Book 3 of the Book Club for Women of Faith for the month of February is Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis. (This book was first copyrighted in 1955 so it has taken on many covers, so yours may not look like this.)
I have been enjoying being part of a faith-based group of women as we are reading these books together. I hope you are following along with me. If you have not been following along, you can start at any time.
Our group leader has given us questions to aid in our discussion.
You may find these questions here: Download Discussion Questions for Surprised by Joy
My brief summary and thoughts:
- My overall impression of this book was disappointment. This impression is not because of the content or how it was written. I was more disappointed because of my sheer expectation of the book. I expected to be bathed in Joy by reading it.
- The only other book I have read by C.S. Lewis is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which I read as a child. I was fascinated by the book and imagery. I don't remember it being difficult to read. This book, however, was very difficult to read. It was very intellectual. I think that an autobiography is much different than fiction. I found the beginning of the book fascinating when he was a mere child and we could get a glimpse of how his mind worked. We were let into his thought process. As he grew, he spoke of many readings and books which influenced him. Most of these works I had never heard of so it was difficult for me to keep up. I could tell how he had to overthink every aspect of his life. This became tiresome.
- Lewis had a very compartmentalized way of thinking. He thought that the universe was a rather regrettable institution. He, like other unbelievers, did not see that God had a very particular order to the world.
- Lewis had a glimpse of Joy when he was young. He continued to seek Joy throughout his unbelieving part of his life. He said, " The surest way of spoiling a pleasure was to start examining your satisfaction." He seems to examine every thought and aspect of his life. He finally, in his atheistic state, came to the conclusion that God did indeed exist. His quest for Joy subsided once he became a Christian. The quest for Joy was something that was pointing to something outside himself. It was pointing to Christianity.
- My definition of Joy is being in the presence of God. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 "Be joyful always." John 16:24 "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." I believe that true Joy comes from God. But I also believe that Joy is a choice. We can choose Joy every day.
Although this book was not what I was expecting, I still enjoyed getting into the mind of C. S. Lewis. I would recommend this book to any of your intellectual friends that cannot make the jump from Atheist to Theist.
What were your thoughts or insights from reading the book? Feel free to leave me a comment below or share on Facebook.
Our next book for the month of March is Havah by Tosca Lee. The book discussion is scheduled for April 1, 2016.
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