There was a time of rich prayer and the next day I felt my prayers were effective with the weather. The trails were wonderful. What stood out for me the most was when I got back the following evening and attended the mid-week service of the church I was attending, I heard the pastor with new ears and something was off in his words. A few months later I changed churches, not for this reason, and within a year he had a full blown public adulterous affair, fired his music director for confronting him, and started a new church down the road and emailed everyone at the old church to join him at the new.

My seasons of special grace are short lived, so I don’t stand in judgement over anyone. Even my old pastor, but I knew something was off when I heard him that evening.

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Actually - I should have quoted the sentence that came before (for what reminded me of the sheep and goats)

It still might not be the connection you made, but what your observation made me think of was that just as the sheep and goats were held responsible for how they responded to their neighbor’s welfare (so it turns out that we are our brothers’ keepers after all!) - in the same way our redemption isn’t just for us only but for us, and everybody else too (through us and for us). We westerners have really relished the story of salvation as an individualistic event (I’m saved - are you?). And the Bible does often refer to it in those individual terms, but we neglect the many times salvation is a very communal and public event - as in it’s an entire family or community or even nation that gets saved. And ‘saved’ for what, one might fairly ask … saved so that they can be a blessing to yet more around them too.

Not sure if that’s making any more sense than before, but it’s what sprung to mind for me.

Maybe because that’s the way that Jesus taught it in the Middle East?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Salt has a corporate, saving effect.

That’s precisely it. Either one to the exclusion of the other makes for serious error.

And sometimes, we are saved to be like our Shepherd, leaving the 99, to go after one… that amongst an untold number of other callings.


That is so sad.

Yes where being saved equates to winning the afterlife lottery, which makes no sense to me at all. Salvation to my mind either transforms this life or it didn’t happen and doesn’t matter. I realize of course that that confirms my non status but that isn’t really a secret. But I fear many regard it entirely as buying more lottery tickets for something special which doesn’t involve this world at all.

Amen. That is the real point.


And on and on it goes. I was just looking him up and he leads some large church network as it’s “apostolic” head. I don’t know. Sheep and goats. And sometimes you can never really tell. Ravi Zacharias was one that when the truth came out, you couldn’t look at a picture of him and not cringe, and yet the Gospel is such, that Jesus can look at him and call him beloved.


(127) Pessimism

Low-sunk life imagines itself weary of life, but it is death, not life, it is weary of. Never a cry went out after the opposite of life from any soul that knew what life is. Why does the poor, worn, out-worn suicide seek death? Is it not in reality to escape from death?–from the death of homelessness and hunger and cold; the death of failure, disappointment, and distraction; the death of the exhaustion of passion; the death of madness–of a household he cannot rule; the death of crime and fear of discovery? He seeks the darkness because it seems a refuge from the death which possesses him. He is a creature possessed by death; what he calls his life is but a dream full of horrible phantasms.

The first of many (127-141) to come from MacDonald’s unspoken sermon: “Life”.

I can’t “like”this one, Merv, but I think Mac Donald characterized the problem well.

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