Tag Archives: C. S. Lewis

Interview Following the Implosion of America


IMAGINARY INTERVIEW BETWEEN ME and A COLLEGE STUDENT

IN THE NEAR FUTURE

STUDENT: What happened in the early 21st century that led to the demise of the United States of America?

DR. ALVES: Many factors went into its downfall. But two issues sealed the fate of America. The primary catalyst–propelled by modernism and materialism of the 1930’s through the 50’s–was that we turned our backs on God in the mid-1960’s. The subsidiary factor in the first decade of the 21st Century, was that we turned our backs on each other.

We turned from God to worship human beings. This is the greatest sin our culture could have committed. But it is no surprise. This is mankind’s chronic error. Humans were created to worship. If they do not worship the One true God, they will worship anything. Simply look at undisturbed primitive cultures. Here’s the way the Bible states it:

Romans 1:18–32 (ESV)

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Since we turned from the truth of God to follow man-made illusions, God gave us over to “depraved” minds (meaning simply, that he let us follow our thoughts and illusions to their end). So, in a sense, our culture went into a form of societal insanity. The primary presenting symptom of that insanity is the denial of our very human natures. Evolution–the idea that we all evolved from some protein riding on the back of a crystal and moved through every possible lifeform from the simple to the impossibly complex–takes more faith than to believe God about how we were really created. We have forsaken the doctrine of creation and have become so confused that first we thought we descended from beavers and monkeys. Now men think they’re women and women think that they’re men. And the rest of the culture, instead of having mercy and compassion on these lost, deceived souls, props up their cognitive distortions. So instead of finding them help, they cheer them on in their gender confusion and godlessness. This is the spiritual root of what happened that led to our implosion. Certainly the financial catastrophe  and rampant disease are also symptoms of the spiritual malaise.

STUDENT: Are you saying that our society is insane?

DR. ALVES: In a manner of speaking, yes. We have jettisoned ultimate Reality–God–for our replacements (idols). Insanity is a wholesale departure from Reality. Another Scripture puts it this way:

2 Timothy 3:1–5 (ESV)

1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

And again:

Ephesians 4:17–22 (ESV)

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles [non Jews] do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,

STUDENT: How did this happen?

DR. ALVES: Notice in the Romans passage above. First comes turning away from God. This is the spritual action which leads to unbelief. Then later, God gives them over to their own naturally deceptive, self-centered and self-directed mindset. Then comes the darkened mind. There is actually a spiritual veil over their minds and hearts. Before God gave them over to their own darkness, he was offering them the grace to know Him if they so chose. But people love sin, so they won’t choose God naturally.

STUDENT: If true, this sounds really scary.

DR. ALVES: God’s Word is always true. And you’re right; it’s a terrifying reality. But notice, it’s entirely in the free choice that persons make. People who abandon God are saying to Him, “Hey, I don’t want anything to do with you.” So, he gives them over to the darkness that dwells inside their minds. He removes the restraints in accordance with their wish and choice. In that way they are given over to a depraved mind, and are no longer able to discern Reality.

As frightening is the fact that those who support their unregenerate choices and condition, participate in the guilt over their lostness. In other words, supporters of homosexuality and human worship–because they knowingly supported their rebellion and decadence–will receive the same effects as though they themselves were homosexual, because they supported their dark, perverted behavior.

The next step leads to a seared conscience. Now the conscience no longer functions as it should, it has lost its bearings and the person with a seared conscience calls good, evil and evil, good. They are heartless and hateful. Thus they condemn and demonize God’s sons and daughters, who out of love, are trying to turn the darkened minds back to God. What could be more horrifying than to allow people to die of spiritual darkness when we–who were also once in darkness–have been given the light ourselves? The righteous, illumined mind hates sin, because sin locked us up in darkness and separated us from God and one another.

STUDENT: So Christians hate homosexuals right?

DR. ALVES: That’s your brainwashed education at the hands of American media, homosexual advocates, and public schools talking. How can the people who are trying to help the burn victims to move away from the fire, be hateful. Rather, the ones who won’t warn of the fire or help the victims to safety are the ones who are hateful. And they project that hatred upon the ones who are helping. As far as homosexual advocates go, they are filled with rebellion, hatred, and the blackest darkness. Unless they are willing to turn from their darkness to the light, they will not only perish and be cast into outer darkness (their own choice), but will be destroyed so that when God remakes everything, nothing that stains or causes sin will exist.

STUDENT: So, those who support the homosexual agenda and gay friends and family are the true haters?

DR. ALVES: No, you’d be misrepresenting or misunderstanding my position to say that. Not all the people who support the homosexual and transexual lifestyle are “haters.” But those who are accusing God’s people of hate speech are indeed the most hateful because they project their hatred onto innocent lovers of God. They not only hate Christians and people of faith, but they have murder in their hearts, because their lives are sinful and they hate the righteous lifestyles of the true believers in Christ and Jews who love God.

1 John 3:14–15 (ESV)

14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

And, according to Jesus, those who hate and murder are animated by Satan:

John 8:44–47 (ESV)

44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

STUDENT: You mean to say, there’s really a Satan?

DR. ALVES: Yes, there is. And non-western nation realizes it. But that’s for another interview.

STUDENT: Who are Christians to judge sins? Didn’t Jesus or somebody say, “Judge not?”

DR. ALVES: First, let’s clear the record. Not all who claim to be Christians are indeed Christians. Second, Christians have no right judging sin. That’s one way to tell the real Christians from the religious “Christians.” You’d do well to read my post on this subject if you want to better understand the distinctions.

What has been going on for centuries is spiritual warfare. All that has happened in the past fifty years is that the warfare has intensified and surfaced. Spiritual warfare is what is behind all that you see in the public arena. The Apostle Paul says it this way:

Ephesians 6:11–12 (ESV)

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

STUDENT: What are principalities and powers of the unseen world?

DR. ALVES: Use your imagination. What do YOU think they are?

STUDENT: Like demons? or Satan? or spirits? or something invisible?

DR. ALVES: Yes! Precisely!

STUDENT: You’re serious?

DR. ALVES: Of course. Why wouldn’t I be? Don’t you believe there’s a spirit world?

STUDENT: I don’t know. I’m not sure.

DR. ALVES: Let me ask you a question: Are you willing to bet your eternal soul that there is no spirit realm and that there is no such thing as demons or spirits?

STUDENT: Of course not!

DR.ALVES: Why not? You don’t even have to believe the Bible or Christians to believe that. I’ve seen many who believe in the spiritual–the spirit world–the supernatural. All I’m saying is that the sons and daughters of God know the One who RULES the spirit world. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One, has allowed us to have authority in that realm (and to some degree this one too, where the two realms intersect).

STUDENT: So how does all this apply to the Implosion of our nation

DR. ALVES: Except for the true believers and followers of the Messiah, our nation is a nation of rebels whom God has given over to their own self-directed, narcissistic choices. We are reaping the wages of those choices. God is simply allowing our choices to play themselves out according to our free wills.

We could have chosen what is good and right. After all, let’s suppose you were going to start a brand new race of beings. And you wanted peace and love to reign. Would you be willing to take onto your new island people who love darkness, sin, decadence, and made choices to harm and hurt those who chose the opposite?

The righteous have always been persecuted by the sinful and truly demon-led and inspired. And sometimes the sinful wore robes and miters. The demon-led hung out in churches and monasteries and had ecclesiastical titles. At other times they carried symitars and shouted Alah Akabar or they simply loved to harm people and encourage lawlessness. It’s all the same to Satan.

As C.S. Lewis once said:

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist [atheist] or a magician [or a religionist] with the same delight.”

The Screwtape Letters

Satan doesn’t care which extreme you embrace, at any pole, he has you. And he has many in our nation who don’t believe in his or God’s existence. Have you ever wondered why Islam calls America the “Great Satan”? We have exported our sensuality, our materialism, our shame and perversion far and wide among the nations. Satan and his forces stand behind the world’s deception, violence, rebellion, carnality, and sin.

One final thought: Christian Scriptures make no mention of the existence of the greatest world power of the twentieth century in the end times. I find that remarkably curious. The American Empire is no longer on the scene when Jesus returns to sort things out and establish HIS government. We are now closer than ever to His Coming!

Maranatha, Lord Jesus!

How to Build Your Personal Library


You’ve been kind of collecting books. They’re everywhere. You have shelves that will no longer hold books. So you have stacks—in the bedroom, in the living room, in the spare bedroom, in the dining room (which in our home I turned into our library). Books even grace the bathroom and a couple of closets.

Your spouse or roommate has given you an ultimatum: “You need to organize, get a plan, or get rid of all these books!”

Instead, how about building your own library . . . with intent. You CAN do it! Be like the great men and women in history who actually planned a personal library and collected books according to a modus operandi (a plan of operation)? It will be hard for even the most book-hostile person to oppose your noble plan—the plan of a personal library.

Some of you have never considered planning or arranging a library. Maybe you’ve been too busy. Or you’re not interested in the work involved. Plans don’t interest you. Then you need read no further. BUT . . . some of you love the idea of being more intentional, more organized. Perhaps like me, you’ve wondered: Well how would I go about a more intentional collection of significant books? If that’s you too, then you’re the person this post was meant for.

I’ve organized and arranged two libraries—my ministry library and my personal library. In the process, I made some mistakes and made some observations that might benefit you. Perhaps this post can be used to make your life a little easier.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO CONSIDER

Here are some recommendations to consider:

Read a good book on the subject. Many such exist. But don’t get overwhelmed. If no definitive list exists. Create your own.

Define and Prepare a Space – Decide on a size, Big or Small? This depends upon the physical space available to you. And the patience of your spouse. Determine where and how you will store your library. Do you have a free wall? Or spare room that you don’t use very often? What about creating a room just as a library room. That’s what I did in our dining room. We eat instead in the Kitchen/Great room.

Make sure that it’s comfortably appointed as well. Big stuffed chairs, a library table, warm lighting, favorite photos, paintings, or sculptures all make it your special place of beauty and peace.

Build Upon the Core of your Library (of what you already have). How? Answer a couple of questions:

  • What am I passionate about? The answer will give you a prime section in your collection. That’s probably what your core already consists of.
  • What would I love to learn or know more about? You’ve got your second section.
  • What has always fascinated me? You’ll need a section of good books on the subject.
  • What might give me some insight into . . . ? (people, places, ideas, occupations)
  • If you are like me, you’ll want a section just for leisure reading as well. I have a full fantasy section of hardbacks in our library room and of softcovers in my Cave (guy room). Since Marcy and I are both readers, we don’t argue much about a house full of books. We both love fantasy too so we hang out with C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, L’Engle, Charles Williams, and Lin Carter (his anthology and special collections of essays on fantasy are awesome—and impossible to find.

Begin modestly. You don’t need a ton of books of all kinds unless you’re a hoarder vs. a collector.  Locate and purchase the very best three to five books in each field of interest or passion. You might like to begin with an anthology or bibliography. This will lead you to recommended reading which comes from a variety of authors who have all weighed in on that subject. I read an autobiography of The Beach Boys’, Brain Wilson. In the back was a bibliography. From there I collected several more books including their discography (I wanted a history of their recording career along with the background history of their recordings).  Bibliographies and Recommended Readings in the back or appendices of a book often provide you with exactly what you need to build your core.

Hardback or Paperback? What is the goal for your library? How much do you have to spend? Will you read your books more than once? If not, you don’t need a library. You can borrow from the public free library. But if you plan on the long term to read them and refer to them frequently, or to dialog in the margins (write in them) then you may want to consider hardbound for the majority of your books.

Look for bargains. Most libraries cull their stacks often. You can usually find hardcovers for $1. And paperbacks for .25-.50 each. It doesn’t take long to build a library at these prices. But be selective by sticking close to your plan. Otherwise you precious space will fill up with junk that doesn’t further your goals and overall plan.

Stick to your Core plan. Once you’ve decided on a plan of collecting, stick with it! Enough said.
Adopt your own set of “Simple Rules.” Mine are below as an illustration of the point.

 

MY SIMPLE RULES

The “Simple Rules” I’ve operated under for over forty years:

Love beauty (which will include the truth and creation). Certainly a person who does not love beauty can build a library. I suppose one who values ugliness, falsehood, destruction, and banality could collect books, but who but the base and lifeless would want to read them? Or write them?

Love of beauty forms character and generosity of spirit. These will therefore affect the character of what you will collect and share. Once character is in place my other two rules apply.

Collect what you enjoy. You must allow your library to evolve according to your interests and passions. Your interests have probably guided you this far. Your passions will form the core of your collection. I chose the very best three to five books in each field of interest or passion.

I have two main collections. One is my spiritual library and the other is my general library. Each library is made up of a core of several categories which are important to me. For example: I am passionate about my ministry and my walk with Jesus. Naturally the core of my ministry library is made up of several related categories: biblical studies (old and new testaments); church history; theology; and, language study. My walk with Jesus is covered under spiritual autobiography and biography along with devotional literature. These broad categories form the core of my spiritual library.

The categories of my general library are: Classic literature (poetry, novels & short stories), Biography/Memoir, Contemporary Literature (poetry, novels & short stories); Maritime topics; Writing, Faerie, History (WWII & New England); travel; western writings; and, the largest collection–Books about books–reading, bibliophilia, book collecting and selling; and, publishing.

Choose carefully only the books you KNOW you care enough about to read.

Read what you collect. No matter how long it takes, read your books. They will teach you and speak to you. They will inform and expand your thinking and experience.

Share what you read. Let others enjoy what you have enjoyed. Share your library. First, by blogging or journaling. Then be a lender to the people in your life who you know share your love of books or your core passion. Of course, make sure that those who borrow appreciate some understanding of the care and collecting of books. For example, I usually explain to someone who borrows a book of mine that I NEVER lay the book open. I ask them to likewise use a bookmark. I then explain that the spine can be broken or the glue be cracked by laying a book open, faced down. My watchword is “generosity” in all things. And lose a book before a friend. After all . . . a book is not more important than the people in my life.

QUESTION: What is the core of your personal library? Are you working a “plan”?

Photo: Our library room by David C Alves

©2011, David C Alves

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