(CCSLQ-41) – Go Back and Change

The following is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. As I near the publication of a book on the subject, it is difficult to say how often I will post additional material (even though over 30 additional quotes are identified). The working title of the book is THE MISQUOTABLE C.S. LEWIS  and it is scheduled for release in May, 2018.

There is an “at a glance” page (CLICK HERE) to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series, which also includes a list of the other quotes I’ve identified as questionable. Also, if you haven’t already, consider reading the INTRODUCTION to this series to gain an understanding of the three main categories.   



“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can
start where you are and change the ending.”

Most quotations that are falsely attributed to Lewis are difficult to determine as erroneous without a good deal of detective work. However, that is not the case with this expression. Having said that, investigating quotes is somewhat like using a GPS for the first time. Meaning, the initial time you do either, it may be somewhat confusing until you get use to how to use it. That’s why it usually takes me no more than five minutes of using a search engine online to figure out if something is from Lewis or not. As noted elsewhere, I’ll usually do this before searching the various electronic collections of Lewis’ books I have access to.

When I used Google for this expression it seemed pretty convincing that Lewis WAS the author from the first page of results. But when I reached the end of the page, I noticed some alternative suggestions for the quote. One started with “we cannot go back and start over.” Those results preview several names for that variation. The first result led me to an article from the excellent website, QuoteInvestigator.com.

(CCSLQ-40) – Next Moment

The following is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. As I near the publication of an untitled book on the subject, it is difficult to say how often I will post additional material (even though over 30 more quotes have been identified). That book is scheduled for release in May, 2018.

There is an “at a glance” page (CLICK HERE) to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series, which also includes a list of the other quotes I’ve identified as questionable. Also, if you haven’t already, consider reading the INTRODUCTION to this series to gain an understanding of the three main categories.   



“The next moment is as much beyond our grasp, and as much in God’s care as that a hundred years away. Care for the next minute is just as foolish as care for a day in the next thousand years. And neither can we do anything, and both God is doing everything.”

It’s no secret that Lewis enjoyed the writings of George MacDonald very much. In fact, I’ve posted two articles already where something credited to Lewis was actually from MacDonald. The first was about an expression related to soul/body, and the other was about being “what God chose to make me.” In both cases it was difficult to clearly know how those two sayings were falsely credited to Lewis. However, with this quotation, it is much easier to determine why some believe Lewis was the author, instead of M.

In the mid 1940’s Lewis edited a book entitled George MacDonald: An Anthology. Within that book, in reading number 74, is a slightly modified version of this quote. There are three words missing from the beginning and four words from about the middle of the quotation. The correct version (with the absent words in bold) are below and the entire source from where this passage is found is also online.

(CCSLQ-39) – Denial Shock Absorber

The following is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. As I near the publication of an untitled book on the subject, it is difficult to say how often I will post additional material (even though over 20 more quotes have been identified). That book is scheduled for release in May, 2018.

There is an “at a glance” page (CLICK HERE) to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series, which also includes a list of the other quotes I’ve identified as questionable. Also, if you haven’t already, consider reading the INTRODUCTION to this series to gain an understanding of the three main categories.   



“Denial is the shock absorber for the soul. It protects us until
we are equipped to cope with reality.”

Back in April of this year (2017), I wrote about a questionable quotation that seemed to be just appearing in social media. In fact, as far as I can tell it has only been shared on Twitter and it is not (yet) a common falsely quoted saying. The above expression, while actually wrongly credited to Lewis for many years (as I’ll explain shortly), appears to also only be showing up on social media very recently. In fact, only ONE person on Pinterest seems to have shared it (so far). Thanks to Steve Elmore, from the C.S. Lewis Foundation, who recently alerted me to this saying and for also tracking down some of the information related to it that I’ll be sharing.

(CCSLQ-38) – Christ Himself Bible

This is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. Presently a new article is posted the first Saturday of each month (or sometimes the second if there are five Saturdays). There is an “at a glance” page (CLICK HERE) to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to read the INTRODUCTION to this series.   



“It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers will bring us to Him.”

Of all the quotations that I’ve questioned so far, this one is by far the one that most would object about calling into question. If you have followed this series closely, you know that Lewis DID write these words, so why caution against sharing it? As you might have observed in the picture above, the key reason is the context issue. While many will read the above statement and agree with it, there are some who would take issue with it. Clarity is provided when you discover the more complete thought Lewis wrote.

(CCSLQ-37) – Literature Adds

This is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. Presently a new article is posted the first Saturday of each month (or sometimes the second if there are five Saturdays). There is an “at a glance” page (CLICK HERE) to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to read the INTRODUCTION to this series.   



“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”

 

Most questionable quotations I’ve researched appear to be fairly recent false attributions. That’s not the case with the expression in the spotlight today. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I had not noticed this quote before receiving a question from Josh Radke about it on June 30, 2017 on my Confirming C.S. Lewis Quotations group on Facebook. The group was created initially to help others become aware of material already researched, but it’s also where people can ask about a quotation attributed to Lewis to find out if it is really found in his writings.

Fortunately it was known when the question was asked that the quotation was found in a 1970’s book by Paul Holmer.  But, even though it was also known the book was C. S. Lewis: The Shape of His Faith and Thought, Josh didn’t have a copy of the book to see how it was mentioned. Was Holmer quoting Lewis, or merely summarizing Lewis’ views?  Josh also had already attempted to locate it in several works by Lewis that he had electronically and couldn’t find the passage.

(CCSLQ-36) – Our Heart Yearns

This is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. Presently a new article is posted the first Saturday of each month (or sometimes the second if there are five Saturdays). There is an “at a glance” page (CLICK HERE) to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to read the INTRODUCTION to this series.   



“The fact that our heart yearns for something Earth can’t supply
is proof that Heaven must be our home.”

As has been noted with several quotes in this series, just because you enjoy an expression it doesn’t make it any less meaningful because C.S. Lewis didn’t write it. Here is another quotation that expresses a thought that is very meaningful regardless of who wrote it. However, it is not in any of Lewis’ writings. At best it is a paraphrase of ideas found in his works.

Presently I don’t know when this quote first circulated, but I do know who to be disappointed with about spreading it recently. On March 16, 2017 singer Chris Tomlin shared it on what appears as an official page on Facebook. Additionally, author Dr. Paul Meier included it on page 90 of his 2015 book Experiencing God Outside the Box. Finally, a 2016 collection of devotions from Our Daily Bread entitled Heaven had it on page 61. Doesn’t anyone ever check sources?

(CCSLQ-35) – Someone I Love

This is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. Presently a new article is posted the first Saturday of each month (or sometimes the second if there are five Saturdays). There is an “at a glance” page (CLICK HERE) to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to read the INTRODUCTION to this series.   


Someone I Love
“There is someone I love, even though I don’t approve of what he does. There is someone I accept, though some of his thoughts and actions revolt me. There is someone I forgive, though he hurts the people I love the most. That person is me.”

The above quotation expresses some very thoughtful comments. For me it is not only a great reminder that I’m not perfect, but also a challenge to extend to others around me the same love, acceptance and forgiveness I give to myself. It’s just the type of thing you would expect C.S. Lewis to encourage somewhere in his writings. In fact he does! But, he just does NOT use those exact words. While known for making concise profound statements, he expresses this sentiment with a lot more words (details below). So, what we have pictured above is another example of taking material from C.S. Lewis and paraphrasing it.

How can I be so sure? In addition to not finding the quotation in any of Lewis’ work, I also tracked down places it is found and I also believe I know where it was first shared.

(CCSLQ-34) – God Always Hears

This is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. Presently a new article is posted the first Saturday of each month (or sometimes the second if there are five Saturdays). There is an “at a glance” page HERE to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to read the INTRODUCTION to this series.   


God Always Hears
“God always hears the cry of suffering, and God always sees the oppression of
the weak, and God demands that we be a people who do the same.”

You and I have a rare opportunity at the moment. It seems, unlike other questionable quotations attributed to Lewis, we have a chance to catch a false attribution just as it is starting. As far as I can tell, this quote was first shared on March 16, 2017 by a well meaning individual who happens to have over 37,000 followers on Twitter. Brandon Hatmaker, whom I don’t know, shared this on that date:

God Always Hears (in the wild)

As you may notice there are a few differences, but the version I shared at the top is taken from the original source (which is revealed below). Those differences are minor, except for the word “week” for “weak,” but who hasn’t done typos like this? While this expression is very meaningful, it does not originate with Lewis.

(CCSLQ-33) – Isn’t It Funny

This is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. Presently a new article is posted the first Saturday of each month (or sometimes the second if there are five Saturdays). There is an “at a glance” page HERE to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to read the INTRODUCTION to this series.   


Isn't It Funny
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but
when you look back, everything is different.”

Did you ever hear the funny story of the person who collected fake Lewis quotes and forgot to check to see if he had already posted on a popular one and when he did, he realized he didn’t? So, this post is correcting that oversight.

The above quotation is sometimes credited to Prince Caspian, one of Lewis’ Narnia book. More frequently it is merely incorrectly attributed to him with no source.  How am I sure it is not in Prince Caspian? In addition to today’s technology enabling you to find false quotations, you can actually own an electronic copy of nearly all of Lewis’ books and the complete set of Narnia books is among them. So, searching not only that single title, I checked all seven stories to confirm it is not there.

(CCSLQ-32) – Fixated on Politics

This is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. Presently a new article is posted the first Saturday of each month (or sometimes the second if there are five Saturdays). There is an “at a glance” page HERE to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to read the INTRODUCTION to this series.   


Fixated on Politics“Be sure that the patient remains completely fixated on politics…”

Many of you are likely aware that around early October, 2016 a lengthy quotation claiming to be from The Screwtape Letters made the rounds of social media. Here’s a screenshot of it:

Fake Screwtape on Politics

There was actually another version of it, where only the ending was different. The last part, after “Keep up the good work” was this: “Uncle Screwtape. — ‘Screwtape Letters’ by C.S. Lewis ~1942.” Trouble is the only accurate elements from the piece are the beginning and the end!