ohh...sigh, C.S. Lewis and Poland

I'm back at JP's. Kind of ironic... but not really because this is the only place where I can get the internet, unless we can get a signal from our phantom neighbor with wireless. Well, this is the chunk of my day where I break to do something other than plan for Poland. I started to dig into "The Weight of Glory" once again and Lewis has me spinning cobwebs in my brain trying to figure out how he comes up with and accomplishes any argument he attempts. I realize I attribute the highest praise to this man, and that there are undoubtedly arguments where his thinking and philosophy is flawed, as would only be expected. Still, his mind just amazes me.

Okay, I'll just try to flesh out one of the ideas he puts forth, because I should write something down for my own sake of de-briefing. I'll just start with the first page where he makes a comparison. He says that if you ask modern Christians what the highest virtue is they would respond: Unselfishness. Of course, modern is late 1940s when this book was compiled, but I have to admit that I find myself in that camp. When I think of the most desirous of traits I would say to think less of myself...

But, Lewis goes on to say if you would ask Christians of old the same question they would reply with: Love. He explains the significance of going from this, a positive term, to unselfishness, a negative term. Unselfishness suggests that instead of "securing good things for others," we should "go without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point."

This led me to then think how entirely self-defeating this pursuit of unselfishness is, because (if indeed it is my own abstinence of good things I desire) I am more selfish than most in pursuing it, under the guise of Christian servanthood. What a heart check this requires!

How can I possibly recount the pages following? On the glory of God, His reflection in creation, our being purely spiritual or purely secular beings, our role in war and peacetime. I'll have to choose another to expand on, I am currently reading his chapter on "Why I am not a Pacifist." Quite fascinating, once I get past his explanation of the philosophical and rhetorical technique he uses in arguing his case (although this, too is interesting!). The duty of war, ironically, was as imminent and controversial then as it is now. And, with a brother signing on weeks ago to the National Guard, I feel a more pressing need to sort my own feelings on the matter.

As I read the chapter, he laid the foundation for his argument by defining conscience and reason. Conscience, he said, is "in the (a) sense, the thing that moves us to do right, has absolute authority and in the (b) sense, our judgement as to what is right, is a mixture of inarguable intuitions and highly arguable processes of reasoning or of submission to authority." Hmm

And, almost mid-thought I have decided that I should skip the rest of this delightful discussion and give an update on Poland. Hopefully, you (extremely ambiguous and probably better that way) will continue to think on this, while I bring anyone wondering up-to-date on my nearing departure for Cracow, Poland.

I'm leaving on Wednesday, August 2 at night and will fly out of Chicago to Cracow. Just like that - it's still hard for me to believe that I'll get on a flight in comfortable surroundings and get off in a distinctly different continent, culture, and climate. Feel free at any time to throw up prayers as you read this! August 3 will be devoted to getting to know my team, from across the midwest and honing our game plan for the week. We'll start the English camp, which will be held at a retreat facility of sorts. Email me if you want to visit the site, not that you could understand the Polish, but I found the pictures interesting! Once the campers arrive we will be living with the 24/7. We will eat, play, learn/teach, and spend free time with them.

This will be an interesting and exciting change to my somewhat dull social agenda involving 2 other people - at most. We will begin the day with team prayer and worship, breakfast, and then start our English Reading Time, which is a Bible Study we have prepared for our groups. After that, we lead English classes, break for lunch, enjoy a few hours of free time before we have another bible study. We also have a conversation time in the evening, to help their English practicing and then later in the evening we have a time of singing, sharing, and possibly a church gathering of sorts. Apparently, the directors said to plan on a couple hours of sleep all week because Polish people are NIGHT OWLS. Hopefully I can find all those reasons for staying up into the night that most college students rely on... (insert prayer here).

So, that's our daily schedule. I am anticipating the trip more than I am scared or nervous, but that's probably because of my ignorance. Trust me - if I knew what to worry about I would be frenzied. Right now, I'm more in need of motivation to start packing. I have to pack for Poland and Chicago, as I will be studying there in the fall and I have a span of 7 days when I get back and I DON'T want to spend it packing.

Well, this is enough from me. And my work is calling. Keep praying - the Lord is good ALL the time.