CS Lewis & submission

DuncanDuncan Posts: 131Member
edited August 2012 in Faith and Spirituality
I never was a religious person.  But MMSL, particularly the "Captain & First Officer" aspect, has always reminded me of this passage from CS Lewis's That Hideous Strength (emphasis mine):

Jane said, "I always thought it was in their souls that people were equal."

"You were mistaken," he said gravely.  "That is the last place where they are equal. Equality before the law, equality of incomes -– that is very well. Equality guards life; it doesn’t make it. It is medicine, not food. You might as well try warming yourself with a blue-book."

"But surely in marriage . . . ?"

"Worse and worse," said the Director. “Courtship knows nothing of it; nor does fruition."...

"I thought," said Jane and stopped.

"I see," said the Director. "It is not your fault. They never warned you. No one has ever told you that obedience –- humility -– is an erotic necessity. You are putting equality just where it ought not to be."
"If everything seems under control, you're probably not moving fast enough." -- Mario Andretti
PhoenixDownSerenityMonaTheWolfArlequinMaterStellieTemplar

Comments

  • CL_CL_ Posts: 67Member
    Thanks for posting this quote, as I hadn't seen it before that I can recall.

    I liked this so much, I did a post: http://curmudgeonloner.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/submission-and-obedience-an-erotic-necessity/
  • LinanatiLinanati Posts: 1,606Member

    C.S. Lewis reportedly had a horrible marriage.  It sounds to me like obedience from his wife would have been a blessed relief to him.  It can be part of some really steamy fantasies though.

    Lewis' friend J.R.R. Tolkien also had a terrible marriage.  You don't have to wonder how that came about when you read the "romantic" parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I enjoy the books anyway.  Just not for romantic inspiration.

  • CharlesCharles Richmond, VAPosts: 38Silver Member
    @Linanati, this is the first I've heard of either C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien having terrible marriages. Can you elaborate on this, or point me to where I can find out more?
    MaterStellie
  • morticiamorticia Posts: 104Member
    I don't think Lewis had a horrible marriage.  She was ill and then died. He talks about it in a Grief Observed. 
    MonaMaterStellie
  • LinanatiLinanati Posts: 1,606Member
    I heard it on the radio.  I just searched around on the internet though, and all indications so far are that the information was false.  It looks like both of them actually had good marriages, although Lewis's marriage was short, due to his wife dying of cancer.  Well, maybe Tolkien simply thought it was vulgar to include the more passionate aspects of romance in a fictional work.
  • LinanatiLinanati Posts: 1,606Member

    BTW, when I was looking up about Lewis's marriage, I read that he was influenced by George MacDonald, that his writings influenced Lewis to go from unbelief to faith. 

    I found that interesting.  I read a George MacDonald book titled The Highlander's Last Song while I was still a Christian and having doubts.  The main character's brother, I think his name was Ian?, was a bit of a philosopher and had doubts about his faith.  He is described as having a deeper faith because of struggling with doubt.  That was comforting to me at the time, but ultimately not enough.  It was a good book though.

  • NellNell Posts: 26Silver Member

    Somewhere, I don't rememberwhere, C.S. Lewis wrote against ordaining women as priests of the Anglican / Episcopalian church.  Of course it was long ago when such a thing was first being debated.  He included a remark, however, that women were allowed to prophesy although not to be priests.  I remain intrigued by that remark all these years later.  (BTW, reading Walker Percy's Lost in the Cosmos closely followed by reading Lewis' Great Divorce closely followed by attending a charismatic worship service in a beautiful Episcopal church house may cause conversions of atheists and agnostics back to the faith of their mothers!)

    Today I don't even go to church, though I remain a believer.  This situation frankly hurts.

    I started to tell the tale of why we no longer go to church, but it is so long and involved and complicated.  Learning more about evolutionary psychology though is helping me understand what happened to my husband and I in the Episcopal church.  As briefly as possible:  we're just too hick to fit in.  Even before the red pill, we were pretty traditionally married and I suspect that made us suspicious to them as well.

    Anyway, back to dear professor Lewis.  If we grant him, just as a thought experiment perhaps, that women should never be ordained but that they may certainly of course and quite biblically and properly prophesy, where do I go to be tested as a prophetess?  Which is another way of asking, where do I go as a woman to prophesy properly and devoutly and actually have men taken me seriously. Or even just the women to take me seriously?  It is not for me a question of having the church hierarchy letting me into their little club of priests and pastors.  It is a question of do the ministers and the other people take me seriously as a human being?  Where might I be listened to?  Not necessarily obeyed, simply listened to, taken seriously.  Which denomination will do that?  If they want me to cover my head, okay, (see 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, one of the most confusing passages in the Bible!).  

    That is, I think it's obvious that Paul never meant for women to be always and everywhere silent. You can tell that from other things he wrote.  But do I need to put a scarf on my head or what?  Where is it, which denomination is it that actually takes women seriously as prophets?  Where is it, which denomination is it that has actually ever sat down and worked out what's the difference anyway between prophesying and teaching/preaching?

    MaterStellie
  • DuncanDuncan Posts: 131Member
    edited September 2012
    [comment deleted by Duncan]
    "If everything seems under control, you're probably not moving fast enough." -- Mario Andretti
  • NotelracNotelrac Posts: 3,552Member
    Gosh, I can talk about Tolkein's works and his life.  What a surprise...

    Tolkien was orphaned and his guardian was a Catholic priest.  He met his future wife, Edith, when he was 16.  His guardian forbid him to see her.  When he turned 21, he proposed to his wife and said "Have a nice life" to the priest.  By then, she had gotten engaged to someone else.  He pursued her, and won.

    There was early friction because he insisted she convert from her Anglican faith to Catholicism, which of course she did.  However, they reached an accommodation and no further issues were reported.

    By all accounts, Tolkien had a terrifically happy marriage.  By one way of thinking, his whole canon is a giant love letter to his wife.  Scholars consider the central keystone of Tolkein's work to be the story of Beren and Luthien.  Their first meeting (and making eye contact and becoming soul mates, yada yada) was based on a real life incident of Edith dancing in the woods.

    Here is their grave:

    Tolkien's Grave


     

    ChimpyMaterStellie
  • NotelracNotelrac Posts: 3,552Member
    @Nell cried out:
    "Where is it, which denomination is it that actually takes women seriously as prophets?"
    You're attempting to grasp the difference between an hierarchical and an ecstatic religion.  And you're right to point a finger at Paul.  Have you looked into the Charismatic faiths?

    Based on a textual and historical analysis of the New Testament, it appears that for the first 50 years or so, the various cells of what later came to be called "Christians" were egalitarian and took women seriously as prophets and leaders.  However, they were operating under the assumption that Judgement Day was going to happen within their lifetime, and there were deep structural problems when... it didn't happen.  And didn't happen.  And 50, 100 years later, *still* didn't happen.

    One of the changes that Paul and the other "Church Fathers" made to get the new religion taken more seriously was to shed the "fringe" elements that would turn off the middle and upper-class urban Romans.  Why did they do this?  Because their urban Roman contemporaries considered Christian practices with the same sort of disgust and antipathy as most people do towards snake handlers and people speaking in tongues do today!   I mean, really -- who back in the Roman empire could take seriously any group which allowed women an equal voice?

    So they demoted the position of women and switched the message away from Jesus' actual apocalyptic teachings, and towards a salvation theology.

     

    BMMNorth
  • NellNell Posts: 26Silver Member

    @Notelrac I came back to Christ and to the church in a charismatic parish of the Episcopal Church.  I honestly thought all Episcopal churches were like that.  The rector had put together the most beautiful liturgy of old time gospel music that fit the services of the Book of Common Prayer.  I now know that many or most Episcopalians look down on it (and on us) as "happy clappy" people.  That rector had actual working class people of a variety of colors worshiping there.  Before long, the horrified old guard of the parish had kicked him out and most of the people who'd come in with me left as well. It took me another decade of being faithful to the parish to figure out that no matter what I did, there wasn't another parish on around where a woman could be a charismatic, a traditionalist, a lover of old time music, and a thinker all at the same time!

    Somedays, in short, the devil looks like the upper classes.....  Not that all of them are or anything .. .just saying and so forth.

  • KathrynthegreatKathrynthegreat TeamAmazonWarriorPrincessPosts: 3,770Member
    edited September 2012
    @Nell-- have you looked into the Quakers, or Society of Friends?  I don't consider myself a Christian anymore, but if I were I'd be a Quaker.  
  • NellNell Posts: 26Silver Member

    @Kathrynthegreat -- I attended a couple of Quaker meetings in the wanderings of my late teens and early twenties.  Not for me because I'm not a pacifist and never will be.  I tried back then but I can't reconcile it ethically or morally.  I do admire the Quakers a lot in many respects -- I just don't want to be one!  lol

    @Notelrac - I looked up every local church with "charismatic" in the name.  One was closed and the other was rabidly right wing, which I'm not into even if I do obey my husband, most days anyway!

    Anyway, this thread has become WAY too much about me.  There is a bottom line mystery about That Hideous Strength.  One of the main plot threads is, as Duncan pointed out, about women submitting to their husbands.  But Jane is a prophet.  Her prophecies do not "work" until she submits in some unspecified way to her husband (who is not one of the good guys for much of the book.)   What is the link between wifely submission and prophecy?  Is it more than just that passage in Corinthians?  Or what?

  • NotelracNotelrac Posts: 3,552Member
    "What is the link between wifely submission and prophecy?"
    CS Lewis is not one of the prophets. 

    I suggest you do a close reading of the original tales of the prophets and prophetesses in the Old Testament.  Pass by Paul's epistles and the Church Fathers' need to shoehorn the early books into a foreshadowing of the coming of Christ.

     

  • PrezPrez Posts: 471Member
    Nell, In Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, some of them anyway, prophecies are typically Thus saith the Lord type utterances that dont take as long as a sermon, not dictrinal teaching. there are churches tht allow for that though not for women in a pulpit or pastoral nistry. It seems like most Pentecostals and Charismatics are somewhat egalitarian in that regard too.
  • dalefdalef Posts: 780Silver Member
    Note that the Hideous Strength was published long (1945) before he met his future wife.
  • PrezPrez Posts: 471Member
    Nell said:

    @Kathrynthegreat -- I attended a couple of Quaker meetings in the wanderings of my late teens and early twenties.  Not for me because I'm not a pacifist and never will be.  I tried back then but I can't reconcile it ethically or morally.  I do admire the Quakers a lot in many respects -- I just don't want to be one!  lol

    @Notelrac - I looked up every local church with "charismatic" in the name.  One was closed and the other was rabidly right wing, which I'm not into even if I do obey my husband, most days anyway!

    Anyway, this thread has become WAY too much about me.  There is a bottom line mystery about That Hideous Strength.  One of the main plot threads is, as Duncan pointed out, about women submitting to their husbands.  But Jane is a prophet.  Her prophecies do not "work" until she submits in some unspecified way to her husband (who is not one of the good guys for much of the book.)   What is the link between wifely submission and prophecy?  Is it more than just that passage in Corinthians?  Or what?

    I don't know how much CS Lewis knew about prophecy.  The prophetic gift could work in a woman who has submission problems with her husband.  I've seen it.  Even Balaam prophesied, genuine prophecies, too, apparently. 
  • AngelaAngela Posts: 585Silver Member
    CS Lewis' wife was a major fan of his work; that is how they met. So I don't imagine she was put off by his views on wifely submission. And they had a very happy, though tragically short marriage.

    As far as his "sexist" views - one has to remember Lewis lived in a completely different world than we do; he was born in 1898 for goodness' sake.
  • Want2bFOWant2bFO Sultry SouthPosts: 693Silver Member
    Linanati said:

    C.S. Lewis reportedly had a horrible marriage.  It sounds to me like obedience from his wife would have been a blessed relief to him.  It can be part of some really steamy fantasies though.

    Lewis' friend J.R.R. Tolkien also had a terrible marriage.  You don't have to wonder how that came about when you read the "romantic" parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I enjoy the books anyway.  Just not for romantic inspiration.

    I believe Lewis married a widow with a child. She died shortly therafter of cancer.

    "Every man needs a woman when his life is a mess because like in the game of chess the Queen always protects her King" author unknown.    ( but you have to be the King first)

    "I could die for you. But I wouldn't and couldn't live for you" Ayn Rand

     

    Angela
  • ChimpyChimpy Posts: 2,591Member
    Apparently Tolkein reckoned that pulling Lewis back into being a practising christian was the worst days work he ever did...
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