God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics by CS Lewis

God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and EthicsSummary: Wide variety of essays, written versions of talks and letters compiled posthumously.

I have been on a Lewis kick over the last year.  But I have definitely slowed down on my Lewis reading.  God in the Dock was exactly what I needed to be inspired to pick more Lewis up again.

God in the Dock is a collection of 51 essays and a handful of additional letters.  These are mostly on either ethics, apologetics (and really how and why of apologetics more than actual apologetics) and general theology.

With a collection like this, you can really see Lewis’ skill at speaking to his audience.  A negative of this is that you see how Lewis covers similar topics with different audiences, so there is a decent amount of repetition, especially of his good one liners.

But mostly, I appreciated his skill.  He gave a talk to a group at a textile mill about Christianity and then he also has a talk about apologetics to pastors and youth workers.  In both he talks about apologetics and the role of sharing faith, but very differently.  What impresses me is his willingness to not answer questions at times and what seems to be real humility of trying to only talk when he feels like he has something he can add.

It is this book that several of Lewis’ famous quotes are found, including his quote about reading old books, not because they are better, but because they are from a different time and place with different biases and blind spots.  And that quote is true of reading this book.  His thoughts on animal cruelty and the role of science and the decline of religion are interesting both because there are ways that they are still relevant today and because they are relevant in an odd way that feels like he is from a different culture.

Lewis seems to be both at his best and occasionally his worst because he is a man particularly writing to his own culture.  So his essay on women as priests will sound quite dated to most.  But still essentially has the main points that will seem right to many complementarians.  But even as he is writing he is correctly predicting his argument will sound dated.

At other times it is easy to see how little our culture has changed from the culture of the 1950-60s in the UK.  He complains of commercialism at Christmas, advocates for continuing to support new translations of the bible (but in other essays against modernization to hymns and the prayer book), speaks of the need of pastors to actually be a part of the people and not set apart, and many other topics that could have been written within the last few years.

This is not a book that I would pick up if you are new to Lewis. (Although it does give a fairly wide range of his writings.)  But if you have read a lot of the standards, the Narnia books, the Space Trilogy, the Great Divorce, Mere Christianity, Surprised by Joy, etc., then this is a good next step.

God in the Dock Purchase Links: PaperbackAudible.com AudiobookKindle Edition (new edition coming out on Kindle in April 2014)
Related  Bookwi.se Book Reviews of Books by or about CS Lewis

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