Story Spotlight: The Problem of Pain – C.S. Lewis

Strangely, I’ve always preferred C.S. Lewis’ essays over his works of fiction. Perhaps this is because I never read Narnia as a child. When I finally got around to that series as an adult, I enjoyed it, of course, but still considered his non-fiction to be far superior.

The Problem of Pain, by C.S. Lewis is a prime example of his quality academic work. I love the way Lewis simplifies complex concepts without dumbing them down. Striking this fine balance is precisely why I find it beneficial to read each chapter twice before moving on to the next. I always miss a few things here and there, but more importantly, it gives me a chance to find even greater depth the second time through.

While I found the entire book fascinating, of particular interest to me were Lewis’ thoughts on animals and their view of pain and suffering. The rest were ideas which I’ve heard disseminated throughout mainstream Christian culture. As a result, they weren’t such new ideas. Fascinating, yes, but not so new.

And of course, no review of C.S. Lewis’ work would be complete without mentioning his command of the English language. The way he seems to choose the most accurate wording possible, along with the most precise ordering imaginable conjures for me the image of a master watchmaker, alone in the alps, making exquisite timepieces.

Here is perhaps my favorite quote from this book:

“Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but love cannot cease to will their removal.”


5 stars out of 5


P.S. In creating this post, I’ve come to the realization that I may have made an error when shining a spotlight on the movie Whiplash and declaring that I would now be using the “Story Spotlight” category to highlight stories. Or, at least, I may have misled some readers.

Clearly, my spotlight today focuses on what would be considered more of an essay. Many of my previous spotlights have also focused on academic pieces. As it happens, I cannot easily unite such works under the banner of a “story.” And yet, I don’t care to give any effort toward once again changing the category’s name.

Instead, I will now adopt the term “Story Spotlight” to refer to my last name and to encompass any story or piece of literature that piques my interest. Knowing myself as I do, I expect this might change again. So be it.

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