A few weeks ago, a guy approached me outside our church building and indicated that he wanted to know more about God - he felt a spiritual vacuum in his soul, and knew that he needed to do something about it.
He was a senior, quite proper Englishman, and it occurred to me that reading Mere Christianity by CS Lewis might be a way to begin to address his questions - and then to move on from that to a gospel in due course.
It's been a joy to see him open up spiritually. At the same time, one of the great things about reading the book cover to cover is that you find out the context of many of the great CS Lewis quotes you've heard a dozen times, but not been able to place.
The thing that stands out to me is that Lewis engages in a brilliant piece of contextualisation. The first part of the book is a sustained argument for the existence of God on the basis of morality - I'll leave you to read it to get a sense of how he does it.. How is that contextual? The book started its life as a series of broadcasts during the second world war, where issues of right and wrong, and in particular the growing moral outrage at the actions of the Nazi regime, were at the forefront of people's minds. And so Lewis takes that and uses it as a starting point for his presentation of the gospel.
The point is this. Culturally, we are in a very different place from mid-WW2. And so the question for us has to be, what constitutes contextually strategic starting points for our presentation of Christ? What are our cultural narratives that either presuppose or are completed by, Christ?
Of course, we could just say, 'just preach the gospel'! But actually, that just pushes the question back a little further - is there any 'just' when it comes to peaching the gospel? Or does every presentation of the gospel have to start somewhere?
We'll look in more detail at this in later posts. For now, take this as an encouragement to read Mere Christianity, and see how someone else in a different time and place had a go at really insightful contextualisation, as a stimulus for our own efforts - and enjoy discovering the quotes!