Wasting our lives and glorifying God

Wasting our lives and glorifying God
Notice God's unutterable waste of saints, according to the judgment of the world. God plants His saints in the most useless places. We say - God intends me to be here because I am so useful. Jesus never estimated His life along the line of the greatest use. God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is. ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, August 10

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

C.S. Lewis on Public Education

[When I stumbled across the following passages in my late night reading, I found them very amusing.  I actually laughed out loud!  Perhaps you will, too.  If not, take it up with C.S. Lewis.  I didn't write it.]

C.S. Lewis wrote in "Surprised by Joy", which chronicles how he became an atheist, about his school life:

I think that this feigning, this ceaseless pretense of interest in matters to me supremely boring, was what wore me out more than anything else.  If the reader will picture himself, unarmed, shut up for thirteen weeks on end, night and day, in a society of fanatical golfers--or, if he is a golfer himself, let him substitute fishermen, theosophists, bimetallists, Baconians, or German undergraduates with a taste for autobiography--who all carry revolvers and will probably shoot him if he ever seems to lose interest in the conversation, he will have an idea of my school life.  Even the hardy Chowbok (in Erewhon) quailed at such a destiny.  For games (and gallantry) were the only subjects, and I cared for neither.  But I must seem to care for both, for a boy goes to a Public School precisely to be made a normal, sensible boy--a good mixer--to be taken out of himself; and eccentricity is severely penalized....

....I write, of course, only to neutral readers.  With wholehearted adherents of the system there is no arguing, for, as we have already seen, they have maxims and logic which the lay mind cannot apprehend.  I have even heard them defend compulsory games on the ground that all the boys "except a few rotters" like the games; they have to be compulsory because no compulsion is needed....But the essential evil of public-school life, as I see it, did not lie either in the suffering of [unpopular boys] or in the privileged arrogance of the [popular boys].  These were symptoms of something more all-pervasive, something which, in the long run, did most harm to the boys who succeeded best at school and were happiest there.  Spiritually speaking, the deadly thing was that school life was a life almost wholly dominated by the social struggle; to get on, to arrive, or, having reached the top, to remain there, was the absorbing preoccupation.  It is often, of course, the preoccupation of adult life as well; but I have no yet seen any adult in society in which the surrender to this impulse was so total.  And from it, at school, as in the world, all sorts of meanness flow; the sycophancy that courts those higher in the scale, the cultivation of those whom it is well to know, the speedy abandonment of friendships that will not help on the upward path, the readiness to join the cry against the unpopular, the secret motive in almost every action.  --C.S. Lewis in Surprised By Joy, The Shape of My Early Life

One more:

....The greatest service we can do to education today is teach fewer subjects.  No one has time to do more than a very few things well before he is twenty, and when we force a boy to be a mediocrity in a dozen subjects we destroy his standards, perhaps for life.  --C.S. Lewis in Surprised by Joy, The Shape of My Early Life


Sara said...

I *love* C.S. Lewis. I just read his stuff over and over, it never gets old.

TraceyD said...

Amen!!! Especially to the "One More" section.

TraceyD said...

Amen!!! I particularly like the "One more" section. I really wish someone had counseled me on this earlier in my homeschooling career.

Will Vaus said...

Just a clarification, by "public school" Lewis was designating what we in the United States would call a private school or prep school education.

You might be interested in some of the books I have written on Lewis. You can learn more about them on my web site http://willvaus.com or blog http://willvaus.blogspot.com .

Gombojav Tribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gombojav Tribe said...

btw, I just checked out your blog, Will. You sure do love Lewis. Venture to say he's your favorite theologian? :-)

How'd you find your way to my little blog???

Gombojav Tribe said...

LOL!!! I just accidentally deleted my own comment! SORRY! That just looks weird.

Basically, it just said that I know what to what Lewis was referring to by Public Education and it's not exactly the same as private education. Regardless, I still find it terribly funny because it so applies to public school today! At least I think so! :-)

Although I rarely blog about Lewis (but you might find a wealth of quotes from Chesterton!) I hope you visit again!

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