Spring is here (British & American friends will be reminded that I am 'down under' where the seasons are the obverse of what pertains in the northern hemisphere) and having survived a cold and damp winter in a foreign clime without even a sniffle I have now managed to acquire what my nursing sister wife has helpfully labelled an "URTI", which sounds like one of those creatures that violently emerged from that unfortunate man's abdomen in Alien, but is actually an abbreviation for an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection.
I began to feel it coming on Thursday last and since then have taken a funeral and Sunday services, a recipe guaranteed to weaken one's immune system. Now every time I cough (which thanks to my asthma is quite often) my lungs feel as though they're on fire. The only upside is the enforced rest that comes with it, which means I am breaking my own rule and scanning the web mid-week.
Here's one interesting thing I have come across: Bill Muehlenberg of Culture Watch has alerted his readers to a timely new book on C. S. Lewis' rise as a broadcaster during WWII (click on title to go to his post) called, naturally enough, 'C.S. Lewis in a Time of War'. Times of national crisis often prove to be opportunities for spiritual renewal, and Lewis readers will already know that his talks on Christianity broadcast by the BBC beginning in August of 1941 elicited a very positive response from the British public and eventually became the book Mere Christianity, which was the standard introduction to the Christian faith for many English-speaking people until John Stott's Basic Christianity came along some years later. Mere Christianity still features on a recent list of Christian best-sellers at #90. (Incidentally, Russia also experienced spiritual renewal during WWII, but that renewal has proven to be longer lasting than Britain's.)
Anyway, here is the book:
And just to set the scene, here is the close of one of Churchill's many rousing speeches of the day that were likewise broadcast on the BBC, this one from the 18th June, 1940: “The Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization… Cold fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war… Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’.”
And indeed it was.