Back of the North Wind

Discussions of theology, philosophy, religion and life inspired by the writings of George MacDonald (and perhaps others such as CS Lewis) posted by "recovering fundamentalists".

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I am a "recovering fundamentalist". The trick is to figure out how not to throw out the Baby with the bathwater. I learn through dialogue, and so invite commentary on my posts to Back of the North Wind.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Honest, Humble Self-Judgment

In today's GMD reading, I heard echoes of CS Lewis (or rather, the reverse, of course -- but I read CSL long before I read GMD) as an artist character of MacDonald's talks about judging his work:

A man ought to try to look at his own work as if it were none of his, but not as with the eyes of other people. That is an impossibility, and the attempt a bewilderment. It is with his own eyes he must look, with his own judgment he must judge. The only effort is to get it set far away enough from him to be able to use his own eyes and his own judgment upon it.

George MacDonald, The Seaboard Parish, Chapter 27.

This sounds very reminiscent of CS Lewis' words from Screwtape to Wormwood:

"[God] wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another."
CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, Chapter 14.

Lewis is emphasizing the humility part -- judgment as if another had created the work, forgetting oneself in the assessment. MacDonald adds another aspect: that the judgment still must be made from one's own perspective. I guess that's the only way one can honestly render judgment.