Monday, August 5, 2013
Tea Kettle Theology
Hello again! My family and I are back from jolly old England and our summer holidays here in the States. It has been about five weeks since I have written a blog post. For those of you who have counted on this blog post as a weekly pick-me-up, sorry for it's absence. I am back, and will begin writing again every Monday morning.
I promise that I won't barrage you with many more minutae and details of C.S. Lewis' life (after my three week course on Lewis in Oxford, England). I will never forget a professor I once had at Princeton Seminary who began every sentence she spoke with the words, "Dietrich Bonhoeffer always says...." At the speaking of these words, all of my classmates and I would automatically drift into a realm of numbness and sleep and ignore anything else that came out of her mouth. I promise I will not do the same with you with Lewis. However, before the summer passes, I wanted to share one newly gleaned bit of Lewis trivia that you may not have heard before.
C.S. Lewis was an ardent observer of chapel. He would attend chapel at Magdalen College, Oxford, and then Magdalene College, Cambridge (pronounced Maudelin), twice a day. The services would always last about twenty minutes, so it wasn't too terribly taxing, nor would it take away from the work functions of the day. Lewis' offices in Cambridge were just above the chapel. Chapel services would begin at 8:00AM on the dot. Lewis' daily routine was that he would put on his academic robes (the same type I wear on Sunday in church) at about 7:55, then he would turn the electric tea kettle on in his office. Lewis would then run down the stairs and sit in his usual pew in the chapel. The service would last twenty minutes. At 8:20 on the dot, the chaplain would recite the benediction ("In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit"). On some days, however, the chaplain would tend to drone on a little longer than usual. But here's the thing. Lewis' tea kettle would always begin to whistle at 8:20 on the dot (I guess it took tea kettle's longer to warm up in the old days). So, if the chaplain was not wrapping up the service in time, Lewis' tea kettle functioned as a kind of alarm clock, to keep everyone on schedule. The tea kettle kept everyone, including the chaplain, on time.
What's the cross application for our lives? Well...do we keep regular times of chapel worship in our lives? Do we read the Bible, pray, do a Bible study with regularity and rhythm in our lives every day? ( I know that I could do better about this). But to the point about the tea kettle, are these worship times the same amount of time each day? (about 20 minutes). Or do we tend to focus and stay in the scripture longer than we need to. It is better to have regular rhythmic time with God every day, than to have long drawn out times with God every once in a while.
I once knew a man who won the Mr. Olympiad weight lifting competition. His name was Larry Scott, and he had arms the size of my waist (well maybe not my waist now after vacation, but my waist before vacation...I digress). I once asked Larry how he got to be so strong, so big, so muscular. He said, "Most people go to the gym once a week and they work out really hard. It's much better to work out every day a little bit." I have tried Larry's prescription for large arms, but, somehow, not to the same effect. But his point is a good one.
Oh...Excuse me....I have to go....my tea kettle is going off!!
All For Now,