All week I have been waking up very early. Not six o'clock early but proper proper early- 3.30am. Just bing- eyes wide open hello world let's get on with it awake. Some of this might be to do with the fact that in a week something I have been pouring my heart and life into for nearly two years (23 actually unknowingly) is going to come into being.
this is going to happen and you are all invited- most especially if you don't 'go to church' (David Fitch has an interesting thought on the phrase 'going to church'). And today we are starting the whole thing off with a party (it worked for Jesus) and at the rate people are being invited we may indeed face similar issues. I think I may be in trouble for inviting people 'who don't even come to our church'. This is really something everyone is going to have to get used to I'm afraid. And anyway, isn't that the whole point or did I entirely miss something?
I have been reading the excellent new book by James Emery White and it has prompted all sorts of memories for me. He writes about C S Lewis (among other things) and if you don't know who he is you need to listen to 'Lessons from an inconsolable soul'. What's funny about the book is White describes his sense of pilgrimage in going to the Eagle and Child the moment he arrived in Oxford to study. I did exactly that armed with a copy of 'The Four Loves' and sat with a warm ale and was in wonder at being in the place the Inklings created history. It's the very first thing I did (after emailing a Vicar friend in Canada advising him how barmy it was that I of all people was attending a Vicar Factory in the Church of England)
White tells a great story about the Eagle and Child on which I will end and it raises lots of questions about grace and the gospel but I will let you work out your own conclusions:
This brings to mind another pub story. One day as I sat at my favourite little table, and another stream of tourists entered- and left - I heard the manager muttering, "Bloody Christians." I was enough of a regular to feel comfortable asking him what he meant.
"Take a look at this," he said, holding up a menu.
They cost me two pounds each. Two pounds! I ordered hundreds of them, and now I only have ten because they keep getting nicked."
'You mean people are stealing them?' I asked incredulously.
"Yeah, the bloody Christian's take the menus, while the students take the spoons and ashtray"....
He paused a moment, and then said, "What gets me is that all these people who come in for Lewis are supposed to be Christian's right?"
Yes. I thought to myself they are.
The irony is bitter. The manager of the Eagle and Child pub holds Christians and, one would surmise, Christianity itself, in disdain because of the behaviour of the Christians who flock to pay homage to Lewis. Many wouldn't dare drink a pint, but they will [it seems] gladly steal'