Gene Veith has just written book called The Soul of Prince Caspian (2008), I think it will be very good and worth reading. It could be a key for some of us to unlocking the door to both the meaning behind the story and the unlocking of some of our own feelings of boredom in our faith.
Prince Caspian, by C. S. Lewis, describes the state to which Narnia has fallen after the Pevensie children have left that imaginary land and returned to their home in England. As the story opens they are leaving home to return to boarding school and while on the train station platform, they are abruptly whisked away into the sky and plunked down in a land they do not recognize.
While exploring some old ruins, they realize they are in Narnia and the ruins are actually the foundation of the castle in which they once lived. It is quite disturbing to them. That the land they fought for so hard and loved so much has fallen into such a state is incomprehensible to them. As the story goes on we discover what has happened.
The author of The Soul of Prince Caspian, Gene Veith, describes what is really behind the story. It is a book about Christianity and the Church. It describes the state of Christianity today– a state in which we followers of Christ are bankrupt of the awe and wonder that our faith once held. Like the Narnia the children found, our faith has deteriorated into something that is unrecognizable as the Christian faith.
It is not the religion that has changed. The message that we have today of Jesus’ message is the same message that the apostles had 2000 years ago. What has changed is the view which we as followers and believers of Christ have adopted. What was once miraculous and awesome and wonderful and fulfilling has now become common place. We have heard the parables and the accounts of the Apostles so many times that we have a tendency say: I’ve heard it all before. It has become too familiar to us.
Consider your own experiences in and around the town or city or neighborhood where you live. You take the same route to work or school or to market each day. You see everything around you — the same buildings that you have always seen, the same signs of advertising, the same store fronts with the same stores behind those fronts, sometimes the same people walking on the street or driving in the car next to you. You see these things, but do you really see them?
No, you don’t. You look at these things. You are so used to seeing them that their presence is little more than an acknowledgment of their existence. You’re bored with your daily drive or the ride.
I sometimes like to play a little game while I drive. I imagine what it would be like to be a visitor to my town. It isn’t hard to do — you only need to remember what it felt like when you first went to a place where you had never been before. Then, everything was new and different and exciting. So when I play this game, I replace my old eyes with new. Actually, all I am doing is making myself see my surroundings — looking at details and really making them register in my mind and heart.
Although Mr. Veith doesn’t call for this in his book I believe it is doing what he would call defamiliarizing. This is what we must do to regain the newness of our faith in Christ.
I have found a way of renewing the Word of God by reading the Bible out loud. When we read a book, we tend to skim, leaving out words that our mind doesn’t need to make sense of the sentence. By reading out loud, we are forced to read every word. By reading every word, we begin to feel the nuances of tenderness, love, forgiveness, sarcasm or amazement that are expressed in the sentences. You begin to find things in sentences that you had previously glossed over. You hear your voice speaking as you intone and voice the mood of the sentence and the extra dimension of actually hearing the words while reading them helps them to stick in your memory.
Try it, I think you’ll like it. You may feel uncomfortable, at first, especially if you are alone — just close your windows and doors to help you gain confidence, or read aloud to someone. I read a couple of chapters from the Bible each night to my wife before we go to sleep. It’s a good way to calm down from the hectic day and be edified as well.
P.S. This page was previously published as a post on Quietshout. I have moved the content to a “Page” so the entry would be easier to find.